With one more home game than last year, and most of the major games coming in Atlanta, the 2011 schedule for Georgia Tech was already looking much nicer than last year's slate. The nonconference portion was revealed by Doug Roberson today, and it continues to look quite favorable.
According to the AJC, Tech will open on September 1, a Thursday night, against Western Carolina. They will then hit the road for week two to play at Middle Tennessee State on September 10, and then host Kansas on September 17. The final nonconference game is of course Georgia which will be on Thanksgiving weekend in Atlanta.
Overall, the beginning is set up perfectly. It gives what will be a young lineup the chance to play three nonconference games before getting into ACC play, gives them the chance to hit the road in a very winnable environment, and sets up where hopefully the team can go into conference play with a 3-0 record.
The Thursday night game against Western Carolina is great. It allows the Jackets to get an extra two days of practice for their second game, and avoids going up head-to-head with Boise State and Georgia in the Dome on Saturday night.
The following weekend, Tech will play at Murfreesboro against Middle Tennessee State. The Jackets beat the Blue Raiders last year 42-14 at Bobby Dodd. Quarterback Dwight Dasher won't be playing, but the team does return two quarterbacks that started three games apiece last year. Jason Kirk thinks that this could be a worrisome trap game for the Jackets, but I look at it as the perfect chance for the young team to get road experience and come out with a win.
Week three features a rematch against the Kansas Jayhawks. Tech lost a surprising 28-25 decision last year in Lawrence, a defeat that killed any lingering momentum from the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl appearance.
The final nonconference game is against Georgia in the normal Thanksgiving weekend matchup. Georgia won last year 42-34 and the Jackets will be looking for revenge at home.
Georgia Tech hasn't finished September with a perfect record since the 1990 National Championship season. Depending on who the first ACC game is against, this might be the year it happens again.
The ACC part of the schedule should be released any day now, and we will update this stream with analysis when it is known.