Closer look at Georgia Tech's schedule

August 25, 2013 

Clemson Maryland Football

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney pumps his fist after a Clemson 2-point conversion in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md., Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. Clemson won 56-45. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

PATRICK SEMANSKY — AP

Where: Atlanta

Date: Aug. 31

Time: Noon

TV: ESPN3

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: First meeting.

Players to watch: RB Tracey Coppedge, LB Jonathan Spain, OL Clay Johnson, WR Kierre Brown, CB Chandler Wrightenberry

What it could mean: Anything less than an overwhelming victory would not be looked upon favorably. Unlike last year, when the Jackets opened with Virginia Tech, they'll get a chance to ease into the season. The offense and defense will both have the opportunity to iron out a few kinks and get ready for murderer's row.DukeWhere: Durham, N.C.

Date: Sept. 14

Time: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Tech leads 49-30-1

Players to watch: RB Juwan Thompson, WR Jamison Crowder, LB Kelby Brown, CB Ross Cockrell, DE Kenny Anunike, P Will Monday

What it could mean: This won't be an easy game for Tech, which has won the last nine meetings with Duke. The Devils return nine starters on offense, but they must find a successor to QB Sean Renfree. A loss to Duke would put the Yellow Jackets in an early hole.North CarolinaWhere: Atlanta

Date: Sept.21

Time: TBD

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Tech leads 27-18-3

Players to watch: QB Bryn Renner, TE Eric Ebron, OT James Hurst, DE Kareem Martin, S Tre Boston, P Tommy Hibbard

What it could mean: The Tar Heels may be the most motivated opponent on Georgia Tech's schedule. They're still stinging from last year's 68-50 loss in Chapel Hill (wait, Tech just scored again) and have lost four straight to the Jackets. Tech's offense should be a test for UNC's new 4-2-5 defensive scheme, which features multiple fronts and multiple blitzes.Virginia TechWhere: Atlanta

Date: Sept. 26

Time:7:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Virginia Tech leads 7-3

Players to watch: QB Logan Thomas, C Andrew Miller, DE James Gayle, DT Derrick Hopkins, LB Jack Tyler, CB AntoneExum, CB Kyle Fuller, S Kyshoen Jarrett

What it could mean: The winner of this game always seems to end up in the ACC championship game. Virginia Tech won last year, but Georgia Tech wound up playing in the title game. The Hokies open the season against Alabama but follow that against non-conference games with Western Carolina, East Carolina and Marshall before their nationally televised game against Tech.MiamiWhere: Miami Gardens, Fla.

Date: Oct. 5

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Miami leads 10-8

Players to watch: QB Stephen Morris, RB Duke Johnson, OT Seantrel Henderson, OG Brandon Linder, WR Phillip Dorsett

What it could mean: The Hurricanes have been one of the Tech's major stumbling blocks. Miami has won the last four meetings, including a 42-36 decision last year. Miami will test the Tech defense behind QB Stephen Morris (3,345 yards, 21 TDs) and WR Phillip Dorset (58 catches). Morris burned Tech for 436 yards a year ago, with Dorsett catching nine passes for 184 yards. A win at Miami, where Tech is 2-3, would be a huge victory.Brigham YoungWhere: Provo, Utah

Date: Oct. 12

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: BYU leads 2-1

Players to watch: RB Jamaal Williams, RB Michael Alisa, WR Cody Hoffman, LB Kyle Van Noy, CB Jordan Johnson

What it could mean: Tech must find a way to recover from a road trip to play a tough Miami team in time to fly across the country and play a BYU squad that outmuscled them a year ago. BYU is expected to test the Tech run defense with its Jamaal Williams and Michael Alisa, who are both among the 63 players on the watchlist for the Doak Walker Award that's given to the nation's best running back.SyracuseWhere: Atlanta

Date: Oct. 19

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Tech leads 2-0.

Players to watch: RB Jerome Smith, C Macky MacPherson, RB Prince-Tyson Gulley, DT Jay Bromley, K Ross Krautman.

What it could mean: The Orange enter the ACC as a relative unknown. Syracuse has a new coach in Scott Shafer, the defensive coordinator who was promoted when Doug Marrone left for the NFL, and have plenty of holes to fill. Syracuse must find a new quarterback and it hopes Gulley can give the program its sixth straight 1,000-yard runner. Their last meeting came in 2004, with Tech winning 52-14 in the Champ Sports Bowl.VirginiaWhere: Charlottesville, Va.

Date: Oct. 26

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Tied 17-17-1

Players to watch: TE Jake McGee, OT Morgan Moses, DL Brent Urban, DE Eli Harold, LB Henry Coley.

What it could mean: Last year's 56-20 Tech win was an exception in a series that has produced some good games. The Cavs have a new offensive coordinator, who must identify a quarterback; the two most experienced players transferred. There's also a new defensive coordinator, former Georgia Tech assistant Jon Tenuta, who likes his players to get after it. The defense will have its hands fun replacing the two leading tacklers. Unless the Cavs turn things around, popular coach Mike London will find himself on the hot seat.PittSBURGHWhere: Atlanta

Date: Nov. 2

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Pitt leads 5-2

Players to watch: DT Aaron Donald, S Jason Hendricks, QB Tom Savage, WR Devin Street, RB Russell Bennett, LB Shane Gordon.

What it could mean: The Panthers bring a solid defensive reputation to the table. Some say it ranks up there with ACC stalwarts Virginia Tech and Florida State. The Panthers have nine starters back, including possible All-American Aaron Donald (64 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss). Pitt has an outstanding quarterback in the rocket-armed Tom Savage and an excellent receiver in Devin Street.ClemsonWhere: Clemson, S.C.

Date: Nov. 14

Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Tech leads 50-26-2

Players to watch: QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, OT Brandon Thomas, OG Tyler Shatley, S Travis Blanks, K Chandler Catanzaro

What it could mean: Clemson is being discussed in the preseason as a possible national championship contender. More will be known after they play Georgia in the season opener. There's plenty of star power on offense with QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins, but need to find a dependable running back. The defense must improve; the Tigers allowed a lot of big plays a year ago. Even though Clemson beat Tech 47-31 last year, the Yellow Jackets were in the game late in the fourth quarter and always seems to find a way to play a competitive game.Alabama A&MWhere: Atlanta

Date: Nov. 23

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: First meeting

Players to watch: WR Montaurius Smith, WR Reshaad DeJarnet, DL Reginald Bailey, DB A.J. Clark.

What it could mean: This game is expected to be a glorified scrimmage for the week prior to the Georgia showdown...GeorgiaWhere: Atlanta

Date: Nov. 30

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WRCG-AM 1420

Series record: Georgia leads 63-39-5

Players to watch: QB Aaron Murray, RB Todd Gurley, RB Keith Marshall, TE Arthur Lynch, WR Malcolm Mitchell, DE Garrison Smith, LB Jordan Jenkins, DB Damian Swann.

What it could mean: Tech has not put up a competitive fight against the Bulldogs in each of the last two seasons, being outscored by a total of 73-27. The Yellow Jackets haven't beaten their biggest rival since 2008, Johnson's first year at Tech, and have lost 12 of the last 13 games. A Georgia Tech win would be a signature win for the program.

-- Stan Awtrey

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