Before I can even begin this article, let's get one thing straight. I am an optimist when it comes to Georgia Tech football. I believe in my team. I look at our schedule this fall and can't find a game that Tech has a 0% chance of winning, and that includes the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I truly believe that this team is capable of winning against anyone they play this fall.
However, as a writer sometimes I have to put on my "reality" glasses and bring myself back down to Earth before my hopes and dreams can be really shattered. This fall, we have a particularly gnarly set of road games, each of which are gnarly in their own way.
Let's start with Clemson, who we get to travel up I-85 to play for the second straight year (thanks, DRad). Here's a perfect example of a game against a team who I think our guys have every capability of hanging with for the full 60 minutes. Even with the game being on the road in one of the most brutal environments in college football, we led after 3 quarters last fall, and I'd suggest that we're capable of doing more than that this fall. We always play this game tight, but nobody ever likes their chances when going to Death Valley to face an extremely talented Clemson squad.
Next, there's Duke -- the red-headed stepchild of the Division for so many years who have been pulled out of a real sinkhole by Head Coach David Cutcliffe. In years past, this game was a gimme where a loss would have been shamefully embarrassing at best. Nowadays though, not so much. This team is getting better every year, and it's only a matter of time before they pull one off against us. This year they're replacing starting QB Sean Renfree, but with Cutcliffe at the reigns you'd better believe they're going to come out swinging.
Another team that we have traditionally considered more of a softball is Virginia, although everyone knows the story on them. In Atlanta, this game is like someone's thrown up an alley-oop and all we have to do is slam it home. In Charlottesville, it's like our team has been sapped of all its talent a la Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing in 'Space Jam'. This year could be more of the same -- Virginia is a team that Tech is more than capable of beating, but we'll see if the curse of Charlottesville lives on for the Jackets.
Miami is similar to Virginia in the sense that our team struggles to play there. In Paul Johnson's two trips to Coral Gables, the team has suffered frustrating losses that leave folks with their hands in the air, wondering what's going on. Combine that now with Miami's abundance of talent, and it becomes apparent that this game is going to be one of the two or three toughest that Georgia Tech plays all year. To reiterate, it's not un-winnable...but at the same time I don't like our odds.
Outside of the conference, how could we forget the trip our team gets to take to Provo, Utah to take on BYU? I highly doubt you need to be reminded of last year's contest that saw the Fightin' Mormons take it to the Yellow Jackets and win big on Homecoming. This year, Tech gets to make the trek out to the mountains of Utah to play in another one of college football's toughest venues against another very talented team, coached by the well-revered Bronco Mendenhall no less. It'll take a lot for Tech to bring home a W in this one.
As for Over/Under 2.5 Road Wins, my heart and its optimism is going to be overpowered by my brain and its objectivity -- I have to take the Under here. I think Tech wins on the road against Duke, and I really think this year will yield CPJ's second win in three tries at Charlottesville. However, it's going to take a stroke of luck to win in Death Valley, Coral Gables, or Provo, and I'm really not a fan of the odds for any of those games.
Again, that's just my opinion though. I want to hear yours. Will the Jackets win at least 3 of their 5 road games this year?