High and Low: Air Force had a fantastic season. The Falcons won the CIC trophy, for the first time since 2002. They finished 8-4, with narrow losses to San Diego State, Utah and Oklahoma. Georgia Tech, in contrast, soiled itself. The Yellow Jackets were expected to compete for the ACC Title. They finished 6-6 without playing a team ranked in the Top 20. Georgia Tech was a member of the distinguished “three” in 3-9 Kansas.
Injury: Georgia Tech QB Joshua Nesbitt is doubtful, recovering from a broken forearm suffered in November. Tech closed the season 1-3 with sophomore Tevin Washington at the helm.
Suspensions: Seven Georgia Tech players have been suspended for at least part of this game. Four, including starting safety Mario Edwards and starting wideout Stephen Hill, are academically ineligible. Three, including starting linebacker Anthony Egbuniwe, will miss the first half for a curfew violation.
Rushing Defense: Neither has great aggregate numbers against the run. Air Force, however, was proactive and contained option teams. The Falcons held both Army and Navy to under 250 yards rushing. Georgia Tech did not play an option team. The Yellow Jackets struggled adapting to Al Groh’s 3-4. Air Force’s technically proficient offensive line should counter Tech’s size advantage. Missing starters won’t help. Neither defense faces its own offense habitually in practice.
Motivation: Georgia Tech was disappointing this season. Logically, this could dishearten the Yellow Jackets. The prospect of salvaging dignity could jack them up. Defenestrate anyone who uses either argument authoritatively.
Sloppy: Option offenses rely on timing and rhythm. These very things suffer after an extended layoff. If one team is quicker to shake off the rust, that could be a decisive advantage.
Prediction: I have to go with Air Force here. They are situated better. They have a starting quarterback. They are ready to go to war, literally