Sizzling hot takes of the ACC schedule, Georgia Tech in specific. (sarcasm)
1. The “ACC has it in for Georgia Tech” conspiracy theory took a hit. Only one team will have an open date before playing Georgia Tech – Virginia Tech – and the Yellow Jackets will also have the week off prior to playing the Hokies Thursday night Nov. 12.
|Sept. 3||Alcorn State||Opener|
|Sept. 19||at Notre Dame||at Virginia|
|Sept. 26||At Duke||at Northwestern|
|Oct. 10||At Clemson||at Notre Dame|
|Oct. 31||at UVA||at North Carolina|
|Nov. 12||Virginia Tech||open|
|Nov. 21||at Miami||at North Carolina|
|Nov. 28||Georgia||Georgia Southern|
Actually, there’s only four teams who will face that inequity. Wake Forest message boards are burning up, though – the Demon Deacons will play three teams coming off open dates, none when they also have a bye. Virginia Tech has two such games, and division games to boot (Duke and Pittsburgh).
Further, Tech doesn’t play back-to-back road games in the conference. Also, when the Jackets play at Miami, they’ll have two more days of rest than Miami. The Hurricanes will be returning from North Carolina when the Jackets will likely be enjoying their second of three consecutive days without contact.
2. The Coastal and cross-division games are a little more balanced than the past two seasons. In 2012 and 2013, Tech played three division games to open ACC play, going 1-2 both times and taking a lot of air out of the Coastal race for the Jackets (although Tech ended up winning the Coastal in 2012). This past season, the first six league games were against division opponents, which worked out a little better.
This time, Tech will open with Duke and North Carolina before its annual cross-division game with Clemson Oct. 10 in Death Valley. The tradeoff is that the closing run could be a bear.
After playing Virginia Tech in September in both those seasons, the game will return to its rightful spot in November. This will be the first time Tech has played Miami the week before Georgia since 2008 and just the third time overall. It will, of course, be Tech’s return to the site where it won the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Virginia Tech/Miami/Georgia will be a tough closing stretch.
3. Who’s bitter?
Playing Thursday night games on short rest: Clemson-Louisville Sept. 17, North Carolina-Pittsburgh Oct. 29. It’s the second consecutive year the Tar Heels will be in that spot, having played Duke on a Thursday night on a short turnaround this past season. (Tech fans likely remember that game fondly.)
Wake Forest, unquestionably.
Virginia Tech has three weeknight games, the season opener against national champion Ohio State, a Friday night game Oct. 9 against N.C. State and the Thursday night game with Tech. The school requested a Thursday night home game, but it wasn’t feasible. Further, the two games against division opponents with open dates (not counting Georgia Tech) is probably not high on their list.
Of note: There are four Friday night games, plus Virginia plays a non-conference game against Boise State on a Friday night, as per the ACC’s contractual obligations with ESPN. Georgia Tech hasn’t taken a turn on a Friday night but may have to at some point. School officials don’t want to play a Friday night home game out of respect for high school games. … Virginia continues to play among the toughest non-conference schedules in the country – at UCLA, Notre Dame, William & Mary and Boise State. On the other hand, N.C. State plays Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion and South Alabama. The Wolfpack are the only ACC team that won’t play a power conference opponent in non-conference play. … Boston College will play Notre Dame at Fenway Park Nov. 21. It will be the first football game there since 1968, when the Patriots played their final season there. The game is actually Notre Dame’s home game. … Delta has a flight for $245 Atlanta-Palm Beach the weekend of the Miami game.