One of the maxims that Paul Johnson has stressed, since he arrived at Tech, has been that good teams don’t lose two games in a row.
(A maxim is defined as ‘a principle or rule of conduct’ for our vocabulary challenged, canine “visitors” here on the Tech blog. Its not a magazine you find in Publix.)
The football team has managed to adher to this guideline the first two seasons under Johnson and the end result, up to this point, has been an ACC championship and a BCS bowl bid.
In 2008 the Jackets followed an early loss to the Hokies with a 38-7 beatdown of Mississippi State and late season losses to UVA and UNC with wins over Florida State and Miami. A Peach Bowl bid resulted.
In 2009 the Jackets lost early to Miami but followed up with eight straight wins before falling to UGA. They were able to pick themselves up after the UGA loss and defeat Clemson the following week to clinch the ACC title and an Orange Bowl bid.
Looking at the past two seasons, Coach Johnson’s logic is sound.
A good team might get beaten every once in awhile, it happens. But a good team doesn’t allow itself to be beaten twice in a row. A good team learns from a loss, regains focus, and then comes out looking to redeem itself and get back on track.
Now…I’ve been tough on Coach Hewitt and the basketball team in a few blogs this season. But I’ve decided to apply Paul Johnson’s two loss rule to hoops and see how things shake out.
The Jackets lost early to (15-6) Dayton but bounced back by reeling off seven wins, including a 79-53 throttling of Southern Cal.
They lost in overtime to (16-5) FSU but followed with three wins, one of which was over a good Charlotte team on the road.
Then we had the inexplicable loss at (9-9) UGA, which was followed with a win over Duke…a loss to (14-6) UVA which was followed by a wins over UNC and Clemson…and another loss to FSU which was followed by the last two wins over Wake Forest and Kansas State.
(We also have to give Mark Fox credit…the UGA program looks improved and their recent win over a Top 10 Tennessee team served notice that Fox might be dangerous once he’s recruited some more talent…)
So…the #19 Jackets are sitting at 16-5 overall (4-3 ACC) and will travel to # 9 Duke tonight. The games following Duke are at home against NCSU and on the road against Miami and Wake. That’s a very tough four game ACC stretch that will be immediately followed by a second game against UNC before hitting the home stretch against Maryland, Boston College, Clemson, and the Hokies.
If the Jackets can avoid losing two in a row for the remainder of the season then Paul Hewitt will carry 20+ wins and a winning conference record into the ACC tourney. That would be enough to qualify the Jackets as a “good team” and set the stage for a return to March Madness as a team with a very real chance to do some damage.
Its a very real possibility…and Hewitt deserves credit…this team is starting to display a toughness and focus that they didn’t have in the UGA and UVA losses.
They just might be maturing into a force to be reckoned with.