Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Rivalry Saturday

UGA/GT: Even up twenty I knew Tech would probably lose. The Jackets played their best ball of the season. Had Vad played that well against Virginia Tech or Miami, the Jackets would be playing next week in the ACC Championship Game. As it was, Tech still made too many mistakes to win the game: penalties, interception, etc.

I am always torn during this game. As a Tech grad, I hate to see my school embarrassed. Some Georgia fans take it to the extreme – no merely pulling for their school but belittling friends on the other side in the process. Sure it’s a rivalry, but any halfway knowledgeable football fan should know the schools operate in different stratospheres. Georgia is usually ranked among the best in the nation, recruiting the top athletes in the country. Tech operates the the middle of the mediocre ACC pack. The Jackets don’t belong on the same field as the Dawgs. There’s no reason Tech couldn’t be as competitive as Stanford or Northwestern (or even Vandy), but they’re not.

Since Georgia usually has more riding on the outcome of the game (a better bowl game, at the least) I hate to see them lose. Since Tech has played poorly all year, particularly in big games, and since Vad Lee has not taken to running the option efficiently and too often passes off his back foot, I have no problem watching Georgia win. If teams can win the games they’re supposed to win, it’s harder to watch them win games they’re supposed to lose.

Everything went Tech’s way in the first quarter. I counted at least four Hutson Mason passes that were in the receivers’ hands that weren’t caught. As expected, he handled himself well. QB won’t be Georgia’s problem in their bowl game. Vad Lee had a career day, though he still made several awkward, fading backward passes. One was intercepted. Vad is worse at running the option. This season’s 7-5 record is about as good as Tech can do with Lee at quarterback.

I wasn’t surprised that Vad Lee’s 4th down pass was batted away. I didn’t have my hopes up. I did stick around and watch the replays. When they finally showed the field level end zone replay I saw that it was clearly pass interference – a call rarely flagged in such situations. UGA got away with one. I want to watch that replay again this week.

Glad Gurley finally got rolling. He did great as a freshman, with GURLEY on the back of his jersey. As a sophomore this year his jersey read GURLEY II – and injuries caused his output to decline. Hopefully next season GURLEY III will be the best version of them all. It would be a shame for him to be limited by injuries his entire career. Some call him the best back in the nation, but Yeldon has quietly had a great season over in Tuscaloosa.

Two TV’s in the house, and both seemed to be on the wrong channel at crucial times. Tech had the ball in overtime, and the TV was on the Tennessee/Kentucky game or Oregon and whoever they were playing. Got to see the last play. The ground level end zone view showed clear pass interference.

Auburn/Alabama: This game wound down just as the Clemson game was starting. I hadn’t paid much attention to the Iron Bowl all afternoon, figuring Alabama would pull it out in the end. And sure enough, there was Alabama lining up to win the game – if not in regulation, then in overtime.

One TV was zeroed in on the Clemson game, so I gravitated back to the sunroom TV. As Alabama lined up to kick the field goal I was asked if the Clemson game was on TV yet. I had figured they had known that it was, but wanting to see the decisive field goal, I hesitated with my answer. Only when the field goal fell short did I say yes. As I figured, the channel was immediately changed. Only then did I see the Auburn player take off with the ball. Figuring he would most probably be tackled, I re-focused my attention on the Clemson game. Someone muttered something about Auburn winning, but I knew there hadn’t been enough time for overtime to begin. Then I glanced at my Facebook feed…something huge had happened. The crawl on the bottom of the screen told the story: the very return we saw went 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

SC/Clemson: Five Clemson turnovers were the difference in the game. Once again Tajh Boyd failed to perform in a big game. Clemson lost the two most important games they played, and now might have to face one-loss Alabama in the Orange Bowl. This year Clemson had about as good a team as they’ve ever had. They’ll be losing their two best players: QB Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins. Also their record-breaking kicker. SC is also losing their two best players, QB Connor Shaw and DL Clowney. I’m just wondering if the SC/Clemson matchup is becoming similar to GA/GT – it’s becoming harder and harder for ACC teams to compete with SEC schools.

After the game Ceil’s brother left the stadium and discovered his car had been towed. Made a bad, cold evening even worse.

Texas A&M/Missouri: Mizzou takes care of business.  Before the game the A&M coach locked in a new long term contract to keep him from bolting to USC. Should be interesting to see how successful he is one his quarterback and receivers bolt for the NFL next year.

USC/UCLA: Loved how both teams wore colored jerseys.

Central Florida/South Florida: UCF turned the ball over five times and still managed to win. You’re not going to play your best every week, but good teams fine a way to win even when they don’t play their best.

FSU/Florida: No surprises. Glad Florida didn’t just roll over from the start.

Wake Forest/Vandy: The mighty Commodores from the SEC couldn’t beat one of the worst ACC teams?

Ohio State/Michigan: Terrible call by the Michigan coach to go for two. I guess he had zero confidence in his kicker, who would’ve been a key component of the overtime. 

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