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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Vault: Tech Week

Back when I covered Georgia for the Albany Herald, our small staff size required that my work week consist of more than just Bulldogs football during the season. When Georgia was off, I had to cover other area colleges, including Florida State, Auburn and Georgia Tech. I also had to write a twice weekly column on whatever I pleased -- but usually about college football.

So, in my backlog of non-Georgia coverage, I have a few stories I've written on Tech over the years. I came across two of them today, and figured they might be a fun read for all you Bulldogs fans who enjoy reflecting on all the Yellow Jackets' failures over the years.

This first piece is a column I wrote prior to the 2006 season. As you'll remember, Tech had a solid roster of veterans and was a favorite to win the ACC. Georgia had no idea what to expect following the departure of D.J. Shockley and the possibility of starting a true freshman at quarterback. My point in this piece was that, if Tech was ever going to upstage the Bulldogs, 2006 would be the year. We all know how that turned out.

Of course, at the end of that season, Tech did manage to play for the ACC championship against upstart Wake Forest. For any of you who might wonder about my hated for covering games in Jacksonville, the '06 ACC championship game added quite a bit of fuel to that fire. The final score -- 9-6 Wake -- hardly did justice to just how bad the game was. Afterward, I wrote a column paying tribute to poster boy for bad games, Mr. Reggie Ball.

It was less than a week after I wrote that column that Tech announced Ball would miss his final game -- the Gator Bowl -- because he failed to make grades for the semester. I still consider that one of the most heart-warming stories I've read.

Of course, to avoid any perception of bias or conflict of interest, I try to avoid opinion writing on college football these days. I will say, too, that I actually really like Chan Gailey as a person, and I love watching games at Bobby Dodd. So don't pigeonhole me as a Tech basher by any means. Saying Reggie Ball stunk was really more of a fact than an opinion anyway.

In any case, hopefully you'll enjoy this look back and be sufficiently excited for Tech Week '08.

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