Tech versus Georgia: This year it’s the duel of the dual duds

Georgia's Ben Jones after the upset of Tech last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia's Ben Jones after the upset of Tech last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Call this the season of dual lead balloons. Georgia was ranked No. 23 in the preseason Associated Press poll, dropped from the Top 25 on Sept. 12 and hasn’t received a vote since. Georgia Tech was ranked No. 16 in the preseason poll, dropped from the Top 25 on Sept. 12 and received its last votes on Sept. 19.

Add their records together and you get 11-11, which is the essence of mediocrity. Add their conference records together and you get 7-9. Add their road records together and you get 3-7 (or 3-8 if you count Georgia losing in Jacksonville, which was technically Florida’s home game this year).

Total the records of the teams they’ve beaten and you get 44-76, and that’s skewed by the 9-2 of South Carolina State, which Tech defeated on Sept. 4 and which will face Georgia Southern in Round 1 of the FCS playoffs today. Together, Tech and Georgia own victories over two FBS bowl-eligible opponents, and both North Carolina and Kentucky are 6-5. (And are, not to put too fine a point on it, basketball schools.)

And yet … all duds are not created equal. Our friends in Las Vegas favor Georgia, which has a losing record, by 13 points over Tech, which has a winning record, if just. Strange as it sounds, that line seems about right: To see Georgia play is to wonder how it lost six games; to view Tech is to wonder how it won that many.

Tech is 61st among 120 FBS teams in points scored, 59th in points yielded. It’s first in rushing offense, next-to-last in passing offense. Georgia has scored more points and yielded fewer and ranks 18th nationally in turnover margin and 36th in penalties — the Jackets are 54th and 87th in those key categories — but it has lost five times to Tech’s six. Part of this can be explained by noting that the SEC is stronger than the ACC. Part, but not all.

Georgia’s closest victory of the season was 44-31 over Kentucky. Tech has won four games by a narrower margin. Georgia clearly has better players — and Tech has been without its best man, quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, since the second quarter of the Virginia Tech game Nov. 4 — but the Bulldogs have developed the distressing habit of losing every losable game. You can say, “That’s just bad luck,” but is it luck when it happens all the time?

Two weeks ago Georgia led the nation’s No. 2 team by two touchdowns on the road. Auburn rallied to tie 51 seconds before halftime, whereupon the Bulldogs ran a draw play and let the clock expire, secure in the knowledge they’d get the ball to start the second half. Whoops. Auburn perpetrated a slick onside kick and took the lead without Georgia touching the ball. From 21-7 ahead, Georgia would lose 48-31 on a day when it didn’t turn the ball over. That wasn’t bad luck. That was bad coaching.

This will be Mark Richt’s 10th game against Tech; he has lost only once, wasting a 28-12 halftime lead in the wink of an eye two years ago. That was the game that made Paul Johnson the toast of Georgia Tech, the new coach having done in Year 1 what Chan Gailey couldn’t manage in six tries — he beat Georgia. But Richt upset the Jackets last season when Tech was ranked No. 7 and bound for the ACC championship game, and now there are questions about Johnson, too.

That ACC title was achieved largely due to the production of five Gailey signees, four of whom left early for the NFL. The fifth is Nesbitt, who’s a senior. Before the season Johnson hailed this as the deepest of his three Tech teams, but what the Jackets added in numbers they’ve lost in high-end quality. And early recruiting returns for 2011 aren’t glowing. (Scout.com has Tech 38th; Rivals.com doesn’t list the Jackets in its top 50.)

As we approach our latest installment of Clean Old-Fashioned Hate, so much is murk. It’s unclear if Richt, who has presided over three consecutive seasons of diminishing results, can again maximize Georgia’s resources. It’s unclear if Johnson, who has fallen from a conference championship to 6-5, can again find enough players to win big. Likewise unclear is when, or even if, this proud football state will again matter nationally.

403 comments Add your comment

Coach Hewitt...

November 26th, 2010
12:04 pm

Coach Hewitt...

