On Monday, the ACC announced its new seven-year football scheduling format, which begins in 2024 and runs through 2030. The conference re-did its model after expanding in September to add Cal, SMU and Stanford, which join as members for all sports in 2024.
There are 16 protected rivalries in the new arrangement, two of which involve the Hokies: Virginia Tech-Miami is back, along with Virginia Tech-Virginia.
The others include the North Carolina institutions — they’ll play each other every year with the exception of UNC-Wake Forest — and UNC-UVa. Florida State will play both Clemson and Miami every season. The three northernmost schools — Boston College, Pitt and Syracuse — have a nice triangle, too, and the newcomers — Cal, SMU and Stanford — will play each year.
Georgia Tech and Louisville are the only schools with no protected annual matchups.
Including non-conference games, here’s what Tech’s future schedules look like with recent expansion:
|YR||HOME||AWAY / NEUTRAL|
|2024|| Sept. 7 Marshall|
Sept. 21 Rutgers
| Aug. 31 Vanderbilt
Sept. 14 ODU
|2025|| Sept. 6 Vanderbilt|
Sept. 13 ODU
Sept. 20 Wofford
| Aug. 31 or Sept. 1 South Carolina (CFA Kickoff, Atlanta)
|2026|| Sept. 5 VMI|
Sept. 12 ODU
Sept. 26 JMU
| Sept. 19 Maryland
|2027|| Sept. 4 Liberty|
Sept. 18 Maryland
| Sept. 11 ODU
Nov. 6 Notre Dame
|2028|| Sept. 2 Liberty |
Sept. 9 ODU
Nov. 4 Notre Dame
| Sept. 16 Maryland
|2029|| Sept. 1 Liberty|
Sept. 15 Maryland
| Sept. 8 Arizona
Sept. 22 ODU
|2030|| Aug. 30 Arizona|
Sept. 21 ODU
| Sept. 7 Liberty
Sept. 14 BYU
In some ways, the future looks drastically different for the Hokies. Gone is the 3-5-5 model, which was announced in June 2022, that paired them up with Pitt and Wake Forest every year. Tech will now travel out to the Bay Area in 2024, 2026 and 2028 with a trip to Dallas in 2027, which is a big change from their original travel plans for those years up and down the East Coast.
However, in one way, it’s back to the way it likely should’ve been: Virginia Tech and Miami will play every year. When the model was changed over a year ago, that was the most shocking news. The Hokies-‘Canes rivalry dates to the Big East days, and it’s good to see it return after it was omitted in the previous format.
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Seven consecutive meetings between Tech and Miami from 1999 to 2005 featured at least one top-10 team, and two were top-five matchups. There have only been three ranked matchups since: 2009, 2010 and 2017. One team was ranked at least five other times: 2006, ‘07, ‘11, ‘13 and ‘20.
In the previous system, they were only going to play twice every four seasons. In this cycle, it would’ve been in 2025 and 2026. Now, starting in 2024 with a trip down to Hard Rock Stadium, the Hokies and Hurricanes will play annually.
The other odd part is the exclusion of North Carolina and Duke. Tech was scheduled to face both programs in 2024 and 2026. While the Blue Devils stay on the schedule for next year, the next meeting with the Tar Heels isn’t until 2027, and they don’t visit Blacksburg again until 2029 — an eight-year gap between trips to Lane Stadium.
It’s a similar thing with two other schools. The Hokies’ next home game against Florida State, originally scheduled for 2025, was pushed to 2028. At that point, the ‘Noles will have gone 16 years in between their last trip to the New River Valley (2012). The same goes for Louisville, who was supposed to visit in 2024. That meeting was pushed back to 2025. The Cardinals have still not played at Tech since joining the ACC in 2014.
One of the other big differences is the amount of travel required with this new set-up, though the athletic directors and presidents knew what they were signing up for when they voted for expansion. Now, instead of traveling less than 600 miles to Duke, North Carolina, Pitt and Wake Forest next season, the Hokies will cover over 3,600 miles on trips to Duke, Miami, Stanford and Syracuse.
That’s a repeating pattern for Tech in even years (2024, 2026, 2028). That’s when it has trips to Stanford (twice) and Cal (once), and is also the same year it visits South Florida. Add in trips to Syracuse (2024) and Boston College (2026) and Tech is going to be all over the country.
Including non-conference games, how much will Tech be traveling in comparison to previous years? Since the university started playing football in 1892, the Hokies have only eclipsed 3,000 miles of travel in the regular season four times: 1971, 1973, 2002 and 2008. Those respective seasons and their road trips:
1971 (3,160 miles): Stillwater, Tulsa, Lexington (Ky.), Charlottesville, Houston
1973 (3,420 miles): Lexington (Ky.), Morgantown, Dallas (for SMU),Houston, Tuscaloosa, Memphis
2002 (3,320 miles): College Station, Kalamazoo, Chestnut Hill, Syracuse, Miami
2008 (3,070 miles): Charlotte (ECU), Chapel Hill, Lincoln (Neb.), Chestnut Hill, Tallahassee, Miami
In 2024, Virginia Tech will travel a record 4,220 miles in the regular season to Duke, Miami, Stanford and Syracuse, in addition to non-conference games at Vanderbilt and Old Dominion.
