Monday, November 19, 2012
Georgia Tech is the big winner
By Andrea Adelson
We all know the ACC has had a really bad Monday.
But there is one program that emerged as the big winner of the day: Georgia Tech.
The Jackets clinched their spot in the ACC championship game against Florida State next week after Miami decided to self-impose a postseason ban for the second straight year.
This is the Jackets' third appearance in the ACC championship game since 2006. Tech lost to Wake Forest, 9-6, in 2006 and defeated Clemson, 39-34, in 2009. That game was later vacated.
In five seasons at Tech, Paul Johnson has helped the Yellow Jackets win two ACC Coastal crowns and tied for a third.
"Playing for an ACC championship was one of our goals when we began the season, so we are pleased that we will have that opportunity," Johnson said in a statement. "I'm proud of our players and coaches who, when things weren't going too well early, remained focused and determined."
Indeed, Georgia Tech won four straight ACC games to pull off the improbable feat.
Now there are a few notes related to the Coastal and Georgia Tech to keep in mind here. First, Miami and North Carolina have an opportunity to finish ACC play at 5-3, which would tie them atop the standings. But because the Canes and Tar Heels are ineligible for postseason play, they would not be officially recognized as co-champions.
There is no question the Coastal has been a mess this year, but it is not unprecedented for a 5-3 team to make the title game. It has happened three previous times since ACC divisional play began in 2005. Twice, the 5-3 team has gone on to win the ACC championship (Florida State in 2005 and Virginia Tech in 2008).
The possibility also exists for Georgia Tech to finish the season 6-7, which would make it ineligible for a bowl game. There are new bowl-game tiebreakers under consideration this year. But the most likely scenario could have the Jackets petitioning the NCAA for a waiver to get into a bowl -- the way UCLA did last season. The Bruins had that waiver approved and made a bowl game after losing in the Pac-12 title game to finish 6-7.