Georgia Tech has signed contracts for home-and-home series with perhaps the two most intriguing opponents that, for different reasons, a Yellow Jackets fan might want to see — Alabama and Georgia State. The wait will be considerable, however.
The powerhouse Crimson Tide will play season openers against the Jackets in 2030 (Aug. 31, in Atlanta) and 2031 (Aug. 30, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.). Should he still be in position, Alabama coach Nick Saban will be 78 and 79, respectively, for the renewal of the historic series. (Tech coach Geoff Collins will be a spry 59 and 60 for those two games.)
The Jackets will play the Panthers, whose campus is about two miles from Tech’s, in 2024 and 2026. The Aug. 31, 2024 season opener at Bobby Dodd Stadium will be the first-ever football meeting between the two schools.
Tech and Alabama have a history that dates to 1922, when both were founding members of the Southern Conference. Except for a four-year hiatus during World War II, the two teams played annually through 1964, the year following Tech’s departure from the SEC. The series included seven matchups between two of the game’s all-time coaching greats, Alabama’s Bear Bryant and Tech’s Bobby Dodd.
They played six more games 1979-84. With 52 meetings, Tech has played only four other teams more frequently. The two teams were to play in 2013-14, but the games were postponed and never scheduled.
“Obviously, Alabama is one of the most recognized and successful programs in college football,” Collins said in a statement. “It’s a program that I have a firsthand knowledge of, having spent a year with Coach Saban helping lay the foundation for the great success that they have had under his leadership. It will be exciting for our players to be able to play the Crimson Tide right here in Atlanta and over in Tuscaloosa.”
At least by 2020 standards, Tech’s schedules in 2030-31 could be unrivaled in difficulty, as the Jackets would likely play Georgia, Clemson and Alabama in those seasons along with two more non-conference games and its ACC slate. (Tech is not scheduled to play Notre Dame in 2029 and 2032.)
“We’re excited to announce the additions of Alabama and Georgia State to our future football schedules,” athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “In addition to being one of the nation’s top programs, Alabama is one of Georgia Tech’s oldest and most frequently played rivals, so we are very proud to renew the series for the first time in nearly half a century and allow new generations of fans to enjoy the excitement of the rivalry.”
The series with Georgia State will command local attention, an outcome that will likely please Collins as he seeks to stamp Tech as a team belonging to the city of Atlanta. The two schools have had discussions in the past about facing each other, including as recently as 2017 when Tech was in need of a 12th game after an in-season cancellation by Central Florida because of a hurricane, but nothing had ever come to fruition.
The game at Georgia State Stadium (Sept. 19, 2026, in the third week of the season) will be Tech’s first on the road against an current member of the Sun Belt Conference. In recent years, Tech has arranged games with three other in-state opponents other than Georgia — Georgia Southern in 2014 and 2016, Mercer in 2016 and Kennesaw State in 2021.
“It will be a lot of fun to square off in a neighborhood matchup and to give our fans another opportunity to come out and see the Yellow Jackets play right here in Atlanta,” Stansbury said.
For Georgia State, it continues the team’s strategy of playing power-conference opponents. The Panthers will play 10 games against ACC or SEC opponents between the 2020 and 2026 seasons – Alabama (2020), Auburn (2021), North Carolina (2021, 2022), South Carolina (2022), LSU (2023), Vanderbilt (2024, 2025) and Tech (2024, 2026).
Georgia State beat Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., this past season.
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