ACC College Football Picks: Back Struggling Georgia Tech -2.5 & 'Over' vs. Pitt

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 9:40 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015 9:40 PM GMT

Pittsburgh could find itself in sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal Division by the end of the weekend if they win Saturday at Georgia Tech.Check our college football pick inside.

Narduzzi For ACC Coach Of Year?
The Panthers (4-1, 2-0 ACC), who are tied for the Coastal lead with Duke, have been a  pleasant surprise under first-year head coach Pat Narduzzi, the former Michigan State defensive coordinator. He was the school's fifth coach in five years; last year's coach, Paul Chryst, left to take over at Wisconsin. Narduzzi was in the running the past offseason for the Colorado State job as well but took himself out of the running after interviewing at Pitt. Narduzzi grew up about an hour northwest of Pittsburgh in Youngstown, Ohio.

Pitt's only loss was one it could have won, a 27-24 defeat at a good Iowa team on Sept. 19. The Panthers opened ACC play on Oct. 3 with a 17-13 win at Virginia Tech. Then last week, they beat visiting Virginia 26-19. QB Nate Peterman threw for 222 yards as Pitt improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2009 -- remember, the Panthers lost All-American running back James Conner to a season-ending knee injury in Week 1. Receiver Tyler Boyd had a game-high seven receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown against Virginia. He now has 196 career catches and only needs seven more receptions to pass Devin Street (202 receptions) for first all-time on Pitt’s career receptions list. That UVA win also was No. 700 in Pitt history. The Panthers are the 19th FBS team to achieve 700 all-time wins.

Narduzzi's calling card is defense obviously. That unit had four sacks against Virginia and has 21 on the season, leading the country at 4.20 per game. Last year, Pitt had only 19 sacks in 13 games. These Panthers rank seventh nationally in surrendering only 264.6 yards per contest -- they surrendered an average of 359.8 yards last year -- and No. 6 in allowing just 84.8 rushing yards per game.

Pittsburgh is 3-2 against the spread on college football odds and 2-2-1 'over/under.'

 

If Tech Can't Run, It Loses
Easily one of the nation's biggest disappointments this year is Georgia Tech (2-4, 0-3), which is the defending Coastal Division champion, nearly upset unbeaten Florida State in the 2014 ACC Championship Game and then clobbered a good Mississippi State team in the Orange Bowl. There's basically no way that Tech will repeat in the Coastal with three losses already.

Georgia Tech opened the season with blowouts of cupcakes Alcorn State and Tulane but has since dropped four straight, allowing at least 30 points in each. The Jackets come off a 43-24 loss on Saturday at No. 6 Clemson. QB Justin Thomas finished with 159 yards and two touchdowns on 6-for-14 passing as the Jackets amassed more passing yards (159) than rushing yards (71) for the first time since the 2014 season opener -- of course Tech runs the triple option. Marcus Marshall led the Jackets on the ground with only 45 yards on 11 carries. The 71 total rushing yards were Tech's fewest in Coach Paul Johnson's eight seasons. It has dropped four straight for the first time since 1996. To be fair, the combined record of those opponents is 19-2 and three are ranked (Notre Dame, Duke and Clemson).

The Yellow Jackets are No. 9 nationally in rushing at 270.7 yards per game but only 118th in passing at 133.3 ypg. The team doesn't kill itself in terms of penalties. Georgia Tech is the least penalized team in the nation, getting flagged only 16 times for 148 yards. Tech is 2-4 ATS on college football picks and 4-2 O/U.

 

Last Meeting
Pitt was a 3.5-point home favorite last season but was routed by Georgia Tech 56-28. Thomas passed for 147 yards and a touchdown and added 92 yards rushing and a score. Georgia Tech had 615 total yards against the Panthers, who came in with the nation's fourth-ranked defense. The 56 points were the most ever by an opponent at Heinz Field. Conner rushed for 119 yards and three scores for Pitt, which had 518 yards of offense. But the Panthers turned the ball over six times, all on fumbles -- four of them on their first six plays. Pitt leads the all-time series 5-4 but has dropped the past two.

 

Final Analysis
I think the Jackets get things right this week. A bowl trip  might depend on it. Pitt is 4-9 ATS in its past 13 after a win. Georgia Tech is 6-1 ATS in its past seven at home. Go 'Over' the total. The 'over' is 7-3-1 in Pitt's past 11. The 'over' is 5-0 in Tech's past five at home.

College Football Pick: Georgia Tech -3.5 & Over 49 at Heritage

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