It will be evident in the first four weeks whether Georgia Tech is a player in the Coastal Division. Three of the first four games for the Yellow Jackets feature a Coastal Division opponent, including the opener against Virginia Tech on Labor Day in Blacksburg.
“It's going to be really important we get off to a fast start,” coach Paul Johnson said. “We can put ourselves in a really good position or we can dig ourselves a deep hole the first part of the season.”
If Georgia Tech can get past the opener with the Hokies, the schedule sets up nicely the rest of the way as the Yellow Jackets miss Florida State and NC State out of the Atlantic Division. The non-conference schedule features three home games (Presbyterian, Middle Tennessee and BYU) and a trip to face rival Georgia.
Here's a closer look at the schedule.
Must-see matchup: Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech has played Virginia Tech tough in Lane Stadium under Paul Johnson, losing 20-17 in Johnson's first year in 2008 and 28-21 on a Thursday night in 2010. Quarterback Tevin Washington has experienced the crowd, having to fill in for injured starter Josh Nesbitt midway through the game in 2010.
Upset alert: Sept. 22 Miami
Miami has beaten Georgia Tech in each of the last three meetings by an average of 19.3 points per game. Furthermore, the Yellow Jackets have averaged just 11.3 points per game against the Hurricanes in those games. This is the last of the three early Coastal Division matchups, and Georgia Tech needs to be ready.
It's a breeze (easiest stretch): Sept. 8 through Sept 29 -- Presbyterian, Virginia, Miami, Middle Tennessee
All four games are at home, and Georgia Tech figures to be favored in each. Even with a short week, Presbyterian shouldn't be a challenge. Virginia is incorporating a lot of new faces on defense, and Miami is rebuilding. Middle Tennessee was 2-10 in 2011. Anything less than 4-0 would be disappointing.
The last four games feature three road games. Maryland will be improved, and both North Carolina and Duke get the luxury of a bye week to prepare for Georgia Tech's option offense. Since Georgia Tech defeated Georgia in Johnson's first year, the Bulldogs have won the last three meetings.
Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech
Sept. 9 Presbyterian
Sept. 15 Virginia
Sept. 22 Miami
Sept. 29 Middle Tennessee
Oct. 6 at Clemson
Oct. 13 OPEN
Oct. 20 Boston College
Oct. 27 BYU
Nov. 3 at Maryland
Nov. 10 at North Carolina
Nov. 17 Duke
Nov. 24 at Georgia
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from ACC bloggers Shawn Krest and Sean Bielawski, follow @CBSSportsACC.