2014 football schedule released

Photo by John Nakano

On Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference released Tech’s football schedule for the upcoming 2014 football season.

Most notably, Tech’s schedule features eight opponents who played in a bowl last season. The Jackets will open with three straight non-conference opponents: home against Wofford on Aug. 30, at Tulane and then back home against Georgia Southern, the first ever matchup between the two teams. While Paul Johnson was head coach there, GSU won two national championships.

“Even though you know what opponents you will play, it’s always an exciting time for the players, coaches and fans when the schedule is officially released,” said Head Coach Paul Johnson, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.

For the second straight year, Tech will face at least four division opponents consecutively, this time matched against all six in a row and playing all eight conference opponents consecutively. Having three non-conference games before conference play will give the Jackets more time to iron things out before the conference games begin, unlike last season when Tech hosted Elon before heading to Duke two weeks later to begin the stretch of four straight divisional games. At the request of the Athletic Association, Tech will not host any Thursday night games and will play all of the games, both home and away, on Saturday for the first time since 1992.

Duke is the only team that will have a bye week before facing the Jackets. North Carolina, who has had a bye prior to playing Tech four of the last six seasons, will play Notre Dame in South Bend the week prior to hosting the Jackets.

“It’s certainly a challenging schedule. Five of our six road games come against teams that played in bowl games last season and the home schedule is strong as well,” Johnson said.

The Jackets will open up their conference schedule in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech on Sept. 20. It will be the conference opener for both teams and both will be breaking in new starting quarterbacks after the transfer of Vad Lee and the expiration of Logan Thomas’ eligibility. It will be the second straight season that Virginia Tech’s conference opener is against Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech will have a bye week before hosting Miami, a team that Tech has lost to five seasons in a row, on Oct. 10. Miami will also be breaking in a new staring quarterback after the departure of Stephen Morris. Tech will follow the Miami game with another home matchup the next weekend against reigning division champion Duke.

The Jackets will follow consecutive home games with two road games. Tech will head to North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels on Oct. 18 before heading to Pittsburgh on Oct. 25. It will be the first time the Jackets have traveled to Pittsburgh since 1920.

The Jackets will finish out their conference schedule against two Atlantic Division opponents with a trip to North Carolina State, who was rotated into Tech’s schedule, and then a home game against permanent crossover partner Clemson on Nov. 15. Tech will host Clemson for the first time in three years after playing in Death Valley the past two seasons.

This is also the second straight year that the Jackets will play Clemson in their final conference game. Tech’s final conference game had been against Duke for four consecutive seasons before last season.

Tech will follow the Clemson game with a bye before heading to Athens to face in-state rival UGA. As always, the game will be held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Other notable Atlantic Coast Conference games include newcomer Louisville hosting Miami on Labor Day in week one, the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles hosting Clemson on Sept. 20, Virginia Tech hosting Miami on Thursday, Oct. 23 and Duke hosting in-state rival North Carolina on Nov. 20.