After only breaking 3,000 miles in the regular season once in their previous 20 seasons in the ACC, the Hokies will do so four times in the next seven seasons: 2028, 2029 and 2030, in addition to 2024.
Here’s how travel breaks down for the next seven years as the crow flies, using the longitude and latitude of each university’s campus:
2024: 4,220 miles
- Virginia Tech has never played a regular season game in California. Its lone trip to that state was for the 2002 San Francisco Bowl vs. Air Force. Its game at Stanford in 2024 will also be its first in the Pacific Time Zone.
- The furthest west the Hokies have ever played is Canyon, Texas, home of West Texas State (1959).
- There are two seasons — 2024 and 2026 — where Tech plays one of the California schools (furthest school west), Boston College or Syracuse (furthest east) and Miami (furthest south).
— David Cunningham
Andy Bitter’s Thoughts
Here are a few quick thoughts on the revamped football schedule:
1. Hallelujah! Somebody in the ACC office wised up and made Miami an annual rival again, joining Virginia as a yearly opponent on Virginia Tech’s schedule.
The Hokies and ’Canes had their annual game disrupted by the 3-5-5 switch last year, with Tech getting UVa, Pitt and Wake Forest as permanent rivals in the setup and Miami getting Florida State, Boston College and Louisville.
No offense to the schools involved or the folks at the ACC who came up with those pairings, but that was stupid.
Until this year, Virginia Tech and Miami had played every season since they were Big East foes back in 1992. The record in those games? The Hurricanes held a slight 16-15 advantage thanks to a 20-14 win in the 2022 season.
When these programs are on, they’re among the most marketable in the ACC, and if the league’s TV partners want one thing, it’s games people will watch. This one qualifies. It makes sense to play it every season again. (And no, this has nothing with my desire to have a biennial trip to South Beach … though that is a nice perk.)
2. Virginia Tech will get acquainted with the California schools right away. It travels to Stanford in 2024, hosts Cal in 2025 and travels to Berkley to face the Bears in 2026, with the Cardinal coming to Lane Stadium for the first time in 2027.
That 2027 season is also the first time the Hokies travel to play SMU, with the Mustangs coming to Blacksburg in 2028.
Those are already more frequent pairings than Tech had with the ACC’s last addition, Louisville. This weekend will mark the Hokies’ second trip to Louisville, which joined the league in 2014. The Cardinals have yet to come to Blacksburg and won’t in the new setup until 2025, 11 years after they joined the league.
3. The shuffling formats have led to a weird Blacksburg hiatus for one of the marquee programs in the league.
The Hokies will make another trip to Tallahassee to face Florida State in 2025 — their third straight game against FSU on the road — before the Seminoles come to Lane Stadium in 2028 for their first trip to Blacksburg since 2012. A 16-year gap between games in the same stadium for teams in the same league is absurd, even for a 17-team league.
4. The new setup, at least for the next seven years, creates the following number of matchups with each school in the conference:
- 7 — Virginia, Miami
- 4 — Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Pitt
- 3 — Stanford, Syracuse, Cal, Wake Forest, NC State, North Carolina
- 2 — Duke, Boston College, Florida State, SMU
FSU was just on the schedule this season, so that won’t feel like too few meetings. SMU is brand new, so any number of matchups there is novel.
Playing Duke and Boston College so infrequently will feel weird. Neither was in line to face the Hokies as often as the previous divisional model as non-protected games, but both will go from being annual games in the division setup (with BC as a crossover) to just a pair of matchups in seven years.
The 2025 season will mark the second time since 1993 that the Hokies won’t play the Eagles! Hey, Tech fans were fed up with that game. The ACC apparently listened.
5. As for 2024 specifically, the Hokies’ schedule looks like it gets a touch tougher. Here’s a comparison:
Home: BC, Clemson, Georgia Tech, UVa
Away: Duke, Miami, Stanford, Syracuse
Home: Louisville, Clemson, Georgia Tech, UVa
Away: Duke, Pitt, Wake Forest, North Carolina
That’s an easier home schedule, with Boston College replacing a Louisville team that seems to have hit the ground running under Jeff Brohm.
The road schedule feels pretty even. Swapping whatever they’re calling Heinz Field these days to whatever they’re calling the Carrier Dome feels like a wash. Going to Miami is a bit tougher than heading to North Carolina (at least historically for Tech). Is going to Stanford much tougher than going to Wake Forest? Perhaps it is when you consider the travel involved.
On the whole, it feels like Virginia Tech’s 2024 slate is roughly the same in terms of difficulty, With a manageable nonconference portion — at Vanderbilt, vs. Marshall, at ODU and vs. Rutgers — it feels like an improving Hokies team can take a step forward.
Year-by-Year ACC Football Matchups
For more information on Virginia Tech football’s future schedules, click here.