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Heart of the City: Georgia Tech

6/20/2011

School: Georgia Tech

Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Enrollment: 19,404

Bowl appearances: 37

NFL first-round picks: 7

Losing seasons: 20

10-win seasons: 7

Source: ESPN Stats & Info (Note: College numbers date back to 1936, the first year of the AP poll. NFL numbers date back to 1970.)

The skinny: Georgia Tech is coming off its first losing season since 1996, and has lost its past six bowl games, including the past three under coach Paul Johnson. Still, Georgia Tech has been a consistent contender under Johnson, finishing in first place in the Coastal Division in each of his first two seasons and winning the ACC title in 2009. Tech has finished .500 or better in ACC play for a conference-record 16 straight seasons.

The good: Georgia Tech is an established program and has thrived in the heart of Atlanta. Tech will enter its 119th season of football this year, and no team has won more games in its current home stadium than the Yellow Jackets (438). It has a rich football tradition that includes four national titles, three ACC titles, five SEC titles and three Southern Conference championships. Despite the presence of the Braves and Falcons, Atlanta is a college football town -- not necessarily all in favor of Georgia Tech, as there are plenty of Georgia grads in the city, but unlike other cities, the program isn’t buried on the back page of the paper. Sports talk radio thrives in Atlanta, and there's no lack of exposure in SEC country. There's also no shortage of things to do in the city, as the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and CNN are all within a mile and a half of campus. The state is also one of the nation's most fertile recruiting grounds, so the Georgia Tech staff doesn't have to travel far to find elite talent.

The bad: Tailgating requires effort. Compared to most college-town schools, Georgia Tech fans and visitors have to be creative. Some tailgate it in parking decks, others stop by the Varsity, but it’s not a traditional scene. Traffic and parking also makes navigation to Bobby Dodd Stadium difficult. The Jackets continue to play in the shadow of Georgia, the Falcons are No. 1 in the city, followed by the Braves. There’s always going to be competition for attention and attendance. Smaller local schools like Georgia State, Mercer and Kennesaw State are also blossoming programs, and NASCAR draws another crowd. While the recruits are plenty, so are the top-level coaches chasing them. It's centrally located and easy to get to -- for everyone.