Mississippi State's Dan Mullen and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson are two of the best coaches in the nation when it comes to making the most of what they have. Both have built winning cultures at schools that are not easy to win at whatsoever --Georgia Tech and Mississippi State both live in the shadow of a larger program in the state -- and have gone above and beyond expectations set by the school and fanbase, especially in 2014. These are two programs which have struggled to attain bowl eligibility for the past few seasons, but they've compiled a combined 20-5 record in this season in large part thanks to what their coaches have been able to do.
Yesterday I touched briefly on Paul Johnson's coaches poll ballot, but today there are even more interesting tidbits to report from the voting. Perhaps the most interesting story-line is that Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema ranked the Jackets at a hilarious No. 19 in the nation, 6 spots behind Clemson and 9 behind Georgia. I really do think that Bielema must have outsourced his voting to someone else, most likely a toddler, and had them close their eyes and guess. I mean, putting Tech 9 slots behind a team they defeated? That is stupid.
Mississippi State has opened as a 7-point favorite over the Jackets in the 2014 Orange Bowl, a number which clearly reflects the national perception of the Bulldogs versus that of Tech. I can imagine this game going one of two ways: a blowout in the favor of MSU or (more likely) a very close and fun-to-watch game. I love this team, but a blowout of a team like Mississippi State just doesn't feel reasonable unless the Bulldogs go full 2012 USC and forget to show up.
I hate to venture too far from the ACC, but I have to give a quick shoutout to former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, who appears close to accepting same job at Youngstown State. I was truly shocked when I read this news simply because I cannot fathom a guy like Pelini -- who is among the best recruiters in the nation and went 67-27 during his Nebraska tenure -- not getting an FBS offer. There must be more to the story than we know.
What was the biggest surprise from the coaches poll ballots?
Have a great Wednesday!