With Hurricane Joaquin on the loose, we're not yet sure how the rains may affect Saturday's Pitt game as the Panthers take on Virginia Tech on the road. Lane Stadium appears ready to handle whatever rain comes its way, though.
Pitt's E.J. Borghetti, who is always on top of things, sent along some interesting information about the stadium's drainage system to media this week. See below:
- In 2001, Virginia Tech became the first collegiate football team to have a new state-of-the-art GreenTech ITM natural Bermuda grass sports field system.
- The turf actually sits on movable trays. This system has been used in Olympic stadiums (Athens and Beijing).
- The system has irrigation lines and a vacuum system underneath the trays that can handle up to 16 inches of rain an hour.
- Tech's drainage system was used earlier this week and worked perfectly when approximately four inches of rain fell on the Blacksburg area.
- The drainage system is ready for use Saturday and should ensure a safe playing surface for both teams.
I'm no facilities/drainage expert but all of that at least seems reasonable. What I don't know is how this system stacks up to other facilities, either. All stadiums are going to have some sort of drainage system, but I don't know how many of them are this extensive. None of that is a guarantee things will go well, of course. That will depend on how much rain actually comes.
The current forecast calls for rain Friday night through all day tomorrow in Blacksburg, so we're talking about a potentially big deal here. It sounds as if the facility is prepared for heavy rains but we won't know how prepared until game time.