Why Georgia Tech isn’t in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Georgia Tech forward Charles Mitchell will need to help lead a strong finishing surge in the Yellow Jackets' final four non-conference games, starting Monday night against Appalachian State. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Georgia Tech forward Charles Mitchell and the Yellow Jackets will miss the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this season. Tech has won its past two challenge games, against Illinois and Northwestern, after a seven-game losing streak. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The ACC announced the pairings for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Wednesday and, for the first time since 2009, Georgia Tech will not be a part of it.

With 15 ACC teams and 14 in the Big Ten, one team had to sit out, and it fell upon the Yellow Jackets to do the honors.

The reason is fairly simple. The challenge does not have set rules about which ACC team sits out of the event. The league works in conjunction with ESPN to create a mutually agreeable lineup. In other words, Duke will always be in the challenge. (Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia have also played in every challenge on the ACC side.) But in general, teams that make the NCAA and NIT tournaments the previous season are in.

For the 2015 event, that left Clemson, Florida State, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Tech. Florida State may have been a team that was “mutually agreed” should stay in the field. The other four schools had sat out of the challenge more recently than Tech had (Wake in 2012, Clemson and Virginia Tech in 2013 and Boston College in 2014). Hence, the league determined that the fair result would be for the Jackets to not participate.

Tech is in the midst of its scheduling for the non-conference portion of its 2015-16 schedule. Aside from the vacancy left by the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Tech also has to find opponents to replace Vanderbilt, Charlotte and Dayton, all of which ended two-game home-and-home series with the Jackets this past season.

The 2015 Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Monday, Nov. 30

Clemson at Minnesota

Wake Forest at Rutgers

Tuesday, Dec. 1

Maryland at North Carolina

Virginia at Ohio State

Michigan at N.C. State

Purdue at Pittsburgh

Northwestern at Virginia Tech

Miami at Nebraska

Wednesday, Dec. 2

Indiana at Duke

Louisville at Michigan State

Notre Dame at Illinois

Wisconsin at Syracuse

Florida State at Iowa

Penn State at Boston College

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