Here is a closer look at how that 12-game regular-season schedule breaks down now, slightly less than seven months from kickoff:
Tech’s 2024 schedule starts with, and ends with, two of the better teams in the nation from 2023.
The Jackets travel to Ireland the penultimate week of August to prepare to play Florida State on Aug. 24 in Dublin. The Seminoles went 13-0 last season before being infamously omitted from the four-team College Football Playoff. FSU then took a 63-3 beating at the hands of Georgia on Dec. 30 in the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles are 23-4 over their past 27 and have won 12 consecutive conference games, a streak that started with a 41-16 win over Tech in 2022 in Tallahassee.
“Not just to go over there and experience what it’s like to play over in Ireland, but to play a conference opponent the quality of Florida State and the defending conference champions and what they accomplished last year, it’s a great challenge, great opportunity for everybody in our program,” Key said of that matchup.
Three months after the 2024 opener, the Jackets will face their arch-rival Georgia in Athens. The Bulldogs also went 13-1 in 2023 and narrowly missed the College Football Playoff.
Tech hasn’t beaten UGA since 2016.
The long road
Tech’s 2024 schedule will be its longest in program history.
There are 98 days between Tech’s opener and its finale. The 2001 team went 97 days between its first and last games.
Tech’s start date of Aug. 24 also is the earliest start date in program history. The ‘01 squad began the season Aug. 26 of that year.
Four open weekends
Because Tech has such an early start to its 2024 season, the Jackets will be afforded three bye weeks – a quirk that could be viewed as a benefit or a challenge.
Key’s team is scheduled to play five games in a row before its first open date Sept. 28. That will be followed by four consecutive contests before a bye week Nov. 2, a home game with Miami on Nov. 9 and then another off weekend Nov. 16.
The Jackets return to action Nov. 21, a Thursday, to host North Carolina State which means they’ll have the weekend of Nov. 23 off as well.
“So what, now what?” Key said of all the bye weeks. “All the time we spend on that, even looking at that, that’s taking away from time right now in recruiting, it’s taking away time right now in preparation, what the guys are going through right now with the strength staff, getting in stronger, getting in shape. We look at those things as great opportunities.”
No easy outs
Tech has one FCS opponent on its 2024 slate, the Keydets of Virginia Military Institute who went 5-6 last season and 4-4 in the Southern Conference. The Jackets’ other 11 foes, all FBS teams, are coming off relatively successful seasons.
Louisville (Sept. 21) and Notre Dame (Oct. 19) are two of four Tech opponents (FSU and Georgia the others) that won at least 10 games in 2023. North Carolina State went 9-4 and finished third in the ACC standings and both Duke (Oct. 5) and North Carolina (Oct. 12) each won eight games last year.
All 11 of Tech’s FBS teams made a bowl game in 2023. Only Syracuse, Tech’s first road opponent Sept. 7, finished with a losing record. Miami (Nov. 9) and Virginia Tech (Oct. 26) both ended the season 7-6.
It must be duly noted as well that after returning from the long trip to Ireland, the Jackets play their home opener against a Georgia State team coming off a 7-6 season. State, which will have a handful of former Jackets on its roster, has played in a bowl in four of the past five years.
2024 GEORGIA TECH FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 24 vs. Florida State (Dublin, Ireland)
Aug. 31 vs. Georgia State
Sept. 7 at Syracuse
Sept. 14 vs. VMI
Sept. 21 at Louisville
Oct. 5 vs. Duke
Oct. 12 at North Carolina
Oct. 19 vs. Notre Dame (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
Oct. 26 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 9 vs. Miami
Nov. 21 (Thu.) vs. N.C. State
Nov. 30 at Georgia