Georgia Tech: First Game of 2017 A Big One For Both Teams


The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finished 2016 with a flurry. The first game of 2017 will go a long way to deciding if that year is a success.

There is a massive game in Atlanta that kicks off the 2017 NCAA College Football season. It is a game that will go a long way to determining how each team will be viewed by the college football media and landscape for the rest of the year. The losing team’s fan base will go nuts when their team loses this game. And, no, I’m not talking about Alabama and FSU. I’m referring to Georgia Tech and Tennessee.

The Rambling Wreck and the Vols kick at 7 PM on Monday, September 4 in Atlanta. The brand spanking new Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host, what should be, an incredibly intriguing game. And no one is really talking about it.

GT ended last season winning 6 of its last 7 games. The last two wins were against SEC East teams, Georgia and Kentucky. With a final record of 9-4, Coach Paul Johnson quieted a grumbling fan base after a slow start to the season. The much maligned “triple-option” offense turned into a fine-tuned threat later in season, and gave defenses fits. Most 2017 pre-season predictions have Georgia Tech finishing 4th in the ACC Coastal Division with a record of anywhere from (7-5) to (9-3) for the regular season.

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The Tennessee Vols come into 2017 with exactly the opposite vibe. After a 2016 season that saw Tennessee win miraculously against hated rivals Georgia (notice a trend?) and Florida, that broke long losing streaks, they limped to the finish losing games to Vanderbilt and South Carolina. Most pre-season 2017 predictions have Tennessee finishing third in the SEC East Division with a regular season record of anywhere from (7-5) to (9-3).

Did you notice? Both teams have the same pre-season temperature from media expectations and prognostications. Both, Georgia Tech and Tennessee, most likely, need to win this game to get to the 9 game win plateau. That number doesn’t guarantee a “successful” season, but it goes a long way to that effect and perception at the end of the year.

But the differences couldn’t be larger. Tech comes in riding that win streak. Having done radio in Tennessee, going on 6 years now, I can attest that, Tennessee fans will absolutely go nuts, if the Vols lose that game. Absolutely nuts.

With Auburn and Clemson kicking again this year, and the aforementioned Bama vs. FSU tilt, and ACC Coaches declaring the ACC to be the better conference, these games will be used as an early indicator.

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So will Georgia Tech and Tennessee, and nobody seems to be talking about it. That game is a big game for both squads, and for many different reasons.