Mountaineers ask about getting out of 2012 game
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By BRENT KALLESTAD
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) West Virginia has asked Florida State about getting out of their Sept. 8 football game in Tallahassee.
West Virginia officials initiated talks a few months ago because of the school's pending move to the Big 12. Florida State wants to play the game and honor its commitment for a return date in 2013 at Morgantown.
Florida State Athletic Director Randy Spetman said Friday he hopes West Virginia changes its mind since it looks as if it will be an important game early next season. Both schools won bowl games and are likely to be highly ranked going into 2012.
"I'd think with their status they might think it would be a good thing to do," Spetman said. "It would be two marquee programs and I think it would be great for both."
The Mountaineers (10-3) ripped Atlantic Coast Conference champion Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl on Wednesday, and Florida State (9-4) salvaged a disappointing season with an 18-14 Champs Sports Bowl victory over Notre Dame last month.
Spetman said he believes West Virginia should be able to work around the Sept. 8 date even if it moves to the Big 12. The contract calls for a $350,000 penalty if West Virginia does pull out, but it would cost Florida State much more to replace the Mountaineers on the schedule.
"It would cost us $1 million to find a game at this point," Spetman said. "It's huge."
Additionally, the game likely would be televised nationally and a sellout at Florida State's 83,000-seat stadium whereas a lesser nonconference foe could result in a far smaller gate.
Spetman also said that game could go a long way in determining how far the winner might go next season.
A message was left seeking comment from West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck.
Florida State is 3-0 against the Mountaineers, all coming in the Gator Bowl. The Seminoles defeated West Virginia 33-21 in former coach Bobby Bowden's final game on Jan. 1, 2010.
Bowden was West Virginia's head coach prior to taking the Florida State job in 1976 and current Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is a native of Clarksburg, W. Va., and a 1989 graduate of Salem College, now known as Salem International University.
Updated January 6, 2012