Countdown to Kickoff: 13 Days
2017 Season Scenarios - Worst-Case
After an optimistic start to fall camp, the season took a turn for the worst case last week. First, we learned that starting RT Andrew Marshall would miss the start of the season with a leg injury. Then, on Friday afternoon, we learned that star BB Dedrick Mills had been dismissed from the team for a violation of athletic department rules. Now, an unlucky 13 days before the season begins, it feels like the worst-case scenario is well under way. Unfortunately, it can get worse.
It can always get worse.
As with last season, I’m not going to predict injury or other Acts of God. I’m also not going to predict anyone else getting kicked off the team. The goal of this is to imagine an exaggerated scenario of a season where literally everything goes wrong. No QB comes close to filling Justin Thomas’s shoes. The B-Backs show their inexperience. The OL doesn’t gel. The defensive line doesn’t produce a pass rusher. The freshmen kicking game is a struggle. It’s a repeat of 2015, but worse.
So get to a safe space, grab your security blanket, it’ll be okay.
Week 1: Tennessee (0-0) vs Georgia Tech (0-0) in Mercedes-Benz Stadium (9/4, 8:00 pm)
The Yellow Jackets kickoff the season in what can only be described as a hostile environment. In a stadium covered in red and black and filled with a sea of orange, Tech stumbles out of the gate. Matthew Jordan is named the starter but struggles to recreate the magic he had in Blacksburg. Every pitch is an adventure and every pass floats and risks being picked off. The offense has enough success grinding out yards up the middle to keep the game from being a blowout but Rocky Top rings through the streets of Atlanta all night long. UT 31 - GT 20
Week 2: Jacksonville State (1-0) at Georgia Tech (0-1) (12:30 PM ET)
Georgia Tech opens up Bobby Dodd stadium with a visit from one of the most consistently good FCS teams. Last year’s Ohio Valley Conference Champions come to Atlanta riding the high from a win over Chattanooga in the FCS Kickoff and looking to knock off their only FBS opponent. The Yellow Jacket offense struggles to get in a rhythm with the BB and QB position battles in full force. Both positions are revolving doors as everyone gets their chance to play. The Gamecocks keep it close and tie the game late in the fourth quarter, sending it to overtime. Unlike their game against Auburn two years ago, JSU comes out on top. JSU 27 – GT 20
Week 3: Georgia Tech (0-2) at Central Florida (2-0) (7:30 PM ET)
In Week 2, Scott Frost’s Knights upset Memphis, showing that they’ll be able to compete in the AAC. In Week 3, they prove they can hang with a Power 5 team. Frost has UCF’s offense clicking at a high tempo. Tech’s defense starts strong but by the time the band plays “Bud” they’re sucking wind and giving up big plays. Matthew Jordan started again but was unimpressive. In crunch time, it was TaQuon Marshall under center but Shaquem Griffin forces a fumble that seals Tech’s fate. UCF 28 - GT 24 and the Knights storm the field.
Week 4: Pittsburgh (1-2) at Georgia Tech (0-3) (Probably 12:30 PM ET)
Pittsburgh’s schedule to start the year was a real doozy. The started with a closer-than-it-should-have-been win against last year’s FCS runner up, Youngstown State but then hit the skids with losses to Penn State and Oklahoma State. Against the Yellow Jackets they start to regain their footing. RB Qadre Ollison, WR Quadree Henderson, and QB Max Browne have fantastic days against Tech’s defense. Meanwhile, with TaQuon Marshall taking over the offense, Tech looks as good as they have all season. The game is close coming down the stretch when...oh no, IS THAT CHRIS BLEWITT’S MUSIC?
No, he graduated but a new kicker brings the same old result. Pitt 37 - GT 34 at the buzzer.
Week 5: North Carolina (3-1, 1-1) at Georgia Tech (0-4, 0-1) (Probably 12:30 PM ET, again)
After decisively defeating both arch-rival Duke and the NCAA, the Tar Heels turn their eyes on the struggling Yellow Jackets. As always, the game is a back and forth affair with neither defense providing much of an obstacle. Carolina’s young skill position talent look great and help them pull away late. UNC 42 - GT 27
Week 6: BYE WEEK
At the bye, the Jackets sit at 0-5 and hopes for a bowl game are hanging by a thread. Coach Paul Johnson expresses optimism that the team will be able to right the ship but the heat from the fan base is starting to turn up.
Week 7: Georgia Tech (0-5, 0-2) at Miami (4-1, 1-1) (Thursday 10/12, 8:00 pm ET)
The Yellow Jackets head south to play Miami on a Thursday night under the lights. The Canes have a shockingly good crowd as people fill the stands to watch Sean Taylor, Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis get inducted into the Ring of Honor. Wearing special blackout jerseys, the Miami defense suffocates Tech’s offense. Marshall plays a sloppy game, struggling with the mesh and interceptions to the tune of not 1, not 2, but 3 defensive touchdowns. Lucas Johnson comes in late to try and throw the team to victory but too little, too late. Miami 45 - GT 31
Week 8: Wake Forest (2-4, 0-3) at Georgia Tech (0-6, 0-3) (Most likely 12:30 PM ET)
After performing admirably late against Miami, Lucas Johnson is given the start for Homecoming. The Demon Deacons come in still reeling from back-to-back pre-bye losses to Florida State and Clemson and looking for their first ACC win. The game is a thriller and ends up being decided by the kicking game. Brenton King misses two field goals early in the game. With Tech down 3 late and driving, the Jackets face 4th and 1 in Wake’s redzone. Matthew Jordan runs in for the QB keeper but gets stuffed at the line. Wake 24 - GT 21
Week 9: Georgia Tech (0-7, 0-4) at Clemson (6-1, 4-1) (I’m going to go with 12:30 PM ET)
It’s bad. It’s really bad.
Clemson 38 - GT 7
Week 10: Georgia Tech (0-8, 0-5) at Virginia (4-4, 2-2) (7:00...no just kidding, 12:30 PM ET)
The Cavaliers are having a surprisingly nice second season under Bronco Mendenhall (albeit, against an easy schedule). With bowl hopes officially put to rest, the Yellow Jackets turn to the future with Lucas Johnson and Jay Jones splitting snaps at QB. Both struggle a bit in a road environment. Charlottesville proves yet again to be a tough nut to crack. UVA 27 - GT 20
Week 11: Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) at Georgia Tech (0-9, 0-6) (Guess)
The Hokies likely lost their chance at the Coastal title last week, dropping the game against fellow front-runner Miami. To take out their frustrations, they come down to Bobby Dodd and put a hurting on the listless Yellow Jackets. Bud Foster’s defense goes to work on Tech’s offense, shutting down the run game and making it all but impossible to move the ball. VT 31 - GT 14
Week 12: Georgia Tech (0-10, 0-7) at Duke (4-6, 1-5) (Yep, you got it 12:30 PM ET)
It’s been a bit of a rough season for Duke and Daniel Jones. The sophomore QB has been good but not good enough to carry the team...until now. He puts the team on his shoulders, shredding Tech’s secondary. Tech is able to keep up with an effective ground game but, as been the case so often this cursed season, it’s not enough. Duke 37 - GT 32
Week 13: Georgia (11-0, 8-0) at Georgia Tech (0-11, 0-8) (Noon-Thirty ET)
That school out east already has a date with Alabama but they’re not overlooking their first trip to Atlanta. Nick Chubb cements his status as the Heisman frontrunner and Jacob Eason continues on the path to being the #1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tech gets shut out at home.
So, yeah. 2017 definitely won’t be that bad. Right?