This nutty Tech season could yield a truly hilarious ending

Believe it or note, both of these teams could land in Miami. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Believe it or not, both of these teams could land in Miami come New Year's. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia Tech could wind up in the Orange Bowl, or it could grace no bowl at all. At this moment, the Jackets are bowl-eligible; come Saturday night, they might not be. Got that?

“It’s been a different year,” Paul Johnson said Tuesday, which is an understatement on a par with, “Bill Gates isn’t hurting for money.”

After a full regular season, Tech is neither a winning or a losing team — but it might yet be a conference champion. Generally speaking, when serendipity takes a hand it lifts a good team to greater heights. Somehow serendipity seems to have taken a shine to these middling Jackets, who lost by 21 points to Middle Tennessee and by 32 to Georgia.

The Jackets have played 12 games, losing half. They have beaten one team (North Carolina) that finished above .500. Carolina was one of three teams that tied for first place in the ACC Coastal Division, but the Tar Heels couldn’t play for the conference title because the NCAA won’t allow it, and Miami decided not to play for the ACC championship for fear of what the NCAA might do. Ergo, Tech to Charlotte.

“You want to be playing for your conference championship,” Johnson said. “Would you have dreamed it would be with this record? Probably not.”

Should the Jackets lose to Florida State — they’re a two-touchdown underdog — they’ll be 6-7, which would render them bowl-ineligible after they’d moved heaven and Earth to get bowl-eligible. Tech people absolutely believe the Jackets will be afforded a postseason berth even with a losing record; neutral observers are less sure. “You guys (meaning the media) are having more fun with that than might actually be,” Johnson said, though “fun” mightn’t be the proper word.

The coach’s Tuesday briefing wasn’t nearly as acidic as his post-Georgia address, but he didn’t miss the opportunity to hammer home a Talking Point. “This is the third time in five years these players have finished with the best record in their division,” he said. (Not incidentally, five years is how long Johnson has been in place.) “To hear some people talk, you’d probably think the sky is falling. But that’s probably better than they’ve done here in a long time.”

True. Before Johnson arrived, Tech had finished first in the ACC or the Coastal three times: In 1990, the UPI national championship season under Bobby Ross; in 1998 under George O’Leary, and in 2006 under Chan Gailey. But it’s also worth noting — and here we risk being included on a list of “some people” — that Johnson’s Jackets are 21-20 since Thanksgiving 2009, and that the biggest victory of that span (the ACC championship over Clemson) was officially vacated, and that their last game marked the second-largest margin of defeat of Johnson’s five years.

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Even with Tech playing for the ACC title, it’s impossible to call this season a smash. (Though, as Johnson said, “If we can win the conference championship, it’d be hard to say they underachieved.”) It would also be impossible to characterize the program as being in the prime of health. That said, it would be utterly in keeping with this crazy-quilt season for Tech to topple Florida State and break its bowl losing streak, which stands at seven years, in a BCS game against a true heavyweight like … Kent State?

As Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports has outlined, if Kent State beats Northern Illinois for the Mid American Conference title on Friday and finishes in the top 16 of the BCS rankings, and if the Big East champion is ranked below that, the Golden Flashes would almost surely land in the Orange Bowl, which gets last choice in this year’s BCS rotation. (Dodd also calls a potential Tech-Kent matchup “a game you wouldn’t pay to see in September.”)

The Golden Flashes lost to Kentucky by 33 points, and Kentucky didn’t win an SEC game and fired its coach. (And just hired Mark Stoops, the Florida State defensive coordinator. Small world, huh?) And to this outlandish possibility, we say: Why NOT?

Nothing else about Tech has made a lick of sense, so why not go the full Monty? Upset Florida State, beat Kent State and stick around afterward to help welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Miami. See, the Orange Bowl will be staged at Sun Life Stadium — the home field of the Miami Hurricanes, whose step-aside put Tech in in the ACC title game — on New Year’s night. Six days later, the BCS title game will be played at the same place. Could this strangest of Tech seasons reach any more suitable end than to have both Jackets and Bulldogs take their respective talents to South Beach?

Further reading: Heat Check — Destiny’s Dogs? No-bowl Jackets? Whoa, Nelly.




By Mark Bradley

209 comments Add your comment

GTT

November 27th, 2012
3:20 pm

Might be a good game, Tech and Kent. Fifth!

lumberjacket

November 27th, 2012
3:20 pm

HawkDawg

November 27th, 2012
3:21 pm

I’m loving every second of this. Go Dawgs!!!

GTT

November 27th, 2012
3:22 pm

By the time I read the column and noticed there were no comments, I surely figured four people would have posted. Oh well, maybe unexpected kudos is a prelude to Wednesday’s Powerball drawing. It’s a sign I tell ya!

GT Fan

November 27th, 2012
3:23 pm

LOL, I’ll take it.

Goldenrod

November 27th, 2012
3:23 pm

Thank you Mark for acknowledging that Georgia Tech has an even better shot that UGag at making a BCS bowl.

This team and this coaching staff deserves a BCS game after bitter defeats against Miami and VA Tech.

Besides, my blood is STILL boiling after all those hard tackles & flips by the puppies’ classless DB’s. We will get our revenge on them next year!

Beat FSU and we are BCS Bound. WE WILL RUN THE ACC CONFERENCE

Mike

November 27th, 2012
3:23 pm

Mark Bradley

November 27th, 2012
3:24 pm

You underrate yourself, GTT. Kudos.

GT Fan

November 27th, 2012
3:24 pm

Hey hawkdawg, we’ll see how much you love it after falling to the sunbeam bread bowl after losing to Bama and watching Bama and Florida play in BCS bowls.

This is going to be too epic for all UGA haters around!!!!!!

The Central Scrutinizer

November 27th, 2012
3:25 pm

Not really worth commenting on…

beanster

November 27th, 2012
3:26 pm

I am pulling for Kent State.

GeoffDawg

November 27th, 2012
3:27 pm

Hilarious in a Dane Cook sort of way.

Jacket Man

November 27th, 2012
3:27 pm

And this is what make College Football so much better than the pros.

Goldenrod

November 27th, 2012
3:30 pm

Wait just a minute Mark – so you’re saying now that if (by some miracle) FSU wins that GT will be left OUT of going bowling altogether? That is totally bogus! We need to get our lawyers involved.

This team has scratched & clawed their way back to a 6-6 record and now the bowls are going to back out of allowing GT in if the Seminoles somehow win?

If I was Paul Johnson I would be madder than a hornet right now! That;s just not fair to our program – we have the longest current bowl streak in the country!

BiggerFishToFry

November 27th, 2012
3:37 pm

Coach Paul Johnson was correct in not demanding full & total effort of his players against Georgie, we have bigger fish to fry in Charlotte this weekend. I am glad he held Orwin Smith out and was able to rest the starters in the 4th quarter in the Cesspool up North. Keep them fresh for F$U.

Richt can’t win the big game anyway so we all will be Tide fans on Saturday afternoon. Roll Tide!

Go Jackets!

Mark Bradley

November 27th, 2012
3:37 pm

There’s that chance, Goldenrod. Tech insiders believe the Jackets will still go to a bowl at 6-7, but it’s getting confusing.

BOY THAT DAWG IS UGLY

November 27th, 2012
3:37 pm

Hawk Dawg…..probably as much as I loved it when Central Florida beat the Dawgs in the Liberty Bowl (Big SEC Elite school getting beat by O’leary….oh that happened a lot didn’t it). Enjoyed Dawgs who couldn’t handle MSU in overtime at Outback. Hype, Hype and more Hype. Dawgs FBS opponents (save Gators and Gamecocks) had less than a 40% winning percentage this year. I’m not going to predict SEC Championship outcome because anything is possible BUT a better game would be Gators v. Bama. Dawgs are still 2nd tier SEC.

GeoffDawg

November 27th, 2012
3:43 pm

Actually, what is the rule on bowl eligibility. I always thought that you could qualify with six wins as long as not more than one of those six came against FCS level competition. Is there a caveat that you can’t qualify with a losing record? And if so, is the waiver they’re requesting linked to that new rule regarding the APR?

Old Blue

November 27th, 2012
3:43 pm

Will this be televised on the Inspiration channel?

Kevin

November 27th, 2012
3:43 pm

Keep citing those stats, Coach Fish Fry. The Bulldawg Nation is pulling for you!

Charles Jackson

November 27th, 2012
3:44 pm

GT football is irrelevant now. Who cares what they do or where they play?

Ron Burgundy

November 27th, 2012
3:46 pm

Tech playing in the Orange Bowl is almost as crazy as a team that lost a game by 28 points! playing for the national championship…. I mean what kind of a national champion loses to anyone by 28 points…preposterous….oops, what a second, go dawgs , sic em

LOL@tech

November 27th, 2012
3:47 pm

Wow…..GT vs Kent State in the Orange Bowl……….I am sure ticket sales would set a record!

We MUST protect this bowl streak!

Taxi Smith

November 27th, 2012
3:48 pm

This highlights the utter nonesense that is the BCS.

PTC DAWG

November 27th, 2012
3:55 pm

Kent vs Tech in the Orange Bowl…epic..

As far as UF in the Sugar, they deserve it. We did the same thing in 2007.

As far as the money you see thrown around that the bowls pay out, folks should know that the spread in SEC total bowl payouts last year was 700K, from Bama all the way to Vandy.. Around 5.6 mill to Bama to 4.9 to Vandy.

Being a UGA fan, I would rather take our chances in Atlanta vs the Tide.

Best of luck vs FSU in the ACCCG. No excuse for GT fans not to make the trip. Tix are cheap and plentiful.

dawgfan

November 27th, 2012
3:57 pm

“Will this be televised on the Inspiration channel?”

Comedy Central is negotiating the rights for this one.

GTBob

November 27th, 2012
4:00 pm

It takes a lot to embarrass me but if we beat FSU go to the Orange Bowl and then lose to Kent State, I am officially embarrassed.

Supersize that order, mutt

November 27th, 2012
4:01 pm

@ Mark…GT and Kent State in the Orange Bowl might create more negative publicity than its worth. Just saying. @ Jacket Man….the college game is far superior than the pro game imo. @Gt Fan…Georgie is in for a beat down.

Stinger 2

November 27th, 2012
4:01 pm

GT should not have asked and should not be granted a waiver if it loses to Florida State and has a 6-7 record. It amounts to asking for charity and will deprive a team at
6-6 from getting a bowl invitation. I have heard the arguments that why not since UCLA was granted one setting a precident. Regardless, GT has had an awful year and is lucky to have a 6-6 record at this point. They were totally dominated by MTSU
at home and embarassed in Athens. They have no defense and Johnson`s offense has been erratic to the point it could score only 10 points while holding the ball 40 minutes to UGA`s 20 minutes. The team is not very good. Calling it medicore is being generous. They would have been better off if Miami had not consented to to make itself ineligible for post season play.

All of the above comes from a GT fan since 1952. I am still a fan and always will be but at this point I feel like its time to call it a season of futility.

beanster

November 27th, 2012
4:02 pm

Goldenrod — You’re laying it on too thick. Ease up. It’s been way past believable for quite some time now.

Sunbury Ga dawg

November 27th, 2012
4:03 pm

As i dawg fan i know sometime we drink the kool aid but you tech fans must be swimming in it right now. No matter what happens DEC 1, on Nov 24 2012 Tech was promptly destroyed again by Georgia. The look on your faces and the comments on the blog after the game……Priceless.
All your hopes were lost in 68 second, Tech didn’t even fight back, they were dominated and then manhandled with DDt’s and suplexes. wow, how embarrassing. We need to replace tech with Georgia southern every year because they are clearly the second best team in the state.

I have been trying to find one of those ring from 2008, anybody have one for sale?
they are a collectors item now for sure. the last time Tech had hope.

GTBob

November 27th, 2012
4:04 pm

Is there a caveat that you can’t qualify with a losing record?

The caveat is that a 6-7 team is not supposed to make a bowl game over any 6-6 teams. There are 70 eligible teams this year meaning that GT would have to take someones spot. The part no one is clear about is if that can or will happen. There are conflicting reports about it.

