Looking at each of Georgia Tech’s 12 regular-season games

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Georgia Tech’s 2022 season took firmer shape Monday night with the release of the ACC schedule. The Yellow Jackets will play a Thursday night game (against Virginia on Oct. 20 at Bobby Dodd Stadium) and will play all but one of their home games before Halloween. Here’s a closer look at each of the Jackets’ 12 opponents:

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Sept. 5 – Clemson (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)

A Monday night game, this is the second in Tech’s six-year series to play one home game annually at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It will be the Jackets’ second appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, following its 2017 overtime loss to Tennessee. While it will be presented as a Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, it will be a home game for Tech with regard to tickets. Clemson will have the standard allotment provided for an ACC team playing a road conference game, and Tech will have control of most of the tickets in the 71,000-seat stadium.

Sept. 10 – Western Carolina

Tech will play the Catamounts for the sixth time in school history and the first time since 2011. Notably, coach Geoff Collins is an alumnus of Western Carolina, as was his predecessor Paul Johnson. Collins played for two of the Catamounts teams that played Tech and received considerable playing time in the latter, a 37-19 Tech win in 1992, Collins’ senior season. Western Carolina was 4-7 last season, its fourth consecutive losing season.

Sept. 17 – Ole Miss

It will be the Jackets’ first game against the Rebels since 2013 – a Tech loss in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn. – and their first regular-season meeting since 1946. The Rebels, who were sixth in FBS in total offense in 2021, finished 11th in the final AP poll by tying their school record with 10 wins (against three losses). The return game of the home-and-home will be played in Oxford, Miss., in 2023.

Sept. 24 – at Central Florida

The game completes a home-and-home with the Knights in which the game in Orlando, Fla., was scheduled for 2017 but was canceled because of Hurricane Irma. Tech played only 11 games as a result that season and missed bowl eligibility by one win at 5-6. UCF finished last season 9-4.

Oct. 1 – at Pitt

After visiting Tech for three consecutive years (in 2019 and 2021 as part of the standard schedule rotation and in 2020 as part of the schedule modified because of COVID-19), the Panthers will play the Jackets in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2018. The Jackets have lost three in a row to the Panthers and six of the past seven. Pitt won the 2021 ACC championship, its first since joining the league in 2013.

Oct. 8 – Duke

New Blue Devils coach Mike Elko will be the first of four ACC Coastal Division teams that the Jackets will play with a new head coach, followed by Virginia (Tony Elliott), Virginia Tech (Brent Pry) and Miami (Mario Cristobal). Duke is the only division opponent against whom Collins has a winning record, at 2-1. Duke finished last season 3-9 and 0-8 in the ACC, prompting the mutual parting between the school and 14-year coach David Cutcliffe.

Oct. 20 – Virginia

Just as Tech has experienced defeat on a grand scale in Charlottesville, Va., so have the Cavaliers fared at Bobby Dodd Stadium, losing in their past five visits and 10 of their past 12 trips. Elliott, however, did a bit better at Grant Field in his former position as Clemson’s offensive coordinator. Virginia was 6-6 last year in what proved to be coach Bronco Mendenhall’s last of seven seasons with the Cavaliers. This Thursday game will follow the Jackets’ only open date of the year. Playing a Thursday game after an open date will give the Jackets a little more of a rest for the following game.

Oct. 29 – at Florida State

Arguably Tech’s most competitive and exciting series in recent history resumes with the Jackets’ trip to Doak Campbell Stadium. Each of the past eight meetings between the two teams has been decided by one possession, including Tech’s come-from-behind 16-13 win in Tallahassee, Fla., in the 2020 season opener, quarterback Jeff Sims’ career debut. After an 0-4 start, Florida State finished last season at 5-7. Florida State will play the Jackets after an open date.

Nov. 5 – at Virginia Tech

For many on the Jackets roster, this will be their first experience with what is widely considered one of the two most formidable home-field advantages in the ACC (Clemson being the other). The Jackets have not visited Lane Stadium since 2018 because the teams did not play each other in 2020 in the modified schedule and played at Bobby Dodd Stadium in 2019 and 2021. The Hokies fired coach Justin Fuente near the end of his sixth season, replacing him with Pry, formerly the defensive coordinator at Penn State.

Nov. 12 – Miami

The game with the Hurricanes will be the sole home date among the final five games of the regular season (It’s the first time in school history that the Jackets will be at home only once for the final five games of the regular season.) Tech’s loss at Miami in November perhaps was the Jackets’ most excruciating of the season, a game the Jackets led 28-27 with less than 11 minutes remaining before giving up a game-winning touchdown drive to the Hurricanes.

Nov. 19 – at North Carolina

North Carolina was the opponent for Tech’s most significant win of the season, though one that looked less impressive by season’s end. The Jackets routed the then-No. 21 Tar Heels in Mercedes-Benz Stadium 45-22 to improve to 2-2. A preseason favorite to win the Coastal, UNC finished 6-7. Trivia: This will be the latest date of a Tech-North Carolina game in the series’ history.

Nov. 26 – at Georgia

The Jackets have lost their past two meetings against the archrival Bulldogs by a combined 97-7. UGA will not play an FCS opponent the week before playing Tech, as is often (though not always) the case. The Bulldogs will be at Kentucky the Saturday before meeting the Jackets in Sanford Stadium.

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