We started a series this week looking at some of the ACC’s most meaningful rivalries, and predicting whetherthe most recent trends are going to change in 2014. Can the underdogs stop the losing streaks?
It’s Georgia Tech’s turn to answer:
The series: Georgia leads, 64-39-5
Last meeting: Nov. 30, 2013: Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 34 (2OT)
The streak: Georgia Tech has five straight losses to the Bulldogs and seven consecutive losses at home to UGA. The Jackets have not beaten their in-state rival since a 45-42 win in Athens in 2008. It was Georgia Tech’s first win in the series since 2000.
The skinny: Georgia’s biggest offseason recruit might have been former Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He’s got a tough task, turning around a defense that has struggled in the past two seasons, while Georgia Tech’s defense has shown significant improvement in the past year under coordinator Ted Roof. Still, the Jackets have to replace three starters on the defensive line, including standout end Jeremiah Attaochu, while Georgia returns 10 starters to its defense. Offensively, Georgia has to replace record-setting quarterback Aaron Murray, as well as three starters on the offensive line. Georgia Tech will also have a new starting quarterback following the transfer of Vad Lee, and Justin Thomas is the leading candidate this spring. Like Georgia, the Jackets also have to replace three starting offensive linemen. While there are several similarities on paper, expectations are much higher for Georgia this season.
The prediction: Georgia Tech has a bye week to prepare for a road trip to Georgia, but it won’t be enough to overcome Georgia’s defense -- or a healthy Todd Gurley, who could be a Heisman contender. Dawgs win. Pruitt didn’t have the pleasure of scheming for Paul Johnson’s spread option offense while on Florida State’s staff last year, so there’s no advantage from that aspect, but there is an edge in the fact that he’s been part of three straight national titles. An SEC East title could be next.