A new era in ACC football has finally come to fruition. One that was expected, yet one still that’ll take some time to digest when looking at the implications on the conference trajectory in the near future.
The new model? Probably a good thing. The opponents? Some mixed reviews.
So when the ACC released their new scheduling model set to begin during the 2023 season earlier today, what does that signify?
Three primarily opponents annually? Yes.
One division? Yes. So no more “Coastal Chaos.”
Everyone plays everyone twice in four seasons? Yes.
And, the big one. The top two teams will meet in Charlotte in the ACC Championship each and every season? Correct.
So how exactly will this affect Virginia Tech? Well, a set of new formidable opponents, with some old friends finding their way into the mix.
Each season, the Hokies will see Virginia, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest on the gridiron as a result of those three being named the maroon and orange’s primary opponents.
So no more Boston College every season. No more Duke, no more Georgia Tech, no North Carolina, and perhaps the biggest surprise of them all, no Miami, who the Hokies won’t face in 2023 for the first time since 1991 - going back to the old Big East days.
Interestingly enough, Louisville’s primary opponents consist of Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia. Which may have made more sense for Virginia Tech considering the Hokies’ history with each of those schools.
Regardless, it certainly isn’t a bad draw for Brent Pry’s program.
Wake Forest and Virginia Tech stand just 122 miles apart from each other, and a regular day trip down to Winston-Salem should be nice and easy for Tech fans to embark on for those who live in Southwest Virginia.
Then you have Pittsburgh. The Hokies and Panthers have traded some haymakers over the years whether inside Lane Stadium or inside of Heinz Field. And while the cold may scare some off, the trip up to the Steel City whether in the 540 or even up in Northern Virginia isn’t a bad haul at all. Plus, who would say no to 'Primanti Bros' as a pre-game meal before crossing the Allegheny River to tailgate for a game that always seems to have some firepower?
And of course, Virginia. The Hokies and ‘Hoos had to play each other, so this is a no-brainer. Should be fun to see how Pry and inaugural head coach Tony Elliott battle it out in the near future.
So it all starts in 2023, when Tech will also face off against NC State and Syracuse at home, and Boston College, Florida State and Louisville on the road in the model’s first full season in effect.
In 2024, the Hokies will additionally draw Clemson, Georgia Tech and Louisville inside Lane Stadium, while they get both Duke and North Carolina down on Tobacco Road.
In 2025, it’s Boston College and Florida State in Blacksburg, while Miami, NC State and Syracuse away from home.
And in 2026, Duke, Miami and North Carolina come into town, before Virginia Tech will travel to Clemson and Georgia Tech to round out the model’s first four seasons as the league’s new norm.
It’ll be different, but it’ll be fun.
The ACC needed some tweaking, and they’ve got it. To see it now finally becoming a reality, is a move that should be celebrated.