One of my favorite parts of the NCAA Football video games was custom scheduling.
Before every season, you as the head coach got to build your schedule for the coming year. It was fun replacing no-name programs like Middle Tennessee State or Old Dominion with the likes of Alabama or Ohio State. It enhanced the game’s replay factor and allowed you to adjust your schedule depending on who the best teams were.
Real football doesn’t work that way. Athletic directors schedule games far in advance, sometimes a decade before the game is to be played. It’s an odd practice. But sometimes, you get the chance to schedule a game in the short-term, which is what Whit Babcock did last Friday when he added South Carolina to the 2025 slate.
The Hokies and Gamecocks will play in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta that season, a game that will surely be a primetime matchup and draw a ton of interest. It’ll draw even more eyes if Shane Beamer is still coaching in Columbia.
The matchup is a no-doubt homerun. The schools are similar in a lot of ways — each is a moderately-sized state school that is in the middle tier of their respective conferences. Virginia Tech has more of a storied history as a program, but South Carolina has the bigger athletic budget at the moment.
South Carolina’s addition got me thinking — what other Power 5 schools would be fun additions to Virginia Tech’s non-conference slate in the coming seasons?
First, let’s list the schools the Hokies have already scheduled — West Virginia in 2021 and 2022, Rutgers in 2023 and 2024, Purdue in 2023, Vanderbilt in 2024 and 2025 and Maryland in 2026 through 2029. Wisconsin is also scheduled in 2031 and 2032, but let us not forget this series has already been postponed approximately 87 times.
Virginia Tech was supposed to play Penn State in 2020 and 2025, but the Big Ten’s cancellation of non-conference games this past season wrecked the series.
The Hokies should try and get this scheduled again soon. There’s a mini-rivalry between the two fanbases already, thanks to some high-profile recruiting battles in recent cycles. It would be a good game to have on the schedule for both programs.
Virginia Tech played the Aggies twice in the 2000s and twice in the 1970s. The two programs both sport strong military academies and have track records of success in football.
Jimbo Fisher has A&M humming right now, so the matchup wouldn’t be all that competitive at the moment. But in terms of home-and-homes, this series would be a Grade A travel destination for Hokies fans.
Call this the Bill Roth Bowl. Despite Chip Kelly‘s best efforts, UCLA has fallen off quite a bit as a football program. Unfortunately, so has Virginia Tech.
I’m not sure what this matchup offers the Bruins, but a trip to the Rose Bowl would be a fun one for Hokies fans.
The Broncos aren’t a Power 5 program, but I make the rules around here, not you.
Virginia Tech’s 2010 loss to Boise State was a bitter one. Hokies fans are deathly scared of another loss to Boise but they shouldn’t be.
Run it back with the Broncos inside FedEx. It’s time for revenge. Just wear normal uniforms this time…
Scars run deep. The 2011 Sugar Bowl loss is forever etched into the minds of Hokies. These two teams were supposed to play until Michigan in 2020 and 2021, but the Wolverines canceled the series after they overloaded their non-conference schedule in 2020.
A home-and-home series would be excellent. Tech fans get to go to The Big House, while Jim Harbaugh gets a chance to show he can actually beat decent teams.
(Correction: The original article read that Virginia Tech and Penn State were slated to play each other in 2020 and 2021. The series was actually slated to play in 2020 and 2025.)