Friday, October 7, 2011

Back on Track with the Ramblin' Wreck

At the beginning of the season the talk was of Virginia Tech and Florida State playing an important role in how the MNC (Mythical National Championship) would be decided. However, as the first five weeks of the season are in the books, two programs do stand out in the ACC, although it is not the aforementioned teams. Both Clemson and Georgia Tech take undefeated records into this week’s contests and both are starting to create buzz nationally. Because Clemson has received several weeks of national exposure I am going to take a closer look at the #13 Georgia Tech (5 – 0) versus Maryland (2 – 2) matchup this week in Atlanta.

Maryland (2-2, 1-0) @ (13) Georgia Tech (5-0, 2-0), 12:00 ET ESPNU

The Yellow Jackets have rolled through their first five games with the only real test coming against North Carolina which the Yellow Jackets won 35 – 28. Paul Johnson’s triple option offense is possibly the best it has been in his tenure and this year the Jackets have a quarterback that can throw the ball around a little bit. Tevin Washington has thrown for almost a 1,000 yards and has 10 touchdown passes with only 1 interception. The Jacket running attack leads the nation, racking up almost 380 yards per game and 6.9 yards per carry. The number one rushing attack and a renewed passing game have propelled the Jackets to the second best offense in the country averaging 587 yards per game.

The concern this Saturday for the Yellow Jackets will be on Defense. They are currently the 37th ranked overall defense, but are going to be dealing with injuries to a couple of key players. Two of three starting linebackers, Jerimiah Attaochu and Daniel Drummond, will not be suiting up with leg injuries. This leaves the Jacket defense short on leadership in the middle.

Maryland, conversely, has had a rough season thus far with their only wins coming against a poor Miami team that was down several suspended players due to off season shenanigans (which will be a discussion for another day) and a lowly Towson team. Their season highlight might have been a close loss (31 – 37) to West Virginia who, at the time, many thought was the best team in the Big East. For what that is worth.

The Terrapins will need to hang their hopes on quarterback Danny O’Brien having a big game and living up to the preseason speculation that he was one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC. O’Brien has thrown for a little over 900 yards on the season, but has only thrown 4 touchdown passes while throwing 5 picks.

Because the traditions of college football are what make the sport great, I like to mention them whenever possible. And this week’s is very unique. The Georgia Tech players take the field led by a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe named the Ramblin’ Wreck. The Ramblin’ Wreck nickname is for the student body not the sports teams. It's a refers to the nickname given to the vehicles built by the Georgia Tech engineering students in the late 19th century while working the the jungles in South America. The car is painted in Georgia Tech’s gold and black is usually adorned with Yellow Jacket cheerleaders as it takes the field.

On to the pick for this week. Although it has been a tough few weeks in the ACC for NVNole, I think I will get back on track this week with a Georgia Tech victory on Saturday. This should be a high scoring game due to the Yellow Jackets defensive injuries, but the Jacket offense is going to be too much for Maryland to handle. Look for the Yellow Jackets to win this game 48 – 17 and cover the 14.5 point spread.

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