Georgia Tech's weird.
Every year is something different. In '09 the Hokies were fourth in the country after shellacking Miami in the rain, and promptly lost in Atlanta. In 2010 they needed a David Wilson kick return to sneak by an average Jacket squad.
They needed superhuman Logan Thomas performances in '11 and '12, and an insane, balls-to-the-wall day from Kyle Fuller and the defense in '13. The Hokies threw away the game in '14, and gave us a moment in 2015 that we'd never forget:
And that, my friends, was the last time the Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets. It's an impossible game to predict every year, and a very unwise one to gamble on.
Without further ado, let's gamble on it.
Brian's Record this Year (+Last Week Only) 20-29-1 (5-4)
Joey's Record this Year (+Last Week Only) 25-25 (3-6)
On to the lines!
Over/Under, Georgia Tech's longest play from scrimmage: 59.5 yards
Brian: A year ago, the Hokies traveled down to Atlanta with one of the most complete defenses Bud Foster had yielded in over a decade. With NFL talent in every position group, they seemed fully equipped to throttle TaQuon Marshall and the rest of Paul Johnson's annoyingly effective attack. And they did.
Not. They did not.
Tech now faces Marshall and company with a defense whose big play advanced metrics charts just show a GIF of a cartoon character being repeatedly electrocuted. And with a defense whose corners don't always love to tackle. And with a defense whose alley play has been—let's just be nice and call it inconsistent.
(Side note: if the alley play is at a point where an idiot like me can recognize it during a game, it's not in a great spot. I barely have a grasp as to why a play worked or didn't, so I guess you could say I have the general knowledge of an ESPNU color guy.)
Joey: This feels like a trap. Do I expect Georgia Tech to pop a big play against a Virginia Tech defense that appears ready to give up a 90-yard score on every snap an opponent takes inside their ten?
Why, yes, as the matter of fact I do.
(The real line here may be O/U 2.5. Still lean over).
Over/Under: 399.5 Virginia Tech offensive yards
Brian: Ryan Willis may throw some picks. He may scramble around and do dumb things in the backfield. He may, at times, yell at his teammates after making a mistake that was clearly his fault.
But good lord do I trust that man to put up yards. It may all come in garbage time after a half of stagnancy, but with the amount of times he forces it deep into tight/double/triple coverage, a few always connect.
Ryan Willis has the arm. The dragon. And he's going to unleash the dragon.
(I'm not going to link to that joke, because it comes from a highly offensive mid-2000s blog about the inner monologue of Rex Grossman. But Willis has a little Grossman in him. Which means he has a little of the dragon in him.)
Joey: In the spirit of transparency, I was a few hundred words into a "Ted Roof is the Worst Football Coach in America" take before realizing Georgia Tech quasi-fired him last December. The short version, in all its glory:
Ted Roof is the worst football coach in America.
Roof, 54, is survived by his loving wife, Pam, and sons, T.D. and Michael. Roof got his start in the Atlantic Coast Conference coaching linebackers at Duke in 1990, following in the shadows of Steve Spurrier with a defensive unit that powered the Blue Devils to a 13-30-1 record in four objectively poor seasons. Next up for the mad defensive genius was an eight-year tour exploring the Eastern seaboard with stops at Massachusetts, Western Carolina, and Georgia Tech, before fate ultimately brought Roof back to Durham.
Duke had been slightly less bad in Roof's absence, but the Blue Devils returned to Rutgers-like mediocrity in the early-2000's, firing head coach Carl Franks in the fall of 2003 before inexplicably replacing him with none other than Ted Roof himself. Roof proceeded to win six (6) games in fifty-one (51) tries in four-plus seasons at the helm, a performance that led to Teddy riding off into the "I'll be significantly overpaid as a Power 5 coordinator for the rest of my life" sunset happy as a clam.
After spending the 2012 season on Bill O'Brien's staff at Penn State, Roof returned to Atlanta in 2013 to lead the vaunted Georgia Tech defense for Paul Johnson, ironically enough marking the first time in his storied career that he was actually underpaid. Roof's defenses ranged from generally horrible to occasionally feisty in five seasons with the Bees, a streak that came to an unfortunate halt last year after taking a 38-7 beating from rival Georgia.
Asked about the future of his defensive coordinator postgame, Johnson summed up Roof with 8 perfectly crafted words.
*Ted Roof is now the tenth assistant coach at NC State where just last week he gave up 471 yards to a true freshman quarterback. (Yeah, I'm aware Tech would give up 500+).
TL;DR: I loved the over thinking Roof was still at Georgia Tech, so I'll now take the under.
Over/Under: 129.5 passing yards for TaQuon Marshall
Brian: Marshall's topped this total just four times in two years. One of those four came against the Hokies (please see the above two clips. I think it's also important to note that those were his only two completions of the game. You have to admit that's both comical and impressive.)
This number will be determined by the pace of the game and if Johnson feels threatened enough to open up his attack—yes, opening up his attack means embracing the forward pass.
The Hokies have struggled to move the ball in the last two meetings, and I'm not sure the Jackets will ever be forced to throw to keep up with the Hokie offense, so I'll take the under.
Joey: This feels like more of a personal preference line for Paul Johnson. Is CPJ content to pillage the Hokies on the ground, slowly but surely demoralizing a top-heavy front seven without even threatening to attack through the air? Perhaps.
But I know Paul Johnson, and nothing makes that grumpy old man happier than unleashing an 80-yard bomb over the top against a Bud Foster defense over-committed to stop the run late in the third quarter. I'll take the over.
True or False: Ryan Willis will have more touchdowns than turnovers
Brian: IT'S TIME.
(I have no idea. It's seems like a 50/50 chance every game that he'll have five turnovers and completely self-destruct. And then he fits the ball into a microscopic window for 40 yards. And that's the side of him that I refuse to bet against. TRUST THE DRAGON.)
Joey: I still don't know what to think about Ryan Willis. Is he the Big 12 gunslinger that impressed against Duke and Notre Dame, or the "I'm throwing to Damon Hazelton regardless of down, distance, and defense" quarterback that we saw for roughly 55 minutes against North Carolina?
Like most things, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. I'd like to think that Willis' first "true" road test led to some questionable decision-making early on, and that he'll regress back to the mean against a beatable Georgia Tech team in the friendly confines of Lane Stadium. Am I confident? Not especially.
But how can I bet against Jake from State Farm?
3 touchdowns, 2 turnovers. True.
Georgia -7 vs Florida
Brian: The Dawgs losing in Death Valley was predictable. They were in a hostile environment, playing against a team coming off a loss, with a coach who looks like he'd give Kirby Smart a wedgie just for being named Kirby.
They're now playing in Jacksonville, the most neutral of neutral sites. They're against Florida, a team that was on the ropes to Vanderbilt and somehow still can't find a better quarterback than Feleipe Franks. During that game, the ESPN commentators noted that Franks' "problem areas" came when he threw beyond the line of scrimmage. And they're playing a coach who's like the nerdy kid at school who tried to overcompensate with nice sneakers.
Give me an extra helping of Justin Fields in a 10-point Georgia win.
Joey: I'll admit I was very wrong on Georgia vs. LSU. I'll also openly admit that I have no feel for this game.
On the one hand, I refuse to believe Florida is good at football, a stance most likely influenced by the fact that I had Vanderbilt moneyline two weeks ago in a game that Vandy led 21-3 in the second quarter and somehow still managed to lose by double digits. On the other hand, Georgia's offense looked shockingly inept in Death Valley, and you have to wonder if freshman phenom Justin Fields starts to get a bit more run against the Gators.
Forced to pick a side, I'll take the talent of Georgia and an angry Kirby Smart to cover.
Clemson -17 at Florida State
Brian: There's going to be a moment this year where Trevor Lawrence looks like a true freshman. It may not be for a whole game, it may just happen on a crucial play or two, but at some point he'll make Dabo and company a little nervous. It didn't happen against NC State (who, with another nut-punch of a loss, is really doing everything it can to become the Virginia Tech of North Carolina), but it'll happen.
Will it happen against Florida State, a team who somehow has only bad losses and bad wins? Probably not.
But I caution everyone to remember the meeting a year ago, in Clemson. The 'Noles caught the Tigers sleeping and had the ball in the fourth quarter only down three. James Blackman immediately threw an interception to burn any chance of upset to the ground, but you get my point. Clemson won 31-14, which is 17 points and makes you think Vegas knows what they're doing.
