Tifton Gazette

Local Sports

November 19, 2012

Ga. Tech (6-5) claims spot in ACC title game

ATLANTA — A team that was routed at home by Middle Tennessee and fired its defensive coordinator at midseason will get a chance to play for a BCS bowl bid.

Georgia Tech (6-5) automatically claimed a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Monday when Miami self-imposed a postseason ban for the second straight year, looking to lessen the sanctions from an NCAA investigation into its compliance practices.

The Hurricanes (7-4) could have clinched the Coastal Division title with a victory over Duke, which would leave both Miami and the Yellow Jackets with 5-3 conference records. The Hurricanes were positioned to win the tiebreaker since they defeated Georgia Tech 42-36 on Sept. 22.

Now, it doesn't matter. By self-imposing a postseason ban, Miami is ineligible to play in the Dec. 1 title game at Charlotte, N.C.

"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," coach Paul Johnson said. "I'm proud of our players and coaches who, when things weren't going too well early, remained focused and determined."

The Yellow Jackets gave up late leads to Virginia Tech and Miami, losing both games in overtime. There also was that embarrassing 49-28 defeat to Middle Tennessee, which came in the midst of Georgia Tech giving up more than 40 points in three straight games for the first time in school history.

With his team at 2-4 after a 47-31 loss to Clemson, Johnson fired defensive coordinator Al Groh, saying the defense was too complicated and the players weren't sure of their assignments.

"It's not in my nature to quit or give up," Johnson said. "I wasn't going to throw the season away. I never was convinced the season was over."

Turns out, he was right.

The defense continues to struggle but Georgia Tech has won three in a row, mostly on the legs of its explosive triple-option offense. The Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina 68-50 two weeks ago, knocked off Duke 42-24 last Saturday and are averaging 38.6 points per game, which ranks 16th nationally. As usual, the run-oriented team ranks near the top of the country in rushing yards (third at 324.9, trailing only Army and Air Force).

Defensively, it's another story. The Yellow Jackets are 61st in yards allowed (393.1) and 76th in points (29.6 per game).

Not to worry.

Georgia Tech will get to play for the ACC title against the Atlantic Division champion, No. 10 Florida State (10-1).

In an interesting twist, the Yellow Jackets are getting a shot at the conference championship thanks to another school's wrongdoing just three years after losing an ACC crown under similar circumstances. Georgia Tech defeated Clemson in the 2009 title game, only to be stripped of the championship later when NCAA violations were discovered.

"Did the season to this point turn out the way we would like? No," Johnson said. "But it's not a complete wash either."

This Saturday, the Yellow Jackets will face No. 3 Georgia (10-1) in the regular-season finale. The Bulldogs have a shot at playing for the national title if they win the next two weeks, but Johnson isn't conceding anything.

He also stressed that his team is focused solely on its state rival this week.

"Who knows? I'm sure nobody gives us much of a chance," the coach said. "But that's why you play the game."

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 20140801 Tift volleyball.JPG Volleyball returns for 2nd season at TCHS

    Volleyball has just entered its second year at Tift County High and the squad's new coach believes the team will do well.
    Courtney Mitchell decided to take the position over the summer after previous coach Lori Greene left. Mitchell, in her first ever head coaching job, said "it's been a learning experience, an exciting one and I have a great group of girls."

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inaugural Taste of Tifton coming Saturday

    A schedule has been made available for the first ever Taste of Tifton, which is happening Saturday. The celebration will be at Eighth Street Middle and will take place at both the football field and the track area.

    July 31, 2014

  • 2014 Berrien fcacamp.jpg Rebelettes go to FCA camp

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lady Devils return to softball field next week

    With August comes the chiming of school bells. Not far behind are prep sports and the one of the first teams to get into action will be the Tift County Lady Devils softball team.

    July 30, 2014

  • 2014 Str8 Ballas.jpeg Str8 Ballas hosting Friendly City Kickoff Classic Sunday

    To help promote peace and harmony in Tifton/Tift County and surrounding counties among the youth and to provide a safe environment for family fun and enjoyment, a local kickball team is inviting the community to attend their Tifton Str8 Ballas Friendly City Kickball Classic 2014. It's free to the public.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Worth Rams ready to don the pads

    The pads come out Friday and by the sound of Jason Tone's voice, the Worth County Rams are ready for it.
    "We're ready to start hitting," he said.

    July 29, 2014

  • Carhartt Bassmaster team championship to air on ESPNU

     Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee and Young Harris might be a bit far for supporters of ABAC’s national championship contender fishing team to travel this week, but television cameras will be there. Highlights of the event are scheduled to be broadcast on ESPNU.

    July 29, 2014

  • 20140726 John Gamble.JPG Rosters, voodoo doctors topics at Kickoff to Men’s Health

     In addition to the local football coaches speaking Saturday at the Tift Regional Medical Center's Men's Health Event at the YMCA, three others from the area also spoke, Buddy Nobles of Irwin County, John Gamble of Turner County and Jason Strickland of Fitzgerald. Discussions ranged from the more conventional topics of scrimmages and rosters to stranger mentions of voodoo doctors.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Panthers gain additional home contest in 2014

    There will be a change to the Tiftarea Academy Panthers' football schedule and one that will be of benefit to home fans.

    July 26, 2014

  • Column: Of football schedules and solutions for world peace

    Looking back over Tift County's football schedule, I'm getting more and more excited about the new schools I'm going to get to see. I have never watched Henry County, Luella, Baldwin, Alcovy and Lee County in person.

    July 26, 2014

Business Marquee
House Ads
Weather Radar
Video
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results