Absent strong walk-up sales, the crowd for Saturday’s Virginia Tech-Cincinnati football game at FedEx Field won’t approach the Hokies’ two previous appearances there.
Cincinnati is the designated home team, but Ross Potts Productions is staging the game in conjunction with the Washington Redskins, who own the Landover, Md., stadium.
Redskins officials told Virginia Tech on Monday morning that approximately 38,000 tickets had been sold, said Tim East, an associate athletic director at the school. After an offseason retooling, capacity is down to 79,000.
Full-price seats on the Redskins’ website range from $174.95 to $52.95 each, service charges included. At last check, StubHub, an online ticket brokerage, had 2,998 tickets for the game available, starting at $29.95.
Virginia Tech’s rabid fans and considerable Washington-area alumni equated to large crowds for the Hokies’ season-openers at FedEx in 2004 against Southern California (91,665) and 2010 versus Boise State (86,587).
But USC and Boise State were Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, in the national polls. Though far closer to Washington than those western schools, Cincinnati (2-0) is unranked and has a modest following.
The Bearcats’ two games were at home, where they attracted crowds of 33,562 and 27,112 to 35,000-seat Nippert Stadium.
"We're treating it as a road game," Cincinnati coach Butch Jones said Monday.
Saturday marks the second college game at FedEx this season. An announced crowd of 45,511 saw West Virginia defeat James Madison on Sept. 15.
Last year’s Notre Dame-Maryland game drew 70,000 to FedEx.
Given Virginia Tech’s surprising loss at Pittsburgh, it will be interesting to see how large the maroon contingent is.
One scheduling oddity: While the Hokies (3-1) have played four games, the Bearcats are among only two Bowl Subdivision teams that have played just two. The other is Oregon State, that because the Beavers’ opener against Nicholls State was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac.
Cincinnati and other Big East teams have 14 weeks in which to play 12 regular-season games because the conference does not have a championship game Dec. 1. Hence, each team has two open dates, and the Bearcats’ happened to fall in September.
Leagues that stage title games Dec. 1 — the ACC, Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, Pacific 12 and Conference USA — have 13 weeks to play 12.
"Kind of a bizarre start," Jones said.
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