Tough Schedule will Test Yellow Jackets
By David England
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The Yellow Jackets may be more talented than they were last season, but the schedule will be exponentially more difficult.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have had some great success in the regular season since hiring Paul Johnson, compiling a 34-19 record. Johnson's success has earned him two ACC Coach of the Year Awards during his tenure in Atlanta. Enough about Paul Johnson though; this year will be an all-around tough test for Georgia Tech.
We all know about the much ballyhooed game against the Hokies in Blacksburg on Labor Day. Georgia Tech is just 3-6 against Virginia Tech when on the road, but with the dominance of the Hokies in ACC play as of late, that is nothing to be ashamed of. Some people consider Virginia Tech’s run in the past ten years one of the greatest in college football history.
The next tough test for Tech will be a home game against the Virginia Cavaliers. Last season Tech came into its contest with Virginia with a 6-0 record, its best record since 1966. The Jackets trailed 14-0 early in the game, but made a great comeback, holding the Cavaliers scoreless in the second half. The comeback attempt was simply was a little too late, however, as Virginia went on to win by three. After that loss, Georgia Tech won only two of their last five games.
After the physical Cavaliers, Tech faces Miami, a team in the midst of allegations of major recruiting violations. Miami is certainly not a top 25 team, but Georgia Tech has dropped three straight games against the Hurricanes. The last time Georgia Tech beat “the U” was in 2008.
October 6th will be a huge rematch for the Yellow Jackets, as they travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson. This matchup has been a classic since the first time these teams played. In the last eight years, Tech is 7-2 against Clemson (they played twice in 2009). The reason that this game is being deemed “the rematch” is that up until Clemson played Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd last season, they were 8-0 and ranked as high as #6 in the AP poll. Clemson ended up losing that game with the Jackets 17-31, sending the Tigers on a downward spiral from which they never really recovered. Expect fireworks on and off the field before the matchup in Clemson, South Carolina. Mark this matchup on your calendar.
After traveling to Clemson, the Yellow Jackets have a little time to breathe with a much needed bye week. Then they have three games against BYU, at Maryland and against Boston College, respectively. The next test comes in Chapel Hill, as Tech faces a very talented and much improved Tar Heel team. North Carolina is suspended from post-season play this season, and the contest against Tech will be their last major game of the 2012 season. Expect UNC to come out ready to play. The good news for Tech is that they have been very successful against the Tar Heels in recent seasons.
The Yellow Jackets wrap up the 2012 regular season with the "clean, old-fashioned hate" rivalry against Georgia. History is not on Georgia Tech’s side in this rivalry, but the Jacketswere able to pick up a huge upset against the Dawgs in 2008, so maybe there is hope for Georgia Tech.
The 2012 schedule is filled with many tough games for Coach Johnson's squad, and the road schedule, in particular, will not be easy on Tech. Over the last eight years, though, Georgia Tech has finished .500 or better in conference away games. With this schedul, we will truly discover how talented Georgia Tech is by mid-season.