One of the flaws in college football is that not every week of the season really matters for a BCS conference team. Last week, the first week of college football, saw Georgia Tech, my team, lining up against Jacksonville State. For those not in the know, Jacksonville State isn't even in the same division as Georgia Tech, much less at the BCS conference level. Even with the dire predictions for Tech's season that came out earlier this year, this was still considered a gimme game. Tech usually plays a couple of games a season against teams being paid for the honor of being slaughtered before the home crowd of a big-time program, although by BCS conference standards, Georgia Tech actually practices moderation in its consumption of cupcakes, as shown by this ESPN analysis of non-conference games played by all BCS teams since 1998. Only Florida State and the University of Southern California have played fewer gimmes in the last ten years that the BCS has been around.
Because Tech started their season against the fieriest chickens in Alabama (Jax State's mascot is the Gamecocks), it didn't tell anyone anything about the Jackets this year. If they'd lost, we'd all have known it was going to be a long year for Tech, but they performed as expected. It wasn't until today, when the Jackets faced Boston College that we had any sort of test to see what kind of team we had. Boston College is fresh off of one of the school's best ever seasons, but they did lose their excellent quarterback and they showed definite weaknesses toward the end of the season last year, but they are a fellow ACC team, and not supposed to really suck this year, so Tech's win actually validates my claim that Tech would at least be bowl bound this year. They're already 2-0 and will meet up with Duke, Mississippi State, and Gardner Webb before midseason. Duke is a fellow ACC team and Mississippi State is a member of the venerable SEC, but Duke is the perennial whipping boy of ACC football and Mississippi State started their season with a solid loss to Louisiana Tech, a team that usually travels to the big schools of the world to pick up a paycheck for rolling over and playing dead. Virginia Tech next week doesn't look so scary after their defeat to Eastern Carolina (but then West Virginia fell to the mighty purple Pirates, too, so maybe we should just be glad Tech doesn't play them instead). It's not much of a stretch to think the Ramblin' Wreck could make midseason with a record of 6-0 and already bowl eligible. A loss to VT and they'd only need to pick up one game in the last half of the season (where there really aren't too many teams that put fear into the hearts of their opponents this year).
Still, with Georgia Tech, they could go undefeated in conference play, win an ACC title to play in a BCS bowl game and a loss to Georgia would make the whole season a wash in the minds of its hardcore fans. To hell with Georgia.
The game today against BC was a little frustrating, though. The first half was sloppy with fumbles left and right, and the new quarterback, Nesbitt, didn't exactly bowl me over with his passing prowess. However, in the second half they came out much stronger, held onto the ball and Nesbitt proved to be the type who could turn a broken play into huge yardage. I think he'll look a little better throwing the ball as the season progresses. The defense gave me a few scares and seemed to give up too many big plays when BC was working with a long field, but they also did an exceptional job of stopping the Eagles when it mattered. There were multiple times BC looked sure to score and a couple of plays later were attempting a field goal. The overall performance of the defense can't be faulted and I'd consider it a very happy day on their part.
I'm not going to expect a stellar season this year. It's a young team with a first-year coach who brings with him an offensive scheme that will possibly take a couple of building years to get the experienced personnel to match the offense. The ACC is weak, but it's not the Sun Belt, either. I wouldn't be too shocked to see the team end the regular season 7-5. I do, however, think I'd be surprised if I didn't see them playing after Christmas in some exotic locale this season.