Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech on Labor Day: Who benefits?

Which Tech will fly higher? (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Which Tech will fly higher? (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Georgia Tech hasn’t confirmed that it will move its game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to Labor Day evening, but an announcement should be forthcoming. (The holdup is because the Jackets are shuffling some other games.) So if Tech-Tech, which has become a midseason ACC marquee game, becomes a high-profile opener instead, who benefits?

Tech, I say. (Heh, heh.)

Virginia Tech benefits in that it gets the only other team to win the ACC Coastal since the league moved to divisional play at its place so early. As we know, Paul Johnson’s offense is unlike most others, and teams that have extra time to prepare tend to fare a bit better than those that don’t. (Johnson argues that this bit of conventional wisdom is overblown, but here we note that, of Georgia Tech’s five losses in 2011, three — against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Utah — came against opponents who had more than one week to ready themselves.) That said …

Georgia Tech benefits in that Virginia Tech is a famously slow starter. The Hokies lost their opener in 2008 (to East Carolina in Charlotte), in 2009 (to Alabama in the Georgia Dome) and in 2010 (to Boise State in Washington, D.C.). They also lost their second game of the 2010 season to James Madison, and last season they were tied with East Carolina in Week 2 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Jackets could return as many as 15 starters on offense and defense. The Hokies are scheduled to retain eight starters on D, but they lose four offensive linemen, two wide receivers and tailback David Wilson. And Virginia Tech, at least in the post-Vick days, has never been all that impressive on offense. If Georgia Tech can score three touchdowns on Labor Day night, it can win.

When last these teams met, Georgia Tech’s third touchdown gave it a 26-21 lead late in the third quarter, and the surging Jackets were poised to take the ball again when Jeremiah Attaochu sacked Logan Thomas on third down. But officials were slow to blow the play dead and the massive Thomas refused to go down and an agitated Attaochu took a swing at him and was flagged for the personal foul that changed the game. The Hokies kept the ball and scored, stopped the Jackets on fourth-and-1 and scored again and won 37-26.

We think of the 2011 Georgia Tech season as having unraveled at its end, but the Virginia Tech game was there to be won. Had Georgia Tech prevailed that Thursday night, it would have played Clemson for the ACC title, and the Jackets had already beaten Clemson once.

Most years, I’d say Georgia Tech wouldn’t profit from playing its chief division rival so soon on the road, but I’m thinking 2012 might be the one time it does. I’m thinking Georgia Tech will arrive in Blacksburg on Sept. 3 with a point to prove. I’m thinking the Hokies might find themselves behind 14-0 before they realize they’re in a game.

So: Am I picking Georgia Tech? As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.” On Aug. 27, 2000, Georgia Tech was scheduled to play Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in prime time. Corso picked the Jackets to win, whereupon his rental car — he wasn’t in it — was struck by lightning. The game was washed out and never rescheduled. We all know the Bradley Jinx is mighty, and I’d hate it if I conjured up a storm of my own.

By Mark Bradley

142 comments Add your comment

UGASlobberknocker

January 26th, 2012
2:21 pm

Wow, with all of this excitement, maybe they could sell more than 40,000 tickets.

UGASlobberknocker

January 26th, 2012
2:22 pm

Well maybe if we throw in a kevlar vest for the walk back to the dorm

Frank

January 26th, 2012
2:24 pm

They also lost their second game of the 2010 season to Appalachian State

I think that is spelled “James Madison.”

Tim

January 26th, 2012
2:26 pm

In 2010 Virginia tech lost its 2nd game to James Madison, not Appalachian State.

Technically Correct

January 26th, 2012
2:28 pm

Tech wins! Tech wins! Tech wins!

DawginLex

January 26th, 2012
2:30 pm

Virginia Tech benefits big time from having the entire summer to prepare for the TO. GT benefits from getting some TV exposure. VT’s struggles this year were because of the QB and if Thomas returns healthy, VT will smoke GT Vad Lee or not.

juvenal

January 26th, 2012
2:31 pm

slobber, it’s at va tech, they sell out every home game-& the folks that buy the tix actually go…..

Jacon Marsus

January 26th, 2012
2:32 pm

Classy UGA slobberknocker. Shows exactly what I would expect out of a Dwag fan.

DawgFan

January 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

No, Mark. Whenever Georgia Tech’s football program is involved…there are no winners.

Pinball34

January 26th, 2012
2:34 pm

UGA Slob: VT is the home team…

READ THE ARTICLE

January 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

Either you are beyond insensitive or just can’t comprehend…game in blacksburg.

Irate Ostrich

January 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

id have to say uhhhhhhhhhh…. ohmmm…… uhhhhhhhh…….. duke!

Dr. Knockafuji

January 26th, 2012
2:38 pm

Doesn’t matter when they play the game, Ga Tech and its high school offense and washed up defensive coordinator will get boat raced…..

Tech Man

January 26th, 2012
2:38 pm

There’s no way I’m missing Dragon Con. I’ve already spent three months working on my Klingon outfit.

Georgia Sucks

January 26th, 2012
2:40 pm

Just like UGA’s football program, right DawgFan? lol world beaters my foot! UGA hasn’t been relevant since 1980. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh that’s a long time ago.4 National Titles is better than one. Go Jackets ;)

1990_Champs_GT

January 26th, 2012
2:41 pm

GT has a better chance against VT early, but the “minus-a-yard and a cloud of dust” wil go back to Georgia Southern if we don’t make and win a bowl.

Phi Slamma Jamma

January 26th, 2012
2:41 pm

Didn’t VT lose to James Madison in their 2nd game of 2010? Come On, Mark…

Ilyke Min

January 26th, 2012
2:42 pm

VT did not lost to App State. Don’t give those Yosefs the credit.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:42 pm

Ok, so we’ve already hit on high school offense, crime, and sellouts.

commingstobeatyourwife

January 26th, 2012
2:43 pm

Vad Lee’s coming out party! Wrap up to coastal early boys………………Did Rev richty pickup some class of ‘14 commits on his visit to juvi?

Jacket Man

January 26th, 2012
2:44 pm

Virginia Tech CAN’T spend the entire summer preparing for Tech’s spread/triple option or they won’t have spent any time preparing their defense for the rest of the season when they play every other team. Sure, they may spend extra time working on it, but risk the first quarter of their season based on one game? I highly doubt it.

On the other hand, GA Tech will prepare its normal offensive and defensive schemes that they’ve worked on for the past several years, and will carry through the season, so, hopefully, getting new players integrated and working on timing will be the Jackets biggest concerns.

Dr. Knockafuji

January 26th, 2012
2:45 pm

Let’s also touch on playing home games in a high school size stadium, having to run ads in newspapers to sell season tickets, having opposing teams buy up said season tickets for one game, an athletic association with no money because of crummy booster support.

GTBob

January 26th, 2012
2:46 pm

I like the idea of playing a brand new offensive line with a 3-4 defense. Groh could really cause them problems.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:46 pm

There ya go, Doc. Keep trolling.

Just keep in mind, Tech’s endowment is three times the size of the University of Georgia’s.

JB

January 26th, 2012
2:47 pm

VT with an early ACC win

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:48 pm

Do we still get to play the game, JB?

Byron

January 26th, 2012
2:49 pm

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech on Labor Day: Who benefits?

I think the bigger question is WHO CARES?

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:50 pm

Apparently Byron cares. Well, at least enough to read the column, decide to make comment, think of something witty to say, come up black (shocker!), and decide to post a useless comment anyway.

zgoldatl

January 26th, 2012
2:51 pm

I was at that never to be rescheduled game in Blacksburg. The storm was absolutely crazy.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:51 pm

JB

January 26th, 2012
2:52 pm

Yes…………………….George…..I’m just remembering the “hundreds” of comment from “concerned” Tech fans leading up to our game with Boise last year. They weren’t kind, but being a big boy, most predictions did come true. We got beat and embarrassed on National TV. Good luck.

