So, Robert and Christopher got you all excited the last three days with advanced stats and better consistency among the team. Well...actually they are right. This team will be better in those regards and should show it on the field. It is the box score and win-column where you are going to be hard-pressed to find a difference this year.
Now don’t get too upset because this isn’t about bashing the team or rooting against them. No, the duty just falls to me to take up the hammer of reality and temper those expectations upon the anvil of pessimism. You’ll thank me later in the year when we get into this meat grinder of a schedule to which we have been shackled.
Hearing Georgia Tech has one of the most difficult schedules in college football is starting to become a recycled take each year. It’s not hard to figure out why either. Clemson and Georgia are two annual locks and Notre Dame now cycles in every few years to give three legitimate playoff contenders every year. Add in the fact that UNC is rising fast under Mack Brown and one-third of your schedule are probable losses.
Whether you go by the previous year's record or preseason conjecture the difficulty still stands. The previous four teams mentioned all begin the season ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Poll. Add in Miami coming in at 14 and Georgia Tech finds itself in rare territory per David Hale.
Since 2006, just 18 P5 teams faced 4+ preseason top-10 teams. Only 2010 Iowa St wasn't in the SEC. Georgia Tech joins that list in 2021.— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) August 18, 2021
Yellow Jackets are also just the 10th team in the playoff era to have five top-15 teams scheduled. The previous 9 went 10-37 in those games.
That leaves us with seven games that Georgia Tech should moderately have a chance of winning. The issue is that we face Boston College again who gave us quite a hiding last year (48-27) and they return a good portion of their team which earned them votes in the preseason polls. Pitt should be their usual middle-of-the-road selves but are always a tough out. QB Kenny Pickett might start being pretty good in what feels like his tenth (fourth) year of college football.
Five teams remain that Georgia Tech will be favored in or at least be toss-ups. Let’s go ahead and dispense with NIU, Kennesaw, and Duke. Those three should be wins and losing any of them means serious trouble in improvement for the year. NIU managed a single win last year and has been spiraling since their last MAC championship. Kennesaw is a good FCS program but the keyword here is FCS. Tech is more talented and can’t afford another loss to an FCS school, especially ones running triple options. The optics just look bad. Duke has come a long way since the bottom dweller days but it seems to be moving back in that direction. Cutcliffe hasn’t been able to work his QB magic since Daniel Jones was drafted and recruiting hasn’t helped bolster the depth anywhere else on the team.
Virginia and Virginia Tech will be the two pick ems that Georgia Tech will need to take advantage of if they want to take the next step. Justin Fuente is on the hot seat for Virginia Tech and needs to show something this year or he may be gone. That could be a dangerous game wedged between road trips to Virginia and Miami. In case you're a newer fan of Tech, road trips to Virginia aren’t exactly a fun experience as a Yellow Jacket. Tech is just 3-12 in Charlottesville since 1990.
An improvement over three wins just needs Tech to win the three favored games and steal one elsewhere on the schedule. That is a probable scenario and an extra win for five on the season is possible as well. Getting to bowl eligibility with six may just be a bit too much for this year though. Expect better play, but don’t expect to finish in the top three of the Coastal quite yet.