So I know I can be dramatic at times with my predictions, but I’m going to be straightforward with what I think actually happens this season. To be completely honest, I don’t have a clue how good Tech will be, so instead of giving a solid record, I’m going to mark each game as a definite win, a definite loss, or a toss-up, and then take the average.
Clemson - Definite loss | I don’t think I need to add in a whole lot of explanation here.
South Florida - Toss-up, but leaning win | This will be Tech’s first real chance to show off a newly revamped team. Tech lost last year because of defense and special teams. South Florida is definitely one of those teams that can catch you offguard, but I think Geoff Collins will have his team ready in Atlanta.
The Citadel - Definite win | The Citadel is an FCS team and not a good one at that. Now, I know they gave Bama a run for their money a little bit last season, so I think this one will be close for a quarter, but I think Tech’s depth will outlast The Citadel.
Temple - Win, but not as definite as you might think | When they really got going last season, Geoff Collins had a pretty good thing going in Philadelphia last season. With this randomly being in Philly, I think Temple will put up a pretty good fight, making this closer than it probably should be, but I think Tech will pull this one out.
UNC - Toss-up, but leaning win | I’ll give Tech the win here because I think Jay Bateman will need more than the first quarter of the season to really get a handle on this defense. It’ll be close, though.
Duke - Toss-up, but leaning loss | Even with Paul Johnson gone, I wouldn’t doubt that this is Duke’s Super Bowl once again. The last few years, David Cutcliffe has had Tech’s number. It doesn’t matter how they do the rest of the season. I think their offense will have enough time to be in sync, but the reason I give Duke the win is because of the defense.
Miami - Toss-up | I really don’t know what to think of this game. Miami’s defense under Manny Diaz last year was pretty good, but it seems like Manny is already starting to lose control of the Canes. This one could really go either way.
Pitt - Almost-definite win | I feel pretty good about this one. Pitt loses a lot from its offense, so I don’t know that they’ll be able to score enough to win many games this year at all. With Tech’s defense presumably being more aggressive this year, I could see them taking advantage of a completely new Pitt offensive line. Also, I really just want to stick it to Pat Narduzzi.
Virginia - Toss-up, but leaning loss | Bryce Perkins is a pretty good quarterback, and this game is in Charlottesville, where Tech has been notoriously not good. As much as I want to stick it to Bronco Mendenhall, I think he’ll get the better of Tech this time.
Virginia Tech - Toss-up | Justin Fuente hasn’t been that great since taking over in Blacksburg, but a lot of last season was not entirely his fault. With a bit more grounding, I think he’ll do better about getting his offense in place with some good, young pieces, so this one could really go either way.
NC State - Almost-definite win | NC State had a really good team last year. Almost every single player that made them successful is now gone. Yeah, I’ll take my chances with Tech here.
UGA - Definite loss | See Clemson
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know how this was going to end up when I started. I really just wanted to go with my gut instinct on all of these games, and somehow I got us to six wins with two toss-ups. For my official prediction, I’ll say Tech gets anywhere between 5 and 7 wins, with a chance at a bowl.
The first game against Clemson will not be fun, let’s just leave it at that. The Citadel is an assured win, while I feel that Tech will take one of two out of the games against USF and Temple. UNC and Duke will be the same way, with the Jackets taking one out of two games. Collins & co. will most likely lose to Miami, but beat reigning ACC Coastal division champions Pitt. Bryce Perkins will be too much for the new look Tech defensive line, and Bud Foster will have the Hokies’ defense ready to play on his last trip to Bobby Dodd Stadium as a coach. Going into the final two games against NC State and u(sic)ga, I have the Jackets at 4-6. I feel like the NC State game will be very close, but the Wolfpack will pull it out in the end. The dwags will overpower the Jackets, putting a close on the season, with the Jackets finishing at 4-8.
Do I think they can do better? Yes. If the ball bounces the right way a couple of times, I don’t see why Tech can’t be bowling. But, I’m not sure if the Jackets will get lucky enough to gain some extra practices and a gift suite in December/possibly January.
I think our most likely case is pretty boring actually. We win the “easy” games, but can’t quite stand up to the big boys. I think we’re going to be competitive in most of our games, but I just don’t see us having the ability to win more than the ones we’re supposed to. I think the defense will be a nice bright spot, and I think we will have a few glimpses at what the offense can become. At the end of the day though, this is basically the same roster that barely made it to 7-6 last season. We have a really bright future, but year one is too early to expect anything.
Should I go game-by-game on this? Too bad; I basically already did that two days ago. Bill C says in a year like this one we should just look for improvement from September to November, but it’s a little difficult to do that when you schedule is bookended by playoff contenders. When it comes to Clemson and georgia, look to the future — by which I mean, don’t even expect, with even a single ounce of your body, to win those this year. I see you doing it. Stop. Stop it.
Now, look at the ten games in the twelve weeks in between, and there’s plenty of opportunity. The Coastal was facing enough tumult before yesterday’s bomb drop — oh, you hadn’t heard what happened at Virginia Tech last year? Let me enlighten you — that there’s really no standout team. Not the Hokies, because I don’t foresee a huge bounce back from them after the disastrous season they had in 2018. Not Miami, who I expect to be back until they inevitably are not back again. Not even Virginia, who I really want to see win it just to complete the ACC Coastal Infinity Gauntlet (use the hashtag #ACCCoastalInfinityGauntlet on Twitter!). So could it be Georgia Tech? Possibly, but probably not. 3-3 in the Coastal would be a major success in year one. For NC State, is Dave Doeren ever going to put it all together in Raleigh, or has he peaked at 9-4? I think they’re better than the Jackets this year, but the door is wide open for some major NC State [SHAED].
For the other non-con teams, I’ll keep it brief: you have to beat the Citadel, Geoff Collins should probably beat his old team, and USF.... well, everyone remembers how the Bulls completely fell off a cliff last year, right? Maybe Charlie Strong has figured it out in year 3. Or maybe they’ll be another Tampa disaster.
A bowl would be great if Tech can get there. It’s possible, but 4-5 wins seems more likely.
How do you think this season ends up?