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Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Tech’

Checking In, A Few Thoughts, Etc.

Hey, miss you guys. Just wanted to say hello, how’s it going, how’s everything, how’s your team doing, how’s your coach, how’s your quarterback, etc. It’s been a wild year so far, right? Alabama is what we thought it’d be. Not so much with L.S.U., however. But count me among those folks who think that the Tigers will be fine; from my vantage point, I think that L.S.U. is keeping a ton under wraps, and that come November, you’re going to see a few wrinkles appear with a national title berth on the line. Florida should scare Les Miles and pals, on the other hand – the Gators can play a little defense, it seems.

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    Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

    Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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      Five New N.C.A.A. Rules Are Felt Early

      Each of the five new rules instituted over the summer by the N.C.A.A. were visible over the season’s opening weekend, though no one change more so than the alterations to the existing kickoff rule – kickoffs now take place from the 35-yard line, and instead of being spotted at the 20, touchbacks are now moved up to the 25. When it was first announced, the rule suggested one of two alternatives: teams could either kick it deep, going for the touchback, or kick it high and short, hoping that their coverage squads could get downfield in time to prevent a return from reaching the 25-yard line. So what route did most teams take through the first week of games?

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        Clemson Carries the A.C.C. in Week One

        Until – and perhaps after – Clemson sealed a 26-19 win over Auburn with a late interception, the A.C.C. was the loser of the opening weekend. Was Clemson’s win a weekend-saver for the conference? I’m not quite sure. But it was absolutely a game-changing win for the Tigers; more on that below.

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          No. 27: Georgia Tech

          Remember when the forward pass came to Georgia Tech? Now, it didn’t last long: four games, give or take. But the passing game’s arrival lent another supremely dangerous dimension to Paul Johnson’s already potent running attack, and for the season’s first month and change, the Yellow Jackets had as good an offense – as productive, explosive and frightening – as could be found in college football. But then it was gone, as the Jackets returned to recent tradition once the calendar turned to A.C.C. play. In a perfect world, perhaps, Johnson could keep the forward pass as a permanent part of his offensive philosophy from September through December. Or from September through January, should Johnson and Tech return to B.C.S. play. It wasn’t that long ago that the Jackets were taking on Iowa in the Orange Bowl: In 2009, Johnson’s second season with the program, Tech beat Clemson to earn that marquee date with the Hawkeyes. To get back there, Tech must be dangerous through the air not only during non-conference play but over 12 games – or 13, rather, if not 14.

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            A 5-Step Program for the N.C.A.A. Violator

            Committing N.C.A.A. violations is easy. All you have to do is, well, commit violations: sell team paraphernalia, meet an agent for lunch, accept cash donations or have a tutor write your research papers, among a whole other laundry list of potential abuses of the N.C.A.A. rulebook. Getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar is slightly more difficult. There have been three major infractions cases involving football programs over the last 24 months: U.S.C., Ohio State and U.N.C. — Boise State, despite letting incoming freshmen players crash on upperclassmen’s couches, indicating to the N.C.A.A. a lack of institutional control, does not belong on this list.

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              2011 Selection Saturday: Full Bracket

              Cutting the bracket down to 32 teams – after going with a 68-team tournament last fall – leaves several talented teams in the cold. Among the B.C.S. conferences: Missouri, Texas, N.C. State and Auburn. Among the non-B.C.S. conferences: Ohio, Louisiana-Lafayette, Toledo and Wyoming. But trimming the list creates a very strong 32-team bracket, one with very few easy pairings outside the first round. Imagine the possibilities: Oregon hosting Virginia in the first round; a week later, if all goes according to plan, the Ducks meet T.C.U. in the round of 16. U.S.C. isn’t eligible, but if the Trojans weren’t under a postseason ban, they’d probably slot in as a three seed.

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                At Long Last, the 2012 A.C.C. Schedule

                Contrary to popular thought — something I also believed — the delay in the release of the 2012 A.C.C. schedule wasn’t due to Florida State, which was digging deep in its search for a replacement for Big 12-bound West Virginia, but rather to Georgia Tech, which until last Friday had yet to find an opponent for its open date on Sept. 8. Technically, the primary issue for the Yellow Jackets wasn’t finding an opponent: the program has already agreed to terms with Middle Tennessee State on that Saturday. But after the A.C.C. opted to pit Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech on Monday, Sept. 3, the Jackets wanted to exchange the Blue Raiders for a F.C.S. opponent — due to the short week, the Jackets didn’t want to take the chance that a lower-tier F.B.S. team could pull the upset, as slim as that chance might be.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.