The full opening weekend’s Sunday schedule has not one, but two bigger games.
The season opener between Virginia Tech and West Virginia has been pushed back a day from Saturday, Sept. 2 to Sunday, Sept. 3. The longtime rivalry will be played for the first time in 12 seasons. WVU listed the kickoff time as 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
This now gives us two big FBS games on the Sunday before Labor Day, joining Texas A&M vs. UCLA from the Rose Bowl, which was just moved to Sunday last week. On Monday, it was officially announced that the game would air at 7:30 p.m. on Fox. 2017’s schedule also includes a few games the week prior Labor Day weekend and a Monday night game between Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
This will be the fourth time since 2010 that the Hokies will play a non-Saturday primetime opener, but the first time on a Sunday. In 2010, the Hokies played in a Labor Day night game against Boise State at FedEx Field and had Labor Day home openers against Georgia Tech in 2012 and in 2015 against Ohio State.
This series dates back to 1912 and is the fifth-longest in WVU history. The winner of the rivalry is awarded the Black Diamond Trophy.
The former Big East foes have played 51 times in their history, including every year between 1973 and 2005. However, conference realignment has made the two rivals drift apart. West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who played in this rivalry himself as quarterback of the Mountaineers in the late 1970s, said that losing regional rivalries like this game is one of the major negatives of realignment:
“It’s happening to everybody,” said Luck. “Texas is not playing Texas A&M, and for somebody that lives in Texas, that’s blasfamy. Kansas doesn’t play Missouri anymore. But eventually some of those games will start coming back on the schedule.”
Last year’s Sunday game was a thriller, as Texas beat No. 10 Notre Dame 50-47 in double overtime. Hopefully Virginia Tech-WVU can be, at the very least, close to as good.