In the near future, Georgia Tech is going to be king of the Coastal. It won’t be this season with a few things to iron out in the game plan and a schedule that ranks as one of the more difficult, but it is inevitable. It may seem impossible in the division that should trademark its moniker known as “Coastal Chaos.” However, since the ACC split into the Atlantic and Coastal in 2005 the latter hasn’t truly been all that chaotic. Sure there are numerous games where the overwhelming favorite laid an egg but that isn’t a trait of just the ACC Coastal. Only two teams could claim a division title until 2013, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The Hokies hold six titles and the Yellow Jackets come in with four leaving one title for each remaining team in the division. It’s a clear indication that the Coastal has a history of being dominated by a top team.
Claiming dominance over the Coastal division shouldn’t be that hard of a task. It has often been regarded as one of the weakest divisions of the Power 5 conferences. There is good reasoning for that perception with hardly any team being a major player for top talent in recruiting. Miami has been the best at recruiting but has never gotten much out of several Top 15 classes. UNC and Virginia Tech are pretty consistent around the Top 30 with a steep drop off after that. That was until Geoff Collins’ first full signing class in 2020. It appears that Collins is winning on recruits that in the past wouldn’t give Tech a second thought. The triple-option was unappealing to some recruits, but Coach Collins was brought in to tap into the rich talent pool that is the Greater Atlanta Area. State rival Georgia becoming a more national recruiter has left a lot of top talent in the state for Georgia Tech to claim.
Miami has proven though that recruiting alone won’t win you the division title. Without consistent coaching and the ability to develop their talent, Miami has squandered more than a few teams with NFL talent. North Carolina has risen to the occasion lately with recruiting, but Mack Brown also failed to produce later in his career at Texas with top classes and came out of retirement to coach the Tar Heels. It doesn’t seem that his stint with UNC will be a long one. Duke’s coach David Cutcliffe has been at the helm of his program the longest and has exceeded expectations but should also be nearing his time of retirement at age 65. Without his ability to develop players Duke may fall back to the bottom as it is one of the lesser sought Power 5 jobs. Georgia Tech handed Coach Collins a 7-year contract that should ensure a stable coaching staff for the future. Many of the assistant coaches are former Tech players that should want to stay around. Coaching consistency and player development should be a big key in taking Georgia Tech a step ahead of the rest of the division.
There is one position that the Coastal teams have trouble maintaining and that is the quarterback. We've seen some good ones pop up here and there like Virginia's Bryce Perkins, Duke's Daniel Jones, or Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas. The problem is when they depart there has never been another quarterback waiting with equal potential. Now Tech a look at Georgia Tech's quarterback room with Graham, Yates, Sims, and Gleason. Graham has the experience but the other three will bring plenty of competition as all were highly rated as recruits. The possibility is there that we may see a transfer from this group but the depth will increase the odds of finding our next breakout quarterback. Tech also has a commitment in this recruiting class, Cheydan Peery, who has won two state title at California's highest level. That will help keep stability at a position that this division has struggled to maintain.
Everything in college football is a cyclical process and has a domino effect. The improved recruiting and potential coaching consistency should lead to Georgia Tech to more wins and a spot in the ACC Championship game. If Clemson keeps its dominant run they will be a challenge to bring down but the Yellow Jackets face them annually so perhaps have the potential to make an upset in a conference championship game. That would do a lot for the perception of the program and perhaps allow Georgia Tech to cement its dominance over a division that should be rightly ruled by a Tech.