The ACC released its finalized schedule for the 2017 football season yesterday and, much to the chagrin of Tech’s own Paul Johnson, a trio of ACC opponents have bye weeks prior to their game against the Jackets. That is the decision which prompted the above tirade by Johnson against what he feels is a scheduling system set up by the conference to “screw [Tech] every way they can” each year. Whether or not that screwing is by design remains to be seen, but there’s little argument against the fact that Tech has had to play more teams coming off of byes than anyone else in recent years. It could be a coincidence, but the unique nature of Tech’s offense and the rhetoric used by coaches who attempt to prepare for it make that seem far-fetched.
At the beginning of the season, it was widely believed that the first few games of Tech’s opening ACC basketball schedule -- against the likes of Duke, UNC, and others — would be the most difficult section to navigate. However, this current stretch features an even better array of teams, including tonight’s opponent in Florida State, and once again proves the narrative that there can be no rest for the weary in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles are in the midst of one of their best seasons in recent history, boasting a No. 6 ranking and just two losses on the season. There are some true freaks on that roster, but the worst part is that the ‘Noles are such a deep team. Josh Pastner has been riding his starters hard for the entire season, going just a couple of players deep on his bench, but Tech simply has to get contributions from the sideline to win this game. If they do pull it off, coach Pastner would be 2-0 against teams currently ranked in the top-10.
Speaking of Josh Pastner, his team’s hot start in ACC play has the national media granting him recognition for his growth as a coach after just half a season. Sasquatch Bobinski didn’t do much at Tech, but his decision to hire Josh Pastner has looked excellent to this point. Pastner’s candor on his radio show and in interviews has been extremely refreshing, and he is already winning conference games at a rate which could match Brian Gregory’s best season on the Flats. It may also be worth noting that Pastner’s replacement at Memphis, good old Tubby Smith, is also mentioned in the article above. I’m not sure what that says about the program Pastner left behind, but he certainly looks like a changed coach so far this season.