Out of blog courtesy and respect for your readership, allow me to introduce myself. I am new writer #2 on FTRS. I graduated from Georgia Tech in December 2009, and have known Bird since high school. I come from a family with 2 brothers and a dad who are die-hard Clemson fans, and a mother who strongly pulls for South Carolina. I have been to at least 25 games at Death Valley, and have come to know and appreciate the ways of the common upstate South Carolinian. Have no fear however, because all that knowledge, allegiance, and some of the respect went out the window about 6 years ago and I have never looked back. I love the memories of attending Tech games as a student, and I have transformed into a rabid, yet well-informed fan of the Yellow Jackets. I consider it a privilege to be posting stories alongside two former drivers of our beloved Ramblin' Wreck, and hope that you come to know me as a decent human being with an opinion.
I certainly remember where I was on October 11, 2008. I was in the stands at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, UT. I was visiting my girlfriend (now wife) on fall break, and we were taking in the luke-warm BYU vs. New Mexico State game. Instead of watching the game taking place 100 yards in front of me, I was dialed in on my portable XM radio to a game taking place 2100 miles to the southeast. Gardner-Webb was lining up for a field goal in the closing seconds of a game against Georgia Tech that would’ve sent the affair into overtime should it have split the uprights. I remember the terror in Wes Durham’s voice as he described everything Gardner –Webb did in their two-minute drill to get down the field, which was done with "big-boy conference" precision. After the game mercifully ended with the magic moment that occurred, I couldn’t help but wonder how we had gotten exposed by such an inferior team that day. 2 years later, I still dwell on what might’ve happened if big Michael Johnson had not brought the pressure on the last play, or if he picked up another phantom personal foul call for illegally using another player to jump higher on a FG block. I have realized that G-W probably spent an inordinate amount of time preparing for our run game, even at the cost of not being as prepared as usual for the other games on their schedule that year. It was their opportunity to bring a medal home from the battle, to achieve something that was perhaps desperately needed for their program to get a mention on national sports media outlets. It was their opportunity to slay the dragon and bring its head back to their village in some sort of oneiric kingdom of medieval football.
I use this allusion because it illustrates the mindset of the 2010 Kansas team. They were wanting that first big win with their new coach to give the fans reassurance that says "we play in a BCS conference too!" Sure, they were as inept as I’ve ever seen a BCS-conference team be during week 1 of the year, but you can bet they spent way more time preparing for the defending ACC champions than a team from the Missouri Valley Conference. They stepped up at home and delivered what every single critic of our conference and our option offense wanted: a big win from a bad team against an ACC elite.
I am not here to palliate the stomach pain that was wrought by our entire team and coaching staff last Saturday at Lawrence. There is nothing that can excuse that loss. As a big fan of the boys in white and gold, I would like to point out that the team in 2008 went on to win huge games against FSU and UGA (they were pretty good that year, too), and finished the conference schedule well enough to play in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. It is important to remember that we’ve got one hell of a football team, in spite of last Saturday. The penalties will cease as players mentally get into the season. The defense will tighten up as Groh finishes the spinning of his web, and the defending ACC champs still have a great shot of going back to Miami. Or I’m wrong.