Georgia Tech is waiting upon the release of the remainder of the ACC’s schedule with Notre Dame and Tech’s expected 2017 appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game with Tennessee to begin making contracts for a significant number of non-conference games.
Tech senior associate athletic director Ryan Bamford said Friday that “everything else will fall in line” after the ACC/Notre Dame and Chick-fil-A deals are completed. (The ACC is close to scheduling the rest of its games with Notre Dame, a 60-game deal through 2025. That said, I wrote in July that it was close.) Tech’s two-game series with Ole Miss, which was contracted for 2017 in Oxford, Miss., and 2018 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, is expected to be pushed back in order to make room for the Chick-fil-A game. Depending on when the remaining Notre Dame games fall, the series could move to the early 20’s.
Through 2024, when the ACC’s current schedule rotation will be completed, Tech has room in its schedule space for one more home-and-home with a power-five conference team. Tech’s policy of playing two games against a power conference team including Georgia would mean 18 games between 2016 and 2024. Georgia takes nine spots, Ole Miss will take two, Notre Dame takes three and the Chick-fil-A game in 2017 and Vanderbilt (return game in 2016) both take one, leaving two more open dates.
Tech’s policy is, when possible, to play one FCS opponent, one non-power conference FBS opponent and two power-conference opponents including Georgia. (It was not the case this year, for instance, with Tech playing two non-power conference FBS teams, Tulane and Georgia Southern.)
Bamford said he had been in discussions with schools from every power conference outside the ACC – the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – for those remaining two slots. The years and possibly the opponent will be determined by the years that Tech is assigned to play Notre Dame.
Bamford also said that there are openings for two home-and-homes with a non-power-conference team around the turn of the next decade. Tech still has three games remaining with Tulane, at home in 2015, home again in 2018 and in New Orleans 2019.
He said there’s “a list of schools I’ve talked to and I think we’re close to pulling the trigger on a couple of them.”
The non-power conference home-and-home would likely be with a team in the American Athletic Conference (Tulane’s conference) or certain members of Conference USA. Games against other FBS conferences would be guarantee games, in which Tech pays for a home game.
He said there may be interest for another game with Georgia Southern (Tech’s opponent Saturday) and possibly Georgia State, although he said there had not been conversation with the school since athletic director Cheryl Levick changed jobs at the school in May.
Besides Notre Dame in 2015, Vanderbilt in 2016 and the three remaining Tulane games, Tech also has already contracted with Mercer for 2016. Bamford said he is also close to an FCS opponent for 2015.