Tech handles Miami ban with little fanfare

There were no fireworks or confetti cannons. When Georgia Tech secured its spot in the ACC Championship game Monday, there may have been coffee.

“We were in a staff meeting this morning,” coach Paul Johnson said. “Somebody came in and said, ‘It’s official.’”

With that, Tech’s plans for the evening of Dec. 1 were finalized. Miami’s decision to self-impose a second consecutive bowl ban, an attempt to lessen the sting of potential NCAA sanctions from an investigation into a rogue booster, lifted the Yellow Jackets into the title game as the Coastal Division representative. The Jackets, who will play archrival Georgia Saturday in Athens, will play for its fourth ACC title against No. 10 Florida State in two Saturdays at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (BCS ranking)

The berth alone is a considerable trophy for Tech, which six weeks ago was 2-4 and had lost three consecutive games in which it gave up 40-plus points in each, a first in team history. Johnson fired defensive coordinator Al Groh two days after the sixth game of the season, a 47-31 loss to Clemson.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Johnson said after Monday’s practice. “They won four conference games in a row and two of them on the road. It was a case of persevering and just keep playing.”

Following Tech’s 41-17 loss to BYU Oct. 27 that sank the Jackets’ record to 3-5, Johnson assured that “we’re not that far away.” Tech’s performance since then – three consecutive wins, the offense spitting out touchdowns and the defense showing signs of improvement – seems to confirm his assertion.

Since the ACC began divisional play in 2005, Tech is just the fourth team to earn a title-game spot with a 5-3 league record. Tech received a huge break when Virginia Tech, which opened the season with an overtime win over the Jackets, lost four league games for the first time since joining the ACC in 2004. Miami pulled out of the race with a 4-3 league record. Had the Hurricanes not done so, a win over Duke Saturday would have sent them to Charlotte over Tech.

Johnson said he wasn’t apologizing for anything. In response to a question about the line of thinking that Tech had won the division by default, Johnson responded, “We’re 5-3. Who else is better than that in our division? That’d be my answer. Miami’s not 5-3 yet, either.”

Tech and Georgia enter an unusual week in which both teams will be playing in their respective conference title games a week after their showdown Saturday. It’s a first for the rivalry.

“Right now, our focus is on Georgia, because if it’s not, we’ll go up there and get embarrassed,” Johnson said.

The ascension to the championship game clarifies Tech’s bowl picture, although not completely. The ACC champion advances to the Orange Bowl. By contractual agreement, the loser must go to one of the first three bowls in the ACC’s selection order after the BCS bowls – the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl (formerly the Champs Sports Bowl) or the Sun Bowl, Tech’s destination last season.

However, if Tech loses both to Georgia and Florida State, the Jackets would fall to 6-7 and drop below the .500 standard necessary for bowl eligibility. Last year, UCLA, which was 6-6 going into the Pac-12 title game, sought and received a waiver beforehand from the NCAA to be considered bowl-eligible in the event of a loss. The Bruins played their bowl with a 6-7 record.

Monday, Tech and ACC officials were preparing paperwork to file with the NCAA in case the Jackets lose to Georgia to fall to 6-6. The conference office had already been in contact with the NCAA.

In August, the NCAA approved a process to address the situation in which there are not enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the 35 bowl games, which could be the case this year with several teams ineligible due to NCAA sanctions. It casts some uncertainty onto a potential Tech petition, but Tech and ACC officials were confident that they would be able to secure a waiver if necessary.

The championship game will be Tech’s third, following its loss to Wake Forest in 2006 and its victory over Clemson in 2009, a win that the NCAA vacated as part of sanctions stemming from an investigation into improper benefits to two football players.

