Before the Labor Day matchup between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech was even officially announced, fans and players from both conferences were excited about the possibility of one of the ACC’s most meaningful series getting the Monday night spotlight.
“We amped,” Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson said in February, “we pumped.”
We can’t wait.
Historically, this matchup has determined the Coastal Division winner every season since the league was split. Once again, it should be the impact game of the season for the division. It’s important to remember, though, that this is only the first conference game of the season for both teams. It’s only the first week of the season. Dare I say there is some margin for error here for both teams, depending on how the rest of the season plays out.
It’s not unheard of in the ACC for a conference champ to play in the title game with three league losses. In fact, if you remember in 2008, Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech finished with three ACC losses each. The Hokies beat Georgia Tech that year, though, and won the head-to-head tiebreaker.
So maybe you could call this series a must-win in Week 1?
One thing is for sure: it’s arguably the most meaningful game to the division standings because both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech should be considered frontrunners to win the Coastal again this year. Georgia Tech should have one of the best offensive lines Jackets’ fans have seen since Paul Johnson was hired. Virginia Tech should have one of the nation’s best defenses. Both will have had all summer to prepare for each other. Whoever comes out on top in this game can exhale -- for a minute -- and enjoy a lead in the standings. Come November, this could be the game that determines the winner -- again.