Georgia Tech football not planning to ease nonconference scheduling

Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims looks for a receiver during a nonconference game against UCF in 2020. The Yellow Jackets have another challenging schedule this season. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims looks for a receiver during a nonconference game against UCF in 2020. The Yellow Jackets have another challenging schedule this season. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

The challenge for Georgia Tech football this year, as is the case just about every year, again will be complicated by a rigorous nonconference schedule.

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In the coming season, on top of the eight-game ACC schedule, the Yellow Jackets will play defending national champion Georgia, Ole Miss (which finished 11th in the final AP poll) and Central Florida (which finished 9-4). The fourth game is against FCS Western Carolina.

In recent years, it generally has been the way for Tech to play two power-conference opponents (including Georgia) and an opponent from a Group of Five conference along with an FCS team. Typically, the G-5 team (such as UCF) has played Tech on a home-and-home basis, which enables the athletic department not to have to pay a potentially seven-figure guarantee for such teams to play only at Tech, but also raises schedule strength.

During coach Geoff Collins’ three seasons, it has been a rigorous path – the Jackets are 2-7 against nonconference opponents, with the only wins against South Florida in 2019 and Kennesaw State in 2021.

“(The schedule) just so happens to be one of the toughest every year, and I think that’s also just a product, obviously, of the league, but then when your archrival is in another league and they are who they are, it’s just going to make for a tough schedule,” athletic director Todd Stansbury said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Stansbury, though, said he had no plans to reduce the difficulty of the nonconference portion of the schedule. While it would generally ease Tech’s path to a higher win total and a bowl game, its impact would also be felt elsewhere.

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“Obviously, we want to balance it out, but at the same time, you also want to have a compelling schedule for your fans,” Stansbury said. “But that’s the balance that you’re looking for, and while we want to definitely make sure that we don’t overschedule, the (league) schedule we’re given is not going to make it any easier.”

Of the ACC’s 14 teams, six will play two power-conference teams in nonconference play this season, including Tech. Of the six, three are playing Notre Dame, which rotates games against the conference.

In 2023, the three scheduled nonconference games are at Ole Miss and home against Bowling Green and Georgia, with one slot remaining for an FCS opponent.

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