Tech’s the best of the once-beatens: Is that enough?

And now we come to the great riddle of college football: How to determine by looking — and not always by looking — whether one good team is better than another good team. Only in this silly sport is appearance an issue: All the others sort things out with a tournament. Only big-time college football is a beauty pageant.

According to the just-released BCS standings, Georgia Tech is the best one-loss team in the land. It’s ranked No. 7, behind only six unbeatens, in the BCS as well as the AP and USA Today polls. At least one of the remaining undefeateds — Florida or Alabama — will lose before Dec. 6, the day spots in the BCS bowls are (mis)allocated. Cincinnati probably will lose to West Virginia or Pittsburgh. TCU and Boise State probably won’t lose. Texas probably won’t, either.

But let’s say Texas does. Then voters in the pertinent polls — the AP version doesn’t factor into the BCS — will have to decide if an unbeaten TCU or Boise (or Cincy) merits a spot in the national championship game more than a one-loss Tech. And this is where Tech’s league does it no favors.

Were the one-loss team Southern Cal or even Ohio State, that team would be in the top five today. (The once-beaten Trojans were No. 5 in the BCS standings only nine days ago. Then they lost to Oregon.) Southern Cal is a brand name. Ohio State is, too, though its brand has been slightly diminished by the erosion of the Big Ten.

The ACC is held in lower regard — I’m speaking nationally — than the Big Ten. Only four conference teams got a vote in this week’s AP poll. (Miami is No. 12, Virginia Tech, No. 20, Clemson No. 24) Even a 12-1 Tech with an ACC title in its pocket mightn’t be ranked above an unbeaten TCU or Boise (or Cincy) come Dec. 6.

The question now: Should a one-loss Tech team be? And that’s a tough one. The Jackets did lose emphatically to Miami, and TCU did beat Clemson at Clemson and Virginia in Charlottesville. But Tech has ventured out of conference to play  two games against SEC (albeit only Mississippi State and Vandy) and still will face Georgia, which could be 7-4 on Nov. 28. (It could also be 6-5.)

Me, I’d say a 12-1 Tech would deserve to be above an unbeaten Boise (really weak schedule) but not an unbeaten TCU (or Cincy). But I tend to err on the side of the undefeateds. Because undefeateds have, as the saying goes, done everything asked of them. A once-beaten team has done almost everything. But that’s what I hate about college football: It leaves the most important decision of the season — who should play for the national title? — to people sitting and watching (and sometimes not watching).

I’d also say this: An eight-team tournament would benefit the Jackets more than any other team on the figurative grid. Imagine trying to prepare for PJ’s spread option is one week. I could see Tech winning two games in such an event. Heck, I could see it winning three.

574 comments Add your comment

MagnaCarterGT

November 8th, 2009
3:13 pm

Just win. Tech has to climb five more spots to get into the title game. Maybe we’ll get there, maybe we won’t, but as long as we keep winning we can’t get further away.

GTAub

November 8th, 2009
3:14 pm

I think we should be ahead of TCU and Boise State. To think of one of them possibly playing in the NC game when they play the San Jose States of the world is offensive. It’d be like Sugar Bowl of the 2007 season. Although, things like last years Sugar Bowl always keep these teams in it.

THE CATHOLIC HAMMER

November 8th, 2009
3:14 pm

GO JACKETS!!!

George P Burdell

November 8th, 2009
3:15 pm

Good comments here. Truth is we still need to win 3 more games. Then we can ask ourselves if we deserve to go out West.

What a fun year to be a Tech fan!

Jeff

November 8th, 2009
3:17 pm

Jeff

November 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

whoops, not even close.

Mark Bradley

November 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

Jeff, I’m in awe of some people’s quickness on the posting. It’s tough to be first.

chip

November 8th, 2009
3:21 pm

Pretty sure Cinci already beat Pitt. Yes, the ACC has four teams in the top 20. The SEC has three.

chip

November 8th, 2009
3:23 pm

or maybe Cinci hasn’t played Pitt yet. My bad

petewrigley

November 8th, 2009
3:25 pm

Think you meant to say eight-team tournament. In the best case that Tech wins out, even the four-team tournament (the more realistic BCS fix) might’ve been enough to give Tech a title shot.

