The Yellow Jackets are putting up historic numbers in the last two weeks and the road to the ACC Coastal Championship is still open as Duke comes to Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday.
By: Lee Cagle and Dylan Callaghan-Croley
This Saturday, the Duke Blue Devils comes to Atlanta for a major showdown against a Georgia Tech team that feels a little different than the one we saw just a little over two weeks ago in Pittsburgh. Last week at Louisville Georgia Tech rushed itself back to .500 and back into the Coastal conversation.
The Yellow Jackets are hot at a historical rate with the offense compiling 915 yards and 16 touchdowns in the last two games. While that is impressive by itself, what may be more impressive is that there are only two teams over the two years that have rushed for 535 plus yards against power-five opponents and that was Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee (2017) and Georgia Tech vs Louisville (2018).
Paul Johnson has the offense running much smoother overall in the last two weeks with the simplified scheme already paying dividends in performance. The reason all of this is important is that with an offense as potent and unique as this one, Georgia Tech now has a shot in every game that it plays and with the way the ACC is shaping up at the halfway mark of the regular season, suddenly it seems Georgia Tech may have a shot at the ACC Coastal. Especially when considering how the play of the rest of the division. That being said, a lot will need to go right for the Yellow Jackets who have dropped two ACC games already, losing a third will drop them from contention in all reality.
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Currently, right now, the ACC Coastal standings are the following;
- Miami: 5-1 (2-0)
- Virginia Tech: 3-2 (2-0)
- Pittsburgh: 3-3 (2-1)
- Virginia: 3-2 (1-1)
- UNC: 1-1 (1-3)
- Georgia Tech: 3-3 (1-2)
- Duke: 4-1 (0-1)
The next three games are critical to that goal with Duke, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina. Each one of these games finds the teams at different places in their season with Duke sitting at 4-1 and looking dangerous, Virginia Tech coming off bad losses at Old Dominion and Notre Dame, and North Carolina losing a big one to Miami and not looking like they can make much happen. No game is a certainty with the two games and coming after North Carolina are two huge matchups against Miami and Virginia at home.
The first major step for the Yellow Jackets to stay alive in the race will be to win out for the remainder of the year, a high and mighty task to say the least. That being said, with solid improvements, a bit of luck, and clean, fundamental football, they’ll have a chance to do so.
If the Yellow Jackets do win out, they’ll still need a bit of help. By winning out, everyone in the division will have at least one loss. The Jackets will get some help from the eventual Miami vs Virginia Tech matchup that could very well decide the ACC Coastal no matter what. The winner of that game, however, would have to lose an extra ACC matchup.
If Miami would win, they’d need to drop a game to Virginia, Boston College, or Pittsburgh in addition to losing to the Yellow Jackets. If Virginia Tech comes out on top, they’ll need to drop one to UNC, Boston College, Pittsburgh, or Virginia. It’s safe to say in either case, the odds are not great for the Jackets even if they do their part.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets odds to win the ACC Coastal are slim but when comparing it to their odds just a few weeks ago, the Yellow Jackets seem to have a breath of fresh air to their season. It may take a miracle, but at the very least, the Yellow Jackets could make the second of their season, very interesting to say the least. They’ll need to start by taking care of business this Saturday against Duke.