With the current state of the ACC, Georgia Tech has the opportunity to restablish themselves as an ACC power.
A look around the Atlantic Coastal Conference would most likely provide someone with the following view.
Clemson. And everybody else.
In reality there’s really no true No.2 team in the conference. The usual would be suspects of Florida State and Miami are in turmoil. Virginia Tech is in a tight spot and barely made bowl eligibility this season, leaving them basically in the same category as the Yellow Jackets. That leaves a grouping of Boston College, Duke, NC State, and Syracuse as competent ACC teams right now. That being said, three of those teams are in Clemson’s own division. Leaving Duke and since they are the defending ACC Coastal Champions, Pittsburgh.
Then you have the Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wake Forest grouping. These programs right now will have strong seasons here or there but will never be consistent threats.
To recap, the ACC Coastal Division is being led by Duke and Pittsburgh at this juncture and the Atlantic Division isn’t too much better off behind Clemson. While everyone is being boat raced by Clemson, the race for the No.2 spot in the conference is wide open.
So what does this all mean? It means that with a fast turnaround (difficult but not impossible), Georgia Tech has an opportunity in 2019 and beyond to establish themselves as an ACC power.
When looking at the ACC Coastal, there is no program that you can say Georgia Tech can not beat any given year. Out of the perceived big three, the Jackets may be the best off as well. While Miami and Virginia Tech both recruit at a higher level, their results have often been on par with the Jackets any given year. If you want to say that was due to Paul Johnson and the triple-option, so be it. But at the same time it shows that the talent gap there is not as big as it is perceived. With a head coach now who has a higher regard for recruiting, the Jackets could very well climb the ACC talent ranks rather quickly, closing that gap even more. Of course while talent is part of it, the Jackets will have to prove it on the field as well and only time will tell for that.
But back to the main point, with the current state of the ACC. Georgia Tech might be in one of the better situations. While there is a perception that next season could be rough, there is also a school of thought that the Jackets could still be a 7-8 win team next season in the regular season. That just might be good enough for a Coastal Division crown next season. It would do wonders for recruiting as it’s a building block for the program both on and off the field.
If Tech can close the talent gap between them and Virginia Tech, Miami, and even Florida State, the Jackets have as a good of chance as any of those three to establish themselves as that No. 2 team in 2019 and beyond.
Tech will never (probably) reach the heights of Clemson but there’s is also no reason the Jackets can not become a consistent top-25 or higher team while also “running” the ACC Coastal under Geoff Collins. Is it a pipe dream for Tech fans? You can decide that but in the mind of this author, Georgia Tech has a golden opportunity in 2019 to begin climbing that ladder in becoming an ACC power once again.