March 5, 2007

Rod looks ahead to '07 sked

MORGANTOWN--The official start to West Virginia 's 2007 football campaign may still be six months away, but that didn't stop head coach Rich Rodriguez from peeking ahead at the Mountaineers' schedule during a media luncheon on Thursday afternoon.

"I think our schedule is pretty competitive. It's going to be awfully competitive in the Big East Conference this fall, maybe more so than it's been in four or five years," Rodriguez said. "I'm excited for our fans. I'd expect that we'll sell out our season tickets again, I'd expect that we'll break our attendance records again, and I'd expect that everyone will be excited about West Virginia football again."

One big change in the Mountaineers' 2007 slate is the opening opponent. Instead of beginning with the highly anticipated Friends of Coal Bowl against Marshall as it did last season, WVU will open play by hosting Western Michigan on September 1 before traveling to Huntington a week later.

"There were pros and cons to opening up with Marshall last season as far as the hype and expectations surrounding the game. Obviously, it got the players' attention over the summer, and the fans were excited about playing Marshall first. But I think any college football player will tell you that you're going to get excited for that first game no matter who it is," Rodriguez said.

Western Michigan was added to the schedule as a late replacement for Ball State, which was forced to back out of its agreement to travel to Morgantown after experiencing scheduling conflicts. Asked which team he would rather open with, Rodriguez responded as most coaches would.

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