Oct. 29, 2008
GEORGIA TECH HOSTS 16th-RANKED FLORIDA STATE SATURDAY
Georgia Tech, which saw an opportunity to lead the ACC’s Coastal Division slip away with a 24-17 loss to Virginia last Saturday, faces Atlantic Division co-leader 16th-ranked Florida State this Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium (3:37 p.m./ABC).
The Yellow Jackets, 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the ACC, need another win to become bowl-eligible. A win Saturday against the Seminoles would keep Tech’s hopes of playing in the ACC championship game alive (ACC standings on page two).
Tech led Virginia 14-3 in the first quarter last Saturday, but Georgia Tech’s three second-half turnovers allowed the Cavaliers to methodically overtake the lead and win, 24-17.
Florida State, 6-1 and 3-1, has won four straight games, including a 30-20 win over Virginia Tech last Saturday. The Seminoles overcame a 10-point deficit, getting two third-quarter touchdowns set up by wide receiver Greg Carr’s fingertip catches.
The Seminoles hold the cards in the Atlantic Division. If they win out, they will play in the Dec. 6 ACC title game in Tampa.
Saturday’s game marks the first meeting between the Jackets and Seminoles since 2003 and the first meeting in Atlanta since 2002.
Florida State leads the all-time series, 12-7-1 and has won the last 12 meetings. More on the series on page four.
– A full house: A crowd approaching capacity of 55,000 is expected on Saturday.
– A logjam: Five of the six teams in the ACC’s Coastal Division have records of 2-2 or better. Georgia Tech (3-2) trails Virginia (3-1) by a half-game.
– Still the one: Sophomore safety Morgan Burnett leads the nation in interceptions with six and he has more INTs in one season than any Yellow Jacket since 1991.
– A youthful bunch: Of the 44 players listed on Tech’s current two-deep, 32 are either freshmen or sophomores, including 15 starters.
– Off the mark: Prior to the start of the season, SI.com predicted Paul Johnson’s team to finish 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the ACC and ranked Tech 12th out of 12 ACC teams.
– PJ in good company: Only three coaches — Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer and Bud Wilkinson — won more games in his first 12 seasons than Paul Johnson (113-40).
LAST ONE-THIRD OF SCHEDULE EXTREMELY TOUGH
The last month of Georgia Tech’s regular season schedule is one of the most difficult stretches in college football. Three of the Yellow Jackets’ four remaining opponents are ranked in the top 25 nationally and all are riding winning streaks. Tech’s four remaining opponents have a combined record of 24-7 overall.
November begins with a home game Saturday against 16th-ranked Florida State — a team the Yellow Jackets have not defeated since Paul Johnson was a high school senior. A week later, Tech travels to surging North Carolina, which clobbered Boston College last week. The Jackets have a Thursday night nationally-televised game Nov. 20 against a Miami team that has won three straight. Tech closes the regular season between the hedges against 8th-ranked Georgia Nov. 29:
Date Opponent W-L Conf. AP USA Sagarin Current Streak
Nov. 1 vs. Florida State 6-1 3-1 16th 16th 23rd Won three straight
Nov. 8 at North Carolina 6-2 2-2 21st 22nd 16th Won four of five
Nov. 20 vs. Miami 5-3 2-2 — — 32nd Won three straight
Nov. 29 at Georgia 7-1 4-1 8th 8th 8th Won three straight
YELLOW JACKETS GET FIRST CRACK AT NATIONALLY-RANKED OPPONENT
Georgia Tech has played a number of teams that, at kickoff, were hovering just outside the top 25. This Saturday, however, the Yellow Jackets will play their first ranked opponent in 16th-ranked Florida State.
Tech’s last win over a ranked team came last season — a 13-3 win vs. 13th-ranked Clemson. The Jackets have defeated at least one ranked team every year since 2005.
ANOTHER WIN NEEDED FOR 12th STRAIGHT BOWL INVITATION
Georgia Tech, 6-2 overall, has played in a bowl game 11 consecutive seasons. That ties for the fifth-longest current streak nationally behind Michigan (34 straight bowls), Florida State (26), Florida (18) and Virginia Tech (15). Georgia is tied with Georgia Tech with 11 straight bowls. The Yellow Jackets will need seven wins — not six — to be bowl-eligible. Tech has two wins over FCS opponents and only one of those count toward bowl-eligibility.