Back Don’t Forget About Georgia Tech

Back To ACC

Don’t Forget About Georgia Tech

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin.  Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page

Though Georgia Tech opened in defeat, opportunities, for the Yellow Jackets, are just now beginning.

In their first game of the season, a stand-alone Labor Day showcase in Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lost to struggling Tennessee in a contest where they totaled 33 first downs, 535 yards rushing and held the football for over 41 minutes. It was, when a two-point conversion attempt came up inches short in double-overtime, a disappointing debut for a team that dominated the evening. Though Georgia Tech opened in defeat, opportunities, for the Yellow Jackets, are just now beginning.

Winners of three straight and fresh off a bye week, Georgia Tech has four teams currently ranked in the national top 15 left on the schedule: Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia. Those foes, combined, are a staggering 21-1, with the seven opponents left compiling a 33-6 mark overall. The Yellow Jackets have the toughest remaining slate in all of college football, a rally-to-the-finish that comes as both a remarkable challenge and an incredible opportunity.

One way or another, Georgia Tech will help shape the College Football Playoff race.

Since the week one loss, the Yellow Jackets have outscored their competitors 105-34. Georgia Tech is currently averaging 396 yards rushing per game, nearly 55 yards more than Paul Johnson's best season in Atlanta and up 138 yards an outing from last year's tally. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall has scored 13 total touchdowns; he and B-back KirVonte Benson are the ACC's top two rushers with a total of 999 yards.         

The Yellow Jackets, for their remarkable offensive production, have improved dramatically on defense. Georgia Tech ranks sixth nationally in total defense; the Yellow Jackets ranked 59th a year ago. This fall, Georgia Tech is allowing just over one yard more per game than Alabama and is ahead of the likes of Auburn, Clemson and Penn State. Granted, the Yellow Jackets have played only four games, but they have allowed the fewest offensive yards in college football.

Georgia Tech and Alabama are the only teams in the country to rank in the national top 20 in total offense and the national top ten in total defense; the Yellow Jackets slot one spot behind the top-ranked Crimson Tide in both key categories. 

Saturday's game at Miami, originally scheduled for Thursday, could be a critical springboard for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have lost six-of-seven to the Hurricanes and have not won in south Florida since 2007. A Georgia Tech victory this weekend would mean the Yellow Jackets and Virginia, depending on its outcome, would be the only ACC Coastal teams remaining without a conference loss. The Yellow Jackets should have the nation's attention, but would with a win over the Hurricanes if they don't already.

Upcoming clashes with Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia await as pivotal points on this season's evolving timeline. Looking ahead, the Tigers could have to play Georgia Tech twice. The year may have started with a setback for the Yellow Jackets; a much more important stretch, one featuring some of the biggest names in the game, will start soon.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports