The media assembled in Pinehurst, N.C., picked Georgia Tech to finish fourth in the ACC Coastal Division, which includes six teams. Me, I’d bump the Jackets up one spot. But maybe that’s just me.
My rationale: There aren’t many (if any) unwinnable games on Tech’s schedule. The Jackets don’t play Florida State, which stands to be the ACC’s best team. The toughest conference game — against Virginia Tech — will be played here on Nov. 10, which is a Thursday night. The second-toughest figures to be against Miami, and the Hurricanes are in transition yet again.
The ACC media picked the Coastal this way: Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Duke. We can all agree that the Jackets, who play Duke in Durham, shouldn’t lose that game anywhere. Carolina remains under a cloud and has lost a ton of talent, some of which was ineligible last season. I like Virginia coach Mike London, but his team won one ACC game — against Miami, a result that shoved Randy Shannon out the door — last season.
I know what you’re saying: Georgia Tech isn’t exactly brimming with talent. You’re right. It’s not. But here’s where I’m guessing Paul Johnson’s system makes a difference. PJ in Year 4 should be able to outcoach a lot of ACC folks. I’m not suggesting Tech will crack the Top 25, but I can’t see another losing season, either.
Me, I’d say the Jackets will run third in the Coastal (ahead of Carolina) and finish 8-4 overall. But again, maybe that’s just me.
By Mark Bradley