Analyzing Georgia Tech's 2024 Schedule Through SP+

Georgia Tech is going to face one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2024
Dec 22, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Haynes King (10) warms up prior to the Gasparilla Bowl against the UCF Knights at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 22, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Haynes King (10) warms up prior to the Gasparilla Bowl against the UCF Knights at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech's season-opener against the defending ACC champion Florida State Seminoles is now less than three months away and that is just the first of many challenging games on the schedule for the Yellow Jackets in 2024. They will face one of the nations toughest schedules in the country next season.

247Sports Analyst Brad Crawford ranked the Yellow Jackets 2024 schedule as the 6th toughest schedule in the country:

"One of only two ACC teams in our toughest schedules rankings, Georgia Tech has a difficult road ahead, especially if November when the Yellow Jackets play Miami, NC State and Georgia to end it. Brent Key must have this team ready to go every week, or else getting to bowl eligibility will be a challenge."

Seven of Georgia Tech's opponents appeared in the 247Sports post-spring top 25. 11 of Georgia Tech's 12 opponents played in bowl games last season.

When the updated SP+ rankings from ESPN's Bill Connelly dropped this week, Georgia Tech came in at No. 63, with the projected No. 35 offense and projected No. 99 defense, as well as the No. 68 special teams unit. How do the Yellow Jackets compare with the rest of their schedule and the ACC? Who are the best-projected offenses they face? Who are the best projected defenses they face in 2024?

Let's take a look at those numbers in SP+, but first, here is a reminder of what SP+ is.

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. These are simply early offseason power rankings based on the information we have been able to gather to date."

Here is how Georgia Tech's 2024 opponents rank in SP+:

1. Georgia (No. 1 nationally)

2. Notre Dame (No. 10)

3. Florida State (No. 12)

4. Miami (No. 19)

5. Louisville (No. 28)

6. NC State (No. 29)

7. Virginia Tech (No. 32)

8. Duke (No. 47)

9. North Carolina (No. 50)

10. Syracuse (64)

11. Georgia State (No. 107)

That is a tough schedule, with seven of Georgia Tech's 12 opponents being ranked in the top 32 of the SP+ preseason rankings. The other tough part of the schedule is that only two games against the top seven opponents are at home (Miami and NC State). In terms of playing teams that are perceived to be towards the bottom of the conference such as Boston College, Virginia, and Stanford, Georgia Tech does not have those opportunities.

Georgia Tech is also going to be facing some of the best projected offenses in the country. Here is how each of Georgia Tech's opponents rank in offensive SP+ heading into the season.

1. Georgia (No. 2 offense nationally)

2. Notre Dame (No. 10)

3. Florida State (No. 16)

4. Miami (No. 18)

5. North Carolina (No. 36)

6. Virginia Tech (No. 42)

7. NC State (No. 56)

8. Louisville (No. 57)

9. Duke (No. 70)

10. Syracuse (No. 73)

11. Georgia State (No. 88)

According to SP+, Georgia Tech is going to face four of the top 18 offenses in the country. I also think Louisville, Virginia Tech, and NC State could be much higher than their projection by the end of the season.

Here are the top defenses that Georgia Tech is scheduled to face this season.

1. Georgia (No. 5 nationally)

2. Notre Dame (No. 9)

3. Florida State (No. 10)

4. Louisville (No. 23)

5. NC State (No. 25)

6. Virginia Tech (No. 33)

7. Duke (No.34

8. Miami (No. 36)

9. Syracuse (54)

10. North Carolina (65)

11. Georgia State (No. 111)

Georgia Tech is going to face three of the top ten projected defenses on SP+ and five in the top 25. The Yellow Jackets should have one of the best offenses in the country, but they are going to be challenged nearly every week.

Looking at the SP+ numbers, it is easy to see how challenging Georgia Tech's schedule is going to be this season. They are facing some of the most complete and talented teams in the country. It will be interesting to follow these numbers throughout the season and track how strong each of these opponents on their schedule actually ends up being. For now, it is a daunting schedule for the Yellow Jackets.

Jackson Caudell


Jackson Caudell covers Georgia Tech Athletics and the Atlanta Hawks for FanNation