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. With this question, the staff is looking at the very end of the season to see what we’re building towards.
Days to Kickoff: 17 Days
Who would Georgia Tech play in a bowl game?
I haven't sat down and thought out projections for other conferences but, based on recent trends, it'll probably be an SEC team. I'd love for it to be Florida so let's go with that.
If the stars align and Tech figures out a QB, I predict them playing Michigan in the Orange Bowl.
While it would be fun to see us beat another SEC team, I'm actually going to go with a bit of an odd one hear and say I'd like to see us play Oregon. Unfortunately with the ACC Bowl Tie-ins, that means we'd be playing in the Sun Bowl, though with a little luck we could see that match-up in one of the Cotton, Fiesta, or Chick-fil-A Peach Bowls, as those have no conference tie-ins.
So why Oregon? Well, because Willie Taggart is one of my favorite coaches in college football and honestly, I would ultimately enjoy the game, win or lose.
Washington State in the Sun Bowl. It has to happen someday right?
Wisconsin (10-2 , 7-2) - in the Orange Bowl. Please respect my decision.
Oh man. Okay. Let's see.... Wow, I completely forgot how bad the ACC's bowl tie-ins are. You know how many January bowl slots the conference has this year? One, in the Citrus Bowl. Or zero, if Notre Dame qualifies, or - more realistically - if the Orange Bowl doesn't take a Big Ten team, because the B1G would get that Citrus Bowl slot instead. Yes, that's confusing, and it is also 100% true.
Anyway, Georgia Tech. A "first tier" ACC bowl bid seems about right, just like last year; and since Tech has played in a Sun, Music City, and TaxGator Bowl far too recently, AND because Tech seemingly always has to play an SEC team in bowl season.... the Belk Bowl sounds right. As for the opponent, I'm gonna lick my finger, raise it in the air, and see what it says..... Arkansas? Sure.
Nebraska Cornhuskers, Pinstripe Bowl - Let's make one thing clear right away: Georgia Tech is going to be at least in one of the "Tier One" ACC bowls. Those range from the Sun Bowl, to the TaxSlayer Bowl like last year, or the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Figuring out which one is pretty murky. However, given that the Pinstripe Bowl has stated they like to see new teams every year, we would be a good fit for them. A matchup against another strong school from the Big Ten is compelling TV and a change from our recent string of out-of-conference games against SEC teams, as fun as it is to beat them. So, my best guess is a Pinstripe Bowl appearance pitting our storied program against another traditional power, Nebraska.
Barring a berth in a New Year's Six game, the most fun possibility would be Arkansas in the Gator Bowl or Citrus Bowl (whatever they're called now). On top of being an entertaining matchup featuring two strong ground games, it would be a great tribute to the late Frank Broyles, a coaching legend at both schools. If that doesn't work out, Florida or South Carolina would be ideal to give Tech a shot to keep the SEC East conquest going--but that will only matter if the Jackets get the job done during the regular season.
Let's go with the Music City against the SEC. How about South Carolina there? That would be a fun game to go to, and I could see a team like South Carolina being in the range of the SEC.
This is total conjecture, but I will go with the Music City Bowl against Northwestern. That bowl seems about our level and I could see Northwestern having a strong year and getting the chance to play in Nashville
Auburn in the Citrus Bowl. Georgia Tech drops the ACC Championship Game to the Noles and Clemson goes to the Orange Bowl, which puts Tech in Orlando for New Year's. And the Jackets renew an old Southern rivalry with the Auburn Tigers in a battle of rushing attacks.
I think that Tech will get one of the ACC's better bowl assignments this season, which really isn't saying much (spoiler alert: the ACC's bowl tie-ins are trash). The fickle nature of college football means that I'd brand the following as conjecture rather than any type of prediction, but I'm thinking we may head back to the Sun Bowl in El Paso this season to face the likes of Washington or perhaps Washington State. A matchup with Wazzu would be much-preferred just for the pleasure of seeing Leach vs. Johnson live.
The Final Tally:
I’m not going to do an official tally as pretty much everyone picked a different team; however, I was a little shocked at the two teams that got multiple votes: Arkansas and Washington State (though saying it got multiple votes is a bit of a stretch with Cade’s response since it’s classified as a maybe).