Well. We’ve almost done it. We’ve almost made it. In exactly one week from now, you’ll be watching the clock at work closer than ever, each second ticking by agonizingly slow as you wait for the first official weekend of the college football season to start. But more importantly, you’ll be counting down the minutes till the moment toe meets leather in Bobby Dodd Stadium at 12:30 the next day.
And, if you’re like me, you’ll probably be optimistically running through Tech’s football schedule multiple times. You won’t be able to see how we can have more than two losses heading into the Clemson game. Winning at NC State? That’ll be easy! A road game at Pittsburgh the week after playing in Chapel Hill? Come on, give me a break, right?
You’ve come to the right place if you want to be filled with warm, fuzzy feelings about the upcoming season. I’m here to give you the best-case scenario for the 2014 season. And I’m taking the words “best-case scenario” to heart. I will give you the best-case scenario for this season, and I’ll tell you why it’s going to happen.
Shoot for the moon, right? But if we’re talking best-case scenario, I can’t bring myself to give us a loss or two in there. Best-case scenario, we win every game. Which, on paper, might not look doable – but that’s why we play the games.
Let’s take this one step at a time. There is no reason the Jackets can’t or shouldn’t start the season 6-0. The first three games, for all intents and purposes, should be relatively easy for any competent ACC/FBS school – Wofford, at Tulane, and Georgia Southern are all out-manned and out-staffed in comparison. If this Tech team is worth its weight in salt (an expression I just invented after getting a whole jar of salt yesterday for 47 cents – seriously, my first experience buying salt and I am not disappointed) it will have no problem with these three teams.
At Virginia Tech, home against Miami, and home against Duke poses a slightly tougher stretch of games, but take a step back for a moment. The Hokies will be breaking in a new quarterback still in week four. If our 2012 squad can take the Logan Thomas-led Hokies to the wire on a Monday night in Lane Stadium, you better believe our 2014 team can too. Then we get a bye before back-to-back home games vs. Miami and Duke. Headed into the whiteout against Miami, the Jackets will be 4-0, receiving votes in the polls, and fresh off a victory over a team it hasn’t beaten in four years. A new buzz will surround the team when they return to Atlanta, and they will clean up against a young Miami squad and a probably-overrated Duke team.
The Jackets are now 6-0. We see a 2011-esque effect where attendance starts growing. People want to see this Justin Thomas kid who’s quickly becoming one of the top young quarterbacks in the nation. The media falls back in love with Tech’s “unique offense” led by an “unlikely ex-Alabama commit DB-turned-QB”. Tech is ranked inside the top 15 after taking the first half of its ACC schedule by storm.
The team sets its sights northward as it faces two tough road tests at UNC and Pittsburgh. Trap games are a thing of the past now, though. The team has a swagger that hasn’t been seen on the Flats in decades. This newfound identity includes a tenacity and chip-on-shoulder mentality that leads the Jackets to two blowouts on the road, in games that past teams would most likely have lost. Tech is a better team than both UNC and Pitt, and they will play like it. The Jackets are 8-0 and ranked inside the top 10.
Virginia and NC State, who both post losing records in the ACC and overall when they meet the Jackets, similarly fall by the wayside, and Tech is 10-0 before you know it.
The interesting thing about this Tech team is, it wins the games it should. So when the #5 Yellow Jackets collide with the #11 Clemson Tigers on a Saturday night in Atlanta hosted by College Gameday, they will win. It will be a hard-fought game, but the brouhaha that ensues on campus following Tech’s triumph will make the festivities surrounding the 2011 Clemson win look like a small birthday party for a five year old child.
And then, Tech rolls into Athens. Each and every player in white and gold that day will know they can win. They will know they are a better team, with smarter players, a better system, and better fan blogs. The dwags have spoiled a lot for the Jackets in the past, but they won’t spoil 12-0.
Beyond telling you that Tech and FSU will be playing each other for a spot in the playoffs in the ACC Championship game, I can’t tell you how the rest of the season will go past the fact that Tech will win the rest of the way. The Jackets will bring home the hardware from the first College Football Playoff ever. The following recruiting class will be ranked in the top 10 as recruits clamor to be a part of the first program to win 15 games in history.
For everyone doubting about the unrealistic nature of this article, or caught up in the pipe dream, don’t worry. I’ll be back tomorrow to smash all of your wildest football fantasies to pieces. But until then, enjoy the good vibes.