As we draw closer to the beginning of the season, previews have all been leading up to the beginning of the season. Now that we’ve pretty much previewed the team in its entirety, it’s time to take a look at what the FTRS staff thinks about the upcoming season. We start this today by looking at the FTRS Staff Predictions.
Days to Kickoff: 11 Days
FTRS Staff Season Predictions
Last time I did this in 2015 I said 15-0 and we saw how that worked out (suck it FSU). This year I predict 0-13 with a loss in the toilet bowl to University of Faith
10-2 (6-2). I'm basically going with the fact that we're going to win our toss up's, and lose to Miami and Clemson. Cue the Mind Rite gifs, comments section. I know there's a lot of things that have to go our way in order to get there, but reading Bill C's 2016 preview, he only gave us a 19% chance to beat uga at the start of the season, and look how we ended up. It's never as good or as bad as it seems, and the team has lost some key pieces, but that's every offseason. (Possible foreshadowing???) All in all, the offense will do what it's supposed to, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Player to watch: Either Stephen Dolphus or Adonicas Sanders. I want some noise at WR that will inject some new life into the passing game. I love Brad and Ricky to death, but having some new blood on the field I think will personally help kickstart the offense and make the defense account a little more heavily on the WR position than simply having the same 2 receivers in on most every play.
Obviously, these predictions must now take into account Tech's loss of Preseason All-ACC B-Back Dedrick Mills. B-Back is arguably on par with quarterback as the most important position in Paul Johnson's offense, as the dive play sets up everything else.
That said, I still think Tech has a good team heading into 2017. But breaking in a new quarterback coupled with the loss of Mills certainly doesn't help the offense.
I still see Tech at about an 8 or 9-win team. And as I predicted last year, Tech will beat Georgia, this time at home for the first time since 1999. If LaVar Ball can will his son to the Lakers, I alone can will Tech to consecutive Clean, Old Fashioned Hate victories.
Season Record: 9-4
Player to watch out for: Jerry Howard
The Jackets return 15 starters. They finished the season strong. And then Dedrick Mills got kicked off the team. However, the players coming back are more than capable players. That said, this isn't really a College Football Playoff team, yet. They'll win more than they lose and return to a bowl game. That's a respectable season. Coach Paul Johnson does a great job getting a lot out of his players, and it'll be interesting to see what happens.
Despite turning over the QB and B-back positions, the Yellow Jackets cruise to a 10-2 regular season with an outright Coastal Division title where they face FSU in the title game, upsetting the 'Noles and knocking the ACC out of the playoff picture. Georgia Tech beats Michigan in the Orange Bowl to notch their 2nd NY6 victory under Paul Johnson, and their 3rd appearance in one since georgia's last NY6 Bowl.
I've really struggled to get a feel for this team heading into the season. I feel like for every sign that makes me want to be optimistic and predict 9+ wins there's something else that makes me feel like a slightly pessimistic outlook is probably more experience. Sure, all the perimeter skill players are back but the backfield will pretty much be brand new. The offensive line is fairly experienced but three of those "experienced" starters are only true sophomores. Plus Andrew Marshall is already hurt at a position with no room for injuries. The entire secondary is back but if there's no pass rush it doesn't really matter how experienced the secondary is. Before Dedrick's dismissal I was leaning towards a more optimistic take because the new QB would be able to lean on him if things got tough. With the BB position now joining the QB position as virtual unknowns, I'm shifting to a more pessimistic view. If Tech can find a QB and keep a BB around, 2018's offense could be a lot of fun but there'll be growing pains this season.
Season Prediction: 7-5 (losses to Tennessee, Miami, Clemson, one of VT and UGA, and one bad loss due to inexperience at QB, BB, and in the kicking game)
Biggest win: either VT or UGA. I'm only officially predicting one of the two, but as the QB and BB get settled and gain experience there's a chance this team improves a lot as the year goes on and can win both November home tests.
Player to watch: The QB. I'm really, really interested to see who starts, how many play, and how long the leash is. If I had to take a stab at the starter for Tennessee I'd still go with Matthew Jordan, unless he misses more time between now and then with injury. However, I'd be most excited to see Lucas Johnson under center. Outside of that, I can't wait to see Nathan Cottrell step into the AB rotation and really get to use his speed. On defense, I'm looking forward to watching Victor Alexander in a starting role. I remember the hype around him when he committed and liked the flashes we got to see the last couple of seasons in limited playing time.
I am predicting an 8-4 finish for the team this season with a 5-3 ACC record. This was 9-3 (5-3) before the Mills news. The only two losses I feel strongly about are Miami and Clemson due to them being away. I think we trip up for one more loss against an ACC opponent, but I have no clue which one. I see us dropping one of either Tennessee or UCF (trap game), but I do see us getting our first home win over Georgia since 1999.
