We are just five game deep in the ACC schedule for the 2014-15 schedule, but the outlook is beginning to look bleaker and bleaker for both the season and Brian Gregory's career at Tech. Expectations were not high coming into this season, but a quick 0-5 start in ACC play has all but crushed what hope we had after a nice start with wins over Georgia and a few other tough non-conferences opponents. The latest blow was dealt by the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, and it won't be an easy one to overcome for a struggling Tech team. The Jackets turned the ball over 15 times and managed a five-point loss despite out-rebounding Pitt by 10 and leading at various times throughout the game. As with every loss this season, a win was within reach but just not close enough to grab for the 9-8 Jackets.
The first season of the new playoff format taught us all (especially Art Briles) about the value of having a solid out-of-conference schedule; it has gone from being a burden for many schools to a perennial luxury for most. The good (or bad) news is that Georgia Tech will play one of the toughest schedules in the ACC this season, featuring games against Alcorn State, Tulane, Notre Dame, and Georgia. That may not look like much, but when compared with the pansies that Duke or NC State take on then you'll see the true value. I am constantly jealous of those irritating Blue Devils. They play against Tulane, NC Central, Northwestern, and Army out-of-conference AND have Wake Forest as a permanent crossover rival within the ACC while we get Clemson. Yet another reason to move to a new format for the ACC...
ESPN's Top ACC Players list features former Tech guard Shaq Mason at No. 23, tied with Duke guard Laken Tomlinson. According to Andrea Adelson, Mason helped the Tech offense average exactly 342.1 yards per carry on the season, which has to be some kind of NCAA record. I mean, what other team rushes for three times the length of the field on every carry? Anyway, I'd argue that Mason should be much higher on this list considering that he's a first-team All American according to many outlets. Placing him below Fuller is just a bit confusing in that regard.
The infamously awful Larry Fedora has hired former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik to be the new defensive coordinator for his equally awful Tar Heel defense. The Tar Heels, who are the early favorites to win the NCAA Championship by a final score of 999-0, featured one of the absolute worst defenses in NCAA history last season, in large part because of Larry Fedora's general inability to do anything right. The natural solution to this problem was, of course, to hire the one person who knows even less about everything in Gene Chizik. To be honest, the Heels probably should have just hired Mike Tomlin away from the Steelers because he isa much better tackler than anyone on the UNC defense.
What does the hiring of Gene Chizik mean for UNC's defense? Do you now feel confident in raising UNC's national championship odds to 1:1?
Have a great Tuesday!