Georgia Tech will go 8-4, and here, game by game, is how

One losing season was quite enough for these folks. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

One losing season was quite enough for these folks. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Paul Johnson has had two losing seasons as a head coach. The first was in his maiden voyage, so to speak, at Navy. The second came last year at Georgia Tech. A year after they went 2-10, his Midshipmen went 8-5. Don’t expect Tech, which went 6-7 in 2010, to improve by six victories — that would put the Jackets back in the Orange Bowl — but do expect a bounce.

Thursday, Western Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

The Catamounts were 2-9 in 2010. That would seem to make them the ideal opening opponent. Expect the Jackets to rush for their usual 500 yards and fumble the expected half-dozen times in this Thursday night tilt. Expect Tevin Washington to look good at quarterback. Expect freshman Vad Lee to look good enough to make people wonder how long it’ll take him to become the starter.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Sept. 10, at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m.

The trip to Murfreesboro could be scary, and not because of the traffic on I-24. The Blue Raiders just graced the GoDaddy.com Bowl, which isn’t to be confused with the granddaddy of all bowls (which would be the Rose). Then again, MTSU finished only 6-7, beating nobody of consequence. A school from a BCS automatic-qualifier league has to be wary when it travels to play an opponent of lesser pedigree, but there’s still a difference in talent.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Sept. 17, Kansas, 12:30 p.m.

The worst loss of a not-very-good season came in Lawrence last September. The Jayhawks won only twice more. (Though they did beat Colorado, which beat Georgia.) Kansas has a skilled coach in Turner Gill, but his is a tough task. His team could well finish last in the Big 12, but that’s a bit misleading: The league is down to 10 schools.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Sept. 24, North Carolina

The Tar Heels couldn’t beat Tech last season in Chapel Hill, and that was with Butch Davis still in place. He’s out now, having been fired ahead of an NCAA committee-on-infractions hearing. Defensive coordinator Everett Withers is the interim coach, and he’s a rising star. That said, Carolina is in its second season of major flux, and there’s not yet an end in sight.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Oct. 1, at N.C. State

Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns at Bobby Dodd Stadium last season. The bad news for Tech: Wilson is still playing college football. The good news: He’s doing it at Wisconsin, having transferred after being released from his State scholarship. The Wolfpack still should be pretty good — they went 9-4 in 2010 — and there’s a good chance they will enter this game undefeated.

Prediction: Jackets lose.

Oct. 8, Maryland

The Terrapins finally got around to firing Ralph Friedgen, but not before dithering so long that coach-in-waiting James Franklin left for Vanderbilt. The new head Turtle is Randy Edsall (left), who was once Tech’s defensive coordinator and who took Connecticut to the 2010 Big East title. Given time, Edsall should do well in College Park. But coaching transitions are never seamless, and this one was messier than most.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Oct. 15, at Virginia

Mike London eventually will break through in Charlottesville, but to do it in Year 2 seems optimistic. The Cavaliers won only one ACC game last season, beating Miami — but losing to Duke. Virginia’s early schedule isn’t overly daunting, so there’s a chance it could have worked up some momentum by the time Tech arrives. But the Jackets will arrive having won five of six, so they’ll be riding pretty high themselves.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Oct. 22, at Miami

Here we pause to take stock — it’s not yet Halloween, and the Jackets have reached last season’s victory total. Can world domination be far behind? Alas, the schedule stiffens here. Miami fired Randy Shannon, whose teams never seemed well-coached, and hired Al Golden, who worked wonders at Temple. Because of ongoing NCAA investigations, these Hurricanes will have vacillating results. For the “U,” this will be a good day.

Prediction: Jackets lose.

Oct. 29, Clemson

The Tigers are thought to have recruited well. Still unclear is whether Dabo Swinney (left) is a real head coach or the ACC’s version of Ron Zook. Last season the Tigers were good enough to take Auburn to overtime at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but unfortunate enough to finish 6-7. This is something of a prove-it year for Dabo, and his team might still be a year away from ripening.

Prediction: Jackets win.

Nov. 10, Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.

The Jackets will enter with a chance to climb atop the Coastal Division. As Johnson is forever noting: “The winner of this game has won the ACC every year since I’ve been here.” But this figures to be the first year the talent gap is so pronounced. (Even last season, the Jackets had Joshua Nesbitt — for the first half of the game anyway.) It’s hard to see G-Tech beating No. 13 V-Tech anywhere anytime soon.

Prediction: Jackets lose.

