Football special: Predicting Georgia Tech, game by game

Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets must open at Virginia Tech. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Paul Johnson's Jackets have a difficult opener at Virginia Tech. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

(This will run in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s football preview section. It’s my game-by-game prediction of Georgia Tech’s season. I have them losing at Virginia Tech, at Clemson and at Georgia. The only win I waffled on was at North Carolina. They should win all of their home games. — Jeff Schultz)

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Sept. 3, at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.

It’s not quite a year ago, when the Jackets had the luxury of playing their first three games against non-conference dumplings Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and Kansas. Paul Johnson’s option offense may have trouble against what is expected to be one of the nation’s top defenses. Johnson is 1-3 against the Hokies, with his teams scoring 17, 28 (win), 21 and 26 points. Prediction: Jackets lose

Sept. 8, Presbyterian, 7 p.m.

Somewhere it is written: No BCS school ever should lose to a team called the Blue Hose. Clearly, somebody at Tech knows this because the Jackets have won the three meetings by a combined score of 147-0 (33-0, 55-0, 59-0). This will be a good week for quarterback Tevin Washington and the offense to figure some things out. Prediction: Jackets win

Sept. 15, Virginia, 3:30 p.m.

Second-year coach Mike London did a nice job turning things around last season (8-5 overall, 5-3 in the ACC) and was named ACC coach of the year. So the Al Groh hangover appears to be over. The Cavaliers’ defense stuffed the Tech offense last season (winning 24-21 in Charlottesville) and will be solid again up front. But points could be an issue. Prediction: Jackets win

Sept. 22, Miami, TBA

Everybody is waiting for the NCAA shoe to drop in Coral Gables. Johnson wouldn’t mind if it happens a week before this game, just for emotional impact. On- and off-field problems notwithstanding, the Hurricanes have figured out the Jackets’ offense. They’ve won three consecutive meetings while allowing decreasing point totals (33-17, 35-10, 24-7). Just a hunch that Johnson tries something different. Prediction: Jackets win

Sept. 29, Middle Tennessee State, 7 p.m.

It’s hard enough to get people not to laugh when you tell them, “We’re one of the best teams in the Sun Belt,” which Middle Tennessee State used to be. But last season the Blue Raiders morphed into a punchline (2-10). Tech won their meeting 49-21, scoring on a 73-yard touchdown pass 14 seconds into the game. Expect another rout. Prediction: Jackets win

Oct. 6, at Clemson, TBA

Thank goodness for the comic relief that only Clemson and Dabo Swinney can provide. The Tigers started 8-0 and climbed to No. 5 in the rankings, but then lost to the Jackets 31-17 and dropped four of its last six. Clemson is loaded with talent on offense, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receiver Sammy Watkins. But the defense is young and will give up points. Prediction: Jackets lose

Oct. 20, Boston College, TBA

The Eagles started last season losing six of seven (including to Duke) and finished only 4-8. The good news is they have 19 starters back – and the bad news is they have 19 starters back. Boston College is on its third offensive coordinator in three years. So much for stability. On defense, B.C. also should be pretty strong up front, so that could give Tech problems. Prediction: Jackets win

Oct. 27, Brigham Young, TBA

After getting shutout in conference expansion, BYU went 10-3 as an independent. Don’t get too excited. The Cougars lost to the only ranked team they played (Texas) and were crushed by rival Utah 54-10. So they’re not the fling-it-and-win bunch they used to be. But BYU can make this unique claim: The defensive line includes two seniors who are former missionaries (Ian Dulan and Russell Tialavea). Prediction: Jackets win

Nov. 3, at Maryland, TBA

After going 2-10 in his first season, Randy Edsall did what any scapegoating head coach would do: He fired both of his coordinators. Edsall also led the top 10 list of “Most Overpaid Coaches” in college football by the website Lost Letterman (his $2 million salary equated to $1 million per win). It won’t get better this year. The Terrapins have a great defensive tackle (Joe Vellano) and not much else. Prediction: Jackets win

Nov. 10, at North Carolina, TBA

Larry Fedora was a solid choice as head coach – head coach at Southern Miss; offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and Florida – but there’s a hangover on campus from NCAA probation. UNC always has talent, but the Tar Heels’ transition to a quicker, no-huddle offense will take some time. Note: This will be Tech’s second consecutive road game and won’t be easy. Prediction: Jackets win

