Georgia Tech boosters are hoping against hope that the program isn’t going through exactly what Georgia Southern did when Paul Johnson left campus.
Johnson’s patented Flexbone offense was once phased-out at GaSo by a shotgun-spread believer named Brian Van Gorder. Van Gorder’s interviews upon taking the job suggested that the Eagles had been using a 2nd-rate “caveman” playbook (actually based on the Run & Shoot but who’s counting) under Johnson and his disciples, and that he would be taking Statesboro into the 21st century via running all of the same crap 100s of other teams do.
The pretentious HC was soon fired after a whole lot of losses and futility and the coach carrying on about the “progress” GaSo was supposedly making. So far, that mirrors exactly what Georgia Tech is getting out of its Yellow Jackets in the maiden post-Johnson year of 2019.
New hire Geoff Collins has the safety of 1000 excuses…for now. Johnson is being indirectly blamed for a 2-6 record this season, since the ‘Jackets had been recruiting low-block specialists who must learn Collins’ unfamiliar playbook. But that alibi is wearing thin. Georgia Tech is never going to be the most-athletic team in the ACC – the team’s success under the previous regime was based on a unique style that often bamboozled opposing defenses. Now that GT is playing a typical style of pigskin, the realization is beginning to set-in that 2 and 3-star recruits are bound to lose to 4-star players if each side is trying to accomplish the same goals on offense.
Georgia Tech is a sorry 1-6-1 ATS in 2019. But most gamblers think the Ramblin’ Wreck will cover against Virginia on Saturday, shrinking a 2 TD + FG point spread over 5 days of online betting action.
Who: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Virginia Cavaliers
When: Saturday, November 9th, 12 PM EST
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
Lines: GT (+15.5) at Virginia (-15.5) / O/U Total: (47)
Since UVA is a historically 2nd or 3rd-tier program, it’s easy to assume that the Cavaliers’ current 6-3 record represents the ceiling of what Bronco Mendenhall’s team can do, and that Charlottesville fans should be pleased with bare-minimum bowl eligibility. That might be a mistake.
Virginia has in fact fought through a pretty impressive schedule and could easily have more than 6 wins on the mantle. Following a 4-0 start in which the Cavaliers beat Pitt and Florida State, UVA has lost to Notre Dame, Miami, and Louisville by tight scores while whipping Duke by 34 points. Last week’s 38-31 win at North Carolina was also noteworthy since UNC is a much-improved ACC rival under Mack Brown.
Perhaps it’s how the Cavaliers beat the Tar Heels that is giving Las Vegas pause to reconsider its own point spread and trend-line analysis. ‘Cappers don’t like it when a program’s mojo rests in the paws of 1 student-athlete, as evidenced by the “Malcolm Perry Injury Watch” that appears to give Navy at least 2 or 3 points-per-contest in Sin City as bookmakers wait for Perry to go down again and for the Mids to be adrift without him.
UVA offense is becoming a Bryce Perkins concerto. The upperclassman QB was terrific by ground and air in Raleigh, responsible for an overwhelming majority of Virginia’s 500+ yards. Perkins scored every point that wasn’t notched by PK Bryan Delaney, and he’s already got 2000+ passing yards on the season, though he doesn’t always know what to do when under big-time pressure…having thrown 8 interceptions and eaten the ball on 29 sacks-against.
Luckily the Cavaliers have some pretty good pass rushers on staff, including LB Jordan Mack. That wouldn’t have mattered much against GT in years past but it sure matters now, making head-to-head trends irrelevant.
Georgia Tech did mount a decent pass rush in a 28-21 OT victory over Miami on 10/19. The Yellow Jackets ran the ball well against a strong defense and didn’t break in the Red Zone:
Miami’s three missed field goals didn’t happen in a vacuum. While they were game-changing, Tech’s defense, which had not distinguished itself with third-down stops or run defense, put the Hurricanes in position to have to attempt them by doing both inside the red zone. In the second quarter, Miami zipped 49 yards in six plays before stalling and trying a field goal from 34 yards that missed. In the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes had first-and-goal at the Tech 8-yard line, but couldn’t get any farther, with linebacker Quez Jackson and cornerback Zamari Walton foiling a reverse on first down and cornerback Tre Swilling making a highlight-reel pass breakup on third down after being left on an island against wide receiver K.J. Osborn. That prompted a miss from 27 yards.
Still, if Miami had made its field goals, nobody would be talking about how well GT played in an upset win. RB Jordan Mason did enjoy some daylight in last weekend’s loss to Pittsburgh, but the passing game is terrible no matter who’s taking snaps. Georgia Tech was lucky to score 10 points with QBs going 8-for-21 with a pick.
17 points seemed like a decent handicap when it opened. I’m going to bet against the public on (-15.5) and trust Virginia to blow-out a soft opponent on home turf.
Take UVA to cover on Saturday.