Mark Bradley

November 8th, 2009
3:26 pm

I did, Pete. Thanks for correcting me.

Huck

November 8th, 2009
3:32 pm

Irrelevant conjecture…..Georgia beats Tech on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, rendering all of this conjecture a moot point….and the Tech people KNOW that’s going to happen—and it’s KILLING them inside…

David

November 8th, 2009
3:32 pm

Pitt’s only loss is to NC State. A team in the bottom half of the ACC.

David

November 8th, 2009
3:34 pm

Huck, have you watched UGA play this season?

Patrick

November 8th, 2009
3:37 pm

Mark, why are you suddenly on the GT band wagon for a bid at the MNC game? Granted, GT has defeated VT (then ranked #4) but where is VT now? GT barely got by an unranked WF team on their own turf. Are you actually suggesting that GT (although a very good team a ton of fun to watch) could take on Florida? Alabama? Texas? Even LSU? Please respond as I would love to read your comments.

tt

November 8th, 2009
3:38 pm

sec is so overrated. Tech beats florida; bama a toss up. Florida loses to FSU

GT

November 8th, 2009
3:38 pm

We will now bean underdog to Clemson in the title game according to Heather D. on ESPN.com. Tech could have gone 13-0 and still been 7th. The nation is not ready to accept the fact that the option is a legit Offense.
Lets go Jackets, Duke and UGA then CLemson. If we can will the last 3 we should have a shot.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 8th, 2009
3:39 pm

If Tech can finish the season with 11 or more wins, then they will have exceeded my greatest expectations. At this point, 12-2 or 13-1 don’t seem too unrealistic. If we can do that, then let the poll results fall where they will. With virtually the entire team set to return next year, we should start in the preseason top five, which will make it easier to stay “relevant” in the national championship discussions in 2010.

EE89

November 8th, 2009
3:39 pm

There are only 3 conferences with 4 teams in the top 25. The average rating of those 4 are
ACC 15.75
Big 10 16.25
PAC 10 16.25

The SEC only has three teams. If you throw in Auburn at #28, the SEC average would be 10.25. Obviously the SEC is top heavy and have already been conceded one spot in the title game.

The question is who will be the other team.

If you go by strength of the AP top 25, the ACC is certainly no worse than any of the other BCS conferences – no matter what the nation thinks.

jacket

November 8th, 2009
3:39 pm

Mark,
I’m torn also. The edge probably has to go to TCU and Cincy if they go undefeated. And I don’t see Texas losing. They could beat FL or AL.

My feeling is that the 1990 team is better than this one. That team was full of champions, and by the end of the season, they were unstoppable. I had the feeling they were going to beat up on UGA, and they were going to blow out Nebraska. Both happened.

This year’s team leaves me uncertain about future games. We’ll beat Duke, but I’m uncertain about UGA, and Clemson in the ACCCG. We should win them, but I just feel less certain about this team compared to 1990.

Having said that, this is a very good Tech team (thanks to Johnson), and I sure hope they put it all together, stay healthy, and go 13-1.

tt

November 8th, 2009
3:41 pm

Johnson typical of a Tech Man; Richt of a UGA man, all sizzle no steak, are u for real richt, fake hair, fake tan, fake white teeth,fake sincerity

Paul in RDU

November 8th, 2009
3:43 pm

Patrick –
It doesn’t matter whether anyone thinks GT can take on FLorida, Alabama, TX, etc. All that matters is what the ranking is after the conference championship games. If GT is ranked #2 (which they won’t be) they get to play #1 in Pasadena.
If GT wins the ACCCG they get to play in a BCS game – the Orange Bowl – no matter their ranking.

Now, if they don’t make the ACCCG they could fall to a lower level bowl (GT doesn’t travel as well as Clemson, VT, UNC).

