Believe it or not, Cincinnati will be the home team when it plays Virginia Tech at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on Saturday.
Intuitively, that does not make much sense. The game is much closer to the Hokies than Bearcats, and Virginia Tech has more alums living in the D.C. area. But this game was supposed to be played in Cincinnati until the game was moved to the bigger venue. Coach Butch Jones said Monday he and his players are not treating this like a home game, though.
"We’re expecting a great atmosphere," Jones said. "We understand that Virginia Tech has a great fan base and obviously the proximity is very close. Even though technically it’s a home game for us, we’re treating it as a road game. We have 65 first- and second-year players, over half our travel squad will be making their first road trip. (We can) teach them how to manage the distractions and the clutter of going on the road. We’re treating this as though we’re going on the road for this game."
Cincinnati will try as best as it can to make the home field of the Washington Redskins feel like home. The scoreboard graphics will belong to Cincinnati, along with all the other graphics on the electronic boards around the stadium. The field will also be painted with Cincinnati logos, with the Redskins logo at midfield.
The Bearcats have experience playing in NFL stadiums, having most recently played two home games at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati last season. But this is their first trip to FedEx Field, while Virginia Tech has played at the stadium twice previously, against USC in 2004 and Boise State in 2010. A sellout is not expected, despite the Hokies' ties to the area, as about 38,000 tickets have been sold for the 85,000-seat stadium.
Here is one other factoid for you. These teams have played 10 times -- but in five different locations. The last time they met was in another NFL stadium -- when Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati in the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins.