It is finally back. In less than 24 hours, toe meets leather and our Yellow Jackets get their first shot at redemption. Let’s take a closer look at our fellow cross-Atlantic traveler and upcoming opponent, Boston College.
Back in July, Ben wrote an in depth piece previewing the Eagles roster changes and predictions for the season. I am going to talk more about how the Jackets should stack up against an Atlantic Division team they have not faced since 2012.
The last time Georgia Tech and Boston College faced off, it was not much off a contest. In front of a home crowd, the Jackets took home a 37-17 victory as the Eagles had no answer to the triple option, being outrushed 391-32 yards. Prior to that game, the two teams do not have much of a history, playing just six times total and just three times this century, however Georgia Tech does lead the overall series 6-2.
Last season, the Eagles had the nations #1 defense, allowing just 254 yds/game. However, it might be a bit optimistic to expect that same defense this season after defensive coordinator Don Brown left for the same position at Michigan. To make matters worse, the Eagles lost a number of key defensive pieces to graduation, including their top two tacklers. New DC Jim Reid has a tall task ahead of him this season as he tries to match last seasons defensive effort. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of talent there, but even if the defense exceeds expectations this year, it will be nearly impossible to reach last seasons level.
On the other side of the ball, things did not go quite as smoothly for the Eagles. They finished with the third worst offense in the country, ahead of only UCF and Kent State. The offseason addition of QB Patrick Towles, who transferred from Kentucky, should bring some life to the offense, but it can only help so much if he does not have the players around him step up.
Most people around the country expect the Boston College offense to improve more than the defense regresses, but the question remaining is just how large that gap will be. A large offensive improvement coupled with a minor defensive regression could result in the Jackets getting a strong test in Dublin. On the flip side, if that is reversed, then there is nothing stopping the Jackets from winning big.
Just listening to what head coach Paul Johnson has been saying in practice has to give Jacket fans optimism this season. After spending last preseason insisting the team was not as good as the media was hyping them up to be, CPJ has changed his tune this year, offering out high praise to players like Dedrick Mills and A.J. Gray. It is because of this that Jacket fans have all the reason in the world to hope for a turnaround season, but it is not every year that you start out against an ACC opponent. No matter how good they are this year, Boston College will certainly be a strong early test and one thing is for sure, we are going to learn a lot about our Jackets on Saturday.
Prediction: Boston College offense never gets going and the defense struggles with the triple option attack. The Jackets start the season off with a 31 - 10 win.