Five burning questions about the Orange Bowl

 

The last time Georgia Tech played in the Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, 1967) it was Bobby Dodd’s last game as head coach. On the other side of the field was Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier, the Heisman Trophy winner. Much has changed. Spurrier completed 14 of 30 passes for 160 yards and the Gators won the game 27-12. History will also note that future Atlanta Falcons running back Harmon Wages completed a pass in the game for the Gators.

On that historical note, here are five burning questions about tonight’s Orange Bowl game between Georgia Tech and Iowa:

 

1. Did Iowa put its time off to good use? The Hawkeyes haven’t played a football game since Nov. 21 when they beat Minnesota 12-0 for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. So the Iowa defense, which is already a salty bunch to begin with (10th nationally in total defense at 286.87 ypg), has had about 44 days to get ready for Georgia Tech’s option attack. Norm Parker is one of the best defensive coordinators in America but here is one thing to note: Iowa is a top ten defense but is No. 30 nationally against the run (122.0 ypg). Tech hopes to get that many yards in the first quarter.

 

2. Is Ricky Stanzi the X-factor? Stanzi’s injury after Iowa’s 9-0 start cost the Hawkeyes a shot at the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl.  Iowa was not a pretty team on offense even when Stanzi was healthy. He has been known to throw the ball into bad places. He has thrown 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions this season.  But Stanzi  can play horribly for three quarters and then make the plays in the fourth quarter to win a game, as he did against Michigan State, when his touchdown pass on the final play of the game gave the Hawkeyes a 15-13 win at East Lansing.

 

3. Is this Josh Nesbitt’s kind of game? Absolutely. This will be an ugly, tough football game and that is what the Georgia Tech quarterback likes. Nesbitt is going to get some chances to make some plays tonight because the Iowa defense, like most defenses, understand that they must first take the dive play with Jonathan Dwyer to have any chance to win. Note that in Georgia Tech’s two losses to Miami and Georgia, Dwyer had a total of 40 yards rushing. Nesbitt is going to take some serious shots tonight. Keep an eye on Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn (No. 94). He is an All-Big Ten pick. He will introduce himself to Nesbitt early and often.

 

4. What does the Georgia Tech defense need to do? Think third and long. After watching the Georgia Tech defense play against Georgia and Clemson, there is no doubt that the Hawkeyes are going to try and establish the run and put Stanzi into third and short situations. That is when his play action passing is most effective. Georgia Tech’s defense has to be tough on first and second down in order to put Stanzi into third and long. That’s when DC Dave Wommack can turn DE Derrick Morgan loose to go get the quarterback. Look at the third down plays in Iowa’s first half possessions. If Iowa faces third and more than five yards most of the time, then Tech’s defense is having a good game.

 

5. What if it’s a close game? I certainly expect it to be close because Iowa’s defense is so good and Tech’s defense has been struggling. A close game goes to Paul Johnson most of the time. In two seasons at Georgia Tech Johnson is 10-1 in games decided by five points or less. Johnson knows how to push the right buttons at the end of a game. Johnson and the Georgia Tech offense may have to be very patient tonight because Iowa has the ability to keep its opponent in a low-scoring game. If you press and try to force things then you’re playing right into Iowa’s hands.

 

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280 comments Add your comment

EW

January 5th, 2010
8:53 am

Good luck to Tech tonight, represent our state well..

Auld Lang Syne

January 5th, 2010
8:56 am

EW

January 5th, 2010
8:56 am

While Iowa had a lot of time to prepare for the option, Tech had a lot of time to prepare for Iowa’s D. I think CPJ will have a few wrinkles to hit the big plays. While Iowa may be tough against a traditional running attack, the option is a different animal, more assignment football less playing gaps, run blitzing etc..

Mikey in SAV

January 5th, 2010
8:57 am

Ok Tech fans, quit bitchin about Tony being a SEC homer…here’s your chance today to make it all Tech all day….

MalibuGT

January 5th, 2010
8:58 am

good points Tony should be a close game. I still think Bey Bey will be the x factor with a deciding big play.

stay classy dog fans!

JB

January 5th, 2010
8:58 am

you better play better than you did against Georgia. Iowa can play some ball. your defense is bush league.

Jerry

January 5th, 2010
9:00 am

LOL at the BURNING questions thing but good luck to the techies and dont tell anybody I said that.

