The ACC Conference brain trust shifted around the schedules of both Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech so that they could open the season against each other in a nationally broadcast game on Labor Day in Blacksburg. Given the normal scheduling preference for any BCS college football team whereby they generally open the season with a few nonconference games to bolster their resume prior to jumping into league games, this will be an entirely different start to the season for both squads as they usually square off in November with the Coastal Division on the line. With this novel change order, the magnitude of this game is even more noteworthy with the inordinate amount of time the Hokies now have to prepare for the triple option offense; the entire offseason if you will.
Putting aside the bowl performances of the Yellow Jackets under Paul Johnson when their opponents are given extra time in order to prepare for his unique offensive scheme, this season opener will really bring out the dolts who just hate on the triple option should the Hokies prevail in this game. Forget the fact that Virginia Tech got slammed by Stanford in the 2011 Orange Bowl to the tune of 40 to 12 who had a mere month to prepare for the Hokies, or their recent loss in the 2012 Sugar Bowl to Michigan 23 to 20 who also had thirty (30) measly days to prepare for the game, none of that ever comes up in the conversation for any other team except Georgia Tech. It’s only when the Yellow Jackets lose a bowl game does that issue constantly surface. Or worse yet, lose a game at any point in the regular season when their opponent has an extra bye week to prepare against the triple option offense.
What is even more puzzling is the lack of symmetrical balance when any other football team in the post season bowl schedule loses their game. For example; this past Orange Bowl pitted the Clemson Tigers against the West Virginia Mountaineers with the ACC Champs favored in that contest. So after an embarrassing 70 to 33 drubbing by West Virginia that wasn’t even that close, I failed to detect even the remotest hint that the Clemson offense can be throttled if an opponent has extra time to prepare, or the Tiger defense can be completely dismantled with some additional practice time.
Now I will admit that after Baylor trounced the Washington Huskies in the Alamo Bowl 67 to 56, the talk of the town was that the entire defensive staff of the Huskies was fired by the head coach even before the team had dressed and left the Alamodome. So apparently that negated the obvious question of how could a defense give up that many points when they had nearly a month to prepare for their opponent? Was it somehow different because the Baylor Bears had the Heisman Trophy winner at Quarterback? Or perhaps with Robert Griffin, III running the NCAA spread option offense it can be considered an aberration that somehow trumps the extra time to prepare card. Apparently we will never know as it flew well under the radar screen given the sudden increase in the coaching unemployment line.
So apparently if you can hold your opponent under 60 points in a bowl game and still win, that is an acceptable accomplishment in the post season given all of that extra time defensive coaches have to prepare. My recollection is that the full defensive staff for the Baylor Bears returns intact this season. The same cannot be said for the Clemson Tigers defensive coordinator Kevin Steele who allegedly resigned a week later to; “pursue other coaching opportunities.” My hunch is that was the genteel way to ax an assistant coach even though the end result remarkably followed the lead of the Washington Huskies who just outright canned all of their defensive coaches based on an abject failure to use all of that extra time to shut down the Bears offense.
Taking into account the foregoing bowl game disasters encompassed merely one month of additional preparation time, what devastation awaits the Georgia Tech triple option offense when faced with a six (6) month ticking clock for Frank Beamer to prime his team? Yikes! No doubt the Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster has already contacted the NCAA Offices in Indianapolis to ascertain the current record for “3 and outs” in a BCS college football game as that will certainly be shattered in this contest given the half a year to retool his troops for this contest. Not to mention the record for punts in a game by one team will certainly be broken by Georgia Tech in this season opener after the triple option is completely stymied due to the stalwart defense of the Hokies courtesy of that six (6) month gift.
How fortuitous that Paul Johnson just hired a special teams coach last month. He will be working overtime on the punting game since that is all the Yellow Jackets will be doing in Blacksburg, save for one kickoff to open the game. The true freshman punter that was signed in this past recruiting class will have to step up and punt too as Georgia Tech’s returning punter Sean Poole won’t be able to handle a season’s worth of kicks in a single game. There goes his redshirt year before the season ever begins.
It will also probably be best to only bring the scout team offense for this game to lessen the sting (pun intended) and load up heavily on the defensive side of the ball as they will be playing at least 50+ minutes in this one. Perhaps it might even be best to forfeit this game as a 2 to 0 loss will look much better than the certain catastrophe that is guaranteed with the ridiculous amount of time Virginia Tech has been granted to thwart a high school offense. This way Georgia Tech can be assured that the all time loss by Cumberland College will forever remain intact in the NCAA record books.
While I don’t want to burst the bubble of any Yellow Jacket supporter after a successful recruiting class signing period, and first time ever Friday night spring game, it’s best to hear it now since this six (6) month span of time to face the Georgia Tech triple option will be the mantel piece of discussion from this moment until 8:00 p.m. September 3, 2012. That is why it will be just that much sweeter when Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets open their 2012 ACC season on the road with a Coastal Division victory over the Hokies at Lane Stadium. Enter Sandman and all! What will they say then? Not enough time? Go Jackets!