Where: Blacksburg, Va.
Date: Sept. 3
Time: 8 p.m.
Series record: Virginia Tech leads 6-3
Players to watch: QB Logan Thomas (3,013 yards, 19 TDs passing) ran for two TDs and threw for three vs. Tech a year ago. LB Bruce Taylor is an All-ACC player who missed the last six games (including Tech) with a fractured right foot that required surgery.
What it could mean: The winner of this game normally wins the Coastal Division. That should hold true again this year, though the path for both is tougher with the improvement of the Virginia program.
Date: Sept. 8
Time: 7 p.m.
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 3-0
Players to watch: LB Donelle Williams and P Patrick Morgano are both preseason All-Big South selections. Williams, a sophomore, was third in the league with 83 tackles. Morgano, a senior, averaged 40.7 yards on punts and had 21 punts inside the 20.
What it could mean: Other than playing on short rest - and perhaps with no preparation in pads - this game against a FBC school from a weak league should be a walkover for Tech. The two teams haven't met since 1937.
Date: Sept. 15
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Series record: Virginia leads 17-16-1
Players to watch: Little RB Perry Jones (915 yards, five TDs) ran over and around Tech for 149 yards in last year's victory. CB Demetrious Nicholson (5-11, 165) has the quickness and skills to be one of the top defensive backs in the league.
What it could mean: If Tech finds a way to win the season opener, this game might determine the division title. And the Yellow Jackets are seeking retribution after laying an egg against the Cavs in Charlottesville. This will be the 650th game played at Bobby Dodd.
Date: Sept. 22
Series record:Georgia Tech leads 10-7
Players to watch: RB Mike James (5-11, 222, Sr.) is team's top returning rusher (275 yards, seven TDs) on team with an unsettled QB situation. S Vaughn Telemaque (36 career starts) is the most experienced player returning on a revamped defense.
What it could mean: Tech has underachieved in losing to the 'Canes the last two seasons. This would be a good time to pick on a Miami team that has had tons of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, even though there are plenty of athletes to go around.
Middle Tennessee State
Date: Sept. 29
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 2-0
Players to watch: QB Logan Kilgore threw for 2,251 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. LB Roderic Blunt, named most improved linebacker after spring practice, had 54 tackles in 2012, seven against Tech last year.
What it could mean: This is the final game in the three-year series with the Blue Raiders, who have offered little resistance in the two previous meetings. Tech can use a lightweight prior to its game against Clemson in Death Valley.
Where: Clemson, S.C.
ate: Oct. 6
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 50-25-2
Players to watch: Gifted WR Sammy Watkins (6-1, 200, Soph.) set ACC record for freshmen with 82 catches for 1,219 yards ad 12 TDs. DE Malliciah Goodman (6-4, 280) is a centerpiece of defense constructed by new coordinator Brent Venables.
What it could mean: Clemson hasn't forgotten last year's season-shifting 31-17 loss at Georgia Tech, a game in which All-ACC back Andre Ellington was injured and did not play. This could make or break the season for whoever prevails. Who knows? It could be a preview of the ACC title game, just like it was in 2009.
Date: Oct. 20
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 5-2
Players to watch: QB Chase Rettig (1,954 yards, 12 TDs) returns for his third season as starter. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (6-1, 215, Jr.) is one of the talented candidates to fill the large shoes left by ACC Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly.
What it could mean: Tech has a week off to prepare for the Eagles, who have beaten the Jackets on their last two trips to Grant Field. A win in this game could propel the Jackets to a strong conference finish. Tech will be favored in the rest of their ACC games after this one.
Date: Oct. 27
Series record: Series tied 1-1
Players to watch: QB Riley Nelson was 6-1 to close last season and have five games with at least three TD passes. LB Kyle Van Noy (6-3, 235) had 15 tackles for loss and seven sacks; he was the only FBS player to record a stat in every major defensive category.
What it could mean: Tech hopes to catch BYU on an emotional lull after the Cougars play at Notre Dame. Tech will be tested by an experienced BYU team that returns 14 starters from last year's 10-3 team that finished 25th in the final USA Today poll.
Where: College Park, Md.
Date: Nov. 3
Series record:Georgia Tech leads 14-6
Players to watch: TE Matt Furstenburg (6-4, 245, Sr.) is a tough two-year starter who is an excellent possession receiver; he had 31 catches for two TDs in 2011. Joe Vellano (6-1, 285, Sr.) had 94 tackles last season and moves from linebacker to defensive end in the new 3-4 scheme.
What it could mean: The Terps were decimated by injuries and lost their last eight games, starting with a hard-fought 21-16 loss at Tech. This begins a difficult stretch of three road games in four starts for the Yellow Jackets.
Where: Chapel Hill, N.C.
Date: Nov. 17
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 26-18-3
Players to watch: RB Giovani Bernard (5-10, 205, Soph.) recovered from knee surgery to become the nation's leading freshman running back (1,253 yards, 13 TDs). LB Kevin Reddick (6-3, 240, Sr.)
What it could mean: Georgia Tech played one of its best games last year to beat the Heels in Atlanta. It remains to be seen how long it will take new UNC coach Larry Fedora to get things turned in his direction. Tech has won six of the last seven meetings. Carolina also has the possibility of NCAA sanctions hanging over its head.
Date: Nov. 17
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 48-30-1
Players to watch: WR Conner Vernon (6-2, 195, Sr.) has had back-to-back 70 catch seasons and needs 35 receptions and 198 yards to break ACC records. Senior safety Walt Canty leads a experienced, athletic crew in the secondary.
What it could mean: Duke is a dangerous late-season opponent. A year ago the Devils lost three games by a combined seven points and lost to Tech by only seven. Tech has won eight straight against Duke and cannot afford to see that streak broken.
Where: Athens, Ga.
Date: Nov. 24
Series record: Georgia leads 62-39-5
Players to watch: QB Aaron Murray threw for 3,149 yards and 35 TDs last year, including 252 yards and four TDs against Tech. OLB Jarvis Jones is a consensus All-American who had 19.5 tackles for loss and an SEC-best 13.5 sacks.
What it could mean: Tech is looking for its second victory against the Dogs since Paul Johnson became head coach. Georgia has won 10 of the last 11 meetings and dominated the Yellow Jackets a year ago when both teams were nationally ranked.
This is a game Johnson needs to win to keep the faithful happy, especially if the Jackets struggle early in the season.
-- Stan Awtrey