Posted: 1:54 pm Friday, January 17th, 2014
By Ken Sugiura
Georgia Tech will learn its full schedule for 2014 in coming weeks, but it knows one likely benefit it did not enjoy in 2013.
After getting stuck with a bye week in the second week of the 2013 season, the Yellow Jackets’ two open dates will be timed in a way that will presumably be more beneficial. Tech’s three non-conference games besides the season-ending Georgia game are scheduled for the first three weeks of the season –Wofford Aug. 30, at Tulane Sept. 6 and vs. Georgia Southern Sept. 13.
As a result, with the calendar again falling in such a way that teams will have two open dates, most likely one or both of Tech’s open dates will break up its ACC schedule. (It’s possible that Tech could get one open date on the fourth week of the season and the second on the week prior to the Georgia game, with an uninterrupted ACC slate in between.)
This past season, Tech had an open date after the season opener against Elon and then played eight consecutive weeks. In the ACC, Pitt and Virginia were the only other teams required to go as long without an open date.
Tech made two requests of the ACC as the league put the schedule together with ESPN – no Thursday night home games and either an away game or open date on either Oct. 11 or Oct. 18, which bookend the school’s fall break.
The league attempts to honor the requests, but is not bound to do so. Last year, for instance, Tech asked for a bye after the BYU game but did not get it.
Last season, Tech was given one Thursday night home game, which are logistical challenges for the athletic department and campus and also are typically more difficult for fans to attend than Saturday games. Last year, a committee of ACC member school administrators, of which Tech senior associate athletic director Ryan Bamford was a part, proposed that hosting duties for the Thursday night games be spread around the league.
One aspect of the 2014 schedule that will certainly be under scrutiny by Tech fans – whether or not North Carolina receives a bye week before playing the Jackets. It would be the fifth time in coach Paul Johnson’s seven seasons that the Tar Heels enjoy that advantage.