When the phrase "conference title appearance" is attached to a team's season, the immediate association is success. Georgia Tech reached the ACC Championship in 2012, but to call the year a triumph would be stretching the truth a wee bit. The Yellow Jackets benefited last year from the fact that both Miami and North Carolina were ineligible for postseason play -- they'd not have gone to Charlotte otherwise -- and finished with a 7-7 record.
2013 Georgia Tech schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
Johnson's offense should be effective as usual, but the defense is another story. The Jackets parted ways with defensive coordinator Al Groh after some early-season issues in 2012, and now Ted Roof is the man in charge. Georgia Tech gave up 40+ in three straight games spanning late September and early October, including a 49-28 loss at home to Middle Tennessee State.
On the bright side, most of Georgia Tech's key divisional games will be played in Atlanta -- it gets to host North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. The toughest contest for the Jackets in conference play might be their trip to Clemson for a Thursday-nighter in November. They also face a road game at Miami in early October that could end up being a deciding factor in the division race.
Georgia Tech has a couple of difficult matchups out of conference as well -- a road trip to BYU in October and a season-ending home game against rival Georgia. They lost to those two teams last year by a combined score of 83-27. Those results were indicative of the season at large; the Jackets hemorrhaged points against most of the quality opponents they faced, and that's the first thing that must change if they're going to return to Charlotte.