Back in October, Georgia Tech was riding high as one of the surprise teams in college football.
The Yellow Jackets were 6-0 and cruising along with a 3-0 record in the ACC, and there were talks of a Coastal Division title running through the fan base. The really optimistic Yellow Jackets fans were looking ahead to see who would win the Atlantic Division and face their team in Charlotte, N.C., in the ACC championship game in December.
But the Yellow Jackets stumbled home against good competition and enter Saturday’s Sun Bowl matchup against Utah with an 8-4 record. Georgia Tech’s skid started with road losses to Virginia and Miami, and the Yellow Jackets also lost to Virginia Tech and Georgia, but there’s nothing to be ashamed about with those two losses. The Yellow Jackets did hand Clemson its first loss of the season, but that was really the only shining moment in the second half of the season.
Georgia Tech gets a chance to change that Saturday. The Utes are 7-5, and they finished 4-5 in their first season in the Pac-12 as Utah made its debut as a BCS program after so many years of being on the outside looking in.
The game offers a huge opportunity for the Yellow Jackets to finish strong. They have struggled in recent years in bowl games, losing their past six, including three with Paul Johnson as their head coach. And their finish to the regular season likely is also weighing heavily on their minds; at least it is on the minds of their fans.
But none of that will matter if Georgia Tech can pull out a win Saturday. That would be a big boost for the Yellow Jackets going into the offseason, and Saturday’s game will greatly affect the perception of Georgia Tech’s season.
If the Yellow Jackets lose Saturday, that would just continue their late-season slide and will have the fans hanging their heads moving forward. But if they can win, that will give them plenty of positives going into the offseason as they get ready for the 2012 season.
Winning the final game of the season is always huge, and getting that victory Saturday would help the Yellow Jackets and their fans put their late-season struggles behind them.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org