By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
West Virginia University is nearing the record number of season-ticket sales for its 2012 season’s seven home football games.
Matt Wells, the Mountaineers’ director of marketing, said as of Wednesday 36,500 already had been sold. That surpassed the total of 34,935 for the 2011 season.
The all-time record for season-ticket sales at Mountaineer Field in its present seating capacity is 38,200, Wells noted.
With more than two months remaining before the season starts, WVU officials are hopeful the record for season-tickets buying will be shattered.
“We’re certainly not surprised at the greater interest,” Wells said. “This year’s team is generating a lot of excitement.
“That dates back to the 70-33 victory against ACC champion Clemson in the Orange Bowl at Miami Jan. 4. Then moving to the Big 12 Conference has created interest.
“That has created a lot of interest, too. And that gives West Virginia University one of its best schedules in our football history.”
The Mountaineers also expect to have a stronger squad, with numerous veterans, and senior quarterback Geno Smith.
He set or tied several school and Big East Conference records last season.
Smith, who led WVU to a 10-3 record in 2011, is expected to be a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
The Mountaineers will kick off their first campaign in the Big 12 in a nonconference contest against intrastate rival Marshall Saturday, Sept. 1. They also will meet longtime rival Maryland Saturday, Sept. 22, at Mountaineer Field.
But there is no WVU-Pitt game this year, and with the Panthers headed for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Backyard Brawl’s future is up in the air whether it will ever be resumed.
Besides Marshall and Maryland, the home schedule features Baylor Sept. 29, Kansas State Oct. 20, TCU Nov. 3, Oklahoma Nov. 17 and Kansas Dec. 1.
WVU’s games on the road are against James Madison at Landover, Md., Sept. 15, at Texas Oct. 6, at Texas Tech Oct. 13, at Oklahoma State Nov. 10 and at Iowa State Nov. 24.