The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets plummeted to the basement of the ACC Coastal in 2015. After winning the division the previous year, the Yellow Jackets went just 1-7 in league play. They ended up just 3-9 overall.
Oddsmakers appeared to see their downfall coming. After going 10-2 in the regular season in 2014, their win total for 2015 was just 7.5.
The Yellow Jackets only conference win was an improbable 22-16 win over Florida State. They blocked a field goal with no time left on the clock and returned it 78-yards for a TD.
That’s not to say they didn’t have their fair share of tough losses. Georgia Tech lost 6 games by 8-points or less.
Missing a bowl game for the first time in 18 years wasn’t enough to cost head coach Paul Johnson his job. Another season like last year and the love affair with Johnson may come to an end. The pressure is on him to get Georgia Tech back into being a threat in the Coastal.
|Date||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|9/3||Boston College (Ireland)|
|11/5||@ North Carolina|
|11/12||@ Virginia Tech|
|Estimated Wins: TBD|
The Yellow Jackets will open the season in Ireland against Boston College. I believe it’s going to be critical that they come out and win this game, but the Eagles will be no pushover. BC returns 15 starters and will be very difficult to run against.
They at least have a cupcake game on deck against Mercer, but things get interesting after that. They host what figures to be a much improved Vanderbilt team in Week 3. The key here will not be looking ahead to their huge showdown the following week against Clemson.
Keep in mind that game against the Tigers comes on a Thursday. They then have to turn around and host the consensus favorite in the Coastal in Miami. Another tough spot, as they figure to lay it all on the line against Clemson.
Things don’t get any easier the rest of the way. They have four more road games against Pitt, UNC, Virginia Tech and Georgia. All figure to be difficult places to get a victory.
They do have winnable home games against Georgia Southern, Duke and Virginia. The only concern is if it goes bad early, will things spiral out of control like last year.
One of the big surprises from last year, is the offense went from putting up 37.9 ppg to just 29.3 ppg. That wasn’t suppose to happen with Justin Thomas back at quarterback. Unfortunately he regressed from his breakout season in 2014. After rushing for 1,086 yards, he managed just 488 yards in 2015. He also threw for 5 fewer touchdowns and two more interceptions.
It’s safe to say that the success of this team in 2016 falls heavily on the shoulders of Thomas. Though he will have some help. Almost all the skill players that contributed are back.
The other big question outside of Thomas is the offensive line. They lose 3 staters, who combined for 80 career starts. On the flip side of this, they have 4 back with starting experience. This unit has to be better than they were in 2015. Georgia Tech’s 256 rushing yards/game were a low in the Johnson era.
Defensively the Yellow Jackets allowed almost the exact same amount of points per game. They surrendered 25.8 ppg in 2015 after allowing 25.7 ppg in 2014. They actually improved quite a bit in the yards they allowed. Going from giving up 411 ypg to just 368 ypg.
The concern is they had 8 starters back on defense last year and only return 5 this season. The good news is that 3 of those starters are back along the defensive line. They also get back leading tackler P.J. Davis at linebacker. The run defense should be much improved.
Where teams have been able to expose the Yellow Jackets stop unit is through the air. The secondary has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 60% or more of their passes each of the last four years. That doesn’t figure to change with just one starter back in the defensive backfield.
Regular Season Win Total
ACC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes
There is plenty of reason to expect the Yellow Jackets to bounce back in 2016. They had so many closes losses last year and the offense can’t be any worse.
While I foresee them getting back to bowl eligibility, it’s not a sure thing. Beating Clemson or Miami at home doesn’t seem likely. The same can be said about their four true road games. That only leaves 6 other possible chances for a win on the schedule. Several of those could go either way.
It’s likely they win a game they shouldn’t on the road and lose won they should win at home. When it’s all said and done, I think 6-6 is about the most logical prediction you can make for this team.
Then again maybe they will surprise everyone. Oddsmakers have set their win total at 6.5. That’s interesting to note, as I don’t think a lot of people are going to be jumping to bet the over. Similar to last year, when no one wanted anything to do with the under at 7.5.
Win Total Prediction