Sept. 14, 3:30, ESPNU
Why You Should Give A Hoot: Georgia Tech and Duke meet for the 81st time in the ACC opener for both schools. The Blue Devils won a game last week over Memphis, but they also lost a quarterback, Anthony Boone, to a broken collarbone. They're seeking their first 3-0 start since 1994 and their first win over the Yellow Jackets in the last nine tries. Tech is very much an unknown at this stage of the year. It obliterated Elon in the opener, 70-0, and then went on hiatus. This week's trip to Durham kicks off a four-game stretch with Coastal Division rivals that'll begin to solve the mystery of the Jackets' ceiling in 2013.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: The Yellow Jackets are a veteran squad, with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. It's never easy for opponents to handle their triple-option with just a week of preparation, and the Tech D already looks as if it'll be stouter under new coordinator Ted Roof. With Brandon Connette set to replace Boone under center, the Blue Devils are going to lose some of their offensive balance and versatility.
Why Duke Might Win: All hands must be on deck in order to slow down the Georgia Tech running game. Fortunately for the host, it's played rather well in the front seven so far. Duke has only allowed one offensive touchdown over the first two games, sparked by the push of linemen Kenny Anunike and linebackers Kelby Brown and David Helton. Both Blue Devil lines, in fact, are experienced and productive.
Who To Watch Out For: Duke boasts a quality corps of receivers, led by WR Jamison Crowder and TE Braxton Deaver. It remains to be seen, though, if Connette will be able to maximize the group's Pass-catching ability.
- Georgia Tech picked off three passes in the opener in what might be a harbinger of things to come. It has a very good secondary, with CB Jemea Thomas the most active of the ball-hawks.
- As always, it's a case of pick your poison for Tech's opposing D. Duke must contend with not only athletic QB Vad Lee, who looked great throwing the ball, but also a slew of diverse running backs.
What Will Happen: Georgia Tech is going to have a say in the Coastal Division race. On Saturday, it makes its first statement to that regard. Duke won't be able to keep pace with the Yellow Jacket attack, especially now that its best passer is sidelined. Lee will thrive by ground and by air, staking his team to a lead that it won't relinquish.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 39 … Duke 21
Line: Georgia Tech -8 – O/U: 56