Georgia Tech’s ACC schedule released

Georgia Tech’s 2018 schedule will include two non-Saturday games, including its first Friday regular-season game since 1994.

Tech will play its first-ever game against Louisville on Oct. 5, a Friday night, in its Atlantic Division crossover game. The last time the Yellow Jackets played on a Friday during the regular season was against Georgia in 1994 on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Tech will play Virginia Tech on Oct. 25 in Blacksburg, Va., a Thursday night game after both teams have their open date the previous Saturday. It will continue the history of the Jackets and Hokies playing in non-Saturday matchups, including a four-year run between 2010 and 2013.

And, as now specified in the league’s scheduling model, only one team will have an extra week of preparation and rest before playing Tech. And that team would be Duke, which will have two weeks to gear up for its matchup with Tech on Oct. 13 at Bobby Dodd Stadium while the Jackets play at Louisville the previous weekend.

At the urging of Tech coach Paul Johnson and athletic director Todd Stansbury, ACC athletic directors voted to address the situation of teams facing league opponents when one has an open date the previous week and the other does not. Johnson was critical for the league because Tech was placed in that situation more frequently than other league members.

The league voted to limit such occurrences to one per season.

Kickoff times and broadcast outlets for the first three games will be announced this summer. The Louisville and Virginia Tech games will be played in prime time, with the ESPN network to be determined. The remaining games’ start times and TV arrangements will be determined as the season progresses. Tech will determine events such as homecoming and hall of fame weekend in coming weeks.

2018 Georgia Tech football schedule

Sept. 1, Alcorn State

The Jackets played the Braves in the opener for the 2015 season, a 69-6 win for Tech. Alcorn State finished 7-5 last season and won the east division of the SWAC. They are coached by Fred McNair, brother of the late Steve McNair, the Tennessee Titans great.

Sept. 8, at South Florida

Tech will start a two-year home-and-home series with the Bulls, with the return game in 2019. The series looks a bit different now than when the contract was signed in October 2014, when the Bulls were completing their fourth consecutive losing season. In the three seasons since, USF is 29-9, finishing 21st in the AP poll in the 2017 season. The USF basketball team is coached by former Tech coach Brian Gregory.

Sept. 15, at Pittsburgh

Tech will play Pitt in its ACC opener for the second year in a row. The Jackets are 8-2 in their first ACC game of the season under coach Paul Johnson. You may recall that Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi and Johnson traded barbs last season. Narduzzi alleged before the game that Tech used illegal blocking methods and played a dangerous style of football. Following the game, a 35-17 Tech win, Johnson said that the Jackets had to do better holding onto the ball than they did in that game "because against a good team, we won't be able to survive."

Sept. 22, Clemson

The Tigers again loom as Tech’s toughest league opponent of the season and perhaps strongest overall. After finishing second in FBS in scoring defense, winning the ACC and making the CFP semifinals, Clemson will return eight defensive starters when several were expected to leave early for the NFL. The Tigers have won three in a row over Tech by an average of 17.3 points.

Sept. 29, Bowling Green

The Falcons will be a one-time opponent for Tech, and it will be the first meeting between the schools. It will be, in fact, Tech’s first game against a Mid-American Conference opponent. The game was arranged in 2016 after Tulane canceled its game against Tech in 2018 when Ohio State made an offer to play the Green Wave. The cancellation opened up space in the non-conference schedule. The Falcons were 2-10 last season.

Oct. 5 (Friday), at Louisville

Tech finally will take part in a Friday-night game as part of the ACC's contract with ESPN, which since 2013 has included an obligation to play a series of games on Friday night. The games have been met with some resistance because that night typically is the domain for high-school games. With its win over Wake Forest in October, Tech is now 14-1 in its rotating crossover games against the Atlantic Division in Johnson's tenure.

Oct. 13, Duke

Tech will try to turn the tide against the Blue Devils, now having lost three games in the past four meetings, including the 43-20 thrashing in Durham, N.C., in November. Duke will be the one opponent to play the Jackets with advantageous rest this season, and you can fire up the conspiracy-theory machine. From 2012 through the coming season, Duke has had an open date four times (once when Tech did also), and last season had an open date and then Army (which runs an offense similar to Tech) before the Jackets. Tech had an open date before playing Duke in 2013, but that was in the second week of the season, which also chafed Johnson.

Oct. 25 (Thursday), at Virginia Tech

The Hokies have lost three times in the past four meetings with Georgia Tech, losing in 2016 and 2017 when they were ranked. Since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004, the Jackets are 5-2 when the game has been played on a Saturday and 0-7 when it has been played any other day. Both teams will be coming off their open date.

Nov. 3, at North Carolina

Tech ended a three-game losing streak to the Tar Heels during a down season for North Carolina. From the 2015 through the 2017 seasons, North Carolina was the only ACC team that Tech held to single-digit scoring, winning 33-7 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in September. The Tar Heels’ Kenan Stadium will have a different look when the Jackets visit. The athletic department is replacing most of the stadium’s bleachers with chairback seats with armrests. The project will reduce the stadium’s capacity from 63,000 to 51,000.

Nov. 10, Miami

Perhaps no game in the 2017 season caused greater anguish for Tech fans than the 25-24 defeat against the Hurricanes on Oct. 14. If there’s a game where new defensive coordinator Nate Woody can make his mark, this might be the one. Miami was a matchup nightmare for former defensive coordinator Ted Roof, as the Hurricanes averaged 7.8 yards per play against Tech in five games during Roof’s tenure.

Nov. 17, Virginia

Based on at least one statistic, the Cavaliers might be an early favorite to win the Coastal. A different team has won the division each of the past five years, with Virginia and Pitt the only teams not to advance to the ACC Championship game in that time. Tech has won four consecutive home games against Virginia, its longest such streak against any ACC opponent.

Nov. 24, at Georgia

Tech has won its past two games at Sanford Stadium, a claim it has been able to make only one other time since the end of the 1956 season. The Jackets last won three in a row in Athens in 1952-54-56, part of Tech’s eight-time winning streak, still the longest streak either team has put together in the rivalry.