While driving around today, I heard the local radio pundits talking about the biggest stories, highs, and lows of the past decade in sports.
Of course, most of their comments were about UGA accomplishments.
The best thing about having this blog is the fact that I don’t have to call those guys and sit on hold.
So here goes…the biggest and best highlights that jump immediately to mind from the past 10 years of GT football…
2000 @ Clemson – George Godsey to Kerry Watkins with 7 seconds left, to beat a Clemson team that was in the national title hunt. Tech fans still call this one “The Catch”.
2000 @ UGA – Godsey and Darryl Smith lead Tech to a 27-15 win, making it Three In A Row. I still have my “Tech Fans for Donnan” shirt. This was the first (and last) time my wife went to a game in Athens.
2003 vs Auburn – The first game at newly renovated Bobby Dodd Stadium saw a freshman (Reggie Ball) lead the Jackets to a 17-3 win over Auburn. This ticket stub is framed and hanging in the wall in my basement.
2004 @ Clemson – The Calvin Johnson Coming Out Party…I was at this one and it was complete bedlam at the end. Clemson messes up a punt snap, Tech recovers, Reggie to Calvin on a fade for the win…the Clemson fans we ran into in the parking lot didn’t know they’d lost until we told them…
2005 @ Auburn – Another beatdown of the tiggers…23-14. One of the best away game weekend experiences ever!
2005 @ Miami – The Jackets go on the road and stun #3 Miami on their own field. I was on campus when the team buses rolled back onto campus. It was about 3am, but that didn’t stop me from smoking a victory cigar.
2007 @ Notre Dame – The Jackets pound the Domers 33-3 in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus.
2008 vs Florida State – We finally beat the Noles on a fumble recovery in our own endzone. After years of having all the breaks go against us, we finally have the ball bounce our way.
2008 @ UGA – Down 26-12 at the half, on the road, the Jackets roar back to win 45-42 and end the UGA win streak.
2009 @ FSU – The craziest game I’ve ever witnessed in person…over 1000 yards of offense, almost 100 points, and a 78 minute lightning delay were some of the highlights of a 49-44 Tech win.
2009 vs Virginia Tech – Tech gets all the way turn’t up and beats the #4 Hokies at home 28-23.
2009 ACC Championship Game – Nesbitt and Dwyer carry the Jackets past CJ Spiller and the Clemson Tigers 28-23, propelling Tech into its first BCS Bowl ever and its first Orange Bowl in decades.
So that’s about a dozen games that jump to mind immediately in the past decade.
I listed them chronologically. If I had to rank the top three in importance I’d probably list them as follows:
The ACC title and BCS Bowl bid is bigger than any single rivalry game, so the win over Clemson in Tampa ranks as my #1 win of the past decade. A very close second is Paul Johnson taking the Jackets into Sanford Stadium last year and breaking the drought that started back in 2001. And for personal reasons (I’m married to a Nole) I have to rate the 2008 win over FSU in the top three. We hadn’t beaten those guys since they joined the ACC and they’d ripped out our hearts on more than one occasion. I’m not ashamed to admit that I might have shed a tear after that win…it meant alot…
Now…its no mere coincidence that more than a few of the high points in the last decade involved 2008 and 2009 games. While Gailey had some big wins, they weren’t program changers like we’ve seen under Johnson. We have a completely different GT program in 2009 than we did under O’Leary in 2000 and Gailey in 2005…other years when the program appeared to be turning the corner.
Right now I’m hoping that Paul Johnson has the same New Year’s Resolution that I do…Make 2010 Better Than 2009.