Our second roundtable of the month takes a look at trap games, worries for the football team, the next National Championship at Tech, and preseason rankings.
Welcome to our second roundtable of the month! Earlier this month, we took a look back at 2017 and looked ahead to 2018. Today, we once again take a look ahead towards 2018 as we discuss the biggest trap games for the Yellow Jackets and the biggest worries for the team this season. We also discuss what program at Tech is most likely to next win a National Championship and give our top 10 preseason rankings for this upcoming football season.
Outside of the obvious powers on the Yellow Jackets schedule this upcoming season, who do you expect to a potential more challenging than they should be (a trap game) and why?
Dylan Callaghan-Croley (Lead Expert): I’m going to look pretty far down the schedule this season and say that Virginia could be the biggest trap game on the Jackets schedule. The game comes a week after a showdown against Miami and a week before the regular season concludes against Georgia. If the Jackets pull off a win against Miami they could be in prime positioning in the ACC Coastal or possibly just riding a high of an upset victory. With a game against a likely top-10, if not top-5 Georgia team left (at home too), the Jackets could overlook the Cavaliers who should take a step forward this season and could challenge for a bowl game but nothing more.
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Chad Hall (Contributor): South Florida. I believe we might arrive in Tampa overconfident, and the second game of the season is far too soon to expect a complete game (that is, efficient performances from both the offense and defense), which we would need to defeat USF convincingly on the road. The noon kickoff time might complicate the issue further.
Blake Silvers: Pitt always seems to be a tough, physical matchup for the Jackets, especially with the Jackets going on the road after what will almost certainly be a hot, tiresome road trip to Tampa to play South Florida the week before. It will come down to speed versus size and ball security.
What is a bigger worry for the Yellow Jackets this season, health on the offensive line or the defenses abilities to adapt to the new system?
Dylan Callaghan-Croley: While the defense is a worry and the adapting to a new system should be an interesting transition to watch, the offensive line is the heart and soul of the team’s success. When the offensive line is healthy and strong, the Jackets are incredibly hard to stop. When the offensive line isn’t healthy, the Jackets become not hard to stop but hard to watch. A healthy offensive line takes the Jackets to another level but staying healthy has been more challenging the past few seasons. If they get bit by the injury bug again this season, it could be a long season for the Jackets when compounded with a defense potentially struggling with adapting to a new system
Chad Hall: Doubtless, it is health on the offensive line. I suspect that even under ideal circumstances there will be growing pains associated with adapting to the new defensive system. However, if we can stay healthy on the offensive line, we might just be able to realistically contend for the Coastal Division title, presumably with Miami and Virginia Tech. If not, we might have a repeat of 2017 or, worse, 2015.
Blake Silvers: Any time a new system is implemented – like the Jackets will be doing on defense this year – it can be tough, but a healthy o-line is always a hidden factor in the success of any option team. I think both will play huge into the success of Tech in 2018.
What program at Tech will be the next to win a National Championship?
Dylan Callaghan-Croley: For me it came down to women’s tennis or men’s golf. Both programs had strong seasons this past year especially women’s tennis and I could see both programs winning National Championships in the near future. That being said, I’m going to give men’s golf the nod.
Chad Hall: I’d have to say Women’s Tennis. We came quite close to winning it all this past season, and indeed they won it all in 2007.
Blake Silvers: Softball.
As we will do, our final question is a non-Georgia Tech related question; Who are your top ten college football teams entering this season?
Dylan Callaghan-Croley: I’m a sucker for preseason rankings and making my own rankings as well. That being said, coming up with a top ten this year is quite hard as after the top two or three programs, the difference right now between programs from #4 to #12 is not that big but without further adieu..
- Alabama: Is another National Championship headed to Tuscaloosa?
- Clemson: The Tigers may have the most talented roster in the country entering the season
- Georgia: Tech fans will hate to read this but let me say that, I am skeptical…. If UGA is a top-5 team to enter the season just due to the amount of talent lost but what Kirby Smart did this past season is impressive.
- Ohio State: The Buckeyes are full of talent on both sides of the ball and if their offense can click in 2018, they’ll be hard to stop.
- Wisconsin: The Badgers always have a great defense and this season they’ll have a dangerous offense with one of the best running backs in the nation and a capable quarterback.
- Oklahoma: I’m not quite sure that Oklahoma is a title contender in 2018 but they’re so much more talented than the most of the Big 12 that they should be able to hand most of their games this season.
- Washington: The Huskies have been nothing short of being consistent the past few seasons and enter 2018 as the best team in the Pac-12. They’ll be fine in conference play but Jake Browning will decide how far the Huskies go this season.
- Penn State: They lost a lot of skill players but Trace McSorley is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and they have a ton of talent returning.
- Auburn Tigers: As long as Jarred Stidham stays healthy, the Tigers will be a hard to team to stop this season but can their defense take the next step?
- Miami Hurricanes: The Hurricanes showed a lot of promise last year and return a talented defense that should be one of the tops in the nation. That being said, they showed last season a few times they’re beatable, they’ll need to find their killer instinct in 2018 if they want to compete for an ACC title.
Chad Hall: I will abstain from providing a top ten presently, as I don’t believe in the validity of preseason rankings. I do believe, however, that Tech will more than likely play at least two top ten teams in 2018, namely, Clemson and Georgia.
• #1) Alabama
• #2) Clemson
• #3) Ohio State
• #4) Georgia
• #5) Washingnton
• #6) Oklahoma
• #7) Penn State
• #8) Auburn
• #9) Wisconsin
• #10) Miami