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Preparing for the Worst: What if Georgia Tech is 1-2 going into Clemson?

This would not be an ideal start to the season...

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t worry, this long nightmare of a week is almost over, but we’ve got a couple more worst-case scenarios to go over with y’all. What if Georgia Tech drops two of its first three games going into Clemson?

Georgia Tech Schedule

Date Opponent
Date Opponent
9/1 Alcorn State
9/8 @ South Florida
9/15 @ Pittsburgh
9/22 Clemson
9/29 Bowling Green
10/5 @ Louisville
10/13 Duke
10/25 @ Virginia Tech
11/3 @ North Carolina
11/10 Miami
11/17 Virginia
11/24 @ Georgia

Taking a quick look at Georgia Tech’s schedule, let’s just say that if Tech is 1-2 going into Clemson, things are not going well. In this scenario, I have Tech winning against Alcorn State, and then losing the next two, but let’s take a deeper dive into what that would mean for the team.

Following what in this scenario was a too-close-for-comfort win against Alcorn State, Paul Johnson would be working to get his team ready for a trip to South Florida to take on the Quinton Flowers-less Bulls.

At this point in the season, Charlie Strong and Co. are probably still trying to figure out some things on that offense. The area that Tech would need to worry about, though, is the defense.

“But South Florida’s defense gave up over 80 points in its last two games last season. Why do we need to worry about that?” I know you’re saying.

The Bulls’ defense -- particularly against the run -- was very formidable last season, giving up just 126.9 yards/game (21st overall). On top of that, the Bulls defense finished the season ranked No. 30 in DFEI and had a DDS (Defensive Drive Success Rate) of .246 (No. 15 in the country). Strong knows how to run a defense, and it could definitely cause some issues against a Tech offense that really struggled last season.

Moving onto Pitt, I honestly think that this would end up being more of a trap game than anything else. The team just lost to USF in a game that they don’t have much business losing and also have Clemson looming a week away. The Panthers will probably be just good enough to take advantage of that, causing Tech to drop two of its first three games going into Clemson.

So...what does Tech do at this point?

Honestly, I’m at a bit of a loss myself. Even in most best-case scenarios, I couldn’t imagine Tech beating Clemson this season, short of a miracle.

Moving past that, a 1-3 Georgia Tech team would have a week to lick its wounds as it takes on Bowling Green, which went a measly 2-10 last season, including a loss to South Dakota.

After that, the Yellow Jackets move right back into conference play and head to Louisville on a short week. Given that the Cardinals lost Lamar Jackson (read “their entire team”), this could be a good game to get some momentum going so they have a two-game win streak headed into Duke.

Since we’re talking worst-case scenarios, though, I think it’s certainly possible — in this scenario — that Tech, sitting at 3-3, could lose out the rest of the season, finishing 3-9, with some horrendous losses to Miami, Virginia Tech, and Georgia.

I’m feeling sick typing this and can’t imagine the team having to go through such a morale-crushing season like this.

A season like this would definitely result in action made by GTAA and the potential firing/retirement of Paul Johnson. I phrase it that way because I understand that Johnson is very well-respected at Georgia Tech, so it would be difficult to fire him. Given a season like this, though? I could see Johnson stepping away from the game.

This sounds like a nightmare, honestly. Here’s to hoping that this scenario stays hypothetical.

If Tech starts 1-2, can they turn it around? Or do they finish 3-9 again?