Nov. 17, Duke, TBA

David Cutcliffe can coach quarterbacks, and he has a good one in Sean Renfree. What he doesn’t have is a defense. The Blue Devils ranked 92nd in total defense last season and 90th in points allowed (31.2 per game). But worth noting: The fact Duke that has a bye the week before and Tech plays Georgia the following week means this has the makings of a trap game. Prediction: Jackets win

Nov. 24, at Georgia, TBA

Tech’s upset in Athens in Johnson’s first season remains one of the highlights of his tenure. But the Jackets have lost three consecutive in this rivalry since, and Todd Grantham’s defense defended the option far better last season (355 yards allowed, 243 rushing) than the year before (512, 411). Prediction: Jackets lose

103 comments Add your comment

i hate uga how bout you?

August 25th, 2012
10:35 pm

we are no 1.

Ramblnwrek

August 25th, 2012
10:48 pm

Agree with the number but disagree with the particulars. We will win a game we should lose but also lose a game we should win. Happens every year. I say we beat either VT or Clemson, but probably lose to UNC or MD. UGA is a toss up for me. Never bet on a rivalry game.

Go Jackets

William Casey

August 25th, 2012
10:49 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened this way.

Bama Boy

August 25th, 2012
10:52 pm

I hate UGA too RTR

hashbrown dwag

August 25th, 2012
10:53 pm

jeff that sounds reasonable. i win at vt and things could turn out better.

vt always plays crappy in its first game. foster for vt still hasnt figured out how to stop gt.

last years game was lost due to a huge shift in momentum late in the game.

in the 4th quarter of last year’s game we had their qb trapped behind the line and would have gotten the ball back leading 26- 23. instead we didnt wrap him up and the punch that changed the whole game occurred. sigh.

instead of punting to a gt offense that had momentum vt got that 15 yard penalty. you could just see the air come right out of our d. gt lost its poise. vt kept the ball and scored. going in front 30-26.

this complete change of events invigorated their d and demoralized are o. we went 3 and out and vt scored again to end the game. winning 37-26.

that punch changed the whole season for gt imo but it is what it is. we are not a strong enough program to survive things like that.

having this happen in the 4th quarter totally deflated a gt team both on o and on d.

“game over man. game over.”

this year the vt d is very young. they lost all their best skill players on o and have a young o line. their d line is still very stout.

i think it will come down to how well our o line performs in this game as to weather we win or lose. the o line of this team is a strength this year.

should be a close exciting game.

go jackets. we are due to win one in blacksburg as payback.

I love UGA and Tech stinks

August 25th, 2012
10:55 pm

Article has been up 35 minutes and 1 measly comment from Tech fans – typical. They lose the 3 Schultz predicts and maybe 2 more to UNC and Miami. If they go 7-5 and lose to Georgia big, Johnson will smell more and more like Gailey.

Paul in NH

August 25th, 2012
11:16 pm

9-3 is reasonable. I expect somewhere between 8-4 (same 3 L’s plus UNC) and 10-2 (loss to UGA and VT)

SansWorld

August 25th, 2012
11:18 pm

I love UGA,

Dude it’s Saturday night, even the no-other-lives that haunt this blog probably have something else to do.

Coach Bob

August 25th, 2012
11:20 pm

That is a pretty weak schedule. Tech should win 8 games.

SansWorld

August 25th, 2012
11:24 pm

I really think the over and under for wins is 8.

An impartial observer would say we would be expected to win 3 -4 of the first 6 games, and 4 – 5 of the last 6.

I suspect we will likely take a win from either VT, Clemson or UGA, and drop a loss to someone we should have beated, and still end up with 9 wins.

JGarr

August 25th, 2012
11:41 pm

“I suspect we will likely take a win from either VT, Clemson or UGA, and drop a loss to someone we should have beated, and still end up with 9 wins”.
Another weak schedule which is no surprise. No wonder they go to toilet bowls every year. No wonder Paul Johnson has a remarkable record at Tech. I say BYU beats Tech. Add VT, Clemson, Miami and UGA. PJ will enjoy coaching in another crappy bowl and making excuses as to why his offense didn’t work….again.
Look at the quote from above. And you guys say UGA fans are dumb? I’ll give you Techy’s one shot at telling me what’s wrong with that quote.
Unbelievable!

@ramblinwreck

August 26th, 2012
12:16 am

Tech has 15 wins in 5.5 decades vs Georgia .I think taking Georgia is a pretty safe bet.The rivalry aspect is pretty one sided.
Virginia and NC losses a s well BYU a toss up.

