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Tuesday Thoughts 10/3: An Unserious Program

In which I need a scream chamber.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Bowling Green at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I hate it here.

Game Recap in Three Sentences

After starting with a quick two scores, Tech let BG score 38 straight points to build a big lead.

Tech’s rushing attack was nonexistent, going for just 69 yards on 21 carries.

Three turnovers (one fumble, two interceptions) made everything much harder for the Jackets.

Above The Line of the Week

  1. Eric Singleton Jr., the man who can’t stop scoring.
  2. Hard cider.
  3. Dominick Blaylock. He didn’t find the endzone, but 131 receiving yards on 7 catches is the type of dominant performance that you want to see against lesser competition.

Unformed Thought of the Week

Time of possession is not normally a statistic that people care about. Different teams have different styles and usually it works out pretty evenly anyways. Not Saturday; Bowling Green held the ball for nearly 43 minutes - over twice as much as Tech did. Typically you only see something like that from a service academy, or when a P5 plays an FCS opponent.

5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week

Pathetic program
Hard to imagine worse things
Hope dwindling quick

An Unserious Program

Are we expecting anyone to take us seriously after that? That game cemented our status as a joke, an unserious program to ignore without a second thought. No one really cares if you lose some conference games. What people do care about is losing at home to awful G5 teams when you’re favored by three scores - that kinda stuff sticks around like a bad stain. Everyone can talk about “institutional alignment” and “fan support” and “resource constraints” all they want, but none of that stuff matters one bit when your resting state is getting lit up by a bottom-15 team. No one else needs five star recruits and millions in NIL to beat Bowling Green, what’s our excuse?

Forget about history; what do people say when they discuss Georgia Tech football right now in the modern era? In my experiences it’s usually one of three things -

  1. “How about that triple option huh?” because they haven’t paid attention to us lately because why would they.
  2. “Rough season so far, can [insert current coach here] turn it around?” because all they ever see is us losing stupid games and we’re in constant need of being turned around.
  3. Nothing, why would people ever discuss Georgia Tech football?

If I asked you to name the worst P5 teams over the last five years, who would you say?

  • Rutgers? 4-1 so far this year, two more wins than us since 2019.
  • Northwestern? Same number of wins as us since 2019, played in a bowl game in 2020.
  • Kansas? 4-1 so far this year, one fewer win than us since 2019, played in a bowl game last year.
  • Stanford? Same number of wins as us since 2019.
  • Indiana? Six more wins than us since 2019, bowl games in 2019 and 2020.
  • Cal? Five more wins than us since 2019.
  • Arizona State? Six more wins than us since 2019, bowl games in 2019 and 2021.
  • Nebraska? One more win than us since 2019.
  • Boston College? Seven more wins than us since 2019.
  • Colorado? One more win than us since 2019, raking in money and recruits.
  • Virginia? Seven more wins than us since 2019.
  • Arizona? Three fewer wins than us since 2019 (but only played five games in 2020).

Bowl drought wise it’s us, Stanford, and Vanderbilt since 2018, Arizona since 2017, and Nebraska since 2016.

This is our tier: the bottom. If you think we’re meaningfully better than all these programs in anyone’s eyes then you’re lying to yourself. SP+ currently favors us against just eight of these teams mentioned, and the biggest margin is Stanford at just -7. We live in the basement and doing stupid things like losing to Bowling Green just keeps the door locked. No one is ever going to take us seriously until we can handle the bare minimum and at least look moderately competent for multiple games in a row.

The dumbest part of all of this is that the talent to be better is there, it really is. 247 ranks us as the 6th most talented roster in the ACC; that shows when we do things like explode on offense against Louisville or hang with Ole Miss through three quarters. But outside of those times we do our absolute darndest to play down to our opponent and mess around. We treat performance like a zero-sum game: a good sequence can’t happen without a bad one to cancel it out.

We should be 4-1 right now and it’s infuriating that we’re not. Just an iota more focus and discipline would’ve gotten us there, and suddenly the conversation goes from “yeesh, could they be the worst team in the ACC?” to “hey it looks like Brent Key is building something down there”. I hate being in the bottom tier of college football; I don’t think we as a program and school belong here. I don’t need us to be near the top right now, all I want is average instead of embarrassing. Figure it the hell out and stop making me look like an idiot for having faith.

Look Ahead

Up next is Miami (10/7, 8:00pm). This is going to be tough; the Hurricanes have a super productive offense earning 519 yards and 44 points per game while we have one of the worst defenses out there (115th in total defense and 103rd in scoring defense to be specific). If you’re looking for any positives to hold on to there’s probably two:

  1. They’ve played a pretty soft schedule so far so their numbers might be a bit inflated.
  2. They’re Miami, which historically means they’re contractually obligated to lose games they shouldn’t.

If we’re going to have any chance here we really need the offense to consistently score in all four quarters; Miami is likely to put up 35-40+ and we can’t afford our usual rate of three and outs if we want to keep up. Maybe if we had looked like a P5 team against Bowling Green I’d have more confidence in our outside chance, but right now I think we’re in for a rough evening.