With a regular season schedule featuring the likes of Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Clemson, many analysts are claiming that the Yellow Jackets will be an 8-9 win team at best. Who can blame them? Tech is playing well-established teams who recruit higher-star players than the Institute does.
Let's just say that the proverbial strength of schedule everyone likes to point to while talking about the playoffs won't be an issue for the Ramblin' Wreck this season.
However, it seems that during the course of this offseason, these analysts have forgotten a couple wins over top-10 big, bad, scary SEC teams to end the season. Not to mention that Georgia Tech was less than 2 touchdown’s worth of points from being entirely undefeated last season.
Now maybe I’m drinking too much of the gold kool-aid, but to me, this 2015 team looks like a playoff contender. Do they have questions? Sure… but so does everyone else in college football, except for maybe Ohio State.
The biggest thing it seems that everyone is worried about, that’s holding Tech back from more respect this season, is that they lost all the skill-position starters. I’m here to calm everyone’s nerves.
The Yellow Jackets return one of the most dynamic playmakers in the nation at quarterback, along with 4 of 5 offensive linemen. Even if the new guys on offense need some time get used to game speed, they’ll be well protected and blocked for. They will also have a quarterback who is a proven leader, fluent distributing the ball and making the right reads, and getting the backs the ball in space.
Tech also returns A-backs with plenty of game time experience, along with several other redshirts who will be battling for playing time. Of all of the positions, A-back is the least of my worries. Tech returns plenty of experience there in Broderick Snoddy and Dennis Andrews, and as long as the upcoming guys can learn how to throw a cutblock, the offense shouldn’t see any regression from this position.
At wide receptor, I’m not in the least bit worried. Summers and Jeune have playing time and an entire offseason to get on the same page as their quarterback. Just crack a couple linebackers out of their shoes and then catch the ball over the corner you’re 4 inches taller than. You worried? I’m not worried.
To me, the only question mark is B-back. However, the incoming transfer of Patrick Skov and the promise shown by Marcus Allen have relieved much of my doubt at the position. I think growing pains at the position will not be in running the ball, but in pass protection and blocking at game speed.
There’s also this defense that Tech is fielding for 2015… It features a deep D-line with loads of talent who should return one of the most anticipated linemen in the country in Jabari Hunt-Days. There’s also huge playmakers returning in the secondary in D.J. White, Chris Milton and Jamal Golden.
So this brings us to our opponents. Why am I drinking the kool-aid and feeling uppity about 2015? It starts with the teams on the other side of the ball.
Florida State had everyone drafted you can name off of their team the last 2 years, along with their Heisman-winning quarterback. While they’re stocked with talent, it’s largely unproven. Plus, that game is in Atlanta, it’s homecoming, it’s the whiteout, and the last time FSU was in Atlanta, it resulted in a miracle.
Clemson also just had 8 players drafted from their NFL-caliber defense last season. 8! If Deshaun Watson can stay healthy, the Tigers might still be a formidable opponent in Death Valley… That’s if Watson can stay healthy. Oh, and they also lost their brilliant offensive coordinator to SMU.
Tech also has this little game in South Bend fairly early in the season, if you haven’t heard. Of all the big games this season, this might be the one I’m least worried about. I feel like Tech runs the Catholics out of the stadium on a national stage and starts getting media attention after this game.
Of course there are the games against VPI, Duke, UNC, Miami etc… I think Tech comes out swinging against Duke and UNC to avenge those 2 losses from last season. We all know what CPJ is capable of when he feels the need to avenge a loss. As for VPI, it’s a home game, and I don’t see them showing much improvement from last year. Miami lost 7 players to the draft, including star RB Duke Johnson. Somehow they only won 6 games. Brad Kaaya showed promise as a freshman last season, but he also lost his entire supporting cast. Al Golden is so fired after this season.
There’s also that game to end the regular season, that’s against that team to the east who we beat last year, who has a brand new quarterback, who lost the brunt of their defense and receiving corps, and is coming to Atlanta the Saturday after Thanksgiving with a new offensive coordinator… I think Tech is on fire by this point in the season and plays lights out in front of a home crowd against their arch-rivals with the playoffs on the line.
Who knows… they just might be.
So what do you think? Is 2015 Georgia Tech a playoff contender despite the schedule?