Paul in RDU

November 8th, 2009
3:48 pm

tt
Hopefully you are just hungover from yesterday and that’s why you said that FSU will beat UF.
Have you seen either of those teams this year?

Ron

November 8th, 2009
3:49 pm

The 1990 team was a lot better. It had a great DEFENSE and this team does not. This is a darn good team, though. Nesbitt really has heart. You have to love him. He is a true stud.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 8th, 2009
3:49 pm

Patrick,

During the course of the season, Florida struggled against unranked Arkansas and unranked MS State. Alabama struggled against an unranked TN team. Tech’s margin of victory over both Vandy and MS State exceeded that of the Gators. The fact is, good teams have bad days. The best teams find a way to win even when they aren’t playing at their best. The only way we’ll know for sure whether Tech can compete against the best in the SEC is to match up against them … hopefully in the MNC game! In the meantime, UGA fans can take little consolation in knowing that the Dogs have yet to compete against the best teams of ANY conference this season.

blord

November 8th, 2009
3:49 pm

lets just worry bout duke for now.

HBD, quite honestly one of the biggest dawg fans ever and a 1987 grad of the flagship university in the country

November 8th, 2009
3:49 pm

Bradley:
Get your self genetically tested for early stage alzheimers or dementia. As bad as Georgia is in so many areas this year, GT will be our bowl game. WF moved the ball at will against the Jackets, the dawgs can only lose this game if they can’t stop the 11 penalty, 4 turnover train.

bluecole

November 8th, 2009
3:50 pm

CPJ is our 12th man. With him, every other team playing is already 7 behind.

I would love to see GT play anyone in the top five. Of course, that what the bowl games are for, right?
provide matchups after a season of hard work? No, wait, they are there to make money, bring tourists, etc.

It’s great we’re getting the national attention, now we just have to keep it up.

B.

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 8th, 2009
3:51 pm

I say again..CPJ will mirror Mark Richt’s second year…win his conference championship while missing out on the NC game due to losing to the hated rival.bittersweet season for Tech.

Dawg Fan 74

November 8th, 2009
3:52 pm

Tech will lose to UGA and then lose their ACC (Awful Crappy Conference) Title Game

truyellow jacket

November 8th, 2009
3:57 pm

does anyone remember that tech fell out of the rankings after losing to miami. Now look at my beloved yellow jackets no.7 with a bullet. name another team that has done and endured what we have this season. remember the ACC is strong this year at least 8 teams have a shot of going to bowl games from our conference name another conference with at least that many. So dont think the ACC is soft we just dont get the recognition we deserve like our basketball teams but we are slowly getting there. with that said we should be top 5 but in due time we will be a force to WRECKin with no matter who we play. GO YELLOW JACKETS FULL STEAM AHEAD because we are ALL THE WAY TURNT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

November 8th, 2009
3:59 pm

I don’t know that Tech will lose to UGA. In fact, I can’t see Tech losing to anybody until the Orange Bowl, if then.

Patrick

November 8th, 2009
4:00 pm

Paul in RDU, you are correct. As I stated, I love to watch GT play ball; however, the only quality win would be against VT – right? Miami beat GT so the computers will consider that game and it will not bode well for the Jackets. I sure wish that GT had the defense to take on the top-shelf teams that you mentioned but so far this year they have not. Hey, give it a year or two more and GT will be right there in the mix of the MNC because CPJ is a win-minded coach. That OT play calling was very, very gutsy and it was a great win for GT. Good luck against Duke!

Tampa Gator

November 8th, 2009
4:01 pm

We’re not talking about Tech playing Florida next week. You are talking about giving Charlie Strong and the Florida defense 3 weeks to prepare for Georgia Tech in a national championship game. The complete stuff the offense with the type of speed they have (ala: LSU last year). Plus, Tech’s defense has no chance with Florida’s speed at RB and Tebow. Forget about beating Florida in a bowl game. No chance. During the season, maybe. But not likely. Florida’s defense, and Bama’s defense, is too good and too fast.