Mountain Dawg

November 27th, 2012
4:04 pm

If the nerds havde ANY sense of self-respect and pride, they will stay home. Since I don’t believe this to be the case, let them go right ahead and make complete idiots of themselves. Let’s see, they were totally embarrasses by Georgia, will be soundly thrashed by FSU, and will get their rears handed to them in any bowl stupid enough to invite them. They will have made comlete asses of themselves on national TV more times than I can count. What little national respect they previously had will be down the toilet, and they can simply forget any chance of recruiting anybody that can play at Div. 1 level. Johnson has taken a once proud school and put it in the toilet. Going to a bowl would be like pushing the flush button.

GTBob

November 27th, 2012
4:05 pm

GTBob at 4:01, if you are going to steal my handle at least make it funny.

GTBob's Tickle Pile

November 27th, 2012
4:09 pm

StubHub cheapest title game tix: MAC $2.95, ACC $4, B10 $16.99, P12 $69, SEC $295. Should count in BCS formula

Alphare

November 27th, 2012
4:09 pm

Even Tech goes to a BCS bowl, I still want Johnson fired.

GTBob Got Body Slammed

November 27th, 2012
4:10 pm

Was it Ogletree or Rambo? We’re trying to put glasses on it!

demhairydwags

November 27th, 2012
4:10 pm

how much longer are we gonna put up with Mark richt and his “nice -guy” atitude? show some emotion coach were never getting to a TOP SHELF PROGRAM with CMR FIRE MARK RICHT

Independence Bowl

November 27th, 2012
4:11 pm

We are going to miss GT’s annual trip here to Shreveport. Oh well, on the bright side, our ratings won’t be as bad as this year’s Orange Bowl.

Dumpster fire

November 27th, 2012
4:12 pm

Tech came to Athens hoping UGA was overlooking them and within a minute and eight seconds they knew they were in trouble. You’re not going to a BCS bowl game, you’re going to get beat again this Saturday. Since when has the UGA – Tech game become anything other than a big deal in the state of Georgia? You guys lost, didn’t even fight, just laid there and took it like you were in a prison shower with big bubba. Pathetic…….

GTBob

November 27th, 2012
4:13 pm

If the nerds havde ANY sense of self-respect and pride, they will stay home.

The heck with that. If the ACC is going to look as foolish as it did last weekend then I want to really make a mockery out of the conference.

wolfman

November 27th, 2012
4:14 pm

Look at the bright side… GT is in better shape than Auburn.

Just the Facts

November 27th, 2012
4:15 pm

Georgia Tech has appeared in 39 bowl games, but Georgia Tech has not won a bowl game since 2004. Georgia Tech’s 2011 loss to Utah extended their post season losing streak to 7 games. Georgia Tech ranks ninth in all time bowl wins with 22.

We deserve to go to a bowl and extend our streak! If Miami hadn’t cheated we would never be in this situation.

Alphare

November 27th, 2012
4:16 pm

If David Shaw can win Stanford, why would we need Johnson with his options?

beanster

November 27th, 2012
4:18 pm

Isn’t Northern Illinois ranked rather highly too? So it’s either FSU or Tech versus Kent State or Northern Illinois? Really? If that’s the case, Go Jackets!

Buzz 2011

November 27th, 2012
4:18 pm

Bark Madley’s comments are ” galling” as per norm..

GTBob

November 27th, 2012
4:19 pm

If David Shaw can win Stanford, why would we need Johnson with his options?

Are you really crowning the guy a great coach after two years? What did you think about CPJ after two years?

Swoopin

November 27th, 2012
4:21 pm

Part of me thinks that deep down you think Bama will win, but you’re taking the calculated risk to be on the good guys’ side since this may be the only time you’re faced with a prediction of this magnitude.

Buzz 2011

November 27th, 2012
4:21 pm

@ Just the facts…How long since Dawgs won an SEC championship?
So long no one remembers. GT won ACC in 2009
and has won a national championship since the Dawgs claimed one.

HeluvaEngineer

November 27th, 2012
4:22 pm

Just when I’m finally geting over our annual loss to Georgia & now you’re telling GT is playing for the right to face Kent St in a bowl? {Vomits}

Are they worse than Middle Tennessee State? RIP Al Groh!