Georgia Tech and the ACC announced their 2009 regular season schedules Thursday morning, with the Yellow Jackets landing two nationally-broadcast games on ESPN.
Headlining Georgia Tech’s 12 regular season games will be two Thursday night conference contests that will be aired by the major sports network; a Sept. 10 home game against Clemson, and a Sept. 17 road game against Miami.
Last season, the Yellow Jackets routed Miami 41-23 on a Thursday night ESPN broadcast, showcasing the speed and prolific nature of their triple option offense. Against the Hurricanes that night, Georgia Tech amassed 472 rushing yards.
Next season’s Thursday night games will mark Georgia Tech’s 17th consecutive season having a game that day of the week. The Yellow Jackets’ 21 all-time ESPN Thursday night appearances are the most of any team in the country. The last time Georgia Tech played two nationally-televised Thursday night games in one season came in 2000.
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Georgia Tech will also take on four non-conference opponents in 2009, including three from last season’s schedule.
Continuing their contractual agreements with Jacksonville State and Mississippi State, the Yellow Jackets will face both teams for the second consecutive season. Just like last year, the Yellow Jackets will begin their 2009 campaign against Jacksonville State’s Gamecocks, in a game at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Sept. 5 game against the Gamecocks marks the only time Georgia Tech takes on a non-BCS opponent.
While the Yellow Jackets welcome Jacksonville State to Atlanta, they will have to travel Oct. 3 when they take Mississippi State. In 2008, the Yellow Jackets beat both the Gamecocks and the Bulldogs in home contests. The 2009 Mississippi State game, however, will be held on the road.
In addition to facing 11 BCS opponents in 2009, Georgia Tech has another reason to believe it will have one of the most challenging schedules in college football. With their first three games coming in a span of 12 days, the Yellow Jackets will not have a week off until their Nov. 21 open date.
“With 11 BCS opponents, including eight which played in bowl games last year, our schedule will be extremely challenging,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “At the same time, it’s a schedule our players and fans should be really excited about. The home schedule includes a number of big-time games and many of our road games are within driving distance for our fans.”
Among Georgia Tech’s home games will also be the Sept. 26 contest against North Carolina, the Oct. 17 contest against 2008 ACC Champion Virginia Tech, a Nov. 7 contest against Wake Forest, and the annual regular-season finale with rival Georgia on Nov. 28.
The furthest of the Yellow Jackets’ road contests, the mid-September game against Miami is more than a 10-hour drive from Atlanta. The other trips could be made in significantly less time.
Georgia Tech’s road schedule also includes the Oct. 3 contest at Mississippi State, the Oct. 10 contest at Florida State, the Oct. 24 contest at Virginia, and an Oct. 31 contest at Vanderbilt.
Georgia Tech finished the 2008 season 9-4, 5-3, and played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU.