Thursday night nationally televised college football games from The Flats have been a Midtown autumn tradition dating back to the early 1980s.
But Monday’s release of the 2012 ACC football scheduled revealed that for the first time since 1992, will not play an ESPN Thursday night home game this fall.
The trade-off is that the Yellow Jackets will kickoff the season in a Labor Day national TV game at Virginia Tech, marking the first time since 1996 that Tech has opened a season versus a conference foe. It will also be the first time in coach Paul Johnson’s five seasons that the Jackets will face a FBS opponent in the opener.
The Key Play, a Virginia Tech fan blog offered analysis of the Hokies’ schedule and said, “Hosting Georgia Tech Labor Day weekend to start the season is an obvious luxury.”
While the nation of college football fans will be denied the opportunity to hear ESPN announcers gush over the beauty of the Atlanta skyline shining over the lights of Bobby Dodd Stadium, Tech fans will have plenty of opportunities to see their team this year.
After the opener at Virginia Tech, the Jackets face Presbyterian five days later in the first of seven home games over the next 10 games. Tech finishes at Georgia and eight of its dozen games will be within the state boundary. The game at Clemson puts nine Tech games within driving distance and longest road trip of the season is an early November visit to Maryland, about an 11-hour drive away.
Tech is coming off an 8-5 season that saw it streak to a 6-0 start, only to lose five of its last seven including a 30-27 bowl game collapse to Utah. The Jackets have now dropped 10 of their last 11 against Georgia. For what it’s worth, the week before facing Tech, the Bulldogs will take on a Georgia Southern team that operates an option-oriented offense similar to that of the Jackets.
While Tech gets a host of home games following the opener, it will have to play well in September to achieve season success. Virginia and Miami visit Grant Field for the third and fourth games of the season, and including Virginia Tech, the Jackets went 0-3 against those opponents last year.
The Hokies-Jackets winner has played in the conference title game every year since the league split into two divisions in 2005. Tech faces both teams that appeared in the 2011 ACC championship (Virginia Tech, Clemson).
Boston College replaces N.C. State on the ACC schedule, while the Jackets face Middle Tennessee State for the third straight year. BYU’s October visit to Atlanta marks the first time Tech has faced the Cougars since 2003.
Tech’s Sept. 8 home opener versus Presbyterian will be the first series meeting since 1937. The Blue Hose (a fierce Scottish warrior) are 0-3 all-time versus FBS-level teams, losing by combined score of 174-46.
Aside from the 8 p.m. kick for the opener in Blacksburg, Va., game times and television network assignments will be announced later. For ticket information, go to ramblinwreck.com/tickets or call 1-888-TECH-TIX.
2012 Georgia Tech football schedule
Sept. 3 – at Virginia Tech
Sept. 8 – Presbyterian
Sept. 15 – Virginia
Sept. 22 – Miami
Sept. 29 – Middle Tennessee State
Oct. 6 – at Clemson
Oct. 13 – Open date
Oct. 20 – Boston College
Oct. 27 – BYU
Nov. 3 – at Maryland
Nov. 10 – at North Carolina
Nov. 17 – Duke
Nov. 24 – at Georgia