When you’ve won 12 of the last 14 games against your rival, as Georgia has done to Georgia Tech, it might start to feel like superiority over little brother is a foregone conclusion.
That’s why it would be especially weird if UGA fans had to sit at home and watch the Yellow Jackets in the College Football Playoff, 4 months from now.
Admittedly, this is an easy hypothetical situation to ponder in late-August, before a single game is played. But if you think about it, Georgia Tech’s road to the playoff may be a heck of a lot easier than the one the Bulldogs will have to traverse.
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UGA will face five teams in the preseason top 25 rankings – GT being one of them – with three consecutive games against ranked opponents in October. They’ll host Alabama first, then play at Tennessee before coming home to play Missouri.
Tech’s stretch in late-September and October isn’t a total cakewalk, but it’s definitely easier. They’ll start with road games against Notre Dame and Duke in consecutive weeks, then a get-healthy game against UNC before a massive tilt with Clemson in Atlanta. If they survive all that, they’ll have Pittsburgh and then a colossal matchup with Florida State, both at Bobby Dodd Stadium the following two weeks.
Keep this in mind: GT feasts on opponents when they get more than 7 days to prepare, but they won’t have a bye week at all during that stretch. They also have a road game at Miami the week before they play Georgia, so they won’t be getting any favors there, either.
The Yellow Jackets have one fewer ranked opponent on their schedule than UGA, and they get the Bulldogs at home in late-November. If both teams are undefeated going into the final game of the season (how huge would that game be?), GT’s home-field advantage may be the deciding factor.
Here’s where the Dawgs will have an advantage, in all likelihood. As long as they don’t lose to GT or the SEC West champion in December in the Georgia Dome, UGA might be able to drop a game and still make it to the College Football Playoff as a 1-loss SEC champion. It’s tough to see GT, on the other hand, getting into the playoff with anything less than a perfect record.
My gut tells me that neither team makes the College Football Playoff this season. UGA has too much inexperience at quarterback to win the SEC, and Georgia Tech’s defense might be too shaky to dodge all the landmines on its schedule.
But if you’re asking who will be closer to the top-4 at the end of the season, don’t be surprised if it’s the Ramblin’ Wreck, not the Dawgs.
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