One more day of schedule stuff before I move on. I’ve gotten in touch with a few of the Hokies who participated at the combine, just to follow up on how they thought they did. I’ll be posting that on the blog over the next few days.
But first, here’s a look at the schedules for Atlantic Division teams. If you missed my Coastal breakdown, you can see it here.
-- Schedule: vs. Vill (Aug. 31), vs. WF (Sept. 6), at USC (Sept. 14), vs. FSU (Sept. 28), vs. Army (Oct. 5), at Clem (Oct. 12), at UNC (Oct. 26), vs. VT (Nov. 2), at NM St. (Nov. 9), vs. NCST (Nov. 16), at Md (Nov. 23), at Syr (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: at Syracuse, Nov. 30. It’s not the biggest game on the schedule, but the former Big East foes have only played each other once since 2005. Now they’ll meet ever year. And this one’s the regular season finale.
– Trap game: vs. Army, Oct. 5. Sandwiched in a tough stretch of games, this is not gimme. In fact, the Black Knights beat the Eagles 34-31 last year in West Point.
– Easy peasy: Nothing really comes easy for BC on this schedule. If it’s anything, it’d be the opening two games at home, starting with Villanova and then Wake Forest the following Friday.
– Brutal stretch: From Sept. 14 to Oct. 12, the Eagles play Southern California, Florida State and Clemson. After a bye, they play at North Carolina and vs. Virginia Tech. The scheduling gods did new coach Steve Addazio no favors.
-- Schedule: vs. UGa (Aug. 31), vs. SCST (Sept. 7), at NCST (Sept. 19), vs. WF (Sept. 28), at Syr (Oct. 5), vs. BC (Oct. 12), vs. FSU (Oct. 19), at Md (Oct. 26), at UVa (Nov. 2), vs. GT (Nov. 14), vs. Citadel (Nov. 23), at SC (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: vs. Georgia, Aug. 31. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the FSU game means more. But a lot of eyes will be on this non-conference opener against the Bulldogs. A win could thrust the Tigers into the national race from the get-go. A loss would devastate those national title aspirations.
– Trap game: It’s tough to find one. Both of its Thursday night games are after bye weeks. All of its big games are preceded by homes games against teams that aren’t very good. I’ll go with BC on Oct. 12 before the FSU game, but even that’s not very threatening.
– Easy peasy: After the N.C. State road Thursday night game, the Tigers have Wake Forest at home, Syracuse on the road (with a new coach) and Boston College at home. That should be three wins right there.
– Brutal stretch: Things are pretty well spread out, but the finish isn’t easy. Georgia Tech has given Clemson trouble before. The Tigers get a break against The Citadel before closing with an always-tough game at South Carolina.
-- Schedule: at Pitt (Sept. 2), vs. Nev (Sept. 14), vs. Beth-Cook (Sept. 21), at BC (Sept. 28), vs. Md (Oct. 5), at Clem (Oct. 19), vs. NCST (Oct. 26), vs. Mia (Nov. 2), at WF (Nov. 9), vs. Syr (Nov. 16), vs. Idaho (Nov. 23), at Fla (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: at Clemson, Oct. 19. The Atlantic Division title probably rests on this game. The ‘Noles had the benefit of getting Clemson at home last year. This time they have to go into Death Valley, where they haven’t won since 2001.
– Trap game: at Wake Forest, Nov. 9. The Demon Deacons were the pebble in their shoe for the longest time. This year, FSU plays them after a stretch that includes Clemson, N.C. State and Miami. Beware a letdown.
– Easy peasy: Pittsburgh and Nevada are decent foes to start, but then FSU gets Bethune-Cookman, Boston College and Maryland before a bye week. The ‘Noles should skate through those games.
– Brutal stretch: As mentioned before, from Oct. 19 to Nov. 2, FSU plays at its toughest Atlantic competition Clemson, then returns home to play annual nemesis N.C. State and state-rival Miami. The season should be defined those games.
-- Schedule: vs. FIU (Aug. 31), vs. ODU (Sept. 7), at UConn (Sept. 14), vs. WVU in Baltimore (Sept. 21), at FSU (Oct. 5), vs. UVa (Oct. 12), at WF (Oct. 19), vs. Clem (Oct. 26), vs. Syr (Nov. 9), at VT (Nov. 16), vs. BC (Nov. 23), at NCST (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: vs. West Virginia, Sept. 21. This is a neutral site game against the Mountaineers in M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, although Maryland is much closer. If the Terps can pull this upset, it could send them into ACC play on a high note.