But this is also a Seminole offensive line that made Jarrod Hewitt look like Aaron Donald, and have only gotten less healthy.
Tigers by a million.
Joey: Is Florida State not awful?
/Googles 'Not so fast' gif.
FLORIDA STATE IS STILL AWFUL. JUST BECAUSE WILLIE TAGGART BEAT LOUISVILLE, WAKE FOREST, AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS DOESN'T MEAN HE HAS A PRAYER OF MAKING A BOWL GAME.
Seriously, the 'Noles finish the year with the ACC's version of murderers row (Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, BC, and Florida), a five-game stretch that screams 1-4 and could very realistically be 0-5 if it wasn't for Scot Loeffler still being employed by Boston College. With Trevor Lawrence looking better by the week, I absolutely love Clemson in this spot.
Tigers by 30+.
The Joey Coogan Memorial "Navy Hits the Over" Lock of the Week.
Brian: I have to confess something. Last week, in the interest of my overall financial well being, I threw Clemson (-16.5 vs NC State), Virginia (+7 @ Duke), and UNC (+9.5 @ Syracuse) in a teaser. I felt so good about it, I actually made a small parlay on the three as well.
I called it the "Parlay of puke", and it cashed in big time.
And guess what friends? I'm taking one of those teams again. UVA is good. They're at home (for whatever that's worth), and they're playing a Carolina team that's 1-5. So it's no surprise that they're favored by nine over the Heels.
But Carolina's shown two straight weeks of competitiveness in devastating losses, and probably aren't as bad as their one-win record suggests. Virginia has a decade-long history of showing that they don't handle success very well, especially against bad teams.
Give me the Heels and the points.
Joey: We're back.
With an 85-point snoozer firmly in the rearview mirror, the Navy over train rides cross-county to San Diego (I promise I double-checked, it's actually in San Diego) this week to take on No. 3 Notre Dame. The early total is at 53.5 (which you can expect to go up), and I genuinely believe Notre Dame hits that by itself.
Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech Over/Under: 59
Brian: On one side, you have a defense who made mannequin-turned-quarterback Nathan Elliott look serviceable for the first time in his career. And on the other side you have...
Wait for it.
Keep waiting. You know what's coming.
THE MOTHER F**KING DRAGON. THE ONE WHO BURNT CHAPEL HILL TO THE GROUND 98-YARDS AT A TIME. NEVER BET AGAINST THE DRAGON.**
On the back of a dragon,
Earns many points.
**(at least for one week)
Joey: For as much as I expect both offenses to move the ball between the 20's with relative ease, 59 still feels high. Put differently, the triple option is an untimely fumble or two away from not holding up their end of the total bargain, and I haven't seen enough from Ryan Willis to feel comfortable blindly betting overs.
Under it is.
Spread: Virginia Tech -3
Brian: Let's weigh some pros and cons:
Pros: Virginia Tech is the better team. Virginia Tech has the better coach. Virginia Tech can gain a huge advantage in the Coastal with a win. Virginia Tech has the dragon.
Cons: Virginia Tech has the better coach, who has somehow lost two straight to Paul Johnson. Virginia Tech has Coastal dreams, and has all the pressure on their shoulders. Virginia Tech has the dragon.
This feels like the pushiest of pushes to me (Tech winning 31-28, or something like that). But this week? We're betting the dragon. Hokies minus three.
Joey: This line is so disrespectful. Let's review the facts:
- Virginia Tech is 3-0 in ACC play and sole owners of the Coastal Division lead
- Virginia Tech is playing at home
- Virginia Tech is playing on a Thursday night, where they also happen to be 6-0 all-time against...
- Georgia Tech, who is 1-3 in the ACC, good for a last-place tie with North Carolina
And the line is 3. 3!
You want to know why? Because Vegas is smart, and Vegas can not in good conscience make this anything more than a field goal after having witnessed the three hour stomach ache that took place in Chapel Hill last weekend.
And you know what? I agree with them. Give me Georgia Tech and the points.
Disclaimer: Some of these are real betting lines, but many of them are fake and none of this is real advice that should be taken seriously.