With the New Football Schedule Released, What's Reasonable to Expect for the 2020 Virginia Tech Hokies?
Just over one week ago, the ACC announced a proposed schedule for the upcoming college football season, which featured each team playing 10 games and one non-conference opponent based in the same state.
For this unique schedule, Notre Dame was included as a full-time member for football for this season only.
One thing that wasn’t known when the ACC unveiled its initial plans was dates and times. On Thursday, part of that equation was answered when the league announced every ACC team’s week-by-week 2020 schedule.
For the Virginia Tech Hokies, it was a schedule that will undoubtedly provide some difficult challenges.
To begin the 2020 college football season, the Hokies open with N.C. State in Blacksburg on Sept. 12. It’s the first time the Hokies have faced the Wolfpack since 2015. Virginia Tech was won the past four meetings and is 4-1 vs. N.C. State since entering the ACC back in 2004.
The next week, Tech faces Virginia in the most significant change in the team’s schedule. The hated rivals always play Thanksgiving weekend, so Virginia Tech is getting a UVa team replacing quarterback Bryce Perkins early in the season. That should play in VT’s favor.
Former Hokie Luther Maddy offered his thoughts.
The Hokies then get a week off before back-to-back trips on Tobacco Road at Duke and North Carolina. This team is looking for revenge against Duke after last season’s debacle in Blacksburg, while the Tar Heels have become the Hokies’ top ACC rival.
The Hokies return to Blacksburg for a game with Boston College before hitting the road again for the final two weeks in October with trips to Wake Forest and Louisville.
As the calendar turns to November, Virginia Tech hosts Liberty for its only non-conference game. Miami makes the trip to Blacksburg the following week.
The Hokies travel to Pitt on Nov. 21 before their final bye week on Nov. 28.
Preseason No. 1 Clemson comes to Blacksburg to end the regular season on Dec. 5.
What were the biggest takeaways from this schedule?
Geographically, this couldn’t be any better for the Hokies — no long road trips to Miami or Massachusetts this year, and three road games in North Carolina.
The stretch in October will tell us everything we need to know about this Virginia Tech team. There are five games that month, with four being on the road. That’s certainly a daunting challenge.
UNC, Duke and Wake Forest will all present unique challenges. The Tar Heels should be good this year. Sure, we’ve heard that before, but North Carolina has never had a quarterback like Sam Howell. Last season’s contest between VT and UNC was one of the more entertaining games in 2019.
The trip to Louisville will be the first time the two schools meet as ACC rivals. Louisville coach Scott Satterfield has the Cardinals trending in the right direction and Louisville is one of Virginia Tech’s biggest adversaries on the recruiting trail recently.
If Tech can come out of that stretch with three or four wins, it could be headed for a strong finish.
The Pitt game is always tough. And the Hokies always seemingly struggle in the Steel City. Tech has lost five of its last six games in Pittsburgh.
The biggest positive for the Hokies on this schedule is getting Clemson to end the regular season after a bye week. Will any of Clemson’s top players opt out of the upcoming season? That’s something to watch moving forward.
The Hokies were expected to be good this fall. Losing the Penn State game was a blow, but getting Clemson in Blacksburg is even better.
We’ll certainly know by mid-to-late October how good this Virginia Tech team is going to be.