ACC’s 2021 football schedule won’t take 2020 games into account

Credit: AJC Sports

Here's a look at the scores and schedule for the 2020 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Credit: AJC Sports

When the ACC created its modified schedule for 2020, the conference kept some division rivalries in place for each team’s slate of games, but also made adjustments for travel considerations.

It was a one-off season and schedule, and in making the 2021 schedule that will be released Thursday, it was treated in that manner, according to a person familiar with the process. Hence, the opponents and locations of games have been arranged for the 2021 season in accordance with the longstanding model and without regard for which teams played where in 2020.

As such, for the third consecutive year, Pittsburgh will visit Tech, and the Yellow Jackets will be scheduled to play at Miami in Coastal Division matchups. (The 2020 Tech-Miami game was not played, as Tech called off what would have been the season-ending game because of health and safety concerns.) Also, Boston College, an Atlantic Division team that the Jackets played on the road in 2020, still will come to Tech this fall as the cross-division rotational opponent.

Pitt-Tech and Tech-Miami were two of eight conference games that were played in 2020 (or scheduled to be played) at the same location as in 2019. While sending one team to another’s stadium for three consecutive seasons is not the most equitable solution, rearranging eight series while maintaining each team’s home-road balance likely would be a logistical tangle.

Besides Pitt and Boston College, Tech will play North Carolina and Virginia Tech at home. The ACC road opponents besides Miami are Clemson, Duke and Virginia. Of Tech’s six Coastal Division opponents, the Jackets did not play North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech last year (along with Miami).

Georgia Tech running back Jordan Mason (27) is stopped by Pittsburgh defensive linemen David Green (2) and Deslin Alexandre (5) during the second half Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.  (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Georgia Tech running back Jordan Mason (27) is stopped by Pittsburgh defensive linemen David Green (2) and Deslin Alexandre (5) during the second half Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

While Tech did not play Georgia in 2020, the 2021 game will remain on the longstanding rotation and will be played at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Jackets also will play at Notre Dame on Nov. 20 (on the Saturday before the UGA game) along with Northern Illinois on Sept. 4 and Kennesaw State on Sept. 11, both at home.

It will be a highly rigorous schedule. Clemson, Notre Dame and Georgia all finished in top seven of the final AP poll. North Carolina and Miami also were in the Top 25. Boston College, Pitt, Virginia Tech and Virginia all finished ahead of Tech in the ACC this past season, and both Boston College and Pitt defeated the Jackets by double digits.

Kennesaw State, which will play a spring schedule starting Feb. 27 after not playing in the fall, is 34-7 over its past three seasons. Northern Illinois was 0-6 last season.

The date and opponent of Tech’s game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium could be announced Thursday or shortly thereafter. The two most likely opponents appear to be North Carolina or Virginia Tech.

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