Georgia and Georgia Tech entered their bye weeks on major downers. The Bulldogs had lost to South Carolina by 28 points; the Jackets had lost three games in a row having yielded at least 40 points in each. Picked to win the SEC East, Georgia had fallen behind the Gamecocks and the rejuvenated Florida Gators. Picked to finish second in the ACC Coastal, Tech had fallen to fifth place in a six-team division.
But half the regular season remains for both teams, and already there has been some recalibration. Tech fired defensive coordinator Al Groh. Georgia, for its part, has fired nobody. At least not yet.
The good news: There figure to be a lot of wins left on both schedules. Georgia should finish no worse than 10-2, and if South Carolina loses to Florida on Saturday and the Bulldogs run the table, they’ll be back in the Dome for the SEC title game. It would take a heapin’ helpin’ of harmonic convergence for Tech to win the Coastal now — it has already lost to division brethren Virginia Tech and Miami — but the Jackets’ remaining ACC games are all winnable. Provided Tech can find a way to hold somebody under 40.
The Jackets need four wins to get bowl-eligible, which is a big deal for a program that has gone to bowls the past 15 seasons. You’d have to think the Jackets should be able to handle Boston College, Maryland and Duke and then pick off either BYU or North Carolina. But you’d also have thought Tech would have beaten Middle Tennessee.
In sum, both Tech and Georgia have much work to do but time enough to do it. We’ll see if they’re good enough to do it.
Oh, and one bit of self-editing: On our little video chat above, I say Georgia Tech needs to win two games to finish with a winning season. To finish 7-5, Tech has to win five games. To finish 6-6 and thereby be bowl-eligible, it needs to win four games. Sometimes I mistype. Other times I misspeak. The constant is that I’m pretty much an idiot no matter the medium.
By Mark Bradley