To add fuel to the fire around this game, plezWorld is a graduate of Georgia Tech and plezWife had the misfortune of graduating from the University of Georgia! All season long, she is a devoted Tech fan, coming to all of the games and cheering for the White and the Gold. But come that Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving, her allegiance swerves to the dreaded Red and Black.
Despite their records, this game is usually close and fought to the bitter end. For the past 7 years, the Bulldogs have been winning the game and last year, it wasn't very close. But this year, the Bullpups started the season as favorites for the National Championship and a Preseason Number One ranking. They've lost two games, actually, they were BLOWN OUT of two games, falling behind by 31 points at home to Alabama and getting their arses reamed by Florida to the tune of 49-10 (and it wasn't even that close). They won the rest of their games, although they struggled with Auburn and Kentucky. They aren't even in the Top 10 (while they finished last season at number 3).
Georgia has seen a precipitous fall in play on the defensive side of the ball, they are not nearly as menacing as last year's version (remember how they dismantled Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl earlier this year?). The offense should be on point with one of the top QB's in the nation, a top Heisman-quality running back, and two outstanding wide receivers (Massaquoi and Green). But the O-line is suspect and Tech's D-line is SOLID!
Georgia Tech is currently in first place in the ACC, despite having a first year coach in Paul Johnson, a sophomore quarterback who had to learn a new offensive scheme, and a very young team. When healthy and playing to their ability, the offense and defense has been unstoppable, but they did lose two games that they should've won: Virginia and North Carolina. They did counter those losses with a trio of upsets: Florida State, Boston College, and Miami.
A healthy defensive line for Tech will give Bulldog's QB Matthew Stafford fits and not enough time to hit his standout receivers nor will it allow SEC rushing leader Knowshon Moreno the freedom to run for big yardage. If Tech's triple option offense can get the run game going and can free up some running lanes for ACC rushing leader Jonathan Dwyer, the Bulldogs will be in for a long afternoon. With a Virginia Tech loss to Virginia, Tech will be headed to Tampa for the ACC Championship game next week - and that game will be played at the same time as the UGA-Tech game, so the players won't know the outcome until the end of their game. A win on Saturday may line Tech up for a BCS Bowl game!
The Bulldogs are tough to beat at home, but it can be done (see Alabama game). And with little to play for - no SEC championship, no BCS Bowl game, and probably relegated to some non-New Year's Day bowl - the Bulldogs may not be as motivated to beat a team that they've owned for the past 7 years with no big reward hanging on the outcome. With this being a down year in the SEC, a loss to Tech won't change the Bulldog's bowl picture by much.
plez sez: the bulldawgs are favored by 7 1/2 points. tech is going to play 'em close... look for an upset!
BLOG UPDATE: (11/29/2008 5:00 PM) Tech wins!
Read Jeff Schultz's Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about a Tech upset.
Read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about Georgia Tech and Georgia's leading running backs.
Read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about rivalry between UGA and Georgia Tech.
Read the ESPN.com preview about game between UGA and Georgia Tech.