Air Force (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6) (+3)
I love this matchup so much. I love that both coaches are pretending like they’re going to forget what the forward pass is for this game since we’re pretty much guaranteed that there are going to be more than a couple trick plays and random passes. There’s no way Paul Johnson plays it straight, especially if Josh Nesbitt doesn’t play. I love that there will be nothing but science nerds in attendance too.
Whether Josh Nesbitt plays or not really isn’t the issue for Georgia Tech though. It’s their defense. Can’t imagine how Al Groh brought some bad vibes with him when he decided to be Tech’s DC. He was such a success at Virginia.
Nesbitt is still their best offensive threat, obviously, but if Air Force gets the ball first, they’ll either score a bunch early and make the Yellow Jackets play from behind the whole time. Or the Falcons will keep the ball for the entire first quarter, and Nesbitt won’t see the field much anyway.
Hopefully, the layoff between Good, Old-Fashioned Hate and the bowl game will mean Groh and company get their crap together. But they were awful pretty much all year, and you can’t run the option and have a shitty defense. Actually, from that angle, 6-6 is pretty much a wild success for this team with that terrible defense and no Nesbitt since early November.
Anyone else starting to wonder why Troy Calhoun hasn’t left for a better job yet?
8-4 is about as good as it gets for the Falcons in the Mountain West, and Calhoun has certainly got a lot of buzz around his name for making them the most dominant service academy over the last few years. Maybe he just doesn’t want to have to recruit for real or something.
I’m thinking this will be an uglier game that people might expect. Georgia Tech isn’t their usual self, and Air Force is good but not great. Layoffs usually screw up passing teams, but I think it’s going to mess up the option for a little bit too. Both defenses will put up a little early resistance before it turns into a big play battle in the second half.
Pick: Georgia Tech