A pretty big weekend, it turned out. Georgia Tech blasts Kansas, the ACC adds Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the Yellow Jackets jump in the poll for the first time in a year. Two points and we’ll start the week. Plenty to do.
1. I can’t say I’ve witnessed too many Tech games with Paul Johnson at the helm – I’d put the count at 18 or 19, if you include television – but that was as impressive a performance as I’ve seen. After the game, Johnson mentioned a couple mistakes made by the offense – a missed block, David Sims‘ fumble – but it sounded like he was pointing them out because he had to point out something.
That said, I am quite confident Johnson and the offensive staff have found mistakes after reviewing game video and will only be too happy to point them out before practice, perhaps to the point players will be wondering how they ever scored 66 points.
I imagine, too, coaches will be on guard for any hint of let-up or satisfaction among players.
That said, back to my point, an incredible display of offensive football. You could make the point that, well, it was Kansas, and its defense is nothing to brag about. The Jayhawks gave up 42 points a week ago at home to Northern Illinois and then lost arguably their best defensive tackle.
There’s some validity to that, but by my count, there were 49 games involving FBS schools this weekend. Only team outscored Tech, and that was South Florida, which did it against FCS Florida A&M. Further, of the 13 highest totals for total offense this season by an FCS school (there is a better way to phrase that, I am sure), 12 of them were against either non-BCS conference or FCS schools.
Only Tech’s 768 yards came against an automatic-qualifier school, and it’s the season high. If you’re wondering, No. 14 was the 624 yards Clemson hung up on Auburn on Saturday. The Tigers (the creamsicle orange kind) ran 92 plays. Goodness. Here’s another statistic to share and amaze friends. Of the 65 times that teams have gained 500 yards of total offense in a single game this season, Tech ran the fewest plays, 57.
One story I’d recommend you look at is the Lawrence Journal-World’s game story. Kansas players were practically in awe of what Tech’s offense did.
Safety Bradley McDougald: “Once they noticed some of the corrections that we made, they just dialed up another play that would go long. They did a great job of playing chess out there.”
2. Conference realignment is an eat-or-be-eaten scenario, and the ACC ate. Jeff Schultz had an excellent column about it Sunday. Pitt and Syracuse have a lot of similarities with a lot of its new conference partners. But they also had plenty of similarities with the member schools they just left behind in the Big East. It was interesting, listening to the teleconference with ACC commissioner John Swofford and Syracuse and Pitt’s chancellors and athletic directors, how often they used words like stability and viability.
It’s hard to blame Syracuse and Pitt for fleeing what looks like a sinking ship for a conference that will likely provide them with more TV money (which was the driving force) and a conference that now looks secure for the foreseeable future.
The addition “does allow us to re-open our negotiations with ESPN and we’re confident that will have a positive impact,” Swofford said. He later said he was confident that the new deal “will be not only whole, but beyond whole financially, in terms of television.”
This is a game of musical chairs, and everyone not in the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC (and, evidently, the ACC) is looking for a seat. Swofford offered two, and Pitt and Syracuse gladly accepted. I don’t think the schools’ declarations about the great fit and the commonalities aren’t untrue; they’re just window dressing.
3. This isn’t entirely relevant, but I figured you’d find this amusing. To me, probably the most laughable thing from Sunday’s teleconference was a response by Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor to a question asking what it was about the Big East’s situation made the school look at leaving. She responded that “we have increasingly strong women’s sports. The ACC is a wonderful match for that.”
So, basically, when the carousel stops spinning and we have the four 16-team superconferences, an FBS playoff, players getting paid and a new intercollegiate governing body, we’re going to be able to place the blame — or credit, if you’re so inclined – on the demands of the Syracuse softball and field hockey coaches to get out of the Big East. Seems plausible to me.
4. I think Orwin Smith has a shot at ACC back of the week.
I might have something up again this afternoon, but I’ll for sure post something after practice, probably around 8 or 9 p.m.
By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat