Head Coach: Paul Johnson
2010 Record: 6-7 (4-4 ACC)
Best addition: RB Charles Perkins
Kansas finishes up its non-conference schedule with yet another non-BCS opponent (wait, the ACC is a BCS conference in football? You learn something new every day), and this one is a revenge game as well with Kansas upsetting the Yellowjackets last year at Memorial Stadium. It will be interesting to see the team's psyche going into the game, as they could be a young team improving rapidly looking to go into Big 12 play undefeated, or they could be recovering from a confidence killing loss or two, and the mob calling for Turner Gill's job could be out en masse again.
Offense: Tech features no surprises on offense: a triple option running attack that led the nation in rushing last year (323 ypg), but questionable passing. Tech's two QB's combined for just a 38% completion percentage and 9 TDs to 7 interceptions. With Josh Nesbitt gone the QB duties fall to Tevin Washington, who started the team's final four games after Nesbitt broke his arm. Washington had 9.7 yards per carry and is probably an even more explosive and elusive runner than Nesbitt is. However, he had knee surgery this past spring and even though he says he's 100% there is no substitute for testing out your knee than game action. He also struggles throwing the football, though that is nothing new for Tech quarterbacks. Another quarterback who could get into the mix is true freshman Vad Lee, according to my Georgia Tech fan twitter followers (see, twitter is useful!).
He will be handing off to a stable of backs, including Orwin Smith (9.7 YPC), Roddy Jones (6.8 YPC) and Charles Perkins, a redshirt Freshman. They will all try to replace last year's leading rusher Anthony Allen, who had 1,316 yards and 7 TDs last year.
On the rare occasions Washington will throw the ball, he'll be tossing it mostly to Stephen Hill, who averaged 19.4 yards per catch on his 15 grabs last year.
Defense: Tech struggled defensively last year, giving up 25.2 ppg. However, now that they are in the second year of their 3-4 scheme they will likely be a bit more stingy this year. Julian Burnett, who led the team with 89 tackles last year, is back to anchor the linebackers.
Sophomore Louis Young reportedly looked good in a recent scrimmage. The Sophomore had only 10 tackles last year and no interceptions, but could be a big part of the Tech D this year.
In short, however, this isn't a very good defense. And it got worse as the year went along. They allowed 27, 28, 35 and 42 points in losing 4 of their last 5 regular season games. Kansas's offense probably won't hang up that many points on them, but perhaps it will be a good opponent to get Sims, Bourbon and the rest of the running backs a lot of carries. Though it might also be a good opportunity for Jordan Webb to throw the ball around a bit, given that Tech ranked tied for 96th in sacks last year, notching only 3 more than Kansas did all season (and with 1 extra game).
Special Teams: Tech graduated their excellent kicker, Scott Blair. Blair made 15 of his 17 field goals last year, and was perfect inside 40 yards (and was 8/10 from 40-49 yards).
Prediction: I don't think anyone is less qualified than me to predict a single football game. Still, even though Kansas was picked to finish last in the Big 12, a game against a mediocre ACC team isn't unwinnable, even on the road. Tech lost two home games last year, and lost a non conference game at home as recently as 2009, so Bobby Dodd stadium isn't exactly Allen Fieldhouse. A lot will depend on the growth of the Freshmen and Sophomores over the summer and over the first couple games of the season, but I think Tech will squeak one out at home.