JB

January 5th, 2010
9:00 am

To all Tech fans who are real college football fans and enjoy the game, good luck tonight. To the few wacko’s who cruise the Georgia Blogs ( full time)and dribble hate and rubbish, the hell with you.

ReptilesRule

January 5th, 2010
9:02 am

What, no Urban Meyer questions today?? Iowa is a nice place with nice people but I’m rooting for Tech. After all, Nicki Meyer, Urban’s daughter, is a volleyball player there…

DawginLex

January 5th, 2010
9:04 am

If Tech doesn’t win this by at least 10 points, I’ll be shocked.

Of course, I thought they would blow away LSU last year also but Iowa doesn’t have the team speed or strength that LSU did.

Yawn

January 5th, 2010
9:04 am

thirty twenty four

gym jacket

January 5th, 2010
9:05 am

Go Jackets!!!!!!!

jabster

January 5th, 2010
9:05 am

First thing is Tech has to show up, not mail it in like they did in last year’s Peach Bowl. I think CPJ learned his lesson there.

If we can play our game and move against Iowa’s D, we’ll be fine.

dawgman

January 5th, 2010
9:08 am

sic ‘em, TECH!!

Kay

January 5th, 2010
9:14 am

Gooooo Jackets!!!!!!!

Mike

January 5th, 2010
9:14 am

Thank you to all the Dawg fans who are offering encouragement. Classy stuff !

I would really prefer mutual respect (except when we play each other, of course) to some of the hate we usually see on these blogs.

And congrats to the Dawgs for their bowl win!

Questions 6, 7 & 8

January 5th, 2010
9:15 am

6. Will anyone show up?

7. Will anyone watch?

8. Does anyone care?

Eric

January 5th, 2010
9:16 am

Where’s m, that great Tech supporter. After he reads this article he’ll know that his team is playing Iowa, not Illinois. One thing these blogs do is expose morons. m has become the all time leader in the field. He’s number 1. I hope Tech wins regardless of that twit.

Adam

January 5th, 2010
9:18 am

As an innocent bystander to this discussion, I hope Tech gets mauled by Iowa tonight. Represent our state? You’ve got to be kidding me. I NEVER want the ‘Mistake by the Interstate’ to represent anything associated with me.

MalibuGT

January 5th, 2010
9:19 am

Tony, I’d be curious about your observations on the fiesta bowl last night. Neither of those teams looked like national title contenders.

Go Jackets!

collegeballfan

January 5th, 2010
9:20 am

1 – The Tech defense holds the key to the game. Tony, your analysis on that is correct. No one has stopped the Tech offense except LSU which physically manhandled Tech.

2 – Nesbitt on the passing plays holds a key. He cannot throw interceptions.

3 – Special teams must perform.

McDawg

January 5th, 2010
9:24 am

#1 is a HUGE factor for Big Ten teams and #5 is why i’m picking Tech

Denver Dog

January 5th, 2010
9:26 am

I think that it comes down to team speed, as it always does when playing a big 10 team. It comes down to this, is Tech’s speed enough to overcome Iowa’s brawn. If so Tech wins fairly easy, if not it will be a good competitive game.

Good Luck Jackets! Have fun Jacket fans

Ron Mexico

January 5th, 2010
9:28 am

Iowa will maul Tech in much the same way LSU did last year – a month to prepare for the option is more than enough for any team with an above average skill level.

Worm

January 5th, 2010
9:29 am

Tech sold 11,000 tickets..Haven’t been to a Major bowl in 42 years and couldn’t sell out their allotment of 17,500..Pitiful!

Eric

January 5th, 2010
9:29 am

Adam, I really don’t think you have to worry about being associated with any institutions of higher learning. But thank you so much for your high brow observations.

Denver Dog

January 5th, 2010
9:34 am

Tony, Boise State proved one thing last night. You can play two games a year and look great. They basically played the first game against Oregon, and the last against TCU and won both of those in close contests. The media is hailing them as unheralded kings and heros of the college football world. I contend that they are good, but the bowl moguls need to hook them up next time with a Florida, GT, or even with Ohio State or Va Tech. Likewise TCU should be against someone good too!

All we are going to hear now is that Boise should play the winner of the Big Game. I think not.

Who Cares?

