If you look at the 2011 Virginia Tech football schedule, you will see many familiar things but also some new things we haven’t seen in recent years. In 2011 the Hokies will have their usual ACC opponents both home and on the road, including a few high profile Thursday night games. But what is lacking that we’ve seen in recent years is the high profile out-of-conference match-up that usually comes early in the season.
In recent years, Virginia Tech has started the season with a high profile out-of-conference match-up. This is usually a made for TV game that is against a premier opponent that is ranked, and the game is hyped all during the off-season. Virginia Tech has played games like this against USC, LSU, Alabama, and last year Boise State. While these games create great anticipation for the season, and great motivation for the team, they have a downside (well, at least for the Hokies) in that Virginia Tech has lost most of them. This puts them in an immediate hole to begin the season.
We don’t know if this is intentional or not, but the 2011 season does not have this type of game. In fact, there is no compelling out-of-conference match-up on the schedule at all. On the contrary, the Hokies begin the season with 4 OOC opponents from ‘mid-major’ conferences, including a games against East Carolina, Arkansas State, Marshall, and a Div I-AA team Appalachian State. Despite being I-AA, Appalachian State is a good program who has contented for several recent national championships.
After those four opening games, the Hokies get into ACC action full swing for the rest of the season. In 2011, Virginia Tech has home games against Clemson, Miami, Boston College, and North Carolina (UNC). They are on the road in the ACC against Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Virginia (UVa). A closer look reveals some interesting observations.
The Hokies clearly have a favorable ACC schedule. Their toughest opponents are all at home (Clemson, Miami, BC, and UNC). The lesser opponents are on the road (Wake, Duke, and UVa). The ACC schedule lines up nicely for the Hokies in 2011.
Also, given the Hokies will be breaking in a new quarterback in 2011 (Logan Thomas will take over for graduating Tyrod Taylor), having 4 mid-major teams to open the season is certainly an advantage. This definitely gives the Hokies a chance to break in Thomas before hitting the more difficult ACC schedule.
Finally, while there is no big early season OOC match-up, there will be some big TV games for Virginia Tech this year. Specifically, the Hokies will play at Georgia Tech and at home against UNC in back to back Thursday night games in November. Virginia Tech vs UNC football tickets will be some of the most difficult to get in 2011.