In the worst kept secret since the iPhone 4, Virginia Tech will open the season against Georgia Tech on Labor Day evening in Blacksburg. VT gets six home games this season, against GT, Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Duke, Florida State, and Virginia. The Hokies play two Thursday night contests (at Miami and vs FSU), have one bye week, and play once on short rest. The non-conference schedule is once again a block of four consecutive early season games, all four coming immediately following the season-opening Techmo Bowl. The non-conference opponents are a nominal step up from last season, including two BCS conference opponents, both of which are from the Big East.
How does FBS feel about this schedule? Let's ask Mr. Horse.
The home schedule is GT, Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Duke, FSU, and UVA, with GT and FSU being played on days other than a Saturday. Personally I like the idea of VT being a featured prime-time game with no competition to draw away viewers, but I know travel can be tricky in the beginning or middle of the week and I do kind of feel for season ticket holders this season.
As was pointed out by Charlie McRaven, we get three teams coming off a bye week this season, which at first made me want to cry foul until I really looked at the specifics. We pull Miami and Florida State off their bye weeks - which is harsh - but only because we're playing both those teams on a Thursday. Miami is up first, and we get them after our bye week, too. You have that when you play on Thursdays. We then host FSU the following Thursday, which is their only Thursday night contest of the season, so obviously they're going to get their bye week before us. This does bring up the interesting point that VT is the only ACC school to play more than one game this season on a day other than Saturday. You can look at that one of two ways - either VT is the most marketable brand in the ACC right now and the conference wants to promote us unopposed as the flagship of the conference... or we're John Swofford's bitch.
The other team we pull off their bye week is Clemson. So, yeah, maybe that John Swofford's bitch thing has some merit.
We play consecutive games at home only once this season, and they're five days apart. I like the Techmo Bowl on Labor Day because it gives Foster a summer to prepare for the flexbone and gives him the healthiest defense he'll field all season, but the only way the Austin Peay game could cause an ounce of angst is to have scheduled it five days after the opener. What's the over/under on how many times Frank makes the team watch highlights of the JMU clusterfuck?
VT has to travel for consecutive games twice: Cincy at FedEx Field followed up by UNC in Chapel Hill, then Clemson and Miami, which is brutal. We do get our bye week between Clemson and Miami, but that's a tough one-two punch to take.
Our non-conference schedule is a nominal upgrade from last season, including two teams that are technically from another BCS conference. (The Big East still counts, right?) And, of course, we get both of those opponents away from home. The departure of Todd Graham has reduced Pitt to an absolute dumpster fire of a program, though, and Arkansas State was honestly a better program than what we'll likely see in Pittsburgh.
So to break it down...
Georgia Tech to open the season. I don't usually like the idea of opening with a conference game, but this is the exception.
Florida State on a Thursday night in Blacksburg. Bring it.
The home schedule. My heart goes out to season ticket holders, especially the ones who live out of town and can't make non-Saturday games work with their schedules.
At Clemson, at Miami, Florida State. That right there is what we call a murderer's row, my friends.