DawginLex

January 26th, 2012
2:53 pm

To think that VT won’t take the extra time to prepare for the TO is insanity.

Of course they will

It will be like bowl game prep and considering the magnitude of the game, VT will be spending a lot of time on assignment football on defense.

Rickster

January 26th, 2012
2:54 pm

As as the game is announced, I’m calling by bookie Vito and putting $50 on VaTech.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

Fair enough, JB.

They’ll use the time, but it’s the fifth year they’ll be exposed to the offense, Lex. We aren’t exactly surprising anyone anymore.

rduck

January 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

DawgnLex- i totally disagree with your assumption. VT has had extra time to prepare for the TO the last few years and have not shut it down yet. Yes it will help, but to think they will totally shut us down is a huge mistake. Foster has had fits with our offense from day one. And L Thomas is a hos, but who is he gonna throw to, or hand off to, or be protected by? All new guys making their 1st start. That is a huge advantage for GT… I love the fact that we will have this game at the first of the season as a motivating factor during camps. It’s hard to get guys pumped about a Western Carolina or SC St opener. Also great exposure to current players and future recruits….

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

How many points are you getting/giving, Rickster?

GT fan for life

January 26th, 2012
2:56 pm

find myself not a bit excited at the prospect of another season of this archaic and enept offense,tech will eventually regret the day they were sold on this mountain man and his 1950’s style of football

JB

January 26th, 2012
2:57 pm

Main difference between the two teams. VT has big,fast talented athletes. Tech, not so much.

GT Dude

January 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

I like the idea and have been supporting it since the possibility of changing the game was made public. GT players and coaches will have additional motivation during the offseason workouts so win or lose the first game they will most likely be in better condition for the rest of the season.

Let’s get it done!

GTBob

January 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

find myself not a bit excited at the prospect of another season of this archaic and enept offense

Good for you. Go find another team to root for or wallow in your sorrows.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

You mean that archaic and “enept” offense that finished 21st nationally in scoring, fan for life?

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
2:59 pm

I think that’s a bit of a myth, JB. But it seems we’ll find out sooner than we anticipated.

JB

January 26th, 2012
3:00 pm

GT fan for life. As a Dawg fan, I disagree. IF, big if, Johnson could recruit a top notch defense, He could compete for a NC. I really don’t see the type athletes…or depth at Tech to stop ranked teams.

Hankie Aron

January 26th, 2012
3:01 pm

JB- From a Dawg fan, 2 wrongs never make a right. You know what they say, if you don’t have anything nice to say…….. Give George Stein and the rest on here a break.

GTBob

January 26th, 2012
3:02 pm

One difference in bowl games and opening games is that VT doesn’t really know for sure what they are preparing for. If Vad Lee or Synjyn Days is the starting QB then the offense will probably look a lot different then last year. Plus the fact that we are not playing a patsy team first game will probably make CPJ’s play calling a little more diverse.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
3:02 pm

Thanks, Hankie. JB is typically a fair guy.

Eastside Jacket

January 26th, 2012
3:03 pm

Georgia fans should be pulling for a Tech win and continue to be huge Tech fans the entire season. We’re one of only 2 or 3 chances UGA has to play a ranked team during their regular season.

JB

January 26th, 2012
3:03 pm

Your right Hankie……I should learn from my friends at Tech on our blogs.

Dr. Knockafuji

January 26th, 2012
3:04 pm

George….my school’s endowment is over 4 times the size of Ga Tech’s according to official records as of 12/31/10. Harvard grads could say their endowment is 26 times the size of Ga Tech’s….who cares….this article and discussion is about football not endowments.

George Stein

January 26th, 2012
3:06 pm

Of course you went to Harvard, Doc. But the second you bring up money, it does concern the endowments of the schools. We have money. We choose to spend it differently.