High Hokie

August 26th, 2012
12:19 am

@ hasbrown , Do you follow college football? Vt defense returns 10 starters and is far from being young.The offensive line is 2 Jr 2 seniors and a reshritrt sophomore again far from being young.
Under coached , under talented tech loses , large.

Not Disappointed!

August 26th, 2012
12:35 am

Play the games and we will see! Go Jackets!!!! Beat the Hokies!

AMS Jacket

August 26th, 2012
12:41 am

Jeff,

I think you have the numbers right but two picks wrong;

1) Clemson – CPJ has Dabo’s number. I’ll be flying cross country to see this game and am sure no matter what it will be a good one.
2) Either UVA or Miami will be a loss, probably Miami as Tech will have played 4 games in less than 4 weeks.

Love your stuff and will hope to be top 10% in Sack Schulz!

GTBob

August 26th, 2012
1:10 am

I think the predictions look pretty good but I have a gut feeling that we don’t lose to Clemson, VT and UGA. We will pull at least one of those out. On the flip side we could lose to BYU or Virginia. I still like the 9-3 record but probably with slightly different results.

Whopper Dawg

August 26th, 2012
1:54 am

If you really want to predict something Jeff, now about attendance on the ACC championship game.

Over under is 40,000, I’ll take the under.

P B Orr

August 26th, 2012
4:58 am

Va Tech traditionally has their worst game first. So I say we slip in an steal that one.

Stinger2

August 26th, 2012
5:00 am

Jeff: I hope you are right. Agree with your picks for loses. However, I concerned that there could be at least one more….Miami/NC/BY?
Anyway 9-3 would be great, 8-4 good and 7-5 acceptable to me.
I have always been a GT fan and realize they just don`t get the players
to make them a great team. It is good to see that they do as well as they can.

mtraininjax

August 26th, 2012
5:18 am

Johnson needs to win against UGA, period. This is his make or break season, he is 1-3 against UGA, and all the losses were embarrassing. Tech fans know we cannot always win against UGA, but for the rivalry to remain, we need to win more than once in 5 years. If he loses to UGA, look for Tech fans to jump on him, hard!

DevilDogOz

August 26th, 2012
5:26 am

I’ll take 9-3 before we figure out a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in whatever bowl game we decide to lose this year…

ToeMeetsLeather

August 26th, 2012
6:54 am

Same old Schultz, and same old middle school comments from Nadlicker fans.

Nothing to see here TECH folks, move on to one of Ken’s informative articles.

Wal-Mart Retards

August 26th, 2012
7:38 am

no upsets? That is upsetting. We’ll take at least one from VT, Clemson, or UGA. It happens every year.

collegeballfan

August 26th, 2012
7:49 am

8 wins for GT

8 wins for UGA

9 wins for the Falcons.

Can someone hand me the saw.

lkmantsk

August 26th, 2012
7:54 am

Yeah, you’ll take one alright…….right on the chin….

Wal-Mart Retards

August 26th, 2012
8:01 am

Nothing wrong with that – better than where you take one – right up the…

Salty

August 26th, 2012
8:09 am

Clemson/Dabo comic relief? Pretty classless remark.

gt4ever

August 26th, 2012
8:24 am

I say he needs to win against UGA and win the Bowl game…

Birmingham Jacket

August 26th, 2012
9:46 am

Don’t expect wins vs. UVA, UNC, BYU and certainly not Miami.

They all boast rosters with bigger, faster, stronger and better players than ours.

A win against these teams on paper at least, would be considered an upset.

There’s high hopes, and then there’s reality.

The good news is, I suspect we will only have to tolerate a coach who makes almost $2.5 mil/year for signing classes that finish in the bottom of the conference year after year, for at most 2-3 more seasons.

5150 UOAD

August 26th, 2012
9:48 am

finishing at the bottom of the conference?
Johnson hasn’t finished at or near the bottom EVER!

Birmingham Jacket

August 26th, 2012
9:54 am

He will be soon.

I was talking recruiting rankings: http://rivals.yahoo.com/footballrecruiting/football/recruiting/teamrank/2012/all/all

Like it or not, they closely approximate success.

