7 key returning Tech players on defense
Tech’s bigger seasons have lately come in the even-numbered years, when it gets Clemson/Miami at home. (Although it lost to both here in 2016 and still went 9-4.) This is 2018, which qualifies as even-numbered, but the addition of South Florida, which is 21-4 over the past two seasons, changes the dynamics. That’s a perilous road game against a non-Power 5 program that’s good enough to beat a Power 5 program. And I know Paul Johnson is 3-3 against Georgia in Athens, but it’s hard to imagine this season’s Bulldogs – who might not lose a regular-season game – losing to Tech anywhere.
Plus there’s Louisville in the stadium no longer named after Papa John on a Friday night, and a Thursday night date at Virginia Tech, which is 1-3 against this Tech since 2013 and 0-2 under Justin Fuente, who coached a horrible game here last year. That said …
Those who track the ACC have learned never to discount Georgia Tech, and I count myself among that number. I'm on record as picking the Jackets to go 8-4, but I had to talk myself into that. My inclination was to go with 7-5, but you know me: I'm a HUGE Tech fan. (That's why actual Tech fans refer to me as Bark Madley, which I've always thought was pretty great.)
Long story not exactly short: I could see the Jackets as third-best in the Coastal, but I could also see them being closer to where ESPN's preseason power rankings had them – 11th-best in a 14-team league. And I'd note that Bovada has set Tech's over/under in wins at 5-1/2, a half-game worse than Duke's. See a consensus in all this? Me neither.