Tech last faced the Seminoles in two memorable games in 2008 and 2009, Johnson’s first two years at Tech. In 2008, the Jackets stopped a 12-game losing streak to FSU with a 31-28 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Safety Cooper Taylor forced a fumble on what would have been a go-ahead touchdown run inside of the final minute of play. The next year, Tech defeated FSU in Tallahassee, Fla., 49-44 in a game most remembered for a lightning storm that halted action and a play in which quarterback Joshua Nesbitt ripped the football away from a Seminoles defender who had recovered a fumble.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

120 comments Add your comment

Mike Bell 790

November 19th, 2012
10:11 pm

TDone

November 19th, 2012
10:11 pm

Tech did not vacate the 2009 title because of improper benefits. It’s because Tech did not genuflect for the UNC-graduate NCAA investigator.

vampire bill

November 19th, 2012
10:30 pm

Trying not to laugh

5150 UOAD

November 19th, 2012
10:31 pm

Ken you really are P..ing me off with the Miami gave TECH a gift type of talk…..Get back to US after Miami beats DUKE then Miami not going to the ACC CG will be a thank you to TECH, but IF Miami loses to DUKE then TECH would be in the game on it’s own merits.

GT-UT

November 19th, 2012
10:34 pm

Personally I think the NCAA is a racket unto itself. The NCAA investigation of the championship game is proof of that. The transcript that I read was An embarrassment.

Ga Tech Old Timer

November 19th, 2012
10:50 pm

Well – I for one am glad all the analysis, what-if’s and could-be’s by Ken resulted in Tech’s berth in the Championship game in Charlotte!

Now, can we all get down to the task at hand and focus on UGA! We need to start making the winning of the battle of the state a priority for somebody beside the fan base. I am tired of Tech being a “no show” practically every time we play UGA. At this point – I don’t give a damn if we win a single ACC game. The one we should be looking toward every year as our first priority is UGA. When we can start beating UGA with the same consistancy as they have beaten us – then and only then will this program be relavent – and I promise you that if and when that happens – the ACC wins will come by the boat load!!

Delbert D.

November 19th, 2012
11:03 pm

There is no longer a current blog to put this info in, but I checked the Newark Star Ledger website (I used to get that paper on Sundays up there) and found this about Rutgers’ probable move to the Big Ten:

“Robert Barchi, the Rutgers president, said this morning if the school was to receive an invitation from any athletic conference, as a point of procedure, the school’s athletic director, Tim Pernetti, would not need the authorization of the Rutgers Board of Governors to accept.”

GTGirl

November 19th, 2012
11:15 pm

I agree with GT Oldtimer, this game is a priority! There is NO bigger game for us than the Tech-Ugag game every year. There is NO bigger fish to fry than than the dawgs. Go Jackets! Sting ‘em!

xx

November 19th, 2012
11:17 pm

vampire I can help you not laugh, bring your fangs over hear I have something you can suck on and keep your mouth full.

Paul in NH

November 19th, 2012
11:19 pm

Delbert
Interesting comment from the Star-Ledger. Either the Rutgers Board of Governors have already been informed on what is coming or we are looking at the biggest abdication of institutional control since Auburn boosters flew to Louisville for a middle of the night meeting with Petrino.

Hayseed Dixie

November 20th, 2012
12:23 am

If Tim Tebow had done that fumble recovery over FSU, ESPN would have a channel dedicated just playing it over and over.

I’m not even remotely joking.

chuck

November 20th, 2012
12:36 am

Ken, great coverage of the Jackets this year. Ken >>> what Roberson ever hopes to be.

...Take The Wheel

November 20th, 2012
1:12 am

I agree that uga game is big. We should never look past any team on our schedule. But I don’t think we should hold the dwags up so high. They aren’t more special than a conference title and/or a good bowl win to me. They’re just another notch on our belt! But I do want to BEAT THOSE dawgs.

I’m glad PJ is keeping them focused! Let’s go boys!!! Hope they’re eating well this week!

yeller bug

November 20th, 2012
2:17 am

I just hope when the season was falling apart in the first 6 weeks that CPJ out of self-preservation began contemplating how to beat UGA in case he ended our bowl-game streak or needed to beat UGA to continue the bowl streak. We need all the tricks out of the bag this week from A-back option passes to throwing it to the eligible tackle when we run an off-balanced line. We cannot play conservative on offense and win this game—time for CPJ to earn his big paycheck and outcoach St Richt.

A-mazed

November 20th, 2012
3:31 am

yeller bug:
I realize you are a fan, but get real. CPJ is preparing his team for the next game each week. Thats the way it works. Although we would all like to fatisize…..

