Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Road that Lies Before Us

In between doing our Sunday chores and checking up on our fantasy teams we started to think ahead. Miami, VPI, and Georgia Tech have plowed through the first half of their seasons in relatively good form. Between the three teams they have four losses, three of which are to each other. A loss to #2 Alabama is the only outside blemish to a group of teams that have played Oklahoma, Nebraska, Marshal, and Mississippi State (on the road) out of conference. The second half of the season looks much easier for each team. Its possible that all three of these teams could win all of their remaining games, but its not likely. They will certainly be favored in all of them, but there are some tricky games ahead. In any event, two if not all of these teams should catch UVA who is currently 2-0 in conference play but has only played punchless UNC and inept Maryland. So what do those schedules look like. We list the Sagarin Rating next to each opponent.

Oct. 24, OFF
Oct. 29, Thursday - North Carolina - #56
Nov. 5, Thursday - at East Carolina - #80
Nov. 14, at Maryland - #121
Nov. 21, NC State - #91
Nov. 28, Virginia - #54

The Hokies have the easiest schedule but its complicated by the fact that they already have a second loss. If all three teams win out BCS poll ranking will decide the winner of the division unless the teams are within five spots of each other. At that point someone votes on it. In any event, having one more loss than its opponents sinks VPI.

There are also a couple of tricks in this schedule VPI will have to watch out for. First of all they have back to back Thursday night games against UNC and East Carolina. Back to back Thursday night games can be tough. Also there's a real chance UNC and NC State could turn around their seasons. UNC's has a top 10 defense, and with a week off before they start the second half of the season Butch Davis and his coaching staff could make some vital changes. NC State also has a mid season bye week during which they will probably work hard at evening out their erratic play. Finally, VPI's season ends with a rivalry game against UVA who is fast approaching respectable and will likely be playing for bowl eligibility.

Georgia Tech
Oct. 24, at Virginia #54
Oct. 31, at Vanderbilt, #133
Nov. 7, Wake forest, #68
Nov. 14, at Duke, #69
Nov. 21, Off
Nov. 28, Georgia, #38

The Jackets' hardest game as things stand right now is probably their up coming game at Virginia. Setting aside Tech's failings in Charlottesville over the last 18 years, UVA is a fast improving team. Combine that with emotional drain of playing Virginia Poly and FSU on back to back weekends and UVA looms dangerous. For those of you worried about history remember Paul Johnson has never coached a Tech team in Charlottesville. The second hardest game is the rivalry game to finish the year against UGA. As much as we hate the Rough Riders around here, we respect and fear their coach. The longer Mark Richt has to get his team together, the more dangerous that team becomes. For added spice, Tech plays Duke and Wake, feisty teams with offensive styles that can feast on Tech's weaknesses (pass defense).

Miami (University of)
Oct. 24, Clemson #41
Oct. 31, at Wake Forest #68
Nov. 7, Virginia #54
Nov. 14, at North Carolina #56
Nov. 21, Duke #69
Nov. 28, at South Florida #25

Having already had a week off, Miami has to play one more game than Tech or VPI over the last half of the season, which automatically makes their schedule a little tougher. They also are the only team with an actual good team left on their schedule with South Florida. The Hurricanes have to make the trip to Tampa, which is a crappy place to go. Believe us, our grand parents live there. Lovely people, but there's precious little to do on the Bay. Miami also faces Clemson, perhaps the third best team among the remaining games for Miami, VPI, and Tech. Also, see our notes above on UNC for the Cannes November 14th trip to Chapel Hill.

Miami may be higher ranked than its opponents, but it is also the most likely team to lose. They play the longest and toughest schedule. Tech holds the first tie breaker over the Hokies, so right now it looks like the Jackets are in good position to finish the season ahead of VPI and Miami. They just need take care of business this weekend and not over look anyone.

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