It was about this point last week I thought to myself, "hey, we've made it through almost the entire offseason without hearing any real bad news!"
On a related note, I wake up some days wondering if the cosmos is constantly laughing at the events of my life.
On paper, a new quarterback surrounded by experienced playmakers doesn't sound so bad. That's what Tech faced in 2014, and that Tech team turned out alright. Plus, Matthew Jordan did play a full game last season, and made a Bud Foster defense look silly in the process. But then there's the whole B-back situation. I can't think of any statement more dire than "Georgia Tech returns one B-back carry from last year, and that was a fumble". It's very possible one of our B-backs has an unexpected breakout season, just like Synjyn Days did. It's equally possible none of them do this year. Hoping for a newbie at B-back to terrorize opponents two years in a row is hoping for lightning to strike the same place twice. After the attrition we've seen at the position over the past few years I've no other option but to believe it's cursed, one probably laid by one of the homeless people on Northside Drive.
The good news is Tech seems to be okay everywhere else on offense. I'm extremely comfortable with the A-back situation, and the offensive line seems like it'll be just fine thanks to a pair of true sophomores in Parker Braun and Kenny Cooper. Former two-star recruit Brad Stewart (AKA Beef Stew) and Ricky Jeune should have things locked down at wide receiver, or at least as down as a Georgia Tech offense needs them to be.
As for the defense..... look, I'm not asking for much here, guys. Be more like the defense that registered nine sacks in the final five games than the one that registered eight in the first nine. If Ted Roof shows the needed intestinal fortitude in his defensive playcalling all year this season instead of waiting until after giving up over 600 yards and 45 points in a single game, we'll be okay. But I'll believe that happening when I see it. The linebackers and secondary should be fine. The line.... yeah, I dunno.
Season prediction: last year I said anything over eight wins would be gravy. That sounds good for this year as well.
Player to watch out for: A-back/do everything guy Clinton Lynch. Dude quietly had a 900+ yard season last year and stands to receive a few more looks this year with the lack of experience at B-back, even with Qua Searcy and JJ Green in the mix.
I think that Tech will go 8-4 during the regular season and have a good shot at a bowl win. I foresee losses to Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech in ACC play plus a loss to either UGA or Tennessee, but I'm leaning Tennessee given how many question marks we currently have on the offense. A shot at a second-consecutive nine-win season would be a solid job by Paul Johnson and is nothing to complain about, but there's obviously the potential to see a couple more wins and potentially and ACC Championship appearance if the team gets everything on track relatively quickly.
Jackets go 9-3 due to a much improved defense. Ted Roof plays a much more aggressive style and the defense returns to the same level as the Orange Bowl winning season. The defense is complemented by a balanced offensive attack led by Clinton Lynch, Matthew Jordan, and Qua Searcy. While freshman Jerry Howard doesn't match the season Dedrick Mills had last year, he will win the job and perform well enough to let the A-backs have monster seasons on the outside.
8-4. Player to watch out for: Jalen Johnson, expect to see a lot of him this year in the 4-2-5 formation. Coaches and players have been raving about him.
I really, really want to be optimistic about this season, but I'm struggling. I'm a little skeptical about Matthew Jordan's ability to replace Justin Thomas and the dismissal of Dedrick Mills hurts...a lot. With a tougher schedule this season, we'd have to rely on Ted Roof's defense taking a big step forward if this team wants to match last season. I see us winning one big game next season, but we lose some toss-ups as our offense struggles without Justin Thomas and the defense is only slightly better. I've got us at 7-5 (5-3) and going to a lower-tier bowl game. I also predict that we see at least two quarterbacks in meaningful play this season. Offensive Player of the Year is Qua Searcy and Defensive Player of the Year is Step Durham.
I'm going to say Tech finishes 8-4 (4-4 ACC). The first thing I think you'll notice here is that I have Tech going undefeated out-of-conference. Jacksonville State and UCF I see as pretty easy wins, but Tennessee and UGA are both going to be a little tougher. Both present different challenges. Against Tennessee, I think the whole game is such a gigantic question mark that it could really go either way. Ultimately, I gave both of these games to Tech because I want to see Tech win both games they have against the SEC this year.
Looking at the conference slate, I think there's two pretty surefire losses in Miami (FL) and Clemson. Other than that, I think much of the rest of the ACC schedule is pretty much a toss-up. I see us losing two of the following games: Pitt, UNC, Virginia, Duke, VPISU.