Tampa Gator

November 8th, 2009
4:03 pm

No way Georgia beat Tech. No way. That will be two years in a row. They are starting to be the Florida of Georgia. Yeah, I like that!!!

Tampa Gator

November 8th, 2009
4:07 pm

P$$onaDawg…you are why anyone living in Georgia must ask themselves why. Why not go ahead and dress up your ignorant comments wtin the “n” word…it is a perfect fit for you and your many friends.

Chris

November 8th, 2009
4:07 pm

Tech would beat Florida and Bama? HAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

bcwcreck

November 8th, 2009
4:08 pm

Pi$$,
You are obviously not a Tech Fan.
Get out of your Mother’s basement and get some sunshine.

WoodstockGT

November 8th, 2009
4:09 pm

Comment is to “Jacket”. The 1990 National Championship Team was great. I was at Tech then. But alot of people forget that team beating an unranked sub 500 South Carolina team 6 to 3. We kicked two field goals (one was a last second one ) for the win. My point is that the 1990 (as good as it was) wasn’t unstoppable by any stretch. I actually think this team is as good (at least offensively). Their weak spot is obviously defense but the D has stepped up some. If GT wins out, the Boise State and Cincy’s do not play a conf. champship game so that extra game if Tech were to win could get them a jump. Still to much football left to play, so take it one game at a time.

blord

November 8th, 2009
4:13 pm

actually the 1990 team beat south carolina 27-6 and beat vt 6-3

Chester Lucks

November 8th, 2009
4:13 pm

The ACC title game in Tampa is the Saturday before exam week at Tech. Students will have a tough choice to make.

51 Cards

November 8th, 2009
4:14 pm

HBD is not playing with a full deck. This blog is not about UGA. Wake is a much better team than UGA (better coach, QB, defense, discipline). Now that you brought it up, GT beats UGA 51-14.

bubbaroy

November 8th, 2009
4:15 pm

Mark, you and some of the GT fans (of which I am one) posting here are in dreamland. We have SO over performed this year. I shudder to think what a game against Texas or some other excellent passing team would look like. As one poster said, the GT game with be UGA’s bowl game – and then we will have to play against a MUCH improved Clemson team. We could easily be 10 – 3 (or even 9 – 4 if we lose focus). We are not that great a team – but Paul Johnson is that great of a coach.

blord

November 8th, 2009
4:15 pm

lets beat duke first

mick

November 8th, 2009
4:15 pm

Pi$$onaDawg, why don’t you crawl back into the hole you crawled out of. GT doesn’t need fans like you.

big t

November 8th, 2009
4:16 pm

Why don,t the haters go back to your own blog and talk about your own loser team georgia bulldogs

reality check

November 8th, 2009
4:17 pm

To all the obviously incredibly frustrated Dawg fans….DREAM ON !!! If UGA couldn’t beat Tech with Stafford, Moreno, etc., you stand about as much of a chance of beating them this year as Willie has keeping his job, or BooBoo keeping his, or Mark’s tan fading over the winter. Face it , in one year, the mighty DAWGS have become a JOKE……or even worse, IRRELEVANT

WoodstockGT

November 8th, 2009
4:20 pm

Blord-
Thanks for the correction. It was VT not South Carolina. But the VT team was sub 500, and Tech barely won. My point is most good/great teams have a game or games during their season that they don’t play to their best potential. The good teams win those games and that is what I am hoping happened yesterday.

GSU Eagle 91

November 8th, 2009
4:20 pm

I’m really pulling for GT, but a re-match against Clemson could be a problem. I also get the chance to watch a lot of teams play, amd I’m certain GT could not beat TCU. In fact, TCU is good enough to beat any team in the nation. But the question is, will they get that chance?
GT vs Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl is a logical choice. If they can get by a very talented Clemson team….

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 8th, 2009
4:20 pm

UGA is going to beat Tech.the jackets D is notch below SC or ARK and we should be at full strength at DL and LB.might be a tight game but if UGA forces GT to pass it’s over by the end of the third.