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Monday, November 24, 2008
Three reasons Georgia Tech and FSU would make a more intriguing title game

By Heather Dinich
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

First, a disclaimer: It makes no difference to me who plays in the ACC Championship Game. I'll be there covering it regardless.

Boston College and Virginia Tech absolutely deserve credit for constantly finding a way to win this season. Both coaching staffs deserve credit for doing a lot with a little. Jeff Jagodzinski lost a first-round draft pick at quarterback and didn't have one running back to start with. Four starters suffered season-ending injuries during the season.

Frank Beamer lost just about every playmaker from last year's ACC Championship Game and then some. So this is not to take away from their accomplishments this season, as both have earned the chance to play in the ACC title game. That chance is theirs to win or lose this weekend.

But right now, after how convincingly they won this past week, Georgia Tech and Florida State look like the better teams.

Aside from the fact Virginia Tech and Boston College played last year and hardly anyone showed up to see it, here are the top three reasons why Georgia Tech and Florida State would be a more intriguing matchup:

1. Offenses. Florida State and Georgia Tech have them. Critics of the triple option who say it's boring haven't watched the Jackets enough. They've had 59 plays over 20 yards, and 32 plays of 30-plus yards. They have had 21 touchdown drives of 3 minutes or less, 14 of 2 minutes or less, seven of 1 minute or less and 19 touchdown drives of five plays or less. FSU and GT are the only two teams in the country that have had five different players have a run of 40 yards or longer, according to a survey of all sports information directors in the FBS. FSU has the No. 22 scoring offense in the country.

The Eagles have won three straight heading into their regular-season finale against Maryland, including back-to-back road wins at FSU and Wake Forest. But without their starting quarterback, an already suspect offense is even more questionable. As for the Hokies, they're last in the league in total offense and 109th in the nation.

2. Rematch. The game in Atlanta in which Florida State fumbled away the game-winning touchdown in a 31-28 loss to the Jackets was one of the most exciting ACC games this season. Plus, it would also be interesting to see how much better a defense can fare against Paul Johnson's offense after having played against it once in the same season. Yes, there were also close games between Georgia Tech and Boston College, and Boston College and Virginia Tech, but again I point out that the Eagles will be with their backup quarterback this time around.

3. Playmakers. FSU and Georgia Tech have more. Jonathan Dwyer is the ACC's leading rusher, and safety Morgan Burnett is tied for third in the nation in interceptions. FSU defensive end Everette Brown leads the nation in tackles for loss and is No. 2 in sacks. Heck, even punter/kicker Graham Gano is No. 1 in the country in field goals and he and running back Antone Smith are No. 1 and No. 2 in the league, respectively, in scoring. Michael Ray Garvin is No. 1 in the nation in kickoff returns. FSU quarterback Christian Ponder is No. 3 in the league in total offense. Boston College relies on freshman Montel Harris and Virginia Tech on Macho Harris.