Georgia Tech vs. Boston College (Ireland)
Saturday, 4:30 am PT - ESPN2
CRIS Opener: Georgia Tech -3 O/U 47
CRIS Current: Georgia Tech -3 O/U 44
ACC opener for each of these teams right off the bat and only thing that could make the stakes higher is if it were a divisional game. The offseason brought change at each of the coordinator posts for Boston College and a renewed sense of urgency and determination for Georgia Tech. It is practically impossible to project and plus or minus for either team due to the international travel situation but the Yellow Jackets have indicated that they view this as the bowl game they did not play in last season. It’s doubtful though after reading player quotes that they’ll get so caught up in the trip that they’ll lose focus.
Boston College does get a huge advantage here by being able to prepare for the Georgia Tech option attack for the last six months. The Eagles did lose defensive coordinator Don Brown (Michigan DC) who last season directed them to national rankings of first in total Defense, second in rush defense, and fourth in scoring defense. The switch to Jim Reid (Iowa LB coach) doesn’t disrupt anything schematically since Reid’s philosophy is very similar to that of Brown’s. There are always some subtle differences between coaching styles and the Eagles are in a familiarity stage but it doesn’t appear there will be a major drop off in defensive production especially with seven starters and 23 lettermen back. On offense, Boston College is going through a significant system change under new OC Scott Loeffler but there’s strong continuity between Loeffler and head coach Steve Addazio. In 2009-10 Loeffler and Addazio were part of the Florida staff and then Addazio took Loeffler with him to Temple to serve as OC for the 2011 season. Toward the end of fall practice, BC was working exclusively out of the shotgun formation as they look to improve their passing game.
There is no such change going on for the Yellow Jackets as the coaching staff and system remains the same. What is different for Tech is its health and attitude. After suffering through an injury plagued and youth filled 2015 campaign, GT returns a batch of key personnel and the team’s fire has been lit by last year’s 3-9 straight up record. Offensively, this team is better at all of the position groups with senior dual threat QB Justin Thomas being the explosive trigger. The young running backs are talented and more experienced after being thrown into the fire last season and the OL is healthy with a Remington Award Watch list candidate Freddie Burden at center. The defense was mediocre last year and losing their best DL Adam Goetsis to the NFL (2nd round, Denver) and three-fourths of their starting secondary breeds some concerns.
While BC figures to be an elite defensive team once again, there’s plenty going on offensively with Addazio’s “multiple spread” attack taking on new terminology, formations and concepts. Also throw in a new QB as Kentucky transfer Patrick Towles takes over and the fact that the TE position figures to now have a prominent role. It’s all new, and there's nothing that Georgia Tech can take off of film from any season during Addazio’s tenure. Georgia Tech is the steadier and more predictable commodity at this point which is why they’re favored -3 and my power ratings agree. The true advantages here lie in the offenses where the Yellow Jackets' option and the Boston College upgrades have potential to be productive. With the total now pushing all the way down to 43.5 in multiple venues, the over is worth a look.