SP+ Gives Georgia Tech Football The Second-Lowest Percentage In The ACC To Win Six Or More Games in 2024 (2024)

The calendar has turned to July and we are getting closer and closer to the start of the 2024 college football season. The season is going to kick off in Dublin, Ireland in week zero with a matchup between Georgia Tech and Florida State. This is setting up to be the most talented Georgia Tech team in quite some time and they are hoping to, at minimum, get back to a bowl game. The Yellow Jackets are going to return a lot of production from one of the top offenses in the conference and despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the country, Georgia Tech is hoping to be a dark horse in the ACC race.

SP+ does not like their chances to do that heading into the season though. In the ACC preview today for ESPN, SP+ creator Bill Connelly wrote about the Yellow Jackets and previewed the team ahead of the 2024 season. Along with the preview, Connelly listed each team's ACC title game odds and odds of winning six or more games. Georgia Tech was given a 0.6% chance to win the ACC, higher than only Boston College, Pitt, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Stanford. They were given only a 16.4% chance to win six or more games, the second-lowest odds in the ACC, behind Stanford (10.4%). Here is what Connelly had to say about Georgia Tech:

2024 projection: 63rd in SP+, 4.2 average wins (2.3 in ACC)

"Welcome back to the land of the living, Georgia Tech! After winning just 14 games in the four years after Paul Johnson's retirement, the Yellow Jackets became interesting again in 2023. Brent Key earned the full-time job after going 4-4 as interim coach in 2022, and while I was wary of that -- we sometimes overreact to small samples (and this small sample was still pretty mediocre) -- damned if Key didn't take full advantage of the opportunity. With Texas A&M transfer Haynes King serving as a lovely dual-threat quarterback (2,842 passing yards, 830 pre-sack rushing yards), the Yellow Jackets surged from 122nd to 50th in offensive SP+, and even with a problematic defense, Tech won seven games for the first time since 2018.

There's no reason to think the offense won't be even better in 2024. King is a delight, as is backfield mate and 1,000-yard rusher Jamal Haynes. Leading receiver Eric Singleton Jr. averaged a massive 2.4 yards per route as a freshman, too, and of the eight offensive linemen to start a game last year, five are back. Defense could still hold them back, but Key brought in nine transfers and, perhaps more importantly, a new defensive coordinator in Tyler Santucci. He was coordinator for Duke's top-25 defense last year, and he should get good safety play from juniors Clayton Powell-Lee and LaMiles Brooks. But even with a talent boost from the portal, it's hard to see enough difference-makers here.

The schedule is problematic. Tech plays two projected top-10 teams in nonconference play (Notre Dame, at Georgia) and seven teams projected 32nd or better. Even playing at a top-40 level, the Jackets would need some good breaks to bowl again.

My favorite player: QB Haynes King. A portal success story. After injuries and false starts at Texas A&M, King transferred to Georgia Tech and found a groove. He produced a Total QBR of at least 80 in six games (including four of the last six), and in those games the Yellow Jackets averaged 39.0 points per game and went 5-1. In the other games, they went 2-5 and averaged 24.3 points. Among 2024 starters, only Syracuse's Kyle McCord finished 2023 with a higher Total QBR rating."

I think the low odds are clearly going to come from the tough schedule and the uncertainity around the defense. While it would be hard for the defense to be worse than what it was last season, there is going to have to be proof that it is better on the field, which I think it will be, though how much is the question.

So what exactly is SP+ and what goes into making these rankings? Here is how Connelly formulates his rankings in his own words:

"I base SP+ projections on three primary factors, weighted by their predictiveness:

1. Returning production. The returning production numbers are based on rosters I have updated as much as possible to account for transfers and attrition. The combination of last year's SP+ ratings and adjustments based on returning production make up about half of the projections formula

2. Recent recruiting. This piece informs us of the caliber of a team's potential replacements (and/or new stars) in the lineup. It is determined by the past few years of recruiting rankings in diminishing order (meaning the most recent class carries the most weight). Beginning this season, I am also incorporating transfers -- both the quality and the volume -- in a different way. After last season's transfer-heavy recruiting shift, I've got a bit more data for how to handle that. This piece makes up about one-third of the projections formula.

3. Recent history. Using a sliver of information from previous seasons (two to four years ago) gives us a good measure of overall program health. It stands to reason that a team that has played well for one year is less likely to duplicate that effort than a team that has been good for years on end (and vice versa), right? This is a minor piece of the puzzle -- only about 15% -- but the projections are better with it than without.

A reminder on SP+: It's a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a résumé ranking, and, along those same lines, these projections aren't intended to be a guess at what the AP Top 25 will look like at the end of the year."

I like Georgia Tech to be able to outperform these odds, something Brent Key has shown he can do. I think a bowl game is a very attainable goal for Georgia Tech heading into the 2024 season.

SP+ Gives Georgia Tech Football The Second-Lowest Percentage In The ACC To Win Six Or More Games in 2024 (2024)
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