For years, Virginia Tech fans have wondered why the Hokies don’t play more SEC teams. Well, scheduling in the world of college football involves a lot of politics and it wasn’t like the Hokies and athletic director Whit Babcock weren’t trying. On Thursday, Tech announced two future home-and-home series with Ole Miss and Alabama. The Rebels will come to Lane Stadium in 2032, while the Hokies return the favor in 2037.
The big news, though, involved the Crimson Tide. The Hokies will host Alabama in 2034 and travel to Tuscaloosa in 2035. Additionally, the Hokies will have a home-and-home with another SEC foe in 2024 and 2025, speculation has it that South Carolina will be that opponent. The Gamecocks make sense geographically and that two teams often compete for the same players. We’ll see on that one.
In more good scheduling news, the Wisconsin series is finally going to happen. Unfortunately, it is also in the future with the Hokies hosting the Badgers in 2031 and traveling north in 2032. Sure, we certainly wish this series was in the next couple of years, but better late than never. Wisconsin has a strong program on an annual basis and also does it without many of the elite recruits the other Big Ten schools like Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State get.
Sure, we don’t know what the status of the program will be that many years down the road. Things change in a hurry. And, the Hokies probably don’t have to worry about Nick Saban 15 years down the road. Perhaps that version of the Crimson Tide will resemble the unit that Virginia Tech defeated in the 1998 Music City Bowl 38-7.
In all seriousness, scheduling matters. Virginia Tech fans were grumbling about this year’s schedule and rightfully so. The home schedule was less than ideal. It also played a part in the perception of this year’s team. Bad teams schedule even worse teams and that’s not exciting for fans and attendance suffers. That’s been the case for some games this season. The UNC atmosphere was electric, though. That’s the Lane Stadium we all know and love.
Another issue with scheduling is the ACC as a whole is down. The Hokies, Miami and FSU are all down. That hurts. It allows for traditionally weaker teams like Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and North Carolina to move up a tier. That part of scheduling is not on the school.
Recruiting also plays a role in scheduling. If high school kids see this program always playing big-time teams on the non-conference slate, that gives the appearance you are big-time, too. And you get more visitors into Lane Stadium in an amazing environment.
So, Hokies, what do you think of the future series’ with the SEC? Is it too far away to care or is there a bit of excitement? Let us know.