Nov. 19, at Duke

A get-well game. A solidify-your-bowl-destination game. The only conference road game any ACC school actually relishes. Duke at Duke. The only issue here is whether David Cutcliffe, who has been fighting the uphill fight since 2009, will have had enough by the time the Jackets arrive. (He’s 12-24 over three seasons, pretty good by Duke standards.)

Prediction: Jackets win.

Nov. 26, Georgia

If Georgia has had a tepid season, this could be Mark Richt’s last bow. The belief here, however, is that the Bulldogs will have won the SEC East and will be playing twice in Atlanta in the span of eight days. The game at Tech will essentially be the same as we saw last season in Athens: The Jackets gaining lots of yards, the Bulldogs prevailing on weight of numbers. That outcome would put Tech at 8-4, which wouldn’t be half bad.

Prediction: Jackets lose.

By Mark Bradley

137 comments Add your comment

MightyQuinn

August 27th, 2011
6:43 pm

Could it be I’m….

James

August 27th, 2011
6:43 pm

James

August 27th, 2011
6:43 pm

I’m first?

MightyQuinn

August 27th, 2011
6:44 pm

Blogger primero! Man, Mark, you’re spittin’ ‘em out today!

Mike

August 27th, 2011
6:44 pm

Mark, You could be correct, but I think you’re being optimistic. With each passing year, teams get more used to playing against Johnson’s offense. Johnson has not been able to recruit offensively nearly as well as Gailey either. All his offensive success came with Gailey’s NFL talent level recruits. The myth about systems like the triple option is that you can contend at a high level without high level talent. We saw this last year. I think Tech will struggle to score points.

The real question, like with Georgia, is defense. Will Tech’s D under Johnson finally step up to where it was under Gailey with Tenuta. If not, Tech could be in for another 6 win season. If

MightyQuinn

August 27th, 2011
6:45 pm

Now I can go read the blog!

I got one

August 27th, 2011
6:46 pm

Fair enough. Hope you’re wrong about the UGA game, Mark.

lanier

August 27th, 2011
6:47 pm

hope you are right I dont see it since I think this Off. has been figured out. .also the D is a question mark
hope im wrong

I got one

August 27th, 2011
6:48 pm

I would be happy with an 8-win season. I just hope one of those is against the dawgs.

Ray Rodson

August 27th, 2011
6:49 pm

Of course Bradley -

You’re an idiot. You should be at 680 the fan with the rest of them.

Mike

August 27th, 2011
6:51 pm

The big question in my mind is…what happens if UGA struggles this year and still beats Tech? Gailey got run out because he couldn’t beat the best UGA teams since the Hershel Walker era. How long does Johnson have losing to the worse UGA teams in over a decade?

Ray Rodson

August 27th, 2011
6:52 pm

Mike -

You’re as big of an idiot. Each year people get more used to playing Johnson’s offense? So? They get more used to giving up 500 yards on the ground? This offense has been around forever. If any football coach has only seen it when Paul Johnson comes to town they have bigger problems -

although i’ll agree…UGA’s D-Coordinator would appear to have never seen it.

Delbert D.

August 27th, 2011
6:54 pm

Miami is a big question mark. Maybe the 10 football players under investigation will include all of their 330 pound OL and DL in addition to Jacory Harris. 8-4 sounds pretty good, though.

MightyQuinn

August 27th, 2011
6:57 pm

Is that the new defensive coordinator standing next to CPJ? When did Doogie Howser give up medicine?

collegeballfan

August 27th, 2011
6:59 pm

OK, I will buy this.

The true Robert

August 27th, 2011
7:02 pm

We will win at least one more than Bradley forecasts, and that will be over Ugag. This Tech team is young but very talanted. No one has “figured out” Techs offense. You will be very surprised at how good Tech is on both sides of the ball. This is just the beginning for Tech, we will contend for the championship next year, and we very well may beat VT and go to the championship game this year.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 27th, 2011
7:03 pm

Mark, I am with you on all the picks except the UGA game. No way Tech loses that one this year. Grantham has no idea how to defend the TO, and Tech’s D will be at least good enough to slow the dawgs down. Time of possession will win the game for the Jackets. Also, no way UGA wins the SEC east.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 27th, 2011
7:07 pm

By the way, Mark, thanks for closing the comments on your other blog. It had gotten way out of hand. In fact it was out of hand by about the 3rd or 4th post on there. There were some real sickos commenting there, and we all know which school they represented and, I might add, embarrassed.

ACC Champs: my T-shirt doesn't lie!

August 27th, 2011
7:13 pm

It appears that the SEC has “figured out” the dog “O”. Has BS also?

BIG BEE

August 27th, 2011
7:14 pm

Hey Bradley, I still don’t think we know who won the game until it is over. If GT loses they will know it. If UGA loses CMR will tell them before church on Sunday morning.

Paul in NH (formerly RDU)

August 27th, 2011
7:23 pm

8-4 sounds about right to me – 5-3 in the ACC (loss to VT and a couple of others) and a loss to UGA

Brent

August 27th, 2011
7:27 pm

Wow! Bradley and Shultzie blogging about GT at the same time. What a red letter day.

Big time........not!

August 27th, 2011
7:33 pm

Four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes.

Mike

August 27th, 2011
7:53 pm

@Ray – lol so Im an idiot and then you agree? I’ll take that I guess. The thing is, Tech will run yards up on Kansas and some of the lesser talented ACC defenses. They just dont have the type of athletes that will be disciplined enough and talented enough to not miss their assignments.

What Im talking about is exactly what you pointed out…teams like UGA, Va Tech, Clemson, Miami, FSU…the types of teams Tech has to beat to be considered better than average. The types of teams that are loaded with talent. They types of teams that Gailey was able to sneak up on and beat. You need better than average talent to run this offense and beat those defenses.

Mike

August 27th, 2011
7:57 pm

About UGA’s defense last year…they were missing a true NG for the new 3-4. Everyone was getting yards up the middle on them. They have a couple of NG’s this year, so that DE they had playing NG last year can go back to his natural position. I wouldn’t expect the same success.

Dawgman

August 27th, 2011
7:58 pm

I can actually see Tech winning 9 games, possibly even 10. Tech is loaded at the Back positions, most of them are young but should be very good. Tech has to work on the D though, offense has not been a problem for them, its the D that has been awful. Just my 2 cents.

Bulldog

August 27th, 2011
8:12 pm

If the Dogs were in the ACC they would go undefeated.

Paul in NH (formerly RDU)

August 27th, 2011
8:12 pm

@Mike
Gailey never beat UGA (0-7) or FSU (0-1), was 3-4 against Clemson, 1-3 against VT.
Johnson is 1-2 vs UGA, 2-0 vs FSU, 3-1 vs Clemson and 1-2 vs VT
Don’t let facts get in the way of your preconceptions about Johnson and Gailey

Worm

August 27th, 2011
8:14 pm

About right..Clemson could be the spoiler.

Joe 12-Pack

August 27th, 2011
8:19 pm

6-6

Western Carolina – yawn -Jackets win.
Middle Tennessee – zzz – Jackets win.
Kansas – snooze button – Jackets win.
North Carolina – “The Tar Heels couldn’t beat Tech last season in Chapel Hill” – that is exactly why Jackets lose.
N.C. State – still has a pretty good QB & coach. Plus, lots of returning juniors and seniors – Jackets lose.
Maryland – If Tech loses this game they need to shut down the football program – Jackets win.
Virginia – this is a game you would think Tech should win. But they are always good for a flopperino – Jackets lose.
Miami – Jackets lose.
Clemson – Jackets lose.
Virginia Tech – Jackets lose.
Duke – Jackets win.
Georgia – no matter what happens to UGA this season, they still hate Tech and always will – Jackets lose.

Not this year

August 27th, 2011
8:20 pm

Sorry guys, but there are two losses among NC, Va and Clemson. But 6-6 gets another bowl game loss.

Not this year

August 27th, 2011
8:23 pm

By the way, Joe 12 pack, add yours up again and its 5-7. Tech will be better than that, but not much.

Uh, Joe 12...

August 27th, 2011
8:24 pm

…wasn’t it Tech that “snoozed” last year when they played Kansas?

And did you guys hear about the THUGA b-ball player that killed that girl over some jewelry? Those THUGA guys just never will learn… uh, what, you mean it was a TECH guy that did that? Uh, never mind…

Ramblin' Reck

August 27th, 2011
8:25 pm

CPJ didn’t just fall off a turnip truck from Thomasville. This team has a chance to win every game on this schedule.

Sayin… Reck

MightyQuinn

August 27th, 2011
8:28 pm

At the risk of being mocked by the entire population of this blog, I am bummed at not getting the Mark Bradley Kudos Award. My life had little meaning before…now it has none. “AAAACCCCK!” (Sound of myself committing Hari-kari)

Realist

August 27th, 2011
8:30 pm

Ray Rodson – great arguments genius; so what if the TO offense has been around forever? obviously it is not a very successful offense to run, based on the fact that hardly ANY (successful) teams run it nowadays…outside of catching opponents off-guard based on lack of exposure to it, it is outdated and will never sustain high success over an extended period of time in Division 1 (yeah I know its FBS now, but I still refer to it as D-1).

The True Robert – no one has “figured out” Tech’s offense? Yeah, except the 7 teams that beat them last year, cuz its just SOOOO complex right? Truth is, no team has to “figure out” Tech’s offense, just wait for it to implode and in the meantime torch Tech’s D and let their slow, methodical offense try to play catch up (which we’ve all seen how successful they are at playing from behind, when they try to implement that pathetic passing game).

Supersize – There’s no way Tech loses to UGA, huh? First, see my above comment to “The True Robert.” Second, despite Grantham being unable to defend your “oh-so-complex” offense, it was enough for UGA to take care of business last year. Hell, even Willie Martinez (who was a terrible D-coordinator) was able to stop that joke of an offense enough for UGA to pull out the win in 2009. And congratulations, Tech was able to clip UGA by 3 points (!) to pull out their only victory against the Dawgs in the past DECADE….Tech fans drivel on every year about how they’re gonna beat the Dawgs, but considering that the “genius” CPJ has done it once in 3 years, and your best team in years couldn’t do it in 2009, I wouldn’t be getting my hopes up just yet if I were you.

Final note: 61-37-5 is just domination, get used to it

Innocent Bystander

August 27th, 2011
8:34 pm

411 rushing yards and 101 passing yards last year with our backup QB, who had all of two plus games of experience.

Innocent Bystander

August 27th, 2011
8:36 pm

411 rushing yards and 101 passing yards last year by our backup QB, who had started all of two games.

Harvey D. Pooka

August 27th, 2011
8:58 pm

Actually, this GT team is in bit of transition year itself; in which 8-4 might be considered good. I don’t think they wil lose to Miami. Clemson, that could be another story – - – Clemson has habit of showing up with a top-flight game on ocassions when not expected, and this could be “one of those days”.

Get the offensive line to jell and reduce false-start penalties, an if the linebackers are as good as I think, 8-4 or better AND victory over UGA is obtainabe.

NRBQ

August 27th, 2011
9:07 pm

I suggest you read the papers, Mark.

Many of Miami’s players are currently in limbo as to eligibility to play football this year.

Realist...

August 27th, 2011
9:08 pm

You … are an idiot ! .. LOL.. why do I have doubts that you went to ANY college.

Coach Grohbo

August 27th, 2011
9:10 pm

Schedule sets up very well for us, especially at home.

I was concerned about the Miami game, but not anymore.

We will win them all.

Watsonone

August 27th, 2011
9:12 pm

We have a lot of dreamers here. GT runs a triple option attack with no passing game. I call that a formula for lots of loses – more than four…

Dirk Diggler

August 27th, 2011
9:19 pm

Your predictions make sense and might be on the optimistic side. Clemson always plays GT tough.
I hope you are correct.

Mike

August 27th, 2011
9:20 pm

I think I should explain my position of what a contender means for Tech. A contending team should look at this schedule and expect no less than 11 wins. No FSU, UGA down ( dont buy the East hype until their defense shows they can play at a championship level again…until then they are beatable by anyone), NC St lost their top QB, Clemson is average, Miami is average…that leaves Va Tech. That is where Tech should be if Johnson has truly elevated this past Gailey. Even under Gailey, an 8 win season on this schedule should be a disappointment. Im not playing favorites here…this is a light schedule compared to past years.

1eyedJack

August 27th, 2011
9:23 pm

Mark, I guess you drew the short straw and had to write the Tech article. Condolences.

Paul in NH (formerly RDU)

August 27th, 2011
9:47 pm

Gailey only won more than 7 games once in 7 years at GT – and don’t get me going about getting blown out at Duke

snoop a loop

August 27th, 2011
9:48 pm

i hope before i die , i get to see Tech vs Uga (both teams undefeated) playing for a spot in the National Championship game . Tech Wins defeats Uga !!! Lets Go Streaking !!! Bring yo green hat

Greg

August 27th, 2011
10:17 pm

Matt ryan is a total overhyped qb. Takes him 42 passes to get 6 more yards than ben roth who only threw 16. The falcons will win 6-7 games this year. ryan is not a nfl qb. 52% passer rating? Yeah nice job. Idiots who can’t see the obvious. Last year was a fluke winning 3-4 games on fluke plays or lucky calls. The bears will beat them by 10

Greg

August 27th, 2011
10:18 pm

Nice 65 passer rating ryan in a game you said was important! What a joke.