With toe gloriously approaching leather it's time to break out the trusty divining rod & ouija board in our best attempt to predict the outcome of this year's Tech season. We're now in year three of the Paul Johnson era and while we lost a ton of talent from last year's team this marks the beginning of Johnson recruited talent entering the fray, particularly on the offensive line. So after some deliberation (over what beverage to drink while deliberating; beer won, FWIW, brown liquor is on hold until Saturday) this is our collective best guess at how this season unfolds on the Flats. We won't pick actual game scores just yet but leave that until our weekly previews the Thursday before each contest. Without further ado, the 2010 season:
9/4/10 South Carolina State, Bobby Dodd Stadium @ Historic Grant Field
In our first game ever against an HBCU, we open with a team that is frankly pretty good. Are they good enough to hang with Tech for four quarters? No, but they'll serve as a good opponent to christen the campaign. Watch how Tech's new 3-4 scheme, particularly the defensive line, fairs against a huge & veteran Bulldog offensive line. Verdict: Win....and a hell of a halftime show:
9/11/10 @ The University of Kansas, Memorial Stadium, Lawrence Kansas
The Jackets head to Lawrence to face new head coach & all-time great option QB Turner Gill. The Jayhawks have been depleted by injury this off-season and will be hard pressed to contain the spread option. For some reason both Frank & I sense blowout. Gill will wish he could click his heels together twice & get the hell out of Kansas by the end of the 3rd quarter. Verdict: Win
9/18/10 @ The University of North Carolina, Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
What once looked to be a stern test now looks like.....a giant NCAA goat rodeo. It's a "charlie foxtrot" up in Chapel Hill and no one knows what's going to happen. But our guess is nothing good for UNC. Regardless of whose playing defense for the Heels, CPJ has an axe to grind with Butchie after he threw the ball into the endzone twice in the waning moments of a 21 point Tar Heel victory in 2008. Johnson will unveil some trickeration, TJ Yates will shit on himself for no apparent reason, Marvin Austin & Greg Little will be in California, & Butch Davis will be back stuping the Nanny in an attempt to placate her........Any way you look at it, UNC is in trouble. Verdict: Win
9/25/10 North Carolina State University, BDS @ HGF
The natives are restless up in Raleigh. Tom O'Brien was supposed to right the ship & get things headed upward. Instead, they've floated listlessly in ACC waters. Russell Wilson is good. So is Nate Irving. Might need to add a third column to the scoring section in the Jumbotron at Bobby Dodd. The game easily eclipses 1,000 yards in offense...could be a video game score here. Verdict: Win.....and Buzz is toast from all the push-ups.
10/2/10 @ Wake Forest University, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Please tell us this is Ted Stachitas?
Nothing says rebuilding like Ted Stachitas & what surely must be a mustache worthy of nacho cheese drippings & Tom Selleck. We refuse to google search Stachitas because we've built him up as an ACC icon. Surely we can't be wrong. Wake lost the Julius Hodge of ACC football in QB Riley Skinner along with both starting defensive tackles & several offensive linemen. Expect Grobe to go back to his run centric, cut blocking ways, giving us at least one ally against Beamer's relentless whining. No matter, Tech cruises in Winston-Salem. Verdict: Win
10/9/10 The University of Virginia, BDS @ HGF
Will Al Groh get his revenge? Umm, yes. Mike London will need a while to convert the Cavs into his image. Too much talent on display for Tech. A solid conference victory. Verdict: Win
10/16/10 Middle Tennessee State University, BDS @ HGF
Always the safest of poker options, in any circumstance....
A revenge game for the second week in a row. This time it's defensive line coach Andy McCollum's turn to smack down his former employer. In a year featuring a schedule that at best can be called moribund, Dwight Dasher done gone & gotten himself suspended after starring in Rounders 2, the Geriatric Version. Not good, sir, not good at all.We were actually looking forward to seeing Dasher play & maybe he will as he's applied for re-instatement. Tech is rolling now, in this the sixth game of the year. Verdict: Win
10/23/10 @ Clemson University, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, South Carolina
Sometimes I touch myself down there & point to the sky......feels good.........my way of saying thank you...
A visit to Auburn-with-a-lake highlights the Jacket's October schedule. There's plenty of talent left at Clemson, even after the departure of CJ Spiller & Jacoby Ford. Expect a big year from tailback Andre Ellington and a stout defense. While Clemson has something to prove Kevin Steele & Co. still haven't figured out how to stop our running attack. Heading into a bye week, the Jackets win a close one. Verdict: Win
Tech wins an easy one this week & now sits at 7-0 with a chance to get healthy heading into the biggest game of the year between two top ten teams with the ACC Coastal on the line.....
11/4/10 VPISU, Lane Stadium, Blacksberg, Virginia
Is Frank Beamer the Kraken?
This will be epic. Lane Stadium. Thursday Night. Two Top 10 teams. ACC Coastal at stake. Put on your big boy pants.....Virginia Polly is 13-3 all-time on Thursday night at home. They are also a pretty damn good football team with tons of talent at all their skill positions. It wll be a great game but VPISU's home field is too much to conquer. Our first defeat on the year. Verdict: Loss...and quit whining, Beamer......
11/13/10 University of Miami-Florida, BDS @ HGF
Hope for a cold night! Miami has loads of talent. They also have two very good coordinators to run the show for Randy Shannon. The Jackets will want revenge after last year's poor showing on the road and it will be a hard fought battle. In the end we just don't have the horses to pull it out defensively. Miami wins a squeaker, setting up a VPISU vs. Miami showdown for the Coastal division title in two weeks. A heavy dose of cold weather could easily change this outcome. Verdict: Loss
11/20/10 Duke University, BDS @ HGF
Consecutive losses have CPJ & Co. a little agitated & Duke is the target this Saturday. We like David Cutcliffe & respect the job he is doing. Doesn't really matter what we like. The words curb stomping come to mind. Jackets roll big heading into Athens. Verdict: Win
11/27/10 The University (sic) of Georgia, Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
So the conference title is out the window at this point thus leaving this little game the biggest thing left on the schedule. Both defenses will have established an identity by this point & Aaron Murray will no longer be unseasoned. It will be close but no way CPJ let's this one get away. No rational explanation except to say we were never picking the Mutts this early in the year. Verdict: Win
By our math, which is somewhat suspect, that's a 10-2 season for Tech. Why the optimism with a tough schedule and the loss of five key players? First, the defense has to be better. The addition of Al Groh brings renewed enthusiasm to a beleaguered unit but more importantly a continuity of defensive scheme & philosophy, something we didn't have last year, will allow this unit to grow & develop as the season progresses. Remember, defensively we had five games last year where we forced one or no punts. Suffice it to say, we'll be better.
We will also improve offensively. Year three has traditionally been the year Johnson's offenses "click" & I expect the same this year for us. Nesbitt is now truly comfortable in the offense, for one thing. But most importantly, we finally have players specifically recruited to play this scheme able to contribute, particularly on the offensive line. You simply can't under-estimate how important this will be for our success this year. We are also deep this year & better able to sustain injuries than in the past, something which may prove crucial before the year is out.
This is a very important year for Tech. A season like we predicted above & expect will silence many doubters & begin to elevate us from being thought of as a good team to being regarded as a good program. Everyone has good teams now & again. Good programs simply reload & move on to the next year. Who knows, maybe after another great year they won't have figured out our "gimmick" offense? Now it's your turn: how do you see the Jackets this year? Give us your win-loss record & any thoughts in the comments section. Three days.....