January 7, 2010
I just got back from the Orange Bowl. Here are my thoughts:
- Before I say anything else, let me just tell you that this was a great season. Yeah, I want to win them all, too. However, before you malcontents out there get all lathered up, just ask yourself this: After bogging down ankle deep into the stinkhole of mediocrity under Tech’s previous coach, would you have been happy if I told you that in 2009, Tech would go 11-3 and make the Orange Bowl? Seriously, look how far Tech has come under Paul Johnson in 2 years that fans are now griping about an 11-3 team and its chief rival views a win over Tech as a season-saving feat of excellence. Tech is 20-7 in the last 2 seasons...11 wins this year for the first time since 1990. If that doesn’t rub out the priapism of your discontentment, then read no further and go watch “Faces of Death” or something. Kitten murderer.
- I used to live in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. I’ve never seen it that cold. I did see a bunch of sauced-up Iowans in shorts. Apparently, there was an open casting in town for Tugg Speedman’s “Simple Jack 2.”
- It didn’t look like Tech was not ready to play or just happy to be there. They just got beat up. I don’t even want to analyze it. It was a whoopin’, and frankly, Iowa, if they were any good themselves, should have beaten Tech by 50. Unfortunately, that means...
- The ACC once again looked like chumps on national TV. The conference is now a testicular-torsion-inducing 2-10 in BCS games.
- I didn’t know that many people even lived in Iowa. Apparently, they all came to the game and hired extras on the way down. Conversely, the turnout by Tech fans was ABYSMAL. I know about the economy, the trip to Tampa in December, blah blah...but seriously, people. That was awful. Shhh. Zip it. Don’t argue. If you were one of those with a legitimate financial concern, then fine. However, there were enough Tech fans with the money to travel who could have filled its side of the stadium. Hell, Wake Forest sold its allotment to the Orange Bowl after the 2006 season. Wake. Forest. Don’t talk to me about ticket prices; they were going cheap on StubHub for over a week before the game.
- The assertion that time to prepare stops Paul Johnson’s offense cold will remain. I still don’t buy that, but the results feed the perception. Consider this instead: Tech’s offense relies heavily on rhythm, and a month off breaks that rhythm. The timing is off, the steps aren’t as crisp, the players’ feet aren’t as quick, and the mental sharpness from playing each week dissipates. It’s like starting the season all over again, except this time, you’re not opening with Jacksonville State. That’s the problem, not the other team’s preparation. The so-called “experts” who don’t know the offense will tell you differently...but they don’t understand the option-based spread like yours truly, a long-time PJ devotee. (...and the author dismounts from his high horse while taking another sip of Kool-Aid)
- Here is the harsh truth: Say goodbye to any chance of an at-large BCS bid for several more years. The attendance woes noted in #5, the perception outlined in #6 and the supermarket full of eggs laid by Tech in recent big nonconference games make Tech an unattractive choice for the grand stage. Deservedly so. Losing to each decent nonconference opponent is a trend dating to last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl and arguably beyond. In fact, Tech is in danger of becoming the new version of 1990’s Kansas State...beating up on the average and bad teams (cough...almost all the ACC...cough) but getting waxed when it hits the big stage. Make no mistake: This is a problem that must be tackled by the team AND the fans. The team needs to win a bowl game. The fans need to be there when it happens. So, Tech fans, no more bitching about the media not taking Tech seriously. Isn’t there a new uniform you should be complaining about?
- One fact to make all disappointed Tech fans take heart: Most of those people who support the winning team have to go back to...wait for it...Iowa. I don’t know whether to laugh or send sympathy cards.
- Remember #1. Read it again. This is Year 2 of what is shaping up to be a fun ride for Tech football. The national media isn’t on board yet, but those who truly know football have MapQuested North Avenue. Keep winning, and it will all fall into place. The next major program hurdle is winning a bowl game. Did I mention it’s only Year 2?
Closing thought: This team fought its collective butt off and deserves all the praise we can muster. Discuss.