No. 30 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2009 record: 11-3
2009 Bowl Game: 14-24 loss to Iowa in Orange Bowl
2009 ATS: 8-5
Returning starters: 14 (6 on offense, 8 on defense)
The Yellow Jackets have been successful with a run-based offense under Paul Johnson. They have the perfect quarterback for the system in Senior Joshua Nesbitt. The 6-foot-1, 218-lbs signal caller is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the nation and fits the option offense perfectly.
Nesbitt ran the ball 279 times last year for over 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns. He added 1,700 yards through the air and completed 10 touchdown passes. He needs to work on his accuracy, as he completed only 46.3 percent of his passes. He threw five interceptions in 162 passing attempts.
The Yellow Jackets lose B-back Jonathan Dwyer who led the team in rushing yards last year. He rushed for 1,395 yards on 235 carries and took the ball to the house 14 times. He will most likely be replaced by Senior Anthony Allen, who was arguably the team’s most effective runner in 2009. Allen averaged 9.7 yards on 64 carries and scored six touchdowns.
Georgia Tech also loses No.1 receiver Demaryius Thomas, who led the team with 1,154 yards last season. He caught eight of the ten touchdown passes Nesitt threw, and will be tough to replace. Juniors Tyler Melton and Stephen Hill will see the bulk of the action at wideout. The two combined for only 11 receptions in 2009.
Georgia Tech will return eight starters on defense, a unit that struggled last season. They allowed 208.6 passing yards and 151.6 rushing yards last season, despite the fact that their opponents averaged only 26 minutes on the field.
The Yellow Jackets put their faith in new defensive coordinator Al Groh, former head coach at Virginia. He will change the defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and is hoping for better production. Head coach Paul Johnson is more familiar with the 3-4 and will be able to intervene, should the defense struggle again.
The team will need to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback, something the 3-4 formation should allow them to do. Last season, the Yellow Jackets relied heavily on Derrick Morgan for pressure. The Titans picked the defensive end at No.7 in the draft, and the Yellow Jackets will need to find a new playmaker on defense.
Their secondary looks solid despite losing safety Morgan Burnett to the NFL. They will rely on Jerrard Tarrant, who intercepted two passes last season, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Tarrant was also the team’s best return-man last season. He averaged 13.4 yards on his punt returns and took two of them back for touchdowns. Running back Orwin Smith got the majority of kick returns, averaging 24 yards per return.
Kicker Scott Blair was 45-for-46 on extra point attempts, but struggled on kicks outside the 30-yard range. He was 5-for-6 from one to 29 yards, 4-for-7 from 30 to 39 yards, and 5-for-7 from 40 to 49 yards. He didn’t attempt a 50+ yarder.
Punter Chandler Anderson averaged 42.3 yards per attempt and buried 12 punts inside the opponents 20.
Against the spread
The Yellow Jackets were 8-5 against the ncaa football betting odds in 2009. They struggled as the home favorite, winning only one out of three games in which they were favored at home. They did well as the away favorite, winning all four of their matchups in which they were favored on the road.
They did well against the spread when playing conference opponents. They won six out of nine games when they were favorites against teams from the ACC. They are 16-8 under Paul Johnson and 62-57-3 ATS over the last ten years.
You can bet on it
For our free college football spread picks the Yellow Jackets game at Virginia Tech will be an interesting one. The matchup is scheduled for Nov. 4 at Virginia Tech, and the odds should hold some value for the upset. Georgia Tech is 6-2 in their last eight November road games.
They had a rough start against #4 Virginia Tech last season and were shut out for the first 29 minutes. The #19 Yellow Jackets bounced back to pull the upset and they are looking to do some damage against the Hokies again this year.
Favor the fade
Fade the Yellow Jackets against Miami (Fl.) on Nov. 13. Georgia Tech will have back-to-back big games. Coming off the matchup with Virginia Tech, they will face a tough Miami team that might just be too much.
In their 2009 meeting, the Yellow Jackets high-flying running attack was held to only 95 yards. Miami is looking to repeat the defensive dominance, and will try to take Georgia Tech’s main offensive strength out of the equation.