It’s tempting to see Georgia Tech’s 2015 season as a worst-case scenario of youth and injury and a wicked schedule and lousy luck. And it’s true that the Yellow Jackets hadn’t had a year that awful since 1994, when Bill Lewis started (but did not end) the season as coach. But if 2015 was Tech’s generational nadir, wasn’t 2014, which culminated in an Orange Bowl victory, also an outlier?
Fun with numbers: Add the 3-9 of 2015 to the 11-3 of 2014 and get 14-12; divide by two and get 7-6 as the average. Add the wins and losses from 2010 through 2013 and get 28-25; divide by four and get 7.0-6.25. That’s six seasons, or 75 percent of Paul Johnson’s time at Tech, over which his Jackets have essentially been a 7-6 team. Is that good enough?
If every coach insists recruiting rankings mean little, Johnson is singular in his disdain. Over his time at Tech, Rivals has rated his signing classes in the nation’s top 40 only once. The exception came last year, when the Jackets ranked 39th. If that was a post-Orange bounce, it proved fleeting. As of 7:30 a.m. this Signing Day, Tech’s recruiting class ranked 65th, which would mark the second-lowest (behind the 84th of 2013) under Johnson.
As of 7:30 a.m., Tech’s class ranked next-to-last among the 14 ACC schools and last in the Coastal Division. Half the Coastal’s other six members just changed coaches. Even as we offer the boilerplate disclaimer – rankings are inexact, et cetera – we note that Tech’s division has toughened with the addition of Mark Richt, Justin Fuente and Bronco Mendenhall. Given that Tech has been, on average, a 7-6 team over six seasons, how enthused should its fans be today?
(A word about methodology, to invoke a high-falutin’ term: For simplicity’s sake, I use Rivals as my rating standard and have for several years. If you prefer Scout, be advised that Tech’s class was, as of 7:30, tied for 63rd nationally and tied for 12th in the ACC with Wake Forest. If you prefer 247 Sports, Tech ranked 52nd nationally, 10th in the ACC and sixth — ahead of Virginia — in the Coastal. If you prefer ESPN … well, their team rankings only go to 40th, and Tech wasn’t included. But eight ACC teams, including five Coastal schools, were.)
Oh, and about Georgia: Smart’s first UGA signing class shapes up nicely. No shock there.