What's Great About Thursday Night Football In Atlanta?

Oct. 31, 2007

By JACK WILKINSON
RamblinWreck.com

It’s a short week, so let’s make this short. But it’s a helluva, helluva week, too. A TGIT week.

Thank God It’s Thursday on the Flats. Time, once again, for TNF: Thursday Night Football at Georgia Tech, perennially one of college football’s prime-time autumn pleasures. Let the leaves change. Don’t you dare change the channel.

When the Jackets host No. 11 Virginia Tech tonight (Thursday) at Bobby Dodd Stadium, it will be Georgia Tech’s 22nd Thursday night appearance on TV. All but two have been televised by ESPN. Of the first 21, 12 were decided by a touchdown or less.

Let’s do the math: Tech is 9-10 in ESPN Thursday night games. Thursday’s appearance will be its ACC-leading 20th. The Jackets are 8-6 at home on ESPN Thursday nights (including last season’s 24-7 victory over Virginia), 1-4 on the road.

OK. Enough research. Hereweith are…

The Top Ten Reasons Why Georgia Tech Thursday Night Home Games Rock

10. The view of the Atlanta skyline by night, beneath a harvest moon, beats any other after-hours view in college football. Wonder what goes on up there on the 38th floor of the Bank of America Tower? Billable hours at 11 p.m.? And when are they finally gonna finish the top of that building?

9. Subway. No, not the Spring St. sandwich shop. The subway: MARTA, the best-way to get to and from Bobby Dodd, particularly if you’re working late at the office. Wise up, people: In the big city, it’s best to take the train to the game.

8. You never know what you might see. Exhibit A: In the very first ACC ESPN-televised Thursday nighter, on Sept. 19, 1991, Scott Sisson stuck it to Virginia again. The previous year, Sisson’s field goal in the waning moments stunned No. 1 UVa 41-38 in Charlottesville, paving the way for Tech’s run to the national championship. In ’91, Sisson’s 33-yard field goal on the final play beat the Cavaliers 24-21.

7. You never know what you might see. Exhibit B: In 1995, against unbeaten Maryland, Tech gave away thousands of yellow “Getting Back To Our Roots” seat cushions. It was George O’Leary’s first full season as the Jackets’ hard-nosed coach, and grass had been reinstalled at Bobby Dodd (Get it? “…Back to Our Roots”? Grass?). On Tech’s first touchdown, once Donnie Davis hit Cedric Zachery in the north end zone, thousands of seat cushions came flying out of the student section and onto the green, green grass of home.

6. Dinner at the Varsity: Two chili dogs, onion rings AND fries, a large F.O. Fried pie optional. Any medication mandatory.

5. Revenge: In Virginia Tech’s last Thursday night visit to the Flats, the Hokies hit two long, fourth-quarter scoring passes to complete their comeback and break the Jackets’ collective hearts, 34-20.

4. You never know who might announce the Georgia Tech starting lineup on ESPN: Joe Hamilton? Shirley Franklin? Jimmy Carter? Jeff Foxworthy? Elton John? Sonny Perdue? (No, wait. UGA guy. But the guv might storm the field to help celebrate Tech’s first touchdown). Hank Aaron? Stay tuned.

3. A victory would make Tech bowl-eligible for the 11th consecutive season and keep its Coastal Division title hopes mathematically alive.

2. “Let’s go down to the sideline and Erin Andrews. Waddaya got, Erin?” Pause. “Well, guys, after eating that Cuban sandwich on the sidelines in the Orange Bowl, they’ve handed me a chili dog from the Varsity…”

1. And the number 1 reason why Georgia Tech Thursday Night Home Games Rock…”Friday classes? We don’t need no stinkin’ Friday classes! The weekend starts NOW!!!”

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