November 26th, 2010
12:05 pm

frawgs 45 …yackets 24…

Cuttysark

November 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

This has all the makings of a 3 touchdown or more win by the dawgs. However, these rivalry games never seem to follow the script. Given that the dawgs need this one to go to a bowl, it should be motivation enough for them to get a victory on Saturday. We will find out soon enough if Paul Johnson and his high school offense can pull off another upset in Athens. For more Georgia Tech Football articles go to http://isportsweb.com.

Blackberry Pie

November 26th, 2010
12:10 pm

Tech 48 Mutts 7

Go Jackets and bye bye AJ Green

Fred

November 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

Think about the football team THUGA puts on the field. 96% of the players are academically provisionally accepted, with Adams and his cronies knowing full well that they will use up all their coaching and tutors and elligibility and then have their asses kicked out on the street and soon be pushing grocery carts around Atlanta looking for a warm place to sleep. What a pitiful way to run the State’s flagship university. I am going to this week’s game where the Ga THUGS will undoubtedly whip my North Avenue Scholar Athletes once again. Brawn and brainless win out over brains any day of the week when you are talking mayhem on the field. But once again I am hoping that Tech stomps their sorry asses.

Supes

November 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

UGA 48…GT 17….it will be a beating.

CMR is already playing for his job and next season when his butt will truly be on the line….

Burma Shave

November 26th, 2010
12:22 pm

Some things are simple

Some things are not

But the dawgs’ brains

Are filled with snot.

Burma Shave

Hirsutedawg

November 26th, 2010
12:23 pm

More like Crackberry Pie. The Dawgs take out a seasons worth of frustration on the nozzleheads, 51 – 14.

jdawgT

November 26th, 2010
12:23 pm

ROOOLLLLL TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

November 26th, 2010
12:24 pm

Kudos to the Wizard of Techwood

roughrider

November 26th, 2010
12:24 pm

As a UGA grad, I get tired of Tech nerds thinking they are smarter than anyone else. If you are not an engineering student, you can get a better degree at UGA, especially in the science field. UGA has world class professors in science, much more research money. Get over yourselves nerds.

WDE

November 26th, 2010
12:25 pm

It’s the yawn bowl because nobody cares. Both football teams are very bad, which is coaching of course. Both Richt and Johnson might have winning pasts but both are fielding miserable teams this year. You’ll have to look to the west to watch a meaningful and exciting rivalry that means something nationally.

Brent

November 26th, 2010
12:25 pm

Where are all of the UGA fans that accuse MB of being a Tech fan?

Muck Racht

November 26th, 2010
12:26 pm

Thugs, punks, and illiterate goons, that’s what UGA brings to the game. Really pathetic, and embarrassing to the whole state.

Delbert D.

November 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

5 Georgia turnovers and it may be close.

reebok

November 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

can’t see tech winning this without nesbitt, but richt routinely gets outcoached on gameday, so i guess my jackets have a shot…

Glenn

November 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

Hey, roughrider, how about this for the mindset of UGA. From Neil Boortz in an AJC column:

Well, I don’t want to embarrass the subject of our little story by using her real name. We’ll call her Prunella. Our heroine is a senior at the University of Georgia and a columnist for the Red and Black, the independent UGA student newspaper.

At the end of her most recent column, “Think before you shop at Walmart,” you will see this tag: “[Prunella] is a senior from Lawrenceville majoring in magazines and women’s studies.”

With such a double major I’m sure the recruiters are knocking down her door.

“Think before you shop at Walmart?” As a matter of fact I do! My thought process is usually something like, “I think I’ll go shopping at Walmart.”

Prunella disapproves. She says that when she walks into a Walmart she sees “concentrated evil.” Not just evil, mind you — concentrated evil!

Our magazine major’s problems with Walmart seem to stem from the fact that many local retailers find it difficult to compete when Walmart moves into town.

That’s the nature of the free market.

Prunella doesn’t explain how she would remedy the situation. Consumers exercising their free choices apparently don’t sit well with this young lady. She is also upset with Walmart because it is a “large unfeeling corporation with (a) major impact on what we buy, where it’s produced and how much we pay.” Please. Whoever it is out there forcing Prunella to shop at Walmart, knock it off.

