2021’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Redux

I published this article without consulting Reed. I emailed him around 9:00 this morning and got on with my day. I can not figure out if Reed has something scheduled. It is now around 1:50 pm so I am taking a leap of faith.

Pitt is coming off a 77 – 7 victory over a team in Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), the New Hampshire Wildcats. This win ends Pitt’s Out of Conference (OOC) season at 3 – 1, (0 – 0 ACC, 3-1 OOC). Up next is Georgia Tech and the start of conference play.

The Georgia Tech (GT) Yellow Jackets are coming off a stunning 45 – 22 win over then #21 ranked North Carolina (NC). GT is now 2 – 2 (1-1 ACC, 1-1 OOC).

There was slight disgruntlement with head coach Geoff Collins after the Northern Illinois game. That restlessness disappeared after the NC win.

NC was the preseason favorite to win the ACC Costal Division. This win was preceded by a close 8 – 14 loss to then perceived preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Division, the ACC and make a run in the College Football Playoff – Clemson. Both are now 2 – 2. The Atlantic, the Coastal and the ACC is up for grabs.

From the ACC website, the standings:

All schools but North Carolina have played their FCS opponent. The ACC is 12 – 1 in these contests. Florida State has the honor of losing 17 – 20 to Jacksonville State.

The only addition to my preseason review is in the transfer portal (TP). GT picked up a QB transfer from Temple and lost a player to the TP early in fall camp. The QB did have at least one snap during the Northern Illinois loss (one run for one yard).

Here is a comparison of NCAA stats. Compare and differ.

To answer a reader’s question – The NCAA punting average is the total of the average for each game played. Christodoulou has averaged 44.5, 40.7, 37.3, and 47.0. Add them all together and you have the NCAA number.

On to the individual stats, starting with QB comparisons. GT loss starting QB Jeff Sims to injury in the first quarter of the Northern Illinois loss. He replaced temporary starter Jordan Yates during the NC win. His running and passing was instrumental in the win over NC.

I wonder if Jared Wayne is the all time passing efficiency leader at Pitt. He did surpass Aaron Matthew’s 2019  mark of 455.2 for being 1/1 for 3 yards and a TD against Central Florida.

GT would probably be 4 – 0 if Sims wasn’t injured in the Northern Illinois game. He adds a running threat to a rather below mediocre passing game. (At least compared to his 2020 stats). But then again he was a true freshmen in 2020. And as Pitt fans like to say, all opponent teams and players get better but Pitt and Pitt players never do. But he didn’t play against Northern Illinois. That is football. Stars get hurt.

What about the running backs and receivers?

A comparison of GT and Pitt.

Gibbs and Mason make a potent running attack. It looks like GT does not use a TE in their passing attack.

Some defensive individual stats. From ESPN team stats and compared to NCAA statistics for accuracy. The below is still to long for my taste. Any suggestions on cutting the length? Pitt has 36 players and GT has 31 players who made at least one type of defensive stat. I cut the list to the top 15 in total tackles.

On a per game basis, Pitt is ranked #5 with their 16 sacks for 132 yards. GT is #41 with 11 sacks for 68 yards. GT had 3 sacks against Kennesaw State and 8 against NC. They did not have any against Northern Illinois or Clemson.

In Tackles for Loss (TFL), Pitt is ranked #22 with a total of 30 for 161 yards. GT is #54 with 26 for 122 yards. (Note: sacks are included in TFL’s.)

I can not find data on individual offensive line (Oline) play. But a sign of their unit play are sacks allowed and TFL’s allowed.

Pitt is ranked #47 with 7 sacks allowed for 50 yards. GT is #103 at 12 sacks for 103 yards.

In TFL’s, Pitt is #88 allowing 25 for 87 yards. GT is # allowing a total of 22 for 118 yards.

You may be wondering why I color coded different names and stats. Those names in pink are transfers.

Those names in yellow (QB data) are against FCS teams. Yes, playing an FCS team can skew stats. It happened to Pitt but also happened to GT. Check out how Pickett’s and Yates NCAA passing efficiency rankings jumped after playing an FCS team.

I believe only 13 FBS teams (out of 130), who for various reasons, did not schedule an FCS opponent. To single out Pitt and say stats are skewed and should be discounted is the height of cherry picking. Especially if you then compare your adjusted stats against any of the 117 teams that did play an FCS team. All FBS teams did not blow out their FCS opponent. Some lost (looking at you Florida State) but they had a chance. If they did not take it, shame on them. You can not single out Pitt for doing what they were supposes to do.

Pitt wins 34 – 28.