WAKE FOREST (10-2) vs. GEORGIA TECH (9-3)
Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
Saturday, December 2, 2006 - 1:00pm EST
Super-Fun Stats: Opponents' Overall Record*- WAKE FOREST (58-73), GEORGIA TECH (67-64)
*both Wake and Tech played a 1-AA team this year, and those records were not included
Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 20-7; last meeting- Georgia Tech 30, Wake Forest 17 (2005)
In Summary: Plenty has been written about Wake's remarkable run to the Atlantic Division title. With a win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night, the Deacons would join Northwestern 1995 as the two greatest Cinderella stories in college football of the past generation. That said, the Yellow Jackets provide a formidable obstacle in Wake's run for the ages.
As noted above, the Deacons' schedule has not exactly been a brutal gauntlet. They've played just four teams with winning records (Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Maryland) and went 2-2 against them. Looking at overall team stats, Wake ranks just 8th in the ACC in both total offense and total defense. So, how has Wake managed to make it this far? In short, an easier schedule than most, excellent special teams play, few penalties and kicking ass in the turnover margin department.
Georgia Tech has turned in a relatively quiet and obscure 9-3 campaign. Why? Well, they played in just three nationally televised games and lost all 3 (Notre Dame, Clemson, Georgia). After the primetime beatdown at Clemson in late October, most observers discarded the Jackets as major players and focused on Virginia Tech and Miami in the Coastal. It hasn't helped that uber-stud Calvin Johnson has been deprived of that signature performance, through no fault of his own. The noxious mix of Reggie Ball and the Chan Gailey/Patrick Nix offense severely hampered the potential of Johnson and the Jacket attack, while Jon Tenuta's defense saved the day many times for Tech throughout the 2006 season.
In short, look for this game to be Tenuta's. This will be the second-best defense Riley Skinner and the upstart Deacon offense will have faced all year (the best D they played this season, Virginia Tech, completely stifled them). As for the Jacket offense, Ball will make a few of his patented brain-busting mistakes, Johnson won't get the ball enough, but Tashard Choice will provide just enough oomph to make the difference.
The Pick: Georgia Tech 21, Wake Forest 16