A-mazed

November 20th, 2012
3:33 am

Sunbury Dawg

November 20th, 2012
4:23 am

Ever since that game Tech won and had rings made they have been cursed. Georgia is a better team that is on a roll right now. I hope this one gets out of hand early….

[...] at 5-3, which would tie them atop the standings. But because the Canes and Tar Heels are …Tech handles Miami ban with little fanfareAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)With Miami bowing out of postseason, Georgia Tech gets unlikely [...]

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 20th, 2012
5:23 am

I don’t think Tech will need any offensive “trick” plays to beat UGA. For the most part, our offense has played pretty well against Georgia for the last few years … oftentimes coming down to converting a critical 3rd down or something like that. On the other hand, our defense can use all the trickery they can find. We’ve got to come up with ways to control both the Dogs’ rushing attack and their passing game.

One interesting note … the UGA offense is ranked just ahead of Tech’s in total yardage, but they rank just BEHIND Tech in points production. If our defense can play for four quarters the way they played the last halves of the UNC and Duke games, then I believe we can come out of Sanford Stadium with a win on Saturday.

GT71

November 20th, 2012
5:41 am

yeller bug gets it right. This offense needs new variations on its theme to stay with UGA as the dawgs will score points – lots of them. Unless the D gets nasty, smart and flawless, we are in for a bad day. But they CAN do it.
As for Maryland, so what?
As for ND – ditto – so what. Every Tech man has no affinity for ND and its higher-than-thou attitude. One good year makes no one closer to the Imperial purple – especially those South Benders.
And I STILL want to know who threw that fish and hit Ara Parseghian. That’s an arm with a hand I’d still like to shake.

Island Jacket

November 20th, 2012
6:00 am

Old Timer… From a Semi Old Timer…. I agree with you 100%… Foget all the ACCCG talk and focus on winning at the Athens Correctional Institution this weekend.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 20th, 2012
6:31 am

I thought the UGAs backed into their conference title game, beating only an overrated Florida team and playing no one in the West. But Tech getting in is the ultimate back-in.

Blue Pants

November 20th, 2012
6:32 am

Hopefully, the top 5 upset bug will hit in Athens & Charlotte. Then with a little help from Durham on Saturday, the Jackets can do it up proper (coffee, tea, & doughnuts).

NOVAJacket

November 20th, 2012
6:41 am

Seriously, Ken read the NCAA report and quit perpetuating the myth. The NCAA never even determined that the clothing (which as returned upon notice) was in fact an improper benefit. They used the word “suspected”. The then 28-year old UNC grad, five years removed from losing to the Yellow Jackets on the field, got his nose net out of shape when he was “disrespected” by our 60-something year old counsel. From there, we were punished for not following his instructions not to inform the coaching staff of the investigation (not legal instructions by the way)as evidence of our not cooperating.

NOVAJacket

November 20th, 2012
6:45 am

Won’t know if it’s a back in until this weekend. Wouldn’t have had to worry about this discussion if we could have held fourth quarter leads in our three ACC losses.

NCAA

November 20th, 2012
6:59 am

Miami is not going to the ACC Championship becouse of NCAA Problems. Miami hopes that not going to the ACC championship the school will not get hit by the NCAA with a Hard probation. No problem… now ACC lets Georgia Tech (who is on a 3 year probation) go to the ACC Championship Game? Is this country Great or what?

White&Gold

November 20th, 2012
7:17 am

NCAA, can you remind me again what Tech’s crime was for their probation? Was it $312 worth of clothing divided among three players that was payed back? What was Miami’s penalties? Paying many many players, taking them strip clubs, providing them financial benefits, etc. Which one do you thing is a little more severe?

MC

November 20th, 2012
7:27 am

The talent gap between UGA and GT is massive and just getting wider. They have 3rd teamers and walkons that are better than our starters. Folks PJ can’t recruit and the talent level will keep falling. Anybody here who thinks we can ever catch up with him as coach is deluded themselves. Badly. The last 2 years is a pretty clear indication. The saddest part is we can’t afford to buy him out and get somebody that can recruit in here.

gtne80

November 20th, 2012
7:27 am

@NOVAJacket and @GT-UT – Do you have a link to the NCAA report/transcript that you reference. I’d love to read it. From what I’ve read about it, the ultimate penalty was handed down for what the NCAA deemed as non-cooperation on the part of the Tech administration in the investigation of the improper gifts. It also seems like (oddly enough) that the penalties were at least partly influenced by the fact that we were still on (double secret) probation from the NCAA for the self-declared infractions regarding the GPA tracking fiasco. It all sounds a lot like Dean Wormer and Greg Marmalard.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 20th, 2012
7:27 am

In my estimation it’s a back-in because we happen to play in a division so weak that a three-loss team goes to the championship. And it isn’t because we’re all highly ranked and beating up on each other. We lost to MTSU for heaven’s sake.

But I’ll take it. Wouldn’t it set the college football world abuzz if such a poor record didn’t keep us out of the BCS Orange Bowl?

MC

November 20th, 2012
7:32 am

Lil’ Barry Bailout – OBAMAPHONE…we got STOMPED by MTSU. Some of you need to get your mouths out of overdrive. If GT gets destroyed by UGA and FSU do you realize what a joke this program is going to be nationally. Bowls will be falling all over themselves trying not to HAVE to take us. PJ is taking this program right down the toilet and all you so called smart guys are way too dumb to see it.

gtne80

November 20th, 2012
7:39 am

@Lil’ Barry – It’s not a “back-in” if Duke beats Miami. If you get in by having the best record (and tie breakers), then it’s not a back-in.

It is, depending on your point of view, a bit of good fortune that we are the best of a pretty weak lot. Kind of like being an average looking girl and winning a beauty pageant only because the others are just plain ugly.

Frankly, I wish Miami would have chosen not to self-impose the post season ban. NCAA is just fickle enough to still hand down stiff penalties and not be move by what appears to be a step of contrition. It’s not as contrite as it appears. They are having a mediocre season also. They’re betting that the next couple of years will be better and that by forgoing a butt-kicking in Charlotte and a low bid bowl game this year, they will be eligible for bigger and better things down the road. I hope the NCAA actually sees this for what it is.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 20th, 2012
7:43 am

I fully expect to get stomped by both UGA and FSU. I just think it’s hilarious that a team with so many losses has a shot at a BCS bowl.

If we only had a defense and some special teams…..

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 20th, 2012
7:44 am

And totallyh OT…Is there no high school senior in the state of Georgia who can kick a ball into the end zone?

MC

November 20th, 2012
8:05 am

The Orange Bowl won’t be all abuzz when nobody comes to their game if the unimaginable happens Lil Barry Bailout. Here comes a new rule after the season I’ll bet you. It’s going to be embarrassing as hell when it’s called the Georgia Tech rule.

ramblingbuzz

November 20th, 2012
8:08 am

Lil Barry & MC = Ugag trolls

ramblingbuzz

November 20th, 2012
8:08 am

Don’t feed the trolls.

MC

November 20th, 2012
8:19 am

No ramblingbuzz…we’re realists. Unlike you.

tired from all the frustrations of being a yellow jacket

November 20th, 2012
8:19 am

Everyone crying that Tech backed into the championship game-just shut it up. Tech palyed the season laid out for them and this is the way it worked out. Instead you should be proud of the Tech team and COACHES who did not quit after two overtime losses that most teams would have quit on. Coach johnson is a fine coach and has everone on it s schedule worried about Tech’s offense which has a top 5 rushing game. Rushing games is where games are won and clock control is obtained. When tech is making blocking assignments, this offense cannot be stopped. get behind tech and quit your squalling.

doc

November 20th, 2012
8:22 am

5150 a point is the edge is off mentally for the canes and we arent sitting alone at the top. we all know it and should accept it. the canes are not playing for a chance to win a shot at another prize. it is anti-climax. kids are kids and might have a let down. looks better if they do lose but even if they do it smells for the kids on both teams because of a supposed adult knowingly screwing things up for his own ego and self serving distorted personality.

wish, we could have held serve in one of those earlier games to win it out right under any circumstance. it would be a moot point what miami does. we didnt know how to win yet. i can hope that has been an education in itself.

and i never give up hope we can beat uga. go bees!

MC

November 20th, 2012
8:22 am

If we get mortally stomped by UGA and the Noles isn’t that enough folks? This will be 2 years in row. Isn’t the handwriting on the wall? No way we go to the top with PJ’s recruiting.

MC

November 20th, 2012
8:24 am

PJ has NEVER had a D. Offense will not by itself win a damn thing. Look what happened to Oregon. PJ’s an arrogant egomaniacal loser.

GT

November 20th, 2012
8:27 am

Seems the NCAA attention is on the wrong side of the street. You have teams barely making bowl eligibility a far sight from football factories getting all the probations. Not quiet sure what we are stopping here or if the main goal is to find the path of least resistance to justify the existence of the NCAA.

BUZZ Fan

November 20th, 2012
8:32 am

The 2009 Championship was vacated due to arrogance and failed deception by the administration, NOT THE PLAYERS!!!!!!!

Veteran Fan

November 20th, 2012
8:39 am

MC, get some anti-depressants! This very young team is getting better and Coach Johnson has done an excellent job of keeping this team together and competing hard every week! We have beaten every team we should with the exception of MTSU, who played a very good game against us! Don’t forget, before the season started, we knew that September would be very difficult! Two overtime losses were tough, but our youngsters continued to play hard! Yes as a grad and a season ticket holder, I don’t know if we will win on Saturday. But I know that our team will show up and give it their best and I am satisfied with that! Our country cousins need to bring their best game, because the city boys from Atlanta will come to play! PS. There is a reason that uga is signing over 30 recruits this year. They have had so many players arrested, dismissed, or transferring out that many of their top 10 recruiting classes have been gutted! We do not need that type of student athlete on the flats! Go Jackets and THWG!

Caleb King

November 20th, 2012
8:46 am

The Jawja fans should not be talking about Tech. Decent team, but a joke of a program. Players arrested every few days. No control of players, just a bunch of thugs majoring in housing. Fulmer Tropy winners!!!!

Aaron Murray is my b-tch

November 20th, 2012
8:49 am

Fulmer Trophy. Nice one, Washaun.

ramblingbuzz

November 20th, 2012
8:57 am

After the MTSU game, I thought the players had quit on Coach Johnson and said so on this blog. I was wrong. CPJ and his players had confidence in the team and continued to play hard. Now they are reaping the benefits of their hard work. Unlike last year, when the team was in a tailspin at the end of the year, I am seeing some improvement on both sides of the ball. I like that. Does it mean we will beat UGA and FSU? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I’m willing to be patient and see what happens next year with a new DC in place and Lee as starting QB. CPJ has made the moves I felt like needed to be made if GT is going to improve.

Dadgum.....

November 20th, 2012
8:58 am

I know the GT v UGA game is real big to a few old timers on this blog as I am approaching 58 years of being a GT fan myself but let’s not kid ourselves here. The “rivalry” is severely watered down. First, you gotta win to bring it back even remotely close to historical form. GT has failed miserably at that. Second, the importance of the game is trumped by just about every ACC regular season game and most definitely by the ACCCG. Not to mention that the rivalry is seen as minimal on a national scale hence the 12:00 start.

Bragging rights of course is at stake as is fodder for blogs but the big ole fashion hate game simply is a shell of its once proud self. If I had a choice of a victory over FSU or Georgia I’m taking FSU and it ain’t even close. I’m betting the players and coaches would vote similarly. Lets just call this rivalry game important but say it tongue in cheek. Tech has a bigger game to play in Charlotte. Go Jackets!

Sideways 77

November 20th, 2012
8:59 am

I think we can beat UGA & FSU – IF the defense keeps improving. The problem that Coach Johnson has is finding a defense. It is hard to keep out scoring other teams consistently. Can you imagine what a great team we would be with a D! We are a top 5 offensive team with Tevin, wait till Vad takes the controls next year, especially if he learns the option! We need a D coach and some D players. A better kicking game wouldn’t hurt either. Let’s control the clock and wear them down.

I do hope our D shows up ready to play. Nothing is more fun than going to Athens and beating the puppies. We’ll see Saturday if Ga is for real and if the Tech D can step up. Go Jackets and the THWG. See you in Athens.