It took longer than expected because Florida State and Georgia Tech had to scramble to add new opponents over the past two weeks, but the ACC finally released its 2012 football schedule Monday afternoon.
Here’s a rundown of what the Hokies’ slate looks like, as well as some notes on Virginia Tech’s nationally televised Labor Day conference game against Georgia Tech to start the year and a brutal stretch of league games to close the regular season.
Just as a reminder, most game times will not be released until a later date based on the ACC’s television contract.
Sep. 3 vs. Georgia Tech, 8 (Monday)
Sep. 8 vs. Austin Peay
Sep. 15 at Pittsburgh
Sep. 22 vs. Bowling Green
Sep. 29 vs. Cincinnati at FedEx Field
Oct. 6 at UNC
Oct. 13 vs. Duke
Oct. 20 at Clemson
Nov. 1 at Miami, 8 (Thursday)
Nov. 8 vs. Florida State, 8 (Thursday)
Nov. 17 at Boston College
Nov. 24 vs. Virginia
>> The 2012 season marks the third time in four years and the fifth time since 2004 the Hokies will begin the season with a marquee game in primetime. This one, however, will be a home game at Lane Stadium on Labor Day night against Coastal Division foe Georgia Tech in front of a national television audience. Since the ACC moved to a division format back in 2005, the winner of the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game has gone on to win the Coastal Division every year.
The Hokies are 1-3 in previous primetime opening games, with losses to No. 1 USC and No. 3 Boise State at FedEx Field in 2004 and 2010, respectively, and to No. 5 Alabama in Atlanta in 2009. Virginia Tech’s lone win in a recent primetime season opener came at N.C. State in 2006.
>> The 2012 season also will be the 15th consecutive year in which the Hokies have played a Thursday night game. Since 2004, Virginia Tech has played two Thursday night games every year except 2010. This upcoming season, when the Hokies travel to Miami on Nov. 1 and get a home game against Florida State on Nov. 8, will be the sixth time in eight years those Thursday night matchups will come in consecutive weeks.
>> That two-game stretch, combined with a road trip to Clemson on Oct. 20, is easily the toughest portion of the Hokies schedule. The Tigers are the only ACC team to beat Virginia Tech the past two seasons and Beamer is just 2-8 all-time against Florida State (although he has won two of his past three meetings with the Seminoles). Clemson and Florida State were the two best teams in the Atlantic Division last season and are favored once again in 2012. In addition Clemson, Miami and Florida State will be coming off bye weeks when they face the Hokies this year.
If you include the annual battle for the Commonwealth Cup against Virginia to close the regular season, Virginia Tech will face four bowl-eligible teams in its final five games.
>> Virginia Tech’s four non-conference foes in 2012 had a combined record of 24-25 a year ago, and Cincinnati (10-3) was the only team to win a bowl game. Last season the Hokies took a great deal of criticism for not facing a BCS conference opponent before ACC play began, but the combined record of their opponents (30-20) was better than this year’s slate.
>> According to Google Maps, Virginia Tech traveled a combined 1,343 miles for its six road games in 2011. This year — with trips to Miami, Boston College and Pittsburgh scheduled — the Hokies’ six road games equate to 2,703 miles of traveling.