I want to take a look at these two teams, who seem to be going in different directions and have quite a history in recent years, and talk a little bit about what this weekend's game means for each. I'll start with Miami.
For Miami, this weekend is all about getting their season back on track. Yes, they're 1-0 in the ACC after an opening-weekend win over Boston College, but they followed that up by being absolutely thrashed in Manhattan against K-State, a loss which didn't really feel much better after defeating Bethune-Cookman 38-10. A win in this game would be huge for their confidence going forward in the season and would actually put them in the thick of the race for the ACC Coastal Division. This team is young with an awful lot of raw talent that Al Golden is yet to really figure out how to make the most of, and it would go a long way for their confidence to pull off the huge upset in Atlanta.
But they won't pull off the upset, because this game is much more important on the other sideline.
It's more important for Georgia Tech for two reasons.
1. If we're going to lose another conference game, this can't be it. We left Blacksburg after nearly pulling a huge upset, and then watched them absolutely shit the bed against Pitt last weekend. That team rose to an occasion that they may not be able to rise to again if called on later this season. Yes, they need to lose two conference games for us to have a shot at the Coastal Division title, but with Clemson and Florida State still on their schedule, this thing's far from over. After this game, our toughest conference opponent left is Clemson -- and even that game isn't looking as daunting as it was a month ago given the struggles that their defense has had. This team knows that it's still got a division title well within reach, and that Miami is not the team that should take that away from us.
2. History. Remember last week, when we absolutely took it to a team that beat us last year even when they likely shouldn't have? Well, consider this. My senior year of high school, my dad brought me down to the Flats on a cold Thursday night, where we absolutely ran circles around the Miami defense. It was incredible to watch as the undisciplined Miami defense didn't ever know where the ball was going, and we hit big play after big play. Why is this relevant? This was the last time we beat Miami. There are two teams that we've played and lost to every year of my time at Georgia Tech, and this is one of them (I'm sure you can guess the other). In 2009, we went to Coral Gables to play our third game in 12 days, and second Thursday nighter in a row after a nailbiting win against Clemson. We were obviously tired and generally looked like we were playing in slow motion. In 2010, we weren't very good and got lit up by a score of 35-10. Last year, we were coming off of a big let down in Charlottesville, and couldn't get it together in Coral Gables, looking sloppy in general and losing a second straight game. Long story short, we whipped Virginia last week after they won last year...it's time to whip Miami after losing 3 straight to them.
Who would a win mean more for, readers? A young, shaky Miami team looking for some confidence, or a Yellow Jackets team who's gunning for a Division Title and has lost 3 in a row in this series?