Let’s see what we can learn this week as ACC Chaos continues to unfold!
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call “The ACC.”
As you all know, the ACC has been like something out of The Twilight Zone this year. Clemson is bad, and Wake Forest might be actually really good. As we enter into this new, weird dimension, let’s look at some questions that we can learn the answers to this week.
But first! What did we learn last week?
Just how good is Georgia Tech?
While we may not have the final answer to this question quite yet, one thing is sure: This team is a whole lot better than the Georgia Tech team that lost to Northern Illinois in Week 1. This is something that we’ll continue to learn each week. But right now, the answer is, surprisingly good!
Can Georgia Tech survive a shootout with one of the nation’s top offenses?
Yes! Though it turns out UNC might not be one of the nation’s top offenses. UNC has a lot of potential to be a big-play offense, but they’ve struggled a lot this year.
Will we ever see a shake-up on the offensive line?
Doesn’t look like it, but Ryan Johnson—and the offensive line as a whole—looked a lot better this week.
Now, let’s go to the Twilight Zone and see what we can learn!
Will Georgia Tech ever decide on a quarterback?
Another week, another potential quarterback controversy. After playing just a few series against UNC, Jordan Yates was pulled in favor of Jeff Sims, who went on to play the best game of his career. He was efficient through the air, going 10-for-13 for 112 yards and a touchdown, but it was on the ground where Sims made his presence known. He ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries.
Now, the question is who will start this week and the rest of the season.
In his two previous starts, Jordan Yates breathed some life into an offense that struggled, leading Tech to a victory over Kennesaw State and then a nail-biter in Death Valley against Clemson. But when Jeff Sims came in against UNC, this offense looked completely revitalized.
I think this team could be fine with Yates leading the way, but with Sims playing at his best, I think this is pretty easily a bowl team. So with that, I think Sims will be the guy moving forward. I just hope that Sims can stay on the top of his game, because when he does, I think he’s a great quarterback.
Is Pitt good, or do people just think they’re good?
Pitt is 3-1 coming into this game with a victory over Tennessee. SP+ has Pitt in the Top 25. The Bindex has Pitt at 32. So they must be pretty good, right?
Well, I’m not so sure. Let’s take a closer look at this Pitt team. In Week 1, Pitt predictably demolished UMass 51-7. Kenny Pickett had a great day, passing for 270 yards and a couple touchdowns, but nobody had more than 45 yards on the ground.
In a 41-34 victory over Tennessee in Week 2, Pickett once again looked good, passing for 285 yards and a couple touchdowns. Once again, nobody had more than 43 yards on the ground. In addition, looking at the stats, Tennessee didn’t play particularly well. Hendon Hooker was held under 200 yards passing and threw two touchdowns and an interception. Nobody on the team had more than 54 yards rushing, but the Vols were still within a touchdown. Tennessee also hasn’t really impressed in their other games this season.
And then in Week 3, Pitt lost to Western Michigan 44-41. Pickett threw for nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns, while also throwing a pick. Once again, nobody had over 49 yards rushing.
Finally, in Week 4, Pitt had someone rush for more than 54 yards, and this week they had two in their 77-7 victory over noted powerhouse New Hampshire. Pickett passed for 400 yards and five touchdowns.
So reading through that, there is a common theme. Pitt can’t run the ball at all. I also don’t know that any of their wins are particularly impressive. Tennessee is not that great of a football team. They also lost to Western Michigan.
Similar to Tech’s game against UNC, I think this has the potential to show off Pitt’s true colors. Especially if Tech can get pressure on Kenny Pickett like they did against Sam Howell last week.
Were Tech’s eight sacks last week a fluke, or does Tech have a good pass rush now?
Speaking of getting pressure on Kenny Pickett.
Last week was Georgia Tech’s most impressive display of pass rush in a long time. Georgia Tech got EIGHT SACKS on Sam Howell. For reference, in their previous meeting in 2019, the Yellow Jackets had one sack against UNC. Also, let’s see how many sacks the team has gotten per year in the last several years. Specifically, we’ll go to Jon Tenuta’s last season as defensive coordinator (2007).
2020 – 21 sacks
2019 – 17 sacks
2018 – 16 sacks
2017 – 17 sacks
2016 – 18 sacks
2015 – 14 sacks
2014 – 20 sacks
2013 – 34.5 sacks (Jeremiah Attaochu’s last season at Georgia Tech)
2012 – 28 sacks
2011 – 22 sacks
2010 – 17 sacks
2009 – 24 sacks
2008 – 34 sacks
2007 – 47.5 sacks
Four games into this season, Georgia Tech is sitting at 10 sacks, largely skewed by an 8-sack performance against North Carolina. The question now is can Tech continue to get to the quarterback with such vigor?
I don’t think we’ll see another 8-sack performance (though I would love to be wrong on that), but I do think this has the potential to be the best pass rushing team Tech has had since 2013. Collins has done a good job bringing in some pass rushers in bulk, with Jordan Domineck and Jared Ivey. Kyle Kennard has also performed well this season. I’m curious to see how they follow up this last performance.
What are you hoping to learn this week?