Georgia Tech accepted an invitation to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl over the weekend, meaning that Tech’s first postseason spin since 2014 will be a trip down to Jacksonville for a matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats. One of two finalists from the ACC, Tech fell into TaxSlayer’s lap when the Russell Athletic Bowl selected Miami for a matchup against the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers. It will be a very fun game for the Jackets, who just a month ago were looking at either Shreveport or Detroit as a potential bowl destination, and gives the Jackets a shot to go 3-0 against the SEC East this season with previous wins coming against Vanderbilt and Georgia. Hopefully there will be a nice representation from Tech fans willing to make the five-hour drive from Atlanta.
The opposing Wildcats, meanwhile, will be making their 16th bowl appearance all time and first since the 2010 season. Fresh off of a big win against rival Louisville, Kentucky brings a 7-5 record to the game, including victories over Vanderbilt and South Carolina plus losses to the likes of Southern Miss and Georgia. They’ll give up some points, having been dunked on by the offenses of Southern Miss (44 points), New Mexico State (42 points), and Tennessee (49 points) among others, but the issue is that this Tech defense has the potential to give up quite a few as well. Hopefully Ted Roof’s unit can hold up against a much-improved Kentucky offense and shut down the second Wildcat quarterback we’ve seen this year (including Boston College signal caller Patrick Towles, a Kentucky transfer). Tech may actually have the defensive edge in this game, having allowed 40 points just once (to UNC) compared to four such games for the Wildcats.
Of course, the revelation of this season’s bowl games means that the the Playoff Committee came to a conclusion regarding which four teams will play for this year’s championship: it will be No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State, and No. 4 Washington. I’m not sure who among those three challengers has the potential to upset Nick Saban’s dynasty, but I hope that the Huskies will knock out the Tide early so we can see a more compelling final game. Alabama’s domination is possibly the most boring and tired story-line in all of college football.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, however, is searching for an explanation from the same Playoff Committee which overlooked both TCU and Baylor two years ago on the basis of the Big 12 lacking a conference championship game yet included an Ohio State team which didn’t even make it to the B1G final this season. The Big 12 isn’t even the party that got screwed this time around: that distinction belongs to B1G champion Penn State. The committee ignored what it said and did since the current format’s adoption a few years back and took a team that didn’t do enough to win its own division. I don’t feel great about that.