January 5th, 2010
9:35 am

There’s a game on tonight?

BankerDawg

January 5th, 2010
9:36 am

Certainly a great opportunity for Tech to take it to the next level.

A BCS victory would certainly propel you guys into the top 10 next year and make you a frontrunner for the conference title again (along with VT based on what I saw in the Chicken Bowl).

It may also be a compelling reason for some undecided juniors to come back and consider a run for the national title (Dwyer and Thomas).

A victory would also get the “LSU monkey” off your collective backs. Whether you think the spread option is effective or not, the national perception is “if you have enough time to prepare, you can shut it down.”

You put up big numbers on Iowa, and everything changes.

Good luck, and see you in Athens!!!!

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWGS!

Max Sizemore

January 5th, 2010
9:38 am

Iowa is a really solid team, and wins on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Iowa 24, Tech 13.

DawginLex

January 5th, 2010
9:39 am

I agree somewhat DENVER DOG, but you have to give them a shot. Like the NCAA basketball tournament has proven time and time again, it needs to be played out on the field.

I don’t think Boise could beat Bama, Florida and several others but with a playoff, we wouldn’t be left to wonder. Wouldn’t you have loved a playoff in 2002 and 2007? We might have another national title.

Otto

January 5th, 2010
9:40 am

Tony, About this 4 team playoff you keep talking about that you want to see, who would be the teams?

The rankings would most likely give you Bama, Texas, Cincy, and TCU. but Boise won last night. Boise would be out in the cold.

4 teams is not enough to solve the debate and would only create more questions. 8 would ruin the regular season.

Tech

January 5th, 2010
9:42 am

Worm, that’s because we all bought through other sources, much cheaper and much better seats. Iowa didn’t sell their allotment either, although judging from the contingent down here they will be well represented.

Otto

January 5th, 2010
9:43 am

DawginLex, I would rather have the current system even with the ‘02, ‘04, and ‘07 arguments. The winner of the Bama/Texas game will have played the most deserving schedules of the teams in the debate.

Jack

January 5th, 2010
9:43 am

Im very nervous about the game tonight. I hope we play well and don’t play stupid with mistakes like we did against lsu last year. I think cpj will have them prepared this time. My prediction is
Gt 31 Iowa 23

Will

January 5th, 2010
9:45 am

I think the nation would rather see the University of Georgia Bulldogs take on Iowa tonight! No one wants to see that high-school offense run around the field, plus the stands will hardly be half full. And as for the Techsters thinking this is going to be a “springboard game” for next year…… dream on…… FSU will be back along with an improved VT, Miami and UGA. Back to Boise for you boys next year!

DawginLex

January 5th, 2010
9:46 am

Otto,

I do believe the system worked this year but in other years, not so much

Mack

January 5th, 2010
9:49 am

I’ve read where if you wanted tickets through the teams website, you didn’t even know where your seats would be. You knew the general area but when ordering you didn’t know exactly where. Many people I know did buy them from other places. Expect a sell out tonight and a rockin land shark!

Sean

January 5th, 2010
9:51 am

Yes will they want to see a 5 loss team in a bcs bowl. Idiot.

Every year some jackasses like you keep saying fsu vt etc will be back. Back to what? GT is the cream of the crop now in the acc. And last, the acc is no longer locked to play in boise. Obviously you know nothing about college football and that’s no surprise with the idiocy of your post.

Fear The Nerd

January 5th, 2010
9:52 am

Jackets win 38-31.

The Dawg Nation (see also: Visor Nation, Giant Rear Window Sticker Nation, Camo Hat Nation, Front End Loader Nation), one way or another, will have restless nights for 8 months or so not having a program to measure themselves against. Oh wait, they can always belie the Spring Game if they want to.

Kentucky Runs This State

Rduck

January 5th, 2010
9:55 am

First of all, let me say thanks to the classy UGA fans for their support and may I say congrats on a nice win over Texas AM. I think Tech must come out fast and set the tempo early in this one. It is time to put the naysayers to rest. Last years bowl fiasco has been a stick in our side all year and it is redemption time. If we control the ball and the clock with our offense, Iowa’s offense will be forced to come out of it’s shell and may create mistakes for Tech to exploit. Here’s hoping for a great game by CPJ and the boys.

Otto

January 5th, 2010
9:55 am

DawginLex, I believe the system has worked very well. The system gets it correct far more often than not. A playoff would only take away from the CFB season.

Jack, The GT OL was dominated by the LSU DL. Iowa should be a much closer game. Iowa does typically run the ball very well which is GT’s biggest weak point.

Rduck

January 5th, 2010
9:57 am

Will… How many years in a row has FSU and Miami supposed to be back at the top? Please feel free to wake me from my coma when they finally get there.

SC Rules!!!

January 5th, 2010
9:58 am

DawginLex;

” Iowa doesn’t have the team speed or strength that LSU did.”

I don’t know about that, those Iowa farm boys spend all the off season tossing hay bails & hogs (No, not their girlfriends) as for speed, well they do manage to escape those “girlfriends” rath now & then.

Everyone says how slow the BIG TEN/11 is, well they seemed to have more than enough speed in their bowls so far. (Hey LSU, thought y’all knew how to backstroke?) Blaming a bad/rainsoaked field for your loss. PLEASE!!! Y’all live/play in a swamp for crimany sakes!!!

I think (FWIW) that Iowa will take care of business tonight. Iowa 17 GT 16

Fight On!!

ArmsBendBack

January 5th, 2010
9:58 am

MalibuGT – good call on the Fiesta Bowl. That Dalton fella looked oddly similar to Joe Cox, both in appearance and performance. Your thoughts Tony?

Tron Carter

January 5th, 2010
9:59 am

1. Will more people watch this game or the informercial for the Mr. T Flavorwave?
2. Will the tens of Tech fans show up without being lured by free hotdogs, cokes, and $5.00 tickets?
3. Will the poor ratings cause the Orange Bowl to partner with the MEAC and eliminate the ACC?
4. Will Paul Johnson perform the halftime show as his alter ego, Susan Boyle?
5. Will tech ever be able to fill their 55,000 – BBBWWWAAAAHHHAA – seat stadium, that is located in the downtown area of the largest city in the State?
6. What about 30-24?
7. What about 8 of 9 (and we didn’t make gold rings)?
8. What about 60-39-5?

outkasted

January 5th, 2010
9:59 am

one last question…. Will anyone be watching this boring game with no juice?

Jack

January 5th, 2010
10:00 am

Otto
That’s because we made several mistakes in the first half which took us out of our game plan. The kick off out of bounds. The fake punt, fumbles penalties. We allowed lsu to be able to stop us. Just like the refs made it easier on them to come back against you guys. These things do have an impact.

Orange Bowl

January 5th, 2010
10:03 am

FWIW:

Iowa lost to Ohio State 27-24 in overtime on Nov 14th, without QB Stanzi.
Iowa had 233 yds passing and 67 yards rushing.
Iowa back-up QB had 3 INTs.

Ohio State beat Navy 31-27 on September 5th, first game of the season…at The ‘Shoe.
Navy had 156 yds passing, and 186 yds rushing, with 3 INTs, including an INT on
Navy’s 2pt conversion with 2:00 minutes left in 4th Qtr that could have tied the game 29-29.

Even Ohio State (who needed OT to beat an Iowa team without Stanzi) had all kinds of trouble stopping Navy’s Offense. And, since it was the first game of the season, Ohio State had ALL KINDS of extra pre-season prep time to prepare for Navy. The Big Ten Champ almost lost to Navy.

Missouri had a full month to prepare to face Navy in the Texas Bowl on December 31st.
It didnt help Mizzou. Navy ran for 385 yds, with TOP of 41:00 in a 35-13 blowout.

If Nesbitt stays healthy and plays the whole game,
its hard to see Iowa being able to stop the GT Offense.

Brian P

January 5th, 2010
10:04 am

Otto
A playoff would not take away from the regular season because this is not the nfl. You have RANKINGS in college. Therefore, you snooze and lose, you risk getting knocked out of the playoffs or you risk losing home field. I think an 8 team playoff utilizing the 4 major bowls is the way to go with semifinals in predetermined places along with the title game. Tell me how alabama auburn would be lessened with a playoff this year? Not at all. They would be playing for the 1 seed and the loser of the sec champ would run the risk of getting knocked out of the playoffs if we use the top rankings and not conferences. If we use conferences, then you have to have something in place where if the winner of your conf is 8-5, they don’t get in.