Will Jimbo’s Seminoles come up short against Tech?

"I'm not giant, but my team plays big." (Chuck Burton/AP photo)

“I’m not giant, but my team plays big.” (Chuck Burton/AP photo)

"I'm not giant, but my team plays big." (Chuck Burton/AP photo)

“I’m no giant, but my team plays big.” (Chuck Burton/AP photo)

Charlotte — Today’s on-site press briefings weren’t entirely brief — Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson went on nearly as long as Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, who can talk the legs off a giraffe — or especially revelatory. (Pregame sessions rarely are.) The funniest part came when Johnson finished his session and climbed down from the podium in the Carolina Panthers’ snug interview room.

Pointing to the step, Johnson said: “Better get Jimbo a ladder for that.”

The joke — har, har — being that Jimbo isn’t what you’d call jumbo. (Tech’s coach, by way of contrast, is taller than you’d guess had you never seen him in person — well above 6-foot.) The reporters within earshot, this correspondent among them, tittered, but none of us thought the gentle jibe worth mentioning to Jimbo himself.

As fate would have it, Fisher addressed the issue of his height (or lack thereof) without prompting. Someone asked if Nick O’Leary, the Seminoles’ tight end, bears (pun intended) any resemblance to his famous grandfather Jack Nicklaus. “Nick’s 6-4,” Jimbo said. “His grandpa is shorter than I am.”

Over the past six days, the praise for Johnson-as-towering-genius has risen to heights untouched since … well, since 2008, the only other time Johnson’s Jackets beat Georgia. And the man has indeed earned his moment in the sun. Many wondered if this season would be the beginning of the end for PJ at GT. (I was perhaps chief among those, although I must note that my criticism of Johnson was never about his stylized offense; my quibbles had to do with the overall state of the program and Tech’s failure last season to run that offense very well.)

As we now know, Tech went 10-2 a year after going 7-6 and is positioned to become the first team in two calendar years to beat Florida State. (I’m on record as believing the Jackets will win.) But let’s also note that the Wizard of Techwood won’t be going against an empty chair. A man who knows a lot about football told me a story Thursday about Nick Saban’s interview with the LSU board before he took the job as head coach. Someone wondered who he’d hire as offensive coordinator.

“Jimbo Fisher,” Saban said.

“You must know him pretty well to have such faith in him,” the questioner said.

“Never met him before in my life,” Saban said. “But I know he’ll coach his butt off.”

Jimbo helped the great Saban win the first of his four BCS titles with LSU in 2003, and Fisher won one of his own with Florida State last season. If both the Tide and the Seminoles win Saturday and the College Football Playoff standings hold, they’ll face one another in a semifinal on New Year’s night. Just for the record, Nick Saban isn’t all that tall himself.

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38 comments
LuxLucisofVerum
LuxLucisofVerum

I agree with the FSU fans  (and only on this), that hey - FSU has won EVERY GAME - Ohio State won a NC the same way - squeaking by every game one year. A win is a win and deserves some credit if it happens in a power conference. If that was UGA I would be saying, Nah Nah, Nah Nah Boo Boo - just beat us or shut up. They have a point. At least on this. Not on much else.


Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

@LuxLucisofVerum Agree with what? If they win, they are in the playoff. So why are they crying over the rankings? Because if they lose, they still want to be in I guess which they shouldn't. 

If gt wins and k state wins and wisc wins,who gets the 4th spot? To me it's obvious. Gt. They would have wins 3 games straight against top 20 teams. They would also be conference champions. Even if baylor wins, i think gt deserves it because the big 12 doesn't have a champ game. So why reward them for only having to play 12 games? I am sure fsu would like to not have to play tonight and be automatically in as well.

cloudodust
cloudodust

The Fightin' Crablegs from Tallahassee Beach will lose in a pincher.

Peachs
Peachs

The shame of it is if Tech wins the cheap talk about the ACC gets back on track. Last week four SEC teams played four ACC teams, you would have thought the SEC would have won at least one game. David Pollack said in three of those games the ACC was favored so what is the big deal? The only honest forecasters in college football now days are found in Vegas, I would love to see them take over the "committee".  The rest go back to brand names and don't trust their eyes, the reality of Vegas doesn't allow for hype. 

Peachs
Peachs

The one thing about Johnson, he was usually competitive in all those games he lost, and now is showing a flair for blowing teams out he has not shown before. I keep thinking FSU is roper doping for some reason, they have an undefeated team which goes unnoticed because no one thinks the ACC is any good. Tech loss twice in the ACC this year, we know the conference is good, we have total respect for it but that is because we don’t have the luxury of sitting on the outside gaining points by undercutting other conferences

OH-IO
OH-IO

short?


Oh, I get it. 


Such a kidder 

Mulk
Mulk

@ThomasBrownUGA Rankings (people are voting) don't mean as much as the on the field results. Both Carolina and Duke were better than UGAG.

zonadawg61
zonadawg61

And believe me, this Dawg fan will be pulling for Tech to pull the upset. Florida Scumbag St. needs to be slapped down.

zonadawg61
zonadawg61

Jimbo Fisher has proven this season exactly what he's all about -- let's just say a true scumbag was born. Tech won't win, Scumbag will get his 6th or 7th close win and drone on about what fine young men he coaches. Meanwhile, the Winston school farce will play itself out and to save face, Florida State will magically suspend Scumbag Jr., he'll appeal and the ruling will take another month. Then Scumbag Jr. will go pro after the entire season is over and it won't matter, and Scