Friday, October 10, 2008

Can VT fix its schedule?

The Hokies travel to Boston next weekend, like they do every even-numbered year. However, in a few more weeks they'll also head to Miami to face the 'Canes. The Hokies are the only team in the ACC that have to travel to the conference's farthest two outposts in the same season.

It puts a burden on the Hokies' travel schedule and the fans who want to follow the team. One of the two road trips (BC or Miami) should be switched so the Hokies don't have to do both trips in the same year.

Florida State is the only other ACC team that plays both BC and Miami every season. The Noles travel to South Florida on even numbered years and to New England in odd numbered years.

A schedule switch isn't without precedent. Georgia Tech traveled to Blacksburg in both 2005 and 2006 to change its schedule rotation. In 2005, the Jackets had to go to Virginia Tech, UVa and Miami in the same season.

However, the switch can have its drawbacks. Thanks to moving it schedule around, the Jackets now travel to VT, Clemson and Georgia every even numbered year. The trips to Miami and UVa don't seem so bad now.

But the reason for a switch of Miami or Boston is based more on economics and logistics than balancing the difficulty of the schedule.

So how could the switch be done? It won't be easy (if not impossible, unfortunately). You don't want to mess with Georgia Tech again. The backlash from VT and UVa having to play in the same place twice in a row wouldn't be fun to deal with. The logical choice would be to switch with Duke, even though it would require the Devils to travel to both Commonwealth teams every other year.

Tampering with the schedules in 2005 and 2006 was easier because it was the first two years of the 12-team ACC and the league simply fiddled with the Atlantic teams GT played. In 2005, all three of the Atlantic teams it faced (including every-year rival Clemson) went to Atlanta.

Doing so with Duke now that the schedule rotation has been established could mean messing with every team's schedule for two years. The Hokies may not be able to get BC and Miami on a different home/away rotation until the ACC decides to reevaluate the divisional structure. And as of right now, it doesn't look like that will happen before 2019. The future schedule page on has Tech's ACC slate set through 2018.

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