As had been anticipated after its somewhat sudden move from the Big East to the Big 12, West Virginia reached out to Florida State on Friday and detailed its plan to walk away from a scheduled matchup with the Seminoles this fall.
"We were informed in writing late Friday afternoon of West Virginia University's intention to cancel its 2012 football game with Florida State University scheduled for September 8 in Tallahassee," FSU athletics director Randy Spetman said Saturday in a statement released by the sports information department. "We are disappointed for our coaches, players and fans that this game will not take place as originally scheduled. We now face the challenge of completing our 2012 schedule just seven months before the start of the season. We will work quickly and diligently to fill the hole on our schedule and will communicate with our season ticket holders and fans as the process moves forward."
The 'Noles are now left scrambling to find a replacement, and considering the fact that they are expected to be ranked in the preseason top 10 again, the odds of getting an opponent as attractive to ticket buyers and television networks as the Mountaineers aren't very good.
WVU is coming off a 10-3 campaign that included a Big East Championship and a 70-33 thrashing of ACC foe Clemson in the Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers would have presented quite a test for Florida State, even in the friendly confines of Doak Campbell Stadium, as rising senior quarterback Geno Smith -- a Miami native -- is a dynamic passer and may be a Heisman Trophy candidate.
In addition to the typical eight-game ACC slate the Seminoles have scheduled, the 2012 campaign featured non-conference matchups vs. Murray State (Sept. 1), vs. West Virginia (Sept. 8), at South Florida (Sept. 29) and vs. in-state rival Florida (Nov. 24). Although dates are still to be determined, their four home games in conference will be against Boston College, Clemson, Duke and Wake Forest, while the four contests on the road are at Maryland, Miami, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech. One could argue that replacing the Mountaineers with a "directional school" willing to take a beating for a healthy paycheck gives coach Jimbo Fisher and Co. an easier road to a possible national title, although a win over WVU certainly would have helped in terms of BCS rating.
While Spetman's statement made no mention of FSU's proposed trip to Morgantown in 2013, it's fair to assume the 'Noles will return the favor and cancel that game, too.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Mountaineers bail on road trip to FSU
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