North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Date and Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Opening College Football Odds: Georgia Tech -10
North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech TV Coverage: ESPN2
One has to wonder where the wins are going to come from at this point to make North Carolina bowl eligible this season. They’re just 1-3, and they’re going to be underdogs in each of their next two games against Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. We still haven’t mentioned the road trip to Virginia Tech or the home game with Miami, and that last game of the season at N.C. State is no joke either.
Chazz Surratt has taken over for an ineffective Brandon Harris under center, and it seems like this team is his the rest of the way at this point. Surratt can run effectively, but he holds onto the ball a ton in the pocket and is often a sitting duck asking to be sacked. In this offense, the ball has to get out in a hurry, and that’s not Surratt’s strong suit. It’s going to be up to Austin Proehl, Anthony Ratliff-Williams and the rest of these receivers to ultimately help Surratt out as he continues his maturation process in his freshman campaign.
Georgia Tech might be 2-1 right now, but it still has games to play at Miami and Clemson, as well as at home against Virginia Tech and Georgia. If all those games end up in the loss column, Paul Johnson can’t afford slips in games like this one to stay bowl eligible.
G-Tech is staying true to what it is as a triple option team, though TaQuon Marshall at least has some chops when it comes to throwing the football. He’s averaging 12.2 yards per pass attempt, albeit on just 23 attempts thus far this season.
But the real bread and butter obviously comes on the ground. Marshall leads the team with 386 yards and eight scores, though KirVonte Benson is coming off of a huge game against Pitt in which he had 196 yards and two touchdowns.
The signs are definitely there that the Tar Heels haven’t figured out how to slow down the Yellow Jackets and their triple option yet. Since 2008, Georgia Tech has amassed at least 250 yards in every single game against UNC, including at least 300 yards in all but one of those games.
Sure, the Tar Heels are 3-0 SU and ATS in the last three between these two, but the likelihood of Surratt putting up 636 yards of offense as Mitch Trubisky did last season are slim to none. If Georgia Tech gets to 400 yards of offense and 30+ points, it probably isn’t going to lose this game or remotely be challenged.
North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech Free Picks
This is a lot of points to be giving the Tar Heels in a series that has historically been close. Three of the last four and five of the last seven have been decided by a touchdown or less, and UNC doesn’t strike us as quite as bad as its 1-3 record would suggest.
Surratt is going to grow into this job, and as he does, he’s going to learn how to fire the ball all over the field. We wouldn’t want to play against this team as it grows up in October and November, but for now, Georgia Tech should be alright. That said, we’re going to try to beat our favorite sportsbooks by taking the points with the Heels.
College Football ATS Pick: North Carolina +10 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 33, North Carolina 27