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Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Preview and Prediction

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The 2015 season hasn’t exactly gone as planned for the Yellow Jackets. With four straight losses, Georgia Tech has fallen out of the playoff race and is in last place in the ACC Coastal standings. If the Yellow Jackets are going to make a run, now is the time to start.

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With five conference games and a showdown with Georgia left in the 2015 season, Georgia Tech will need a spectacular finish to reach a bowl game this year.

Pittsburgh comes into this weekend’s game at 4-1 and a 2-0 record in the ACC. With a win, the Panthers can keep pace with Duke atop the ACC Coastal leader board.  A loss would put them right back into the middle of the pack.

Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Georgia Tech -3.5

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Three Things to Watch

1. Can Georgia Tech stop the bleeding?

The Yellow Jackets are on a four game losing streak that has seen them go from an ACC Coastal front-runner to a team that might not make a bowl this year. It’s hard to pin-point one exact problem that Tech has, but the bottom line is they just aren’t playing well. Georgia Tech will need a lot of help if they are to get back to the ACC Championship Game but as we have seen in college football, anything can happen. It has to happen now. Georgia Tech can start the climb back up with a win Saturday against Pittsburgh. And a win at home might help get a fickle fan base back on the bandwagon.

2. Can Nathan Peterman win a big game?

When Nathan Peterman left Tennessee, I was skeptical of him ever returning to big time football. So far, he is proving me wrong. The 4-1 Panthers are tied for first in the ACC Coastal and their lone loss was by a field goal to an undefeated Iowa team. Peterman is completing 66 percent of his passes and looks better than he ever did in Knoxville. Saturday can help his team and himself by eliminating Georgia Tech from the Coastal equation while showing he can win a big game on the road.

3. Turnovers

It’s hard to talk about this game without remembering Pittsburgh's awful showing last year. In 2014, the Panthers gave away the ball on its first five possessions that led to a 28-0 first quarter deficit that they were never able to recover from. This year, the Panthers’ turnover margin per game has gone from -0.6 to +0.2 while the Yellow Jackets have gone from +.08 last year to +.06. Neither team can afford turnovers, especially the Panthers. The Yellow Jackets can run a ton of time off the clock when given the opportunity. Peterman and the Panthers will have to make smart decisions if they want to go on the road and pull the upset.

Final Analysis

I’m finding it harder and harder to think that this Yellow Jacket team can win a game. One game. And yet Vegas continues to put them as a favorite. Who am I to disagree? I can’t put my finger on why this team continues to lose because it simply doesn’t make sense. The Yellow Jackets get back on track this week and will defeat Pittsburgh. Why? I have no idea why other than I still think Georgia Tech is the better team. Sometimes college football simply doesn’t make sense.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 28, Pittsburgh 21


— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.