Not exactly earth-shattering news, but BYU released its 2012 schedule, which includes its date with Georgia Tech, which gives us one more piece of the puzzle. That makes … two pieces. Well, three, assuming we also know the date of the Georgia game (Nov. 24), as well as the Virginia Tech Labor Day game.
BYU will play at Bobby Dodd Stadium Oct. 27. The game will be the ninth in a row for the Cougars; they’ll have their bye after the Tech game.
The ACC should be releasing the entire league schedule soon. Florida State’s search for an opponent to replace West Virginia likely slowed the process.
A couple thoughts:
1. I suspect Tech will play an FCS game five days after the Sept. 3 Labor Day game against Virginia Tech. There’s two ways to go about it, either have the bye week Sept. 8 or try to play on a short week (coming off a road game, no less) and take the bye later. Tech was contracted to play Middle Tennessee State Sept. 8, but I think will push it back to find a presumably safer opponent. I don’t think it will be Southeastern Louisiana, though, which was contracted to play Tech this season, I believe in the opening weekend of the season.
2. At some point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Tech pushes back or shelves its home-and-home with BYU altogether. They’re scheduled to play four games, beginning this fall. When Pitt and Syracuse officially join the ACC and the conference begins a nine-game league schedule, I’m not sure Tech will want to keep an 11th game against a high-level FBS opponent.
Associate AD Wayne Hogan said as much when I talked to him for a story about the ACC’s official addition of Pitt and Syracuse a couple weeks ago, that Tech would likely try to schedule one FCS team and an FBS team from a non-automatic qualifier conference, like Middle Tennessee State.
The possibility that the NCAA may raise the bar for bowl eligibility to seven games is further incentive.
3. One small repercussion is that the chances of Tech playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game probably have become more unlikely. While fans would undoubtedly enjoy a schedule with 11 games against automatic-qualifier schools (the 11th of which would be a high-profile opponent), I’m thinking Paul Johnson may not share that enthusiasm.
4. Another thought for scheduling junkies, which came to mind when I was listening to the 790 the Zone last week when scheduling oracles Wes Durham and Tony Barnhart had Dan Radakovich on their “Barnhart & Durham” show.
Radakovich was saying that, when Pitt and Syracuse enter the league (my guess is 2013), he will seek to amend the scheduling quirk that has Virginia Tech, Georgia, Clemson and North Carolina all on the same road-home rotation.
Another piece of this is that the ACC teams will play five home league games one year and four the next, and that the league will try to ensure that one year the Atlantic has five home games and the next year the Coastal does to ensure some level of equity in the division races.
Anyway, it occurred to me that I’d think that Tech will try to see to it that Georgia is at home the years that Tech has the four home games in order to give the home schedule some balance. If it were the other way around, Tech would have to play the other two non-conference games at home just to get to six home games, which presumably gives a queasy feeling to anyone whose paycheck depends on ticket revenues.
I don’t know how much the annual South Carolina-Clemson/Florida-Florida State/Georgia-Tech games will be a factor in the scheduling process, but if so, it actually could work out favorably in that regard. Clemson and FSU play their rivals at home in even years, so the Atlantic could play its four home games in those years, allowing Clemson and FSU to bank the South Carolina and Florida games as their fifth home games, while Georgia could be Tech’s fifth home game in the odd years.
The one flaw (of presumably many) is that while this may suit the needs of three schools, it may be problematic for the 11 others. Wake Forest, for instance, in the middle of a season-ending home-and-home with Vanderbilt that they may want to extend. Wake is on the opposite cycle as Clemson and FSU, so they could be in the position of having six locked-in home games one year and four the other.
Anyway, food for thought.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog