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Three Thoughts on Virginia Tech's 2024 Football Schedule

Brent Pry 3 VT Miami 2022 HT
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

The 2024 Virginia Tech Football schedule is officially here after being fully revealed on the ACC Network and ESPN2 on Wednesday evening. The Hokies got a pair of weeknight games amidst 10 Saturday games headlined by a home showdown against Clemson in early November and a Friday night game at Miami.

Here's a look at the full schedule.

  • 8/31: at Vanderbilt
  • 9/7: Marshall
  • 9/14: at Old Dominion
  • 9/21: Rutgers
  • 9/27: Miami (Friday)
  • 10/5: at Stanford
  • 10/17: Boston College (Thursday)
  • 10/26: Georgia Tech
  • 11/2: at Syracuse
  • 11/9: Clemson
  • 11/23: at Duke
  • 11/30: Virginia

So what do I think about the Hokies' 2024 schedule? Here are my thoughts on the schedule.

1. Clemson Will Be a Big Game Regardless

I'm a big fan of the Hokies getting Clemson in early November rather than in late September or early October.

Yes, there's some risk that Virginia Tech could slip up a couple times prior and be out of contention for everything outside of a backdoor ACC Championship game appearance in a chaos scenario. Even if that were to happen, the Hokies will likely be no worse than 6-3 (which feels like a long shot worst case on first review of the schedule) in my view, but still have a chance to get a huge win over a highly successful Clemson program at home in front of a sold out Lane Stadium. That would still be a very meaningful football game, even if nothing else were on the table.

Odds are that both the Hokies and the Tigers will be in the heat of the ACC Championship Game race with this potentially being an elimination game for it. It's also easy to envision both teams having no more than one or two losses at this point, adding in significant CFB Playoff stakes to this game in an era where ACC teams will likely have less margin for error than SEC or Big 10 teams, at least in the short term.

I will say that the trip to Syracuse the week prior reeks of being a potential trap game. The Orange will have a couple months for new head coach Fran Brown to get comfortable in the head coach spot, and the Orange get a favorable schedule that could have them with a pretty good record entering that game, especially with the transfer additions they made headlined by QB Kyle McCord from Ohio State. Having at Syracuse prior will test their mental focus on the Hokies taking it one game at a time.

Regardless, the Clemson game being in November is going to be a big game regardless with greater upside in terms of magnitude than an earlier date would have provided.

2. Late September Stretch Likely Toughest

If you're looking for the toughest stretch, you could make an argument for a couple different spots in the season. One would be the three-game stretch against a Georgia Tech team that showed promise last season and returns QB Haynes King, a road trip to Syracuse that is a trap game spot and could be a program finding its stride under a new head coach by that point, and then Clemson which should be good again (and may be better than you think after giving the most playing time to freshman in the Power 5 last season).

The one that may be a little tougher though comes in late September and early October when VT takes on Rutgers before having back-to-back road games at Miami and Stanford.

To start this stretch off with what will likely be a very physical football game against Rutgers will be a test. The Scarlet Knights will be underdogs, but they were solid last season and should build on a team that beat the Hokies last season, even if VT got much better as the season progressed. Rutgers is boosted by the return of standout RB Kyle Monangai to increase the challenge. This game being in Blacksburg is definitely favorable for the Hokies.

However, add in a big game at a Miami team that just added Cam Ward and will rightly be in the preseason top 25 and that's a tough turnaround. It does help that they'll be coming off a home game rather than a road trip, so Tech can start recovery work for their players as soon as the Rutgers game ends. However, this is a game that could define the season for the Hokies, and having a physical Big 10 team in Rutgers prior is tough.

Then you have the longest trip of the season across the country to Stanford. The Cardinal may not be that good of a football team, but the travel and adjusting the body clock to the time change will present a challenge for the Hokies, especially coming off back-to-back big games. Yes, the Hokies will have a very comfortable travel setup to help with that, but it's still an adjustment that you likely wish you had a bye week prior in some ways.

While Stanford may be worse than any of the three teams Tech faces in that critical mid-season stretch, the travel challenge after facing two of Tech's three toughest opponents on paper makes that the toughest stretch for the Hokies in my view.

3. On Weeknight Games

Let's get into the two weeknight games, especially after I put on the following post on X after it was revealed VT-Miami would be on a Friday.

Now I've said since then that I've slightly shifted my view on the matter. Being on a Friday night guarantees that the away sideline heat in that stadium won't be as bad while it'll also likely affect fan attendance interest in Miami which is bad for the sport, but good for the Hokies' victory interests because when Miami is good and gets premium Saturday primetime games, Hard Rock Stadium can actually become a tough place to play. If you need an example of that, look back at the 2017 game.

If this is going to be on a crowded Week 5, I can see the argument for getting a clearer window on Friday night. Now I do think getting this guarantee isn't worth as I believe both teams could easily be flying high heading into this game, making it a top 3-4 game of the week and certainly a spot on ABC. Past TV ratings show that a Saturday ABC game is basically certain to do better than a Friday night ESPN game, with only two Friday night games between week 2 and the week before Thanksgiving ranking in the top 10 in ratings last season.

This is also a rivalry game that deserves to be in a big spot on college football's true home, Saturday, rather than be thrown on a Friday just to fill an ESPN window. The fact is that both teams likely will have no more than one loss at this point in the season with tons of momentum around them. This is also one of the ACC's best rivalries for TV pitting two of the league' four biggest football brands against each other. That should be a game that you should be wanting on college football's best day for getting eyeballs on big games, Thursday.

Yes, VT and Miami have been down lately and some may say that they need to earn that back. Well they've earned it with the track that both programs are on and that both will be top 30 preseason at worst. We've also seen plenty of big name programs in the SEC and Big 10 get premium spots despite not doing so hot lately so I think two big brands on a positive trajectory who are set to have serious relevance nationally should be a nationally televised Saturday game.

What I do love is the fact that Virginia Tech gets its annual Thursday night game off a bye when they take on Boston College. There is no place that treasures Thursday night football like Blacksburg and you can guarantee that the environment will be great.

Also, having the BC game on a Thursday is much better exposure for Virginia Tech than this game potentially falling onto ESPN2 or ACC Network. That's a nice boost too.

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