Nonconference opponents and 2010 records:
Western Carolina (2-9)
At Middle Tennessee (6-7)
Gut-check game: at NC State. It’s on the road, and it’s against a team that beat the Jackets in Atlanta last year -- soundly. Russell Wilson had a career day, the Wolfpack racked up 527 yards and scored the most points in its series with Georgia Tech in the 45-28 win. Al Groh's defense has to be better and Georgia Tech's pride should be a bit wounded from the last meeting.
Trap game: at Middle Tennessee. It wasn't until the third quarter of this game last year that Georgia Tech truly pulled away after a sluggish start in the first half had them leading 14-7. Middle Tennessee beat Maryland on the road in 2009. Anything is possible. Just ask Kansas.
Snoozer: Western Carolina. Georgia Tech shouldn't lose to a 2-9 FCS team. Period.
Good luck with that: The three-game stretch against Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Even though the Jackets have a bye week to prepare for the Thursday night home game against the Hokies, it’s a stretch that could make or break their season -- especially considering that the game against Virginia Tech has historically determined the Coastal Division winner.
Upset watch: vs. Duke. The Blue Devils were close in 2010 and had the lead midway through the fourth quarter. They will have home field advantage this year, and if they don’t turn it over, will snap a seven-game losing streak to Georgia Tech.
Analysis: In theory, Georgia Tech should start out 3-0 and put itself in good position to avoid a second straight losing season. All of Georgia Tech's nonconference opponents had losing records last year -- including rival Georgia. The problem is the rest of the ACC has caught up -- and in some cases passed -- the 2009 league champs. Three of the first four weeks in October will be spent on the road, and a seven-win season seems the most realistic at this point.
More in this series: