Experts say Tech has about hit the ceiling in BCS

The Jackets have had a lot to celebrate this season, including Josh Nesbitt's (9) winning touchdown against Wake Forest. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

The Jackets have had a lot to celebrate this season, including Josh Nesbitt's (9) winning touchdown in overtime against Wake Forest. (Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com)

When the first BCS standings were released about three weeks ago, I put together a checklist of what I thought it would take for Georgia Tech to climb from No. 12 to No. 2 and, therefore, make it into the national championship game.

You can click the above link, but I’ll boil it down for you here: 1) Don’t lose another game; 2) Hope a lot of other teams lose games. Simple.

Some of that has happened. It’s why the Jackets now rank seventh. But according to the nation’s two foremost BCS experts, Brad Edwards and Jerry Palm, seventh is about as high as they’re going to go.

When I spoke to both in separate interviews, each also said they could foresee a scenario in which either No. 1 Florida or No. 2 Alabama lost a game to fall back in the rankings, then won the SEC championship to leapfrog Tech again. The reason: The strength of the SEC — perceived and actual — carries a lot more weight with the voters and in computer rankings than the strength of the ACC (and therefore Tech’s schedule).

“I can’t say there’s no way it could happen,” ESPN’s Edwards said of Tech working its way up. “Obviously, I can’t foresee how voters would treat them. But my gut feeling at this point is even a one-loss SEC team finishes ahead of them. What really hurts Tech is their biggest games were played in the first five or six games of the season. They’ve had nothing in the last half of the season to pay close attention to. I’m not sure even winning out would put them ahead of TCU, Cincinnati or Boise State.”

Palm, who operates CollegeBCS.com, said, “Tech’s problem is there’s a general lack of respect for the ACC. Is it better than the Mountain West [which includes TCU]? Yeah, it probably is. But I’m not sure what the voters think of Georgia Tech, compared to those schools ahead of them.”

Do you agree with the comments, or do you think the ACC in general and the Yellow Jackets in particular are being disrespected?

Also, here’s another look at the BCS standings.

BCS Harris Poll USA Today Computer Rankings
RK TEAM AVG PVS RK PTS % RK PTS % AVG A&H RB CM KM JS PW %
1 Florida .9842 1 1 2801 .9828 1 1460 .9898 1 25 24 24 24 25 25 .980
2 Alabama .9516 3 3 2688 .9432 3 1389 .9417 2 24 25 25 25 23 23 .970
3 Texas .9234 2 2 2712 .9516 2 1399 .9485 5 22 23 23 21 19 21 .870
4 TCU .8620 6 4 2424 .8505 4 1262 .8556 4 21 22 22 22 22 22 .880
5 Cincinnati .8580 5 5 2377 .8340 5 1224 .8298 3 23 20 21 23 24 24 .910
6 Boise State .8126 7 6 2349 .8242 6 1200 .8136 6 20 21 18 19 21 20 .800
7 Georgia Tech .7552 10 7 2131 .7477 7 1118 .7580 7 19 18 20 20 18 19 .760
8 LSU .6138 9 11 1634 .8733 11 838 .5681 8 17 19 15 17 20 17 .700
9 USC .5922 12 10 1660 .5825 10 847 .5742 11 15 17 14 16 16 15 .620
10 Iowa .5745 4 12 1540 .5404 13 757 .5132 9 18 16 19 15 15 18 .670
11 Ohio State .5733 16 8 1795 .6298 8 944 .6400 13 14 13 13 10 8 9 .450
12 Pittsburgh .5628 13 9 1713 .6011 9 940 .6373 13 13 10 12 9 10 14 .450
13 Oregon .5318 8 14 1381 .4846 16 665 .4508 10 16 14 17 18 17 16 .660
14 Miami (FL) .4712 17 15 1366 .4793 15 685 .4644 12 11 8 16 12 12 12 .470
15 Houston .4691 15 13 1476 .5179 12 766 .5193 16 10 9 11 0 7 13 .370
16 Utah .4003 14 16 1352 .4744 14 688 .4664 20 6 15 6 4 4 10 .260
17 Arizona .3363 18 19 880 .3088 19 472 .3200 15 7 0 7 13 14 11 .380
18 Penn State .3350 11 17 1057 .3709 17 552 .3742 20 8 12 8 7 0 3 .260
19 Oklahoma State .2909 19 18 979 .435 18 530 .3593 22 5 11 5 2 1 5 .170
20 Wisconsin .2334 21 20 567 .1989 20 341 .2312 19 12 3 9 8 6 4 .270
21 Virginia Tech .2331 23 21 478 .1677 21 268 .1817 17 9 0 10 11 9 7 .350
22 Brigham Young .1236 NR 22 468 .1642 22 216 .1464 25 2 7 2 0 0 2 .060
23 Oregon State .1231 NR 28 94 .0330 28 39 .0264 18 4 6 3 14 13 8 .310
24 South Florida .1084 25 23 266 .0933 24 106 .0719 23 0 5 0 5 11 6 .160
25 West Virginia .0653 NR 24 182 .0639 23 121 .0820 26 3 2 4 0 0 0 .050

453 comments Add your comment

MattyB

November 9th, 2009
2:36 pm

Can’t control computers or voters. Just keep winning.

reebok

November 9th, 2009
2:37 pm

you mention alabama twice above…probably meant to say florida one of those 2 times.

SWFLJacket

November 9th, 2009
2:37 pm

Beat DOOK!!!!

and first, maybe

EW

November 9th, 2009
2:38 pm

SWFLJacket

November 9th, 2009
2:39 pm

Beat DOOK!

and shatter the ceiling

reebok

November 9th, 2009
2:40 pm

i just wish there was a scenario where you could have, say, cincy & boise state play for the mythical BCS championship…that would presumably put a stake through the heart of this monster once & for all…

ooohhh…is mike silve going to fine me for being negative?

Jamaaliver

November 9th, 2009
2:40 pm

Enter your comments here

Phillip

November 9th, 2009
2:41 pm

If Cincinnati loses to West Virginia which is highly possible and TCU loses to Utah and Texas loses to Texas Tech or A&M, then I think it’s highly possible that we’ll jump Boise State and play the winner of the SEC Championship game. If Florida or Alabama loses before then then everything is up in the air. We just have to take care of Duke and Georgia and see how the cards fall in place.

Innocent Bystander

November 9th, 2009
2:42 pm

Hm… Someone should check out Sagarin’s Strength of Schedule rankings. More interesting than you’d think.

@wbarker

November 9th, 2009
2:43 pm

I did notice there’s a bigger gap of separation between 7 and 8 than there is between 4 and 7. That has to give some hope to GT for moving up in the BCS.

wesleywhatwhat

November 9th, 2009
2:44 pm

just beat duke and think about bcs implications later.

(btw, can we get an article on the evolution of paul johnson’s system before any more articles on bcs rankings, please?)

Hal

November 9th, 2009
2:49 pm

Tech now has a bull eye on it back and it will have all it can handle with Duke, UGA and most likly Clemson in the near future. What they do and how they do it will go a long way. Just concentrate on what “you” have to do Techies and you’ll be just fine.

StraightJacket

November 9th, 2009
2:52 pm

Jeff, with Brad Edwards’ logic, why not just extrapolate to his “logical” conclusion? Which is:

Just shut down College Football after the SEC Championship Game? I mean, that’s what he’s saying here. Texas? Nah,… forget about ‘em! They play in the Big 12, where Baylor and Iowa State roam.

Extrapolating just a LITTLE farther, since it has now become obvious that the SEC is really no more than 4 teams, we should just have a short season every year where UF & ‘Bama get top seeds, and if Tenn or LSU can beat them … twice … in the same year (with SEC refs), then they can be champs.

All OTHER 116 teams in FBS will NOW join the FCS, … along with ALL bowl games, and have a playoff champion for the “little” teams that don’t matter.

That really IS what he’s saying here.

In summary, GT doesn’t deserve to be above any of the unbeatens; including TCU, Boise, and Cincy. But HISTORY has proven that “teams that lose LATE have lost their Championship chance” , and if somebody wants to write new history with modern smoke-filled room politics, they should not bother with the charade that objectivity is involved. LOSING LATE in the season IMPLIES that your team is NOT improving … I don’t care WHO you’re playing!!!

So, let’s declare a Champion on December 5 in Atlanta, and move on to basketball season.

-SJ

wiley

November 9th, 2009
2:52 pm

BEAT DUKE!!! A BCS bowl and ACC championship is a huge accomplishment…there is no sense in whining about the BCS…everyone gets screwed except the SEC, Ohio State, and USC. Play to win!

Scott

November 9th, 2009
2:54 pm

What idiots. First, GT’s schedule strength is 12th in the nation from Sagarin. The premise of tech getting to the top is based on this fact. There CANNOT and WILL NOT be two sec teams in the title game. Since the sec refs have almost assured two undefeated sec teams to the champ game, there is no way a rematch will happen. So if texas cincy and tcu were to lose, the voters and idiots in the media will have no choice but to put tech in the game assuming gt wins out. Saying they can’t go above 7 is just stupid. If cincy loses and we win, uh hello we move to at least 6th. If tcu loses too, we jump them. The only team they would potentially keep above us for losing is texas and it would HAVE to be a reg season game. If texas lost the big 12 title game, they aren’t playing in the nat champ game. What other teams are out there if texas, cincy and tcu lose? Boise has no shot. They should be ranked 20th anyway. Watch lsu dismantle la tech this week. Boise struggled against the same team.

GA Tech Insider

November 9th, 2009
2:56 pm

Can’t worry about anything else other than beating Duke; I can assure you that’s what Paul Johnson and the team is doing. The only thing GA Tech’s football team has control over is their own games, and that’s what they’re concentrating on, one game at a time.

DawginLex

November 9th, 2009
2:56 pm

Tech will lose to UGA or Clemson, maybe both but not likely. Clemson has a good defense and the QB has tons of confidence that he didn’t have in meeting 1. Tech’s defense is not good enough to shut down UGA even with Joe cox playing QB.

Anyone that thinks it’s going to be a blowout hasn’t been paying attention. It will be a shootout. So will the game in Tampa.

GA Tech Insider

November 9th, 2009
2:59 pm

DawginLex; maybe you should be concentrating on finding a way to help your puppies win a meaningful game rather than prognosticate (pray) that GA Tech will lose another game.

ArkyTech

November 9th, 2009
2:59 pm

What a stupid column. Basically, what you’re saying is that if everyone ahead of Tech wins the rest of their games that Tech won’t pass any of them? DDDDDUUUUUUUUHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Stat Man

November 9th, 2009
2:59 pm

Certainly can’t complain being the highest rated 1-loss team in the nation. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot of disrespect to me.

Additionally, anybody looked up and down the top 25? What do you notice about the ACC & SEC? Appears there are more ACC teams in there than SEC (yes, I know Florida & Alabama are 1-2).

Interestingly, Tech needs Georgia to win it’s next couple so their strength of schedule gets a little boost. Imagine that – Tech benefitting from UGA trying to get bowl eligible.

Could this be the change Obama was talking about (cause I haven’t seen much change anywhere else!)?

Cosmo

November 9th, 2009
2:59 pm

TO BORROW FROM ERK: “Just one more time.”

Alan

November 9th, 2009
3:04 pm

Arkytech
Exactly. Stupid column.

Steve

November 9th, 2009
3:05 pm

Tech has the best rushing game in College Football today . . .

Yeah, I think they need to be ranked above TCU, Cincinnati & Boise Sate . . .

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2009
3:06 pm

Arky and Alan — basically what I’m saying that even a 1-loss ACC champion doesn’t merit top status this year. But you can put it any way you like. Double duh.

Brent Cunningham

November 9th, 2009
3:06 pm

DawginLex is right. We’ve played well enough on offense to win, but we have hardly put anyone away and we aren’t likely to stop Clemson or even a poor Georgia team from scoring at least 20. We are gonna have to score on almost every time we have the ball. PJ will be going for it on more fourth downs until the defense improves.

GT JJ

November 9th, 2009
3:08 pm

DawginLex, gotta disagree with you on shutting down Cox. Cox is no Skinner, Ponder, Harris, or Lewis. I think UGA will score 14-21 unless they get a defensive or return TD. Tech will double that point total.

Clemson, on the other hand, I am more worried about. Duke too with their passing attack playing at home with bowl hopes alive. Never thought i’d be more worried about the dookies than the dawgs.

mtraininjax

November 9th, 2009
3:08 pm

Miami is what, 14? OSU, Iowa, Cincy/Pitt, Utah/TCU they could move up to top 10, if they win out. Could have 2 ACC schools in top 10. I can’t see the Orange wanting Cincy back, after the OB loss last year.

BankerDawg

November 9th, 2009
3:08 pm

“What really hurts Tech is their biggest games were played in the first five or six games of the season.”

There you go. One of the two foremost BCS experts just made the case for no poll to exist the first month of the season. When you play your tough games should mean nothing…

This whole system is flawed, flawed, flawed.

TCU is legit.

Boise and Cincy are frauds.

Who knows about Florida and Bama, or Texas for that matter. None of them have particularly jumped out at me this year.

In fact, for my money, I think TCU could take anyone in the top 10.

For the record, looking at the BCS, I personally would have Tech at #5.

I'm with DawginLex...

November 9th, 2009
3:08 pm

…Tech has the ability to run the table, but both UGA and Clemson, especially Clemson, have the ability to win against them(that is providing Dabo does not pull another Bowden – i.e. lose another game like the MD game – and lose to NC State or UVA). Other than the MD debacle Clemson has lost to # 7 Techby 3, and to # 6, and rising, TCU, by 7.

Clemson beat UM at Miami; Tech lost at Miami. Clemson beat Wake Forest 38 – 3; Tech beat Wake in overtime. Plus, Clemson came all the way back, on the road, against GT, only to give out of gas at the end – I would never bet against Tech if they get the ball last and it comes down to a final drive to win!

So, it should make for an interesting last 3 weeks – again provided Clemson does not go in the tank at NC State or against UVA! But, that is why they play the games.

Hayseed Dixie

November 9th, 2009
3:09 pm

It’s a Catch-22, chicken-and-egg thing for the ACC.

In order for the ACC to get respect, at least two teams have to consistently be in the NC conversation, and win 2 or 3 over ten years.

In order for *that* to happen, the average quality of football teams in the conference would have to nosedive.

It’s the SEC’s dirty little not-so-secret secret: they’re top heavy.

Futhermore: anyone think being part of the Big Least made Miami’s run of dominance a little easier?

Until Div I football has a playoff it’ll be a beauty pagent crossed with a cruel joke. Anyone looking for the evidence that cash trumps logic need look no further.

Alan

November 9th, 2009
3:09 pm

No schlitz sherlock. But that’s as of right now. If Texas Cincy and tcu all lose, and GT wins out, please tell me who they are going to put in the Nat Champ game oh wise one????

Duber1958

November 9th, 2009
3:10 pm

What difference does it make? All Tech needs to concentrate on is their next game, then the next, and then hopefully the ACC championship. That is the only thing in their control and if they take care of this then the rest will either happen or it won’t. How many Tech fans were really expecting us to be at this point in the season, in the second year under Paul Johnson. Tech is having a wonderful run this year and the Tech fans need to just appreciate what is happening and make sure they continue to support the team in the coming weeks, especially in Tampa, if we beat Duke as we should.

BankerDawg

November 9th, 2009
3:12 pm

I’m with DawginLex-

Cannot argue the transitive property in college football.

Also, as you mention, Clemson lost to Maryland…perhaps the worst team in the ACC, if not the entire east coast…

Lastly, Dabo versus Paul Johnson for all the marbles….is there any doubt who wins that one?

CW

November 9th, 2009
3:13 pm

I completely disagree.

Let’s assume that Tech beats Duke, GA and wins the ACC championship game (which is going to be much more difficult than everyone thinks, btw).

TCU, Boise and Cincinnati all have games ahead of them that they may lose. If all three lose one game along the way, they will drop below Tech. Texas has looked unbeatable before and then lost inexplicably in the Big 12 Championship. If it has happened before, it can happen again.

If Bama and Florida win out (and both could also still trip up) only one of them will move on to the NC game. No way will the voters, computer or human, put together an all SEC re-match.

The only question is, would Tech get the nod over a Texas team that had just lost to someone like Nebraska or Kansas State? Because the Big 12 North is so weak this year, I think Texas losing their conference championship would knock them out of the big game.

The point is, all these teams still have a shot because finishing out the rest of these games with wins is going to very difficult for all of them – even Florida, Alabama and Texas.

F-105 Thunderchief

November 9th, 2009
3:14 pm

35th!

Whew! OK, now I’ll go back and read the post.

John Peters

November 9th, 2009
3:18 pm

boise has no chance. especially considering the only decent team they beat just lost to stanford. oh that team we just beat beat stanford too. this column reads like there is one game left in the season and the teams above gt all have cupcakes left.

StraightJacket

November 9th, 2009
3:18 pm

Jeff, from your column:

“The reason: The strength of the SEC — perceived and actual — carries a lot more weight with the voters and in computer rankings than the strength of the ACC (and therefore Tech’s schedule).”

Counter-Point:

Florida International (not to be confused with Florida Domestic!)
Charleston Southern (not to be confused with Charleston Western!)
Troy (not to be confused with Sparta!)
North Texas (not to be confused East Texas!)
U.T. – Chattanooga (not to be confused with U.T. – Martin!)
and … Florida International … AGAIN!!!! (’Bama & UF BOTH played this “powerhouse” out-of-conference team)

With a truly awesome schedule of “bye weeks” like this, I think Georgia Tech could probably handle the rigors of playing the “powerhouse” SEC teams UF and ‘Bama play like Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, etc….

Oh. Wait. Tech DID play those “powerhouse” SEC teams … just without the “bye weeks” that UF and ‘Bama had.

The only “right” thing to happen is for the OLD standard to hold true, and that is this:

IF YOU LOSE LATE, you’re toast.

Anything less is unethical politics.

-SJ

F-105 Thunderchief

November 9th, 2009
3:19 pm

I hope the best for Tech. All they can do is win. The rankings are so subjective. For instance, why is Pitt five spots lower than Tech? They probably don’t deserve to be.

Metal Jacket

November 9th, 2009
3:20 pm

Win out, this sets us up great for next year. Tech could start the season in top 5.

Cuttysark

November 9th, 2009
3:20 pm

Thanks for the information Jeff. With the teams up in front, and the bias in the human voting, it is already a done deal that GT will not make the NC game. The only outside team with a chance if somebody stumbles is TCU. Frankly they are the team that none of the big boys want to play.

Go to http://isportsweb.com for a review of the Yellow Jackets win in OT against Wake and Paul Johnson’s decision to end the game. As well as other GT articles. Go Jackets!

Mike

November 9th, 2009
3:21 pm

Now the insects can work on geting the correct number on there seating amount in Bobby dump stadium.

Alan

November 9th, 2009
3:21 pm

Straight
How contradictory is that considering GT will have played 3 teams from said conference. And lets do some comparative score analysis.
GT beats Miss st by 11. Fla does by 10. Bama is a 13 point fav. I don’t think they cover.
Gt beats vandy by 25. Fla does by 24.
Based on what I have seen so far, we beat Ga something like 48-31.

Brad

November 9th, 2009
3:22 pm

A team that has lost the BIG 12 title game has advanced to the BCS title game before so it could happen again

Alan

November 9th, 2009
3:23 pm

Jeff I am waiting for your answer. If texas, cincy and Tcu all lose, gt wins out, who will play fla/bama in the title game?

Alan

November 9th, 2009
3:24 pm

Brad
Who was that?

Alan

November 9th, 2009
3:27 pm

I seem to remember a team from the big 12 years ago not even playing in the big 12 champ game and either making it to the title game OR almost making it. But crazy upsets like usc losing to ucla that year and 2-3 other upsets had to happen. There has NEVER been a team that made it to the Nat champ game that lost their last game of the reg season or conf champ game.

jacket3

November 9th, 2009
3:28 pm

Being in the top 10 nationally…..wow. Tech at No. 7 wow. Maybe in 2010 but in 2009, wow. People will soon see the light. Just keep plugin’ away Jackets..

GT Que

November 9th, 2009
3:29 pm

DawginLex
&
I’m with DawginLex…

Tech’s defense (save for Miami) has stepped up and made plays when they needed. Have they given up big plays, absolutely.

For the record Florida State has a FAR better total offense than UGA and Clemson (FSU ranked 20, Clem 73, and UGA 88) There is no reason to think that GT won’t be able to make any necessary second half adjustments and pull out a close win.

UNC’s rush defense is FAR better than UGA’s and Clem (UNC #8, UGA #41, Clem #51) and we were still able to put up 317 yards on the ground. (not to mention we already put 301yds on the ground on Clem and outgained them 418 to 386 in total offense)

Finally….Dabo and Richt don’t have the fire breathing, intestinal fortitude, and c.ohunes to hang with Paul Johnson in a close game. Richt’s record speaks for it’s self, but he got out coached/schemed last year and he will again this year

god and greyhound

November 9th, 2009
3:31 pm

Tech has definitely peaked, assuming all the teams ahead of them win out. In that scenario, even the SECCG loser probably wouldn’t fall past Tech.

Of course things don’t always work out the way you plan. I guess upsets don’t happen in the world of the BCS “experts.”

Cincy has two challenging top 25 games left against WVU and Pitt. They also play an Illinois team which has found life the last two weeks. They could easily lose one of these three.

TCU has Utah. I don’t think it’s likely they lose this game, but stranger things have happened.

Boise plays a surging Nevada team, also undefeated in the WAC, which has given them fits the past two years. Nevada took them to the fourth overtime in Boise two years ago, before losing on a missed two point conversion.

Texas plays Kansas, A&M, and hopefully Nebraska in the Big 12 championship. Unlikely they lose any of those, but none of those teams is a cupcake.

And who’s to say Alabama or Florida doesn’t pick up a loss? Florida at South Carolina could be dangerous. If by some miracle Christian Ponder heals up, FSU could give them a scare in a shootout.

Alabama still plays at Miss State, who gave LSU all they could handle and made a good run at Florida. Then there’s the rivalry game with Auburn.

What if both Florida and Alabama lose before the SEC Championship game, and are ranked #6 and #7? Will winning such a game be enough for the SEC Champ to jump to #2?

A lot of things have to go right, but there’s still a lot of football to be played.

JB

November 9th, 2009
3:33 pm

Taking Wake into OT dulls a little shine off the Apple. I think Tech has a good team, But a top 3 or 4 with that D, I don’t think so. Now, I understand Tech folks will holler BS, But, they have no vote. Case closed.