5150 UOAD

August 26th, 2012
9:55 am

2008
ATLANTIC CONF OVERALL
Florida State 5-3 9-4
Boston College 5-3 9-5
Maryland 4-4 8-5
Wake Forest 4-4 8-5
Clemson 4-4 7-6
North Carolina State 4-4 6-7
COASTAL CONF OVERALL
Virginia Tech 5-3 10-4
Georgia Tech 5-3 9-4
North Carolina 4-4 8-5
Miami (FL) 4-4 7-6
Virginia 3-5 5-7
Duke 1-7 4-8

2009
ATLANTIC CONF OVERALL
Clemson 6-2 9-5
Boston College 5-3 8-5
Florida State 4-4 7-6
Wake Forest 3-5 5-7
North Carolina State 2-6 5-7
Maryland 1-7 2-10
COASTAL CONF OVERALL
Georgia Tech 7-1 11-3
Virginia Tech 6-2 10-3
Miami (FL) 5-3 9-4
North Carolina 4-4 8-5
Duke 3-5 5-7
Virginia 2-6 3-9

2010
ATLANTIC CONF OVERALL
Florida State 6-2 10-4
Maryland 5-3 9-4
North Carolina State 5-3 9-4
Boston College 4-4 7-6
Clemson 4-4 6-7
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9
COASTAL CONF OVERALL
Virginia Tech 8-0 11-3
Miami (FL) 5-3 7-6
Georgia Tech 4-4 6-7
North Carolina 4-4 8-5
Duke 1-7 3-9
Virginia 1-7 4-8

2011
ATLANTIC CONF OVERALL
Clemson 6-2 10-4
Wake Forest 5-3 6-7
Florida State 5-3 9-4
North Carolina State 4-4 8-5
Boston College 3-5 4-8
Maryland 1-7 2-10
COASTAL CONF OVERALL
Virginia Tech 7-1 11-3
Virginia 5-3 8-5
Georgia Tech 5-3 8-5
Miami (FL) 3-5 6-6
North Carolina 3-5 7-6
Duke 1-7 3-9

Bham Jacket is a Moe Ron or just can’t count.

5150 UOAD

August 26th, 2012
9:57 am

Sure Bham….so he recruits bad but they play better. That is a coaches job. He must recruit better than the EXPERTS think if he is winning.

5150 UOAD

August 26th, 2012
10:00 am

bham and great recruiting closely approximates Cheating & Rules violations as we have seen.

1982 Tech Grad

August 26th, 2012
10:04 am

UGA a toss up? That’s wishful thinking. The only way we stay on the field with Georgia is because it’s a rivalry game. Any win over them is an upset. Same with VT.

Seems like most GT fans here on this blog have it right…GT usually gets upset at least once every season in a game they were favored to win. And losing to Miami really isn’t an upset. What can Johnson try that’s different? Last year Tevin proved that he can’t pass. Miami’s superior athletes will bottle up GT. Our only hope is the NCAA funk.

If GT needs to use the Presbyterian game for senior QB TW to “figure things out” this will be a long season. I hope that game will be Vad Lee’s coming out party. I’m excited about the new season, but I’m not going to be wearing rose-colored glasses.

Spike

August 26th, 2012
11:03 am

Those of you who think Ga. Tech will upset VA. Tech need to put down the crack pipe, take off the rose colored glasses and get in to a long term rehab program.

1eyedJack

August 26th, 2012
11:05 am

VT 35 – GT a few fathoms below that.

George Stein

August 26th, 2012
11:16 am

If those of you that feel so strongly that Tech is gonna get run by VT, you can put your money where your mouth is. Most bookies will give seven points. Go lay ‘em.

GT Rich

August 26th, 2012
11:24 am

Agreed with others. We’ll steal one from VT, Clemson or UGA and find a way to lose to Miami, UNC or BYU. 9-3 with a mid-tier bowl invitation.

GSUStud

August 26th, 2012
11:27 am

After looking at the schedule, I still see Ga Tech with only six wins. Their offense is predictable now after one or two series and most teams shut them down. Also, the Jackets have always been prone to fumbles and that offense is ideal for that. I believe the fans really want to see a new coach and a coach that will bring a normal wide open offense. They just don’t want to admit it until it’s done. Otherwise, Ga Tech will always be a 6-6 or 7-5 team in the weak ACC.

dagnabit

August 26th, 2012
11:44 am

At 8 pm on sept. third I’ll be excited. I wonder how excited I’ll be at mid-night.

SEC Demon

August 26th, 2012
11:49 am

One of the posts…”Never bet on a rivalry game”? Why not? UGA has been predicted to win every year since 1991 but once. They have won almost every year. Some rivalries may unpredictable like the Auburn/Bama series but certainly not the Clean Old Fashioned Hate rivalry. I still think Johnson needs to win against UGA one of the next two games or be relegated to Gailey status.

SansWorld

August 26th, 2012
11:51 am

JGarr : “I’ll give you Techy’s one shot at telling me what’s wrong with that quote.”

Is it the grammer, logic, math or the forecast you don’t like?

Anyone that has followed the program in recent years should expect that we will have an upset win, an upset loss over the course of a year.

ylojkt

August 26th, 2012
12:01 pm

This is the year CPJ opens up the playbook. I expect a 10 – 11 win season, with VT being our first victim. VT always starts slow and we can match up them even when they are playing strong.
Watch for there to be a lot more downfield and flats passes, with the corners and ends having to hold up; when this happens, then you’ll see the middle get busted over and over again with huge runs.
I also don’t see a loss to Clemson, we absolutely own them and nothing changes this year.
The dwags are also due for some more comeuppance, this is the Jackets year to grab some more hedges.
The loss I see is either Virginia or Miami, Va. usually has an outstanding offensive line and has gashed us for big runs when they have needed them and Miami has given us fits the last couple of years. We will be coming off a stretch of tough games at that point and may be a little gassed, which doesn’t help with Miami’s team speed.
All in all should be a very good season.
Go Jackets! THWG!

Brett

August 26th, 2012
12:03 pm

“Their offense is predictable now after one or two series and most teams shut them down.”

They finished 2011 18th in the nation in total offense…

Damon Hynes

August 26th, 2012
12:06 pm

Keep in mind, that while I’m a GT fan, I’m pessimistic by nature. I hope I’m wrong:
Mon. Sep. 3 at 16 Virginia Tech L
ESPN is gonna be pist with a 47-6 Hokie blowout.
Sat. Sep. 8 vs. Presbyterian W
Sat. Sep. 15 vs. Virginia W
at. Sep. 22 vs. Miami (FL) L
Ug-lee.
Sat. Sep. 29 vs. Middle Tennessee W
although I can see GT behind behind until at least halfway through the fourth, they’ll prolly pull it out. Either way, no one’s going to be happy.
Sat. Oct. 6 at 14 Clemson L
Sat. Oct. 20 vs. Boston College L
On paper, BC should lose. Hmph.
Sat. Oct. 27 vs. Brigham Young L
Sat. Nov. 3 at Maryland W
Ugly win.
Sat. Nov. 10 at North Carolina W
Ugly win
Sat. Nov. 17 vs. Duke L
Sat. Nov. 24 at 6 Georgia L
It won’t matter if Richt is still the coach or not or if Johnson is still the coach, this is going to be a top-drawer skull-job. A twenty personal fouls, five ejections type of game. Only the fact that no Jacket fans will make the trip to Athens will prevent an ugly tear-gassing.

5-7.

Paul in NH

August 26th, 2012
12:09 pm

GSUStud

August 26th, 2012
11:27 am
Their offense is predictable now after one or two series and most teams shut them down
———
I see GSU 2×4 doesn’t understand the meaning of the word most.
Two teams shut down GT in 2011 – Miami and UGA. In 2×4’s mind 2 out of 13 = “most”.

Delbert D.

August 26th, 2012
12:17 pm

The NCAA hast yet to act on their investigation, but as it stands now Miami starts 2 seniors on offense, the same on defense and 9 sophomore starters overall on O and D.

Delbert D.

August 26th, 2012
12:19 pm

Plus a true freshman at OT.

Gt fan

August 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

Folks worried about BYU …
The Cougars will have a good team, but looking at their schedule leading to GT, I’m not real worried. BYU is home vs Oregon St on 10/6, AT Notre Dame on 10/20, then back to Provo and back to ATL for 10/27 vs. the Jackets.

Duke, a trap game, b/c GT comes off games @ Maryland and @ UNC, not b/c UGA is the following week (GT will not be looking ahead, especially if the Coastal title is on the line). At first glance DUKE, coming off a bye week, concerned me. But then you look at what the Dukies will be “recovering” from heading into GT …….. UVA, VT, UNC, FSU, Clemson. The Blue Devils have Miami after GT.

I’m with many who see the Jackets winning 1 or 2 that most “experts” think GT won’t win, but losing 1 that they shouldn’t lose to (IMO…BC, Maryland, UVA or UNC).