Coming off an unexpected 9-4 season which included a win for the ages against arch-rival UGA , the Georgia Tech Yellow jackets seem poised for success in 2017. Returning 16 starters, eight on each side of the ball, experience will not be an issue. However, Justin Thomas is no longer under center which leaves reason for concern. Nobody knows who will be the starting quarterback for the 2017 season, although it seems like TaQuon Marshall leads the way.
This may be the most talented team Paul Johnson has had, and the most experienced one. The A Back position should improve off of a great 2016 season, while the B Back position will be led by pre-season All ACC member Dedrick Mills. On the defensive side of the ball, Corey Griffin leads a loaded secondary that has sky high expectations. A good secondary can look like a bad one if there is no pass rush and that is an area the Jackets hope to improve upon this season. In 2016, Georgia Tech had only 18 sacks last season, ranking 107th in the country. KeShaun Freeman, and Antonio Simmons hope to build off of strong springs.
Below is a game by game preview for Georgia Tech’s 2017 season.
September 4th (Monday): Tennessee at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Georgia Tech is 5-1 against the SEC in their last six games against the conference. Tennessee will be coming into this game with tons of question marks along with an unknown QB as well. Extra time to prepare for the triple option is always a bonus but how disciplined will the UT defense be and how will the new head of the triple option look. This game will be determined by if Georgia Tech can stop the run and force the new Tennessee QB to beat them.
September 9th: Jacksonville State
This game will be no cake walk. JSU is a capable FCS team that can knock off a FBS opponent any week. With only four days of rest in between for Georgia Tech, this game will be closer than the lines will predict.
September 16th: @ UCF
Any night road game will be tough. This will be the first true road test for the new quarterback running the show at Georgia Tech. UCF is rapidly improving. This has the making of a trap game because everybody though this was a for sure win when this home and home was announced. Scott Frost has completely changed the culture in a good way at UCF.
September 23: Pitt
The last two games have been decided by six points combined. Two GT loses both coming by Chris Blewitt game winners. Georgia Tech is due to beat them, especially after the way they lost last year.
September 30th: UNC
GT has lost three in a row to UNC including a drumming last year in Chapel Hill. UNC is bringing back a whole lot of nothing on the offensive side of the ball but do replace the holes with solid underclassmen. Their QB is also not known at this time. These games between these two have a history of being high scoring, that trend may end this year.
October 12th (Thursday): @ Miami
Mark Richt has owned Georgia Tech since he stepped foot on the sidelines. Last year Georgia Tech played their worst game of the year and still had chances to tie the game in the second half. Miami brings in loads of talent. This will be a difficult task but will be a crucial game to help decide who will win the Coastal.
October 21st: Wake Forest
The young, raw, but talented team in Wake Forest will give every team it faces this year a test. However, young and raw does not make for a good recipe when going against the triple option. Their defense forces plenty of turnovers. Ball security for GT will be crucial in this game.
October 28th: @ Clemson
Any trip to Death Valley is tough. Playing a game in Death Valley on the last game before Halloween is an even tougher task. This game seems like its headed to be a night game. Clemson will not be as talented as their National Championship team was, but will still compete for an ACC title. This will be a huge opportunity for Georgia Tech to prove they are a top team in the ACC.
November 4th: @ UVA
UVA is a bottom dweller in the ACC and expected to be no better than their 2-10 2016 season. However, Charlottesville is never an easy place to come out with a win, and UVA always plays GT close. It took a late offensive explosion and a Lance Austin pick six to escape with a win last year.
November 18th: @ Duke
Georgia Tech needs to shut up David Cutcliffe in this game. Paul Johnson enjoys beating him. GT needed Justin Thomas to save the day from last year to avoid a third straight lost to Duke.
November 25th: UGA
Regardless if you are a fan of one of these teams or not, you have to enjoy watching these games as they almost always seem to go down to the last possession. Qua Searcy leapt into the GT history books last year to beat UGA. GT hasn’t beaten UGA at home since 1999, and let me tell you, the players know that too. These two teams both expect to have good seasons, but a good season can turn into a great one with a win against UGA.