As we draw closer to kickoff, pressing questions start to emerge. Over these next few days, the FTRS staff will be showcasing their expert opinions and analysis to answer these questions. Today, we’re looking a bit down the road to see who Tech could potentially play, should they make the ACC Championship Game.
Days to Kickoff: 18 Days
Who would Georgia Tech play in the ACC Championship Game?
Florida State. Seems like the obvious answer but they're stacked. Plus, we're past due for another FSU-GT ACC Championship Game.
I don't see anyone outside of FSU contending for the Atlantic this year. They return just about everyone. Clemson will still be a good team, but this is probably more of a reload year for them... and by that they'll probably still go 10-2.
Though Florida State is probably going to win the ACC Atlantic, I really want to see the Yellow Jackets face off with Louisville. Why? Well, because I absolutely cannot stand Bobby Petrino, and I want to see Paul Johnson death march him and the Cardinals to death. As fun as that would be, I’ll stick with the FSU pick.
Clemson. There's a lot of hype surrounding FSU this year, but Clemson's defense has freak levels of athleticism, and a lot of it has experience now. They'll pick up the slack from any offensive regression this year.
Florida State and alleged superhuman Derwin James (Have you heard he might be the best defensive player in the country?)
This is the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck skit where they argue over whether it's duck season or rabbit season, but it's FSU or Clemson for the Atlantic crown. FSU! Clemson! FSU! Clemson! Clemson! FSU! Clemson! FSU, fire!
*8-ball the Tiger is blasted by a shotgun, leaving him comically ashy-faced*
(Ed. Note: I’m really not sure who Carter picked here, so I’ll say each gets half a vote)
Florida State - It's not like this side of the conference is full of slouches. This is a tough pick. Clemson, despite conventional wisdom saying that they'll fall off after losing transcendent talent Deshaun Watson, still returns 13 starters, and it takes a team to win a championship. And that doesn't even count Louisville and their Lamar Jackson. However, Florida State is the most well-rounded team in the division. They have an experienced coaching staff. They return a proven quarterback, and they have a frightening two-deep rotation on defense. It's an old cliché that defense wins championships, but it's a cliché for a reason. I think Florida State's rising star quarterback paired with their defense gets them to the ACC Championship.
I'm too superstitious to answer this question properly, but I expect FSU to win the Atlantic. It won't be smooth sailing early on given how much firepower they lost on offense, but talented prospects are stepping in at RB and WR and they're utterly loaded on defense.
I think the most logical choice here is Florida State. Clemson will again be very good, but I do not know what to expect out of the QB position there. NC State could be a dark horse, but I don't see the necessary fire power to overtake FSU in the Atlantic. There is too much talent across the board for the Noles.
Tech would play FSU in the ACC Title Game. To get to the ACC Championship, Tech would probably need to beat Clemson which would hurt one of FSU's only major challengers in the Atlantic Division.
Florida State. The Seminoles come into 2017 as a top five team in the nation and predicted by many to win the conference. I actually predicted a Tech - FSU ACC Championship Game in my ACC preview, and I think the Seminoles will enter the conference title game undefeated in conference play.
I'd be shocked if it wasn't Florida State. The Seminoles just have too much talent to overcome, with the likes of Derwin James anchoring the defense and Deondre Francois leading what should be an even more efficient offense. Clemson lost a ton of talent to the NFL. They have a phenomenal recruiting class coming in, but Dabo Swinney just hasn't ever gotten the same mileage out of first and second-year players that Jimbo Fisher has; it's not a knock on Swinney so much as it's a testament to Fisher's uncanny ability to make the most of true and redshirt freshmen. As for dark horse candidates Louisville and NC State? I'll believe it when I see it.
The Final Tally:
- Florida State: 10.5
- Clemson: 1.5
Who would Georgia Tech play in the ACC Championship?