Hyundai Sun Bowl Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. USC Trojans

Georgia Tech Must Throw the Ball Effectively If They Have Any Shot Against USC

Georgia Tech Must Throw the Ball Effectively If They Have Any Shot Against USC

Neither of these teams should be here. USC, the top team in the nation by many preseason measures, was not supposed to lose any games — let alone five. Georgia Tech, left for dead at 3-5, had no business getting to the ACC title game, let alone playing the Trojans in a New Year’s Eve bowl game. And yet, here we are, pitting two flawed teams against one another in a battle to see who ends 2012 more disappointed than the other.

Bowl Game: Hyundai Sun Bowl

Location: El Paso, Tex.

First Year: 1935

2012 Participants: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-7) vs. USC Trojans (7-5)

Last Meeting: USC over Georgia Tech, 23-6 (1973)

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Georgia Tech (previous bowl game: 30-27 loss vs. Utah in 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl)

We all saw the script for Georgia Tech’s success play out during the ACC Championship Game against Florida State: Pass the ball with some sort of effectiveness, and continue running their triple-option. The issue then, as it will be again against USC, is figuring out who should be delivering those passes. Tech had three different quarterbacks (Tevin Washington, Synjyn Days and Vad Lee) throw the ball against FSU, and while they had 118 yards through the air, they also completed just five of 16 attempts with two interceptions. Ideally, they should be able to establish a bit more consistency against a USC defense that ranked just 71st in the FBS against the pass, and bump that completion percentage up to somewhere around 50 percent. From a defensive standpoint, recent injuries to key Trojans have flipped the script a bit for the Yellow Jackets. Quarterback Matt Barkley is out following his injury against UCLA back in November, and based on recent reports, it appears star receiver Marquise Lee is also out of commission. Suddenly, Georgia Tech’s focus is now stopping the running game, which could very well carry the load for USC. Neither Silas Redd nor Curtis McNeal have seen all that many carries this season (just 263 between them), so they’ll basically be coming at this game with fresh legs. The Wreck’s run defense was middle-of-the-road this year (47th nationally), but benefited from their offense’s own ball-control style. Teams ran the ball on them just 450 times all year, and still managed to rack up 4.27 yards per carry. If USC dictates the pace, it’s something to watch out for.

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Despite Heavy Sanctions, Penn State Football Remains Largely Intact (For Now)

Penn State RB Silas Redd Is Likely Departing the Program. Who Else Will Join Him?

Remember last week when we thought the entire Penn State football team was headed for greener, less-sanctioned pastures? Well, for right now, it appears that will not be the case anymore.

Since the initial announcement of PSU’s “almost death-penalty” 62 current scholarship players have publicly stated they’re staying with the program (spreadsheet courtesy of Nittany Lions blog Black Shoe Diaries). Six top recruits from the class of 2013 all showed some impressive solidarity the other day when they reaffirmed their commitment to the school via Twitter. After all the doomsday predictions and sky-is-falling rhetoric about the beleaguered program, the first player to officially leave the program only did so yesterday.

But is that just the beginning of what may be a larger wave of fallout? Tim Buckley, former PSU safety and Raleigh native, officially jumped ship to his hometown NC State yesterday. While just a two-star player out of high school, Buckley was not sticking around to see how much playing time he could gain by other defections and now finds himself much closer to home (though not much closer to starting right now). Buckley’s departure may not make ripples in the big scheme of things, but it’s a warning shot for the other two big names in PSU transfer conversations.
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Which ACC Schools Could Be Landing Penn State Transfers?

With Silas Redd Apparently Off the Market, What Are ACC School’s Best Options for PSU Transfers?

Obviously, this post is no disrespect to the victims of the terrible tragedies that occurred at Penn State. It’s my, and everyone’s, hope that some part of these sanctions and fines levied against the university and its football program manage to begin the healing process — both for the victims and for the obviously out-of-touch Nittany Lions football culture.

One of the biggest parts of the sanctions were the ruling that any player currently with the program can enroll in a new institution immediately, and be able to play right away. We’ve seen this happen before, but with a four-year postseason ban and numerous additional factors preventing competitiveness in the near future, Penn State’s situation appears more dire. In a worst-case scenario world, the team loses every football player currently enrolled. In a best-case, I still believe they lose a quarter of their players. But who are those players, and where might they go? Being the major college football conference in PSU’s footprint (the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions), it only makes sense that the ACC would be an understandable landing spot.

For kids looking to remain close to the State College, Pa. area, longtime rivals Pittsburgh and Syracuse are actually the perfect fit, each within three hours of the university. Additionally, potential transfers are likely looking at fellow ACC landing spots Maryland, Boston College, Virginia and Virginia Tech, all of which are fairly close by as well. Before the expected flurry of movement (or lack thereof) though, we tried to break things down for the most relevant classes — 2010 through 2013. Looking at all recruits grading four stars or higher on ESPN.com, we list out ACC offers received before ultimately deciding on Penn State. Since these were the schools that had the closest ties to them during the original recruiting process, it’s a fair assumption they’ll have the quickest road back to their ears. Continue reading