Paul Johnson did his rounds at the ESPN "car wash" a couple of days back and made the following comment that had Georgia fans everywhere writhing in anger for no apparent reason:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Paul Johnson: "I can assure you Georgia isn’t any different than Clemson or Florida State or some other teams we play."</p>— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) <a href="https://twitter.com/schadjoe/status/625736067841458177">July 27, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The backlash that Johnson experienced for making that totally benign and indisputable comment is what is most remarkable. Not only did Georgia fans weigh in on the issue, but voices from around the entire SEC and nation sounded off as well -- according to them, the Georgia Bulldogs are a completely different monster from Clemson and Florida State. And, as it happens, they are completely wrong. All three of those schools recruit at comparable levels, though Clemson is a bit behind Georgia and FSU is a bit ahead, and produce similar on-field results. In fact, both Clemson and Florida State have experienced more on-field success than Georgia in recent years -- both have won conference championships while Georgia hasn't and Florida State has a national title and an additional playoff berth. So actually, I guess the Georgia faithful are right. Georgia is different than both Florida State and Clemson in it has a much weaker program than both.
For a closer look at some of the things coach Johnson said during his slew of interviews, check out Ken Sugiura's Tech Tuesday Review. One of the topics that CPJ opened up about was the transfer of former USC defensive back Lamont Simmons, who elected to enroll at Tech earlier this month after things in Southern California didn't start as he'd hoped. Johnson also expressed his interest in expanding the playoff from its current 4-team configuration to a broader 8-team setup. That very idea, though it isn't a Paul Johnson original, has been gaining steam across the college football landscape lately, in large part due to the borderline-outrage that many displayed after both TCU and Baylor were left out last season.
Though the level of expectations has risen dramatically for Georgia Tech since just a couple of seasons ago, Paul Johnson's team isn't fazed by its newfound role in the college football world. This exact type of levelheadedness that both Johnson and Justin Thomas display in the article is exactly why I am confident in Tech's ability to be successful despite heightened expectations -- no one is taking anything for granted and both appear more than willing to maintain the underdog mentality of years past. That mentality will have to stick around for the Jackets to experience more of the same winning ways in 2015.
The ACC's coaches have voted and come to the conclusion that Pitt running back James Conner is the rightful preseason ACC Player of the Year. Every other outlet, media or otherwise, has given this honor to Clemson's Deshaun Watson, but I have absolutely no problem with Conner being named the preseason POY -- even ahead of Justin Thomas. Conner is an undeniably talented and PROVEN player (take notes, Watson fan club) who has a very real shot at taking home the Heisman Trophy this season. He and wide receiver Tyler Boyd will form one of the most dangerous tandems in college football history this season.
What do you think of Paul Johnson's comment about Georgia? Is it spot on or is Georgia a different beast?