Somehow, in her column about the “concentrated evil” that is Walmart, Prunella didn’t address the fact that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. donates just shy of $300 million a year to charities around the country. The company also reportedly pledged $2 billion for a five-year campaign to fight hunger. The evil must be concentrated somewhere other than in charitable giving.

Perhaps, then, this is Prunella’s real problem with Walmart. In her column she expresses displeasure that profit-driven corporations “are firing American workers to cut production costs. They then charge American consumers more money than what it took to produce their products.”

Let’s address both of her points. First: How dare any evil “profit-driven” corporation fire workers to cut production costs! Cutting production costs is nothing less than a blatant attempt to improve the bottom line. Don’t these dastardly businessmen realize that they’re in business to hire people, not to make money? After all, potential investors look to the number of unnecessary employees as a surer sign of corporate health than profit and loss figures. Any good woman’s studies major surely knows that!

Second: Let’s erect some gallows at Sanford Stadium so, at the next Georgia home game, we can hang the next evil businessmen we catch selling a product for more than it cost to produce. Prunella must have sneaked into the back of a UGA business class to learn that her next pair of shoes should be sold for exactly what it cost to make them and place them on the shelves of her favorite store (not Walmart) — and not one penny more.

Seriously, folks. Is this what we get after tens of thousands of dollars are spent to produce a college graduate these days? Did her magazine professor see this column before she submitted it to the Red and Black? Didn’t someone warn her that such public displays of economic brilliance can end up being embarrassing?

And the most troubling question of all: Is she registered to vote?

Coach Hewitt...

November 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

Thanks Mark…. My good friend Dave Braine(God bless him) & my UGA Law school grad agent said hello and want you to know they really love your work and your coverage of gt….

Now… $7.1 million or STFU gt fans….LMAO, I Run This School….Paul.

Hairy Dawg

November 26th, 2010
12:30 pm

The pestky bugs are goning gets swatted like nerdie gnats when we unloading the whooping can on them. They a bunch of loosers with no QB and gimmickey high school team. Dawgs has SEC talent and speeds not ACC pointy heads chump program. Ket the Big Dawgs Eat! Gooooo DAWGS! Beat the nerds!

Blackberry Pie

November 26th, 2010
12:31 pm

Hirsutedawg

November 26th, 2010
12:23 pm
More like Crackberry Pie. The Dawgs take out a seasons worth of frustration on the nozzleheads, 51 – 14.

Hey huttmutt find some red panties and a snotrag because you will be crying after AJ is gone and Georgia loses. Go Jackets

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and rick roundtree, Christopher Hawkins. Christopher Hawkins said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: #GaTech vs. #UGA: It's the duel of the dual duds. http://bit.ly/i8fVh2 [...]

sugarpikegang

November 26th, 2010
12:33 pm

This sort of reporting is good for papers. People asked similar questions about the state of football in Alabama about five years ago…but they seem all good today.

The Bulldogs are a better team but expect more of the same from this rivalry (a tough football game that will be closely contested and watched by only a few).

As for Paul Johnson – c’mon! He’s been here three years and has won a conference championship! It is the south and it is Atlanta but it’s just an amateur sport played by young, young men. Perspective y’all!

JB

November 26th, 2010
12:34 pm

roughrider – “As a UGA grad, I get tired of Tech nerds thinking they are smarter than anyone else. If you are not an engineering student, you can get a better degree at UGA, especially in the science field. UGA has world class professors in science, much more research money. Get over yourselves nerds.”

A “better degree at UGA, espcially in the science field.” Wrong and wrong. Check the national rankings.

You claim UGA has “much more research money.” Wrong again. Not even close. Check the endowments and research dollars by Tech; you’ll be embarrassed to compare those at UGA.

UGA isn’t even close to Tech in the national academic rankings. You did zero research before typing. Obviously you’re just another dumb Dawg that fits the Dawg profile.

Gravy Train

November 26th, 2010
12:36 pm

Mark, suppose the schedules were flipped. Does Tech win 5 or 6? The differences in conference quality can’t be overstated. There’s a reason FSU ran roughshod through the ACC for so long: There just aren’t any quality programs in the ACC. Quality, to me, is having BCS Champion potential. I realize that definition has been watered down by the strength of schedules being removed from the equation. Is Georgia in bad shape record wise? Absolutely. A team has to have depth and stout defense to win in the SEC. Georgia is still working on that. Tech has never had any of the two under Turkey Neck.

HOUDAWG

November 26th, 2010
12:36 pm

The caption above …… ” Georgia’s Ben Jones after the upset of Tech last season “.

Now that’s funny stuff …… when ( & I mean WHEN ) is GA beating Tech EVER an ” Upset ” ??

That would be NEVER ……

Dawglasville

November 26th, 2010
12:39 pm

To all of the chest pounders out there, I love the optimism, but next summer let’s all remember things posted prior to Sept. this year, and blog more sensibly next year. Go Dawgs.

Bill

November 26th, 2010
12:41 pm

Mark forgive me for nitpicking but didn’t UGA wear the their home red jerseys in Jacksonville?If it was technically a UF home game would they have not been in thier blue jerseys?

Humbleddogfan

November 26th, 2010
12:44 pm

You have cannon balls Mark. You tell it like it is!

HOUDAWG

November 26th, 2010
12:46 pm

Hey Bill ……. fyi. Every other year in JAX is the ” home team ” preference. We were “home” this year , hence the red jerseys. We were visitor the previous year when we wore the god-awful black pants & helmets. Hope that helps …..

Dawglasville

November 26th, 2010
12:46 pm

JB – US News I believe has Tech ranked around 35 and UGA around 56. Now that is a good sized gap but I believe that Emory is ranked 20. So, by the logic you used, you wouldn’t be upset if I suggested that Tech isn’t even close to Emory academically. We are comparing apples to oranges with Tech and Emory and we are comparing apples to oranges with Tech and UGA. I know that these blogs can be aggravating but let’s be real. You normally blog better than that.

SatchelBuzz

November 26th, 2010
12:47 pm

Here’s the typical ugag rant,….We’re georgia,…we got a big stadium,…we won a coference championship like 10 years ago, we always have one of the top 10 recruiting classes so that makes us good….we’re in the the SEC and Mark May loves the SEC,..and we have SEC speed, and dang it,… that counts for something.

ugag blows and Ben Jones is a cheap-shot artist.

THWG GO ‘Jackets.

rightofcenter

November 26th, 2010
12:47 pm

JB,
Don’t try to insert facts into an argument with a Dawg. It will just confuse him. The good news is that, thanks to the idiots on the Board of Regents, those who aren’t qualified to get a nationally acclaimed engineering degree in Atlanta will soon be able to get a third-rate engineering degree in Athens. How inspiring.

xl.dawg

November 26th, 2010
12:48 pm

Fred, get back to work, You are not allowed to use the company computer on your break. Clean up in aisle nine. No you may not go to Athens on SAturday.

Gary

November 26th, 2010
12:50 pm

Anybodys game. Mistakes on either side could kill. Georgia looses and our best player heads to the NFL and we will be worse next year. A win and we get to see AJ one more time. Pray for a win.

joe

November 26th, 2010
12:51 pm

YAWN. Wake me up when its over as I don’t want to have to experience this misery.

Fred

November 26th, 2010
12:52 pm

Fake Fred,

Don’t use my name for your BS and lies. The players at Tech don’t even come close to making the grade there academically. Georgia consistently graduates a higher percentage of it’s athletes. As a matter of fact, it’s not even close. You limp richards can’t even say that your “scholar athletes” have the pressure of academics to slow them down in their pathetic efforts to filed a team. It’s just not true.

And why don’t you find your own screen name you loser.

Dean Tate

November 26th, 2010
12:53 pm

but [Georgia] has lost five times to Tech’s six….

Think you got it backwards, Mr. Bradley.