– Trap game: vs. Old Dominion, Sept. 7. Sure, why not? The Monarchs should be amped for their first game against an ACC team. Plus, the Terps barely beat William & Mary last year (7-6), so a close game wouldn’t be unprecedented.
– Easy peasy: That said, the easiest part of the schedule is still the start. Maryland opens with Florida International, Old Dominion and Connecticut. There isn’t a more winnable stretch of games than that.
– Brutal stretch: It’s a brief stretch, but a tough one. The Terps play West Virginia in the neutral site game, have their bye and then travel to Florida State on Oct. 5. They’ll probably be big underdogs in both of those games.
-- Schedule: vs. La. Tech (Aug. 31), vs. Rich (Sept. 7), vs. Clem (Sept. 19), vs. CMU (Sept. 28), at WF (Oct. 5) vs. Syr (Oct. 12), at FSU (Oct. 26), vs. UNC (Nov. 2), at Duke (Nov. 9), at BC (Nov. 16), vs. ECU (Nov. 23) vs. Md (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: vs. Clemson, Sept. 19. It’s a Thursday night game and it’s at home. As the Wolfpack showed last year against FSU, Carter-Finley Stadium is a tough place to play at night. Coming off a bye, N.C. State will surely be up for this one.
– Trap game: at Duke, Nov. 9. The Wolfpack plays two big games in a row, going to Florida State and hosting North Carolina. Then it travels to play Duke. That’s a step down in emotion. We’ll see if it leads to a drop in play.
– Easy peasy: That’s still part of the easiest stretch of the season. To finish the year, N.C. State plays at Duke, at Boston College, vs. East Carolina and vs. Maryland. Only two of those teams went to bowl games last season.
– Brutal stretch: It’s brief, but back-to-back games against Florida State and North Carolina will be tough. The ‘Noles will be looking for revenge, and the Heels broke through in the series for the first time in a while last year.
-- Schedule: vs. PSU in East Rutherford, N.J. (Aug. 31), at NW (Sept. 7), vs. Wag (Sept. 14), vs. Tulane (Sept. 21), vs. Clem (Oct. 5), at NCST (Oct. 12), at GT (Oct. 19), vs. WF (Nov. 2), at Md (Nov. 9), at FSU (Nov. 16), vs. Pitt (Nov. 23), vs. BC (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: vs. Penn State, Aug. 31. This is a nice way to open the season, playing the Nittany Lions at Met Life Stadium in The Meadowlands. Penn State proved last year it won’t be a pushover, despite massive NCAA sanctions. This is a big game for new coach Scott Shafer.
– Trap game: at Maryland, Nov. 9. With a Florida State showdown looming the following week, it’s possible the Orange could look past their trip to College Park.
– Easy peasy: Things don’t start easy, with games vs. Penn State and at Northwestern, but the Orange gets a break with Wagner and Tulane before closing out September with a bye week.
– Brutal stretch: ACC play starts out tough. Syracuse hosts Clemson before traveling to N.C. State and Georgia Tech in consecutive weeks. An 0-3 start to league play is a possibility.
-- Schedule: vs. Pres (Aug. 29), at BC (Sept. 6), vs. ULM (Sept. 14), at Army (Sept. 21), at Clem (Sept. 28), vs. NCST (Oct. 5), vs. Md (Oct. 19), at Mia (Oct. 26), at Syr (Nov. 2), vs. FSU (Nov. 9), vs. Duke (Nov. 23), at Vandy (Nov. 30)
– Must-see: vs. Florida State, Nov. 9. Wake played Florida State as tough as anyone in the conference for a few years. The ‘Noles soundly beat the Deacons 52-0 last year in Tallahassee, though, and has won three of the last four meetings. Wake will try to reverse the trend.
– Trap game: vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Sept. 14. This doesn’t look like a fearsome matchup, but the Warhawks toppled Arkansas last year and nearly did the same to Auburn and Baylor. Quarterback Kolton Browning is back running the show in his senior season.
– Easy peasy: It’d have to be the beginning of the year. Wake opens with Presbyterian on a Thursday, then plays at a Boston College team breaking in a new coach the following Friday. There’s a good chance that’s a 2-0 start.
– Brutal stretch: The final five games aren’t easy by any means, starting with trips to Miami and Syracuse, then coming home to host Florida State. After a bye, the Deacons close vs. Duke and at a suddenly very tough Vanderbilt. Do well in that stretch and Wake could be going to a bowl again.