It's Official: Maryland to Play West Virginia, Virginia Tech in Baltimore in '13, '14

Guess someone let it slip a little early, because the athletic department just announced it with a press release on the official site:

The Terrapins will face interstate rival West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 and Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia Tech in 2014 at the 71,008-seat stadium. The date for the Virginia Tech game will be determined when the ACC releases its schedule in early 2014. ...

"While Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium will always be our home, having the opportunity to take some games to venues around the state enables us to generate positive exposure for the entire university, to take Maryland football to new fans and recruits, and to enable our fan base and players to have a high-quality experience at another outstanding venue. This opportunity is part of our commitment to strengthening our home football schedules in future years."

My previous opinion stands: bad in terms of home-field advantage, good in terms of money, good in terms of  fan experience.

The obvious drawback is that these games won't be in Byrd, and it hurts even more because they have the potential to be crucial games. Byrd isn't rocking for a lot of games, but my guess is that the fans would get up for WVU and VT, especially if the team is decent, which it looks like it will be. In fact, those are the the few opponents that would provide serious home-field advantage ammo - in that sense, it's pretty disappointing.

I kind of wish they did with ... oh, I don't know, Wake Forest and a team like UConn or Illinois or something. Y'know, a team that's big enough to draw a crowd in Baltimore that probably wouldn't draw said crowd in College Park. Or just keep doing Navy.

Because I really do like the idea of it. There's precedent for it with a lot of other schools doing similar things in their state's biggest city, and it would seem a good idea to continue cultivating a strong UMD presence in Baltimore. It opens up the casual fanbase in the city, who don't care enough - and probably will never care enough - to make the trip south to College Park, but won't have any problem going across town to catch a game. And hey, it gives me another excuse to get to Baltimore, which is a nice respite from College Park.

Then again, money is the primary, probably sole, motivator here. Let's not act differently. I'm guessing that to get the payoff they wanted from a couple of B-more games, they had to promise big-ticket opponents. Again, I love the idea of consistently playing a game in Baltimore. But exporting what are likely to be the two biggest home games of the season? Not so sold on that.

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