Monday, May 29, 2006

NCAA Baseball Tourney

The AJC has a good article about Tech and Georgia in the NCAA Tourney. The seeding committee did not put us in the same super-regional, and we cannot face the bulldogs until the best-of-three championship series, assuming both teams advance. (See the full bracket here.) As said in the AJC article, it's good for the state of Georgia that the Jackets and Dawgs would not face each other until Omaha. The opportunity to have two teams in the tourney is huge for exposure.

The Atlanta Regional features Tech, Michigan, Stetson, and Vanderbilt. Tech's first game is against Stetson University, champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Hatters look like a team on the rise, overall. They've been to the tourney six times in the last seven years, and they upset GT 5-4 in the first round of the 2003 tournament. In 2006, the Hatters went 2-3 versus ranked teams, and posted an overall record of 38-22. I'm not too worried about Stetson; their two wins over ranked teams (LSU & Florida) came by only one run each.

Michigan (42-19) faces Vanderbilt (36-25) to start out. Michigan won the Big Ten tourney, and the 'Dores lost the SEC championship game to Olé Miss. Both teams look like real threats, but Vandy has a few questionable losses, including Lipscomb (another school in Nashville). Both teams have put up a lot of runs (i.e. 9+) in a lot of games (13 for Michigan and 15 for Vandy), so playing them may require a lot of offense.

The games start Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Friday, May 26, 2006

First Blog Post! GT v. Notre Dame & Old Rivals

Since this is my first blog post, I'll give a brief intro. In theory, this will be a college football blog. Specifically, a Georgia Tech football blog. I'd say "Tech Sports," but I'm sure everything but football will get such minimal coverage that that would be false advertising. The blog title refers to Bobby Dodd, arguably GT's greatest coach and namesake of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.

Even if I weren't a Tech man, I have to believe that I would root heavily for GT against Notre Dame on September 2nd. Why? So I don't have to listen to crap about Notre Dame on Sp
ortsCenter/PTI/Around the Horn every day this fall. Granted, just losing to GT wouldn't stop the train. There's a good chance it would take three losses to substantially reduce ND's fall coverage. Even then I'm sure there would be disproportionate coverage of ND over many better-performing teams.

Now, I don't entirely blame ESPN. Notre Dame really is one of those teams everyone kind of follows, and you've gotta cover the teams people want to hear about. People who don't follow college football, and wouldn't be able to tell you whether most teams were DIA/DIAA/DII, etc., "know" Notre Dame. Which is kind of weird to me these days. In a similar, large "sidewalk fan" fanbase situation, you've got Duke bball. But Duke's "fans" come because they're always on TV and win a lot. I assume ND used to be that way, but they don't have the recent success of Duke basketball. So why does Notre Dame still carry a lot of that "random" fanbase? I don't even know.

I am stoked about playing Notre Dame, though. Less because of their current national prominence, but because of the history. During our 14-season stint as an Independent, we played ND 8 times. We played Notre Dame every year from 1922-1929. When Coach Bill Alexander scheduled those games, a lot of folks wondered why he would schedule games he was bound to lose. He said, "
They will beat us about nine times out of ten, but in losing we will learn a lot of football. We will gain a lot of prestige nationally. And when we win, it will be a mighty sweet victory." After six straight losses to Notre Dame, Georgia Tech beat them in 1928 13-0 on their way to a 10-0 season an National Championship. In 1997, to commemorate a large renovation of Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish invited Georgia Tech to play the first game of their season.

Those are some of the things I truly love about CFB are history and tradition. I hate that Georgia Tech left the SEC in 1964. Not because I wish we were still in the SEC necessarily, but because it means we have all these "dead" rivalries. It was fun and great to play Auburn in '03 and '05, but it wasn't truly a "rivalry" anymore. Yes, Auburn held the Wreck Tech Pajama Parade, and there was some publicity amongst the fanbases regarding "Hey we used to hate them!" But it was clearly USED TO. There was no hate there anymore, albeit with the notable exceptions of some die-hard fans and some alumni. When we play Bama in '12 and '14, there won't be real hate there. When we play Ole Miss in '10 and '11, there won't be real hate there.

For YEARS Ole Miss resented GT because Bobby Dodd refused to schedule any games in the state of Mississippi. In return, Ole Miss refused to come to Atlanta. As a result, we've played them only once in the regular season (back in the day, teams would often not play all their conference opponents, even though they had no divisions). We didn't even need to PLAY Ole Miss for Ole Miss to hate us. But now all that's gone. It's a shame.

Now, it may seem strange to "miss" hate, but that's what makes rivalries fun, is hatred. I try hard to hate as many opponents as I can. Some I just can't hate. UConn? There's no history at all, and I just don't care. Duke? Just not good enough to hate (in football. I hate Duke bball). But I try to generate a healthy dislike for any teams we play.

Hopefully future blog posts will be more on-subject and less rambly than this one, but maybe that'll be my schtick: the rambly, stream-of-thought college football blog.