The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are very familiar with the postseason. They have now been to a bowl game for 17 straight years (The third longest active streak in the FBS). GT has had a .500 record or better 19 years in a row in conference play, the longest streak in the country. Sprinkle one 11 win ACC Championship season (which was later vacated) in with two nine win seasons, to go along with one eight win campaign and six seasons finishing with at least six victories, and you get the last decade of Yellow Jacket football.
Say one thing for GT, they’ve been consistent. 2014 will be Head Coach Paul Johnson’s seventh year, and even though his squads have repeatedly been in bowl games (including the 2010 Orange Bowl), he maintains a 1-5 record. His teams have been average on the road (17-15) and underwhelming against top 25 opponents (7-12). Not to mention the program hasn’t finished in the top 25 in four years.
Coach Johnson brought the flexbone triple option with him from Navy in 2008, and has kept GT in the top 50 nationally in total offense every season since his arrival, peaking in 2011 at 18th in the country. The running game has continuously ranked in the top five nationally as well, but after another average season, and the transfer of quarterback Vad lee, who didn’t connect with the triple option, some have questioned if the live or die running approach is holding the Yellow Jackets back.
2013 was a disappointment. After starting the season 3-0, with a defense that only gave up 34 total points in three games, Georgia Tech would then lose 17-10 in the Battle of the Techs. Virginia Tech held the fourth ranked rushing attack to just 129 yards. But GT was still playing great defense at the time, and despite a poor performance from Vad Lee against VT, still sat at 3-1.
GT lost their next two games, giving up 45 points to Miami and 38 to BYU. Even after losing three straight, the Yellow Jackets still sat at 6-3 after taking down Syracuse, Virginia and Pittsburgh. However, more underwhelming play from the defense helped the team drop two out of their last three games, including a loss to Georgia, despite leading by 20 points in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets have a lot of upside, but with 10 returning starters (fewest since 2008), how much improvement can we expect from the 2013 version?