Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech Preview

By: Christian Goeckel

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Before anyone loses their mind, yes, we know Tech won’t be representing the East this year in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

They will however have a chance to improve their record against the east to 4-0 when they face Tennessee to kick off the season in that very same stadium on September 4th.

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ACC Is Better Than SEC

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Let me start by saying I picked North Carolina to cut down the nets this past Monday night and I have the SSE article from a couple of weeks ago to prove it.

I have been mulling this article over on my mind for a few weeks now. Folks that know me know that I am a die-hard SEC supporter and I make no bones about it.

So, take notice when I type this this next sentence. The ACC is better right now than the SEC. Yes, I said it. Now that I have that out of the way here is why.

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2017 Predictions

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By: Drayton Hogarth

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

 

 

2016 was quite an interesting year for everyone, and that includes the sports world.

Many of our local teams experienced ups and downs and surprises of all kind. Now that we have arrived to the New Year of 2017, it is time to make some predictions for our area teams as we march forward throughout the coming months.

The Atlanta Falcons will finish this 2016-17 season with a playoff run. There are not many teams entering the playoffs playing at a higher level right now.

MVP candidate Matt Ryan has a plethora of offensive weapons he can utilize, as well as a solid line to protect him. In fact, it is a team that is good enough to make it to the Super Bowl, but that is where the dream will end as the Falcons will come up short against the New England Patriots in a shootout.

During the offseason, the Falcons will pick up another pass rusher in the draft to complement Vic Beasley. Plus, add in a couple more quality free agent signings, and the Falcons will make another Super Bowl run.

In Athens, Coach Kirby Smart will bring in the best recruiting class in Georgia history. Even better, the on the field product will be much improved as well, as the talent in the program is upgraded to levels that Bulldog fans have hoped for the last half decade or so.

Georgia will finally win the SEC East and challenge for the college football playoff. It’s gonna be the beginning of a fun ride, Georgia fans. Be scared, college football, the sleeping giant has awoken.

Coach Paul Johnson will be expected to challenge for the ACC title in 2017, but same as recent history, the Jackets will not be able to live up to the lofty expectations.

Johnson and his Yellow Jackets seem to do much better when the perception is that they will struggle. When people underestimate Tech, that is when they are at their most dangerous.

Georgia Tech fans will grow weary of this roller coaster ride and will make a surprise move of letting the long-time coach take his triple option offense elsewhere. Look for the Jackets to make a run at current Colorado State head coach, and former Georgia Bulldog, Mike Bobo as their next coach in 2018.

Tyson Summers will get the Georgia Southern Eagles back to the upper level of the Sun Belt. Look for the Eagles to go 10-4 with a loss in the Sun Belt title game, but win their bowl game.

Brand new Suntrust Stadium will see the Atlanta Braves continue to improve and be more like the competitive team that we saw finish the 2016 season. Having Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, and Matt Kemp in the lineup for a full season will allow the Braves to be the best offensive lineup in the National League.

It will be the pitching that will prevent the Braves from making the post season. Look for the Braves to get to .500 or better in the coming season, with prospects for a strong run in 2018.

The Atlanta Hawks will make a deep run in the NBA playoffs and will finally beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, but only three times. Thus, they will lose in seven games to Lebron James and the Cavs—who will lose to the Golden State Warriors.

On the hardwood in Athens, the Georgia Bulldogs will either win two games in the NCAA tournament, or they will be replacing Mark Fox as the head coach of the hoop Dawgs. Oh, and there will be a new athletic director making that decision at the University of Georgia as well.

Look for Josh Pastner to get the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the NIT and continue to restore the Jackets to respectability in the college basketball world.

Well, that should do it for most of my predictions for the upcoming year. Go ahead and save this article to refer back to, and if I get even half of these correct, you can thank me later, maybe in 2018. Happy New Year everyone!

Rambling Wreck Re-Build

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By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

This is my favorite time of year as a sports fan because so many things are going on.

Football, basketball and hockey are all being played now. In college there are some programs that are synonymous with certain sports.

If I said Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Duke or UConn you think basketball school. Programs like Alabama, USC, Nebraska, Miami, Penn State or FSU are known as football schools.

There are only a handful of schools that are known as being perennial contenders in men’s basketball and football. By that I mean ranked on a regular basis in both sports and known to make bowl games and the NCAA tournament in the same year. Some examples of this would be Florida, North Carolina, UCLA, Ohio State and Michigan. At one point Syracuse was in this category until they fell off the map in football in the early 2000s.

Georgia Tech was also one of the rare programs with this distinction but they have had some down years in basketball recently. They haven’t played in the NCAA tournament since 2010. Head coach Josh Pastner is in his first year in Atlanta and he’s trying to bring the program back to its glory days. Pastner was 167-73 with four NCAA tournament bids in seven seasons as the head coach of Memphis.

Tech has had some big name coaches in the past including John Heisman who coached football, baseball and basketball for the Yellow Jackets. Bobby Cremins is the most successful coach in the programs history. He led them to a Final Four in 1990 and he’s Tech’s all-time winningest coach. The floor at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is named “Cremins Court” in his honor.

Paul Hewitt led the Jackets to their second Final Four and first national championship in 2004. The question is can they ever return to this level? They’re currently 6-3 and the next game is Tuesday at home against archrival Georgia. They lead the series 105-87.

“You know, I’ve never coached a game that wasn’t important,” Pastner said. “So, never in my eight years as coaching as a head coach have I felt one game is more important than the other. The way I look at it, you want to win every game you coach. To me, every game is important, and who we are as a team, we are in a situation based on margin of error, which is zero. We are a possession-by-possession team, and we can’t overlook anybody. We have to be near perfect in our effort and execution if we are to have a chance to win the game, no matter who we play.”

They’ve been very inconsistent thus far losing games to Ohio, Penn State and Tennessee. The best win so far was on the road at VCU. This is a very important stretch to hopefully get wins against inferior non-conference opponents. The following games are home against Wofford 12/22 and North Carolina A&T 12/28. They begin conference play against No. 8 North Carolina, No. 5 Duke and No. 10 Louisville.

Tech has a good chance of starting ACC play 0-3. They were only 27-61 in ACC play the past five years under former coach Brian Gregory. That’s why getting several wins before conference play is so important. If they can get nine wins before it starts they will help set themselves up for March. I believe with 20 or more wins they can participate in March Madness. That will make recruiting easier. We will see what coach Pastner has in store but I think he’s the right guy to get Tech back to their winning ways.

Georgia Bulldogs versus Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Preview

kenBy: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

This is a bittersweet time in college football. We’re down to the final week of the regular season. The highlight of this is the many in state rivalry games. We get match ups like Alabama vs. Auburn, Clemson vs. South Carolina, Florida vs. Florida State, USC vs. UCLA and Washington vs. Washington State.

You see where I’m going with this. These games might not decide a spot in the playoffs but they are for bragging rights for the next 364 days. My favorite game is Georgia versus Georgia Tech. This game is called Clean, Old Fashioned Hate for a reason. They first played in 1893 making it one of the oldest rivalries in the country.

This has been a very one-sided rivalry especially as of late. Since the year 2000 UGA is 13-3 against Tech. Paul Johnson is only 2-6 in the series after becoming the Yellow Jackets head coach in December 2007. I think his record is something to keep in mind depending on the outcome of this game.

Georgia Tech (7-4) has had a decent season but it’s a drastic improvement over last year when they finished 3-9. They’re led by senior quarterback Justin Thomas. He’s very good at running the spread option offense that Coach Paul Johnson is known for.

Thomas has over 550 rushing yards and averages 4.6 yards per carry. They don’t pass often but when they do Thomas normally takes long shots down the field. He only averages 6.7 completions per game and he has close to 1,300 passing yards.

Georgia (7-4) is experiencing some growing pains under first year head coach Kirby Smart. They got rid of their most successful coach since the Vince Dooley era last year for not winning enough big games. Smart has to be feeling some pressure especially knowing that it’s tough to reach the unrealistic expectations of the UGA fan base.

The Bulldogs are led by true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason. He was Gatorade Football Player of the Year in 2015. His father Tony was an NFL quarterback that also played in a Super Bowl so he seems to have the pedigree for a successful career. He’s only completing 55% of his passes with 13 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. He’s going through growing pains now but the experience he’s getting should pay off next season.

We tell our kids all the time: You’re remembered by what your senior class does and what your record is against Georgia Tech. So I think the same case as any rivalry. You’ve got to keep it within the grasp of your emotions. You play with emotion, but you’ve got to play with controlled emotion. You’ve got to make good decisions on the field. You’ve got to prepare well,” Smart said.

Neither team is ranked but I expect this to be one of the best rivalry games this weekend. Both teams are already bowl eligible but the winner can possibly have a nine-win season with a win in this game and the bowl game. That will provide a lot of momentum going into the offseason.

They play in Athens at noon Saturday. I think being at home is a big advantage for Georgia. They also have superior talent to Georgia Tech so I expect them to win. Georgia is having a down year so if Georgia Tech still can’t win this game they should look at changing coaches immediately.