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Georgia Tech Preview – 2014

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Georgia Tech Preview – 2014

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Talent:

This is where Georgia Tech has put itself in the hole the last couple of years. The Yellow Jackets generally have below-average attrition with its players, but have been hurt by subpar recruiting classes. Georgia Tech’s 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes were ranked in the low 40s. But coach Paul Johnson’s last three classes were ranked No. 51 (2014), 71 (2013) and 56 (2012). I have them in ranked in the bottom half of the ACC in talent once again this season. This is not unusual for the Wreck but it puts so much annual pressure on coach Johnson and his staff to dig out wins. A lesser staff and bowl eligibility would be tough. They only return 51 percent of defensive production from a year ago, so watch out early for big scores. They do return three starters on the offensive line and 74 percent of their offensive output. You should expect higher scoring games, at least, in the first half of the season.

Coaching:

On the field, Johnson has been great in the CFB Matrix Coach Effect rankings. In the last six years, he is plus-4 games at home and plus-7, meaning on average he wins two games per year against more talented opponents. That is tops in the ACC for coaches with at least two years of experience. However, in the last four years, he is minus-1 game at home and plus-1 on the road. For Tech to win seven or more games this season, the Jackets need a great schedule with no upset losses.

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Schedule:

It is a middle of the ACC road schedule, which ranks sixth in the conference based on opposing talent and fifth in coaching difficulty faced. Overall, this is the fifth most difficult schedule in the ACC. Tech’s first three games are the way they should be scheduling. If the Jackets don’t start 3-0, they are already in danger of missing a bowl game.
Although it may not seem like it, but the Week 4 game at Virginia Tech might be a good thing. In the last four years, the Hokies and coach Frank Beemer have lost six home games they were expected to win by the CFB Matrix. As the No. 5 recruiter in the ACC, that is below the conference average. But the Hokies’ talent advantage is too much, sending Georgia Tech its first loss heading into the bye week.
A nice schedule benefit is coming out of the bye at home to face a tough opponent. This fits the bill perfectly, with Miami visiting Bobby Dodd on Oct. 4. I have this as a loss for Tech. I am looking for the best home and road games to get upset wins and the better the talent/coach combo the worse the odds.
At 3-2, Georgia Tech gets Duke at home next. They must win this game as three of the next four are on the road. A loss here is tough, even though Duke likely will be favored. The Yellow Jackets pull this one out to improve to 4-2. They need it, as the next five games define the season.
A stretch of three of four on the road kicks off in Chapel Hill. North Carolina coach Larry Fedora has under-performed, but he is best at home with the talent edge. Georgia Tech drops to 4-3.
Week 9 is in Pitt against the No. 45 talent in the country. At home, I take Tech, but on the road, the pick is Pitt, the second straight loss for Jackets and dropping them to .500.
Finally, Tech gets a scheduling break, when it returns home to face Virginia. On the road, UVa coach Mike London is a disaster. The Cavs have a big edge in talent, but the Jackets’ get the nod because of Johnson’s coaching at home.
You get a similar situation the following week at North Carolina State. Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren was just OK through 12 games in 2013, but I have to find the best shot for a road win for Tech and this is it. Through 10 games, I have Georgia Tech with six wins. And that’s all I believe they’ll get. They end the season losing at home to Clemson and, after the week 13 bye, a loss to Georgia in Athens.

 

Dave’s Quick and Dirty CFB Matrix Preview:

Dave Quick and Dirty Take with the CFB Matrix: Tech is more talented than four teams on their schedule. Both games against the two teams with similar talent levels are on the road. The Johnson coach effect is +.67 at home and +1.17 on the road. This gives the Jackets a two-game adjustment to 6-6 and bowl eligible.

 

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