Glenn

November 26th, 2010
12:55 pm

Sorry guys gotta go. Mom needs the basement for laundrey again. Hate it when seh uses the bas.. I mean my apartment. Gonna make some leftovers to carb up for an all weekend world of warcraft session. Can some one twitter me the score of the game.

kyle

November 26th, 2010
12:55 pm

Tech won’t be able to stop the Dawg offense. Georgia will jump out fast and Tech won’t be able to catch up. 52-20 Georgia

Dawg Tired

November 26th, 2010
12:56 pm

Mark – Check this out. A Birmingham lawyer does a good job of explaining why Cam Newton is ineligible. This could end even uglier for Auburn than first thought.

http://www.williamsonherald.com/sports?id=73586

how2fish

November 26th, 2010
12:57 pm

Blackberry Pie we are going to be on you and Bugville like ugly on a Baldwin brother, you’ll be sitting in a closet playing with your lightsaber by halftime. You couldn’t stop Duke, the only team on the field that can beat UGA tomorrow is UGA . It just a shame your QB is hurt biggest reason is the young man is a true gamer and second is the year long whine of “we didn’t have Nesbitt” we will have to endure.

gt45

November 26th, 2010
12:57 pm

We lost a lineman to the NFL last year, also. Not to mention the two that graduated and play for GSU. We’re young, but we will not throw in the towel. The holelickers better come to play!

Fred

November 26th, 2010
12:58 pm

Sorry guys, can’t go to the game afterall. Have to install a new water heater. Damn this advanced trade school degree from north avenue. A plumbers work is never done. I don’t even have time for World of Warcraft anymore.

how2fish

November 26th, 2010
1:00 pm

SatchelBuzz not so fast my Buggish friend….1-8 getting ready for 1-9 NOW that’s a typical UGA rant…now back to your blow up doll.

Draggin Fly

November 26th, 2010
1:00 pm

@Glenn – if you rely want to continue off topic…..
Walmart CEO Mike Duke (GT ‘71) supports Obamacare.
http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/walmart_letter_063009t.pdf

Dirty Jacket

November 26th, 2010
1:02 pm

Aside from several factual errors (as per usual) in your overly dramatic article, you must be the only one in the country who believes “now there questions about Paul Johnson (as a coach)”. Not a single Jackets fan questions Johnson or the direction of this program. Most rational fans recognize that this is a transitional year. We lost 4 game changing talents to the NFL. That’s not an excuse, but it’s part of the equation. Like UGA, we switched to the 3-4 scheme on defense. Unlike UGA, our D-line is tiny and we do not have the athletes that UGA has. That has, and always will be, a reality for Tech. But that will never be an excuse for losing, but when transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4, athletes make life a bit easier. With that said, Bradley, I think you are a horrible color writer. UGA should win this game, but they should have won in 2008 as well, and Tech should have won last year. Vegas lines are meaningless in this game. I will not be surprised if my Jackets lose 50-7 tomorrow, and I won’t be surprised when we win 38-35 either. (For the record, I think we lose somewhere in the middle, 41-32 or the likes). Go Jackets. Win or lose: To Hell With Georgia.

william cranman

November 26th, 2010
1:03 pm

Mark, great column as always but wasn’t UGA the designated home team against Florida this year? And I think Auburn beat us 49-31, not 48-31. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

JB

November 26th, 2010
1:04 pm

Dawglasville – I agree with your rankings; my post was rebuttal to a different poster. Emory is ranked higher than Tech and deservedly so in some areas. Your point in comparing apples and oranges is also correct in many cases.

But ponder if you will a degree that all three universities provide as a point in comparison, an MBA. How do the three schools rank?

Georgia Tech #26
Emory (Goizueta): #27
UGA (Terry): #59

That provides a better comparison of apples to apples for the three schools. Oh, and by the way, the majority of Tech’s football and basketball players are in the College of Management (not Engineering) but that College is nationally ranked with some of the best management/business programs in the country. In fact, better than Emory’s MBA and that’s not too shabby. UGA’s Terry College of Business? Not so much.

how2fish

November 26th, 2010
1:04 pm

Dirty Jacket that my Buggish friend was a very good post….hoping for a great game with no injuries on either side tomorrow and I like you 50-7 idea pretty well.

Draggin Fly

November 26th, 2010
1:05 pm

” Not a single Jackets fan questions Johnson or the direction of this program.”

Not so fast, my friend…..