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Georgia Tech Will Win The Coastal Division

The fifth team in our Coastal preview is the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Last season is one that coach Paul Johnson would love to forget.  After a magical 2014 campaign that saw the Jackets win 11 games, 2015 was a utter disaster.  Georgia Tech finished 2015 with a 3-9 record, and may fans were left with more questions than answers.  How could a team that finished so high in '14, sink so low in 2015?  Look no further than a hobbled, young offensive line that afforded QB Justin Thomas little, or no protection most of the season.  In 2014, Thomas lit up A.C.C. competition.  He was a second team All-A.C.C. selection, and was poised to have a monster 2015. That didn't happen.  Thomas threw for a paltry 41.7% completion rate, and had a 13/8 TD/INT ratio.  More importantly, Thomas averaged only 3.4 YPC, which was down from his stellar 2014 campaign. In 2014, Thomas averaged 5.7 YPC, and was virtually unstoppable.

With the offensive line woes, the potent Jacket offense started like a banshee.  They hung 69 and 65 points on Alcorn State and Tulane respectively.  They could never find that type of output the rest of the season.  This year, running backs Clinton Lynch, and Isiah Willis should have bigger numbers.  Georgia transfer JJ Green should offer more depth in the backfield.  Georgia Tech averaged 378 YPG in total offense, which for Paul Johnson, is not good enough.  Georgia Tech is successful when it runs at will on confused defenses.  It just didn't do that enough in 2014.

The much maligned offensive line of the Jackets should be better in 2015.  Senior Freddie Burden anchors that unit, and is flanked by Shamire Devine and Will Bryan.  Sophomore Trey Klock should have a big year from his tackle spot, opening up holes for the vaunted Georgia Tech rushing attack.

Defensively, the Jackets allowed a respectable 26 PPG last season. The big concern here is that they are only returning 5 starters as a group.  The real key will be a yound defensive backfield.  Step Durham and Lawrence Austin are the junior cornerbacks, but have only 10 starts combined.

The schedule for the Yellow Jackets begins "across the pond" with a game against Boston College that will be played in Dublin, Ireland.  They do have Clemson and Miami back to back, but both of those games will be at Bobby Dodd Stadium.  The stretch run for the Jackets will be in November, They travel to North Carolina on 11/5, followed up with a trip to Blacksburg.I have Georgia Tech at 8-4. They will lose to Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech.