Georgia Tech’s ACC schedule released

Credit: John Bazemore

Credit: John Bazemore

An unusual home-road balance marks Georgia Tech’s upcoming football schedule. By playing three of its first four ACC games at home, the Yellow Jackets will play four of their final five regular-season games on the road, including the final game at national champion Georgia. The ACC schedule was released Monday night.

After playing five of their first seven games at home (including the season opener against Clemson at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff game), the Jackets will play their eighth and ninth games of the season at Florida State Oct. 29 and at Virginia Tech Nov. 5. After a home game Nov. 12 against Miami, Tech will return to the road to play the final two games of the regular season at North Carolina Nov. 19 and then in Athens Nov. 26. After the 2020 “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” game was not played in 2020 due to the SEC’s decision to not play non-conference games in its pandemic-modified schedule, it will be the Jackets’ first trip to Sanford Stadium since 2018.

It will be a difficult conclusion for coach Geoff Collins in his fourth season, a year in which expectations will be high to make his first bowl game, if not achieve more than that. In his first three seasons, Tech was 3-11 on the road. (Though, at 6-14, the Jackets haven’t been indomitable at home in Collins’ tenure, either.)

The front of the schedule is also daunting. The Jackets’ first four games were already known prior to Monday’s release – Clemson in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff game on Labor Day night (Sept. 5) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Western Carolina (Sept. 10), Mississippi (Sept. 17) and at Central Florida (Sept. 24). Aside from the FCS Catamounts, whom the Jackets will play on a short week, the other three teams were a combined 29-10 last season. Besides owning a talent advantage and a seven-game winning streak in the series, Clemson may not have much of a home-field advantage to overcome for the kickoff game. While the game is a home game for Tech, with the Tigers allowed only the allotment given to an ACC opponent in a standard league game, it won’t be a surprise if Clemson fans gobble up tickets on the secondary market.

The ACC schedule makers added on to that stretch a visit to reigning ACC champion Pittsburgh, which was 11-3 last season although it has lost All-American quarterback Kenny Pickett. That will be Oct. 1, a week after the UCF game, which will be in Orlando, Fla. Over the past five seasons, the Knights are 30-2 at the Bounce House, as their home field is known.

Nine of the 12 opponents earned bowl eligibility in 2021 and five (Clemson, Ole Miss, Central Florida, Pitt and Georgia) won nine or more.

Following the Pitt game, Tech plays Duke Oct. 1 at home and then will go into its only open date of the season. The open date precedes one of the team’s two non-Saturday games, a Thursday night home game Oct. 20 against Virginia. (The other is the Labor Day season opener against Clemson.) The Cavaliers will also have an open date prior to that game. The Jackets’ next opponent, Florida State, will be coming off of its open date for the teams’ Oct. 29 meeting in Tallahassee, Fla.

The time and television outlet for Tech’s spring game were also announced during the ACC Network broadcast Monday when the conference schedule was released. The game, already scheduled for March 17, a Thursday, will kick off at 6 p.m. and be televised on ACC Network.

Monday, Sept. 5 – Clemson (Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium)

Saturday, Sept. 10 – Western Carolina (Bobby Dodd Stadium)

Saturday, Sept. 17 – Ole Miss (Bobby Dodd Stadium)

Saturday, Sept. 24 – at UCF (Orlando, Fla.)

Saturday, Oct. 1 – at Pitt (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Saturday, Oct. 8 – Duke (Bobby Dodd Stadium)

Thursday, Oct. 20 – Virginia (Bobby Dodd Stadium)

Saturday, Oct. 29 – at Florida State (Tallahassee, Fla.)

Saturday, Nov. 5 – at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.)

Saturday, Nov. 12 – Miami (Fla.) (Bobby Dodd Stadium)

Saturday, Nov. 19 – at North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)

Saturday, Nov. 26 – at Georgia (Athens, Ga.)