Athens — These short takes are offered as a companion to the Georgia Tech game column, which can be found on myajc. Tech beat Georgia 30-24 in overtime.
1. Paul Johnson was gracious in victory. Given how much grief (not least in this space) the Tech coach had taken for losing five consecutive games to Georgia and for going 28-25 over a four-season span, it wouldn’t have been terribly surprising if he’d taken this victory as reason to crow. To his credit, he took the high road. He expressed admiration for the Georgia program. He praised his players effusively, which Johnson doesn’t always do. Only when prodded about the meaning of this game did he say, “It means (the Bulldogs) have to take down that dumb ‘We-Run-This-State’ sign for one year.” And then, when it was noted that his offense had hogged the ball for most of the second half, he smiled and said, “Sometimes the high school offense will help you like that.”
2. Tech didn’t sound like a team ready to stop winning. “Ten wins doesn’t happen very often,” Johnson said, “and we’ve got a chance for a couple more.” He meant in the ACC title game against Florida State and in what figures to be a rather nice bowl. But B-back Zach Laskey aimed higher. “With the College Football Playoff, anything could happen,” he said. “It’s an outside shot, but anything can happen.” The Jackets entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 16 in the CFP rankings and beat No. 9 Georgia, which should give them a bounce. It defies credulity that Tech could rise from 16th to fourth in the span of eight days, but if enough higher-ranked teams lose and the Jackets finish on a closing kick of beating Clemson, Georgia and FSU … well, who really knows?
3. This was a pretty fair day for the basketball league. Tech beat Georgia, which hadn’t happened since 2008. Clemson beat South Carolina, which hadn’t happened since … er, 2008. Louisville beat Kentucky, which happens often but resonates now because the Cardinals are in the ACC. And then Florida State did its usual dance-on-the-lip-of-the-volcano number before outlasting Florida. The final day of the regular season had become a source of ACC embarrassment at the hands of its brawnier neighbor, but this time the conference generally considered the nation’s fifth-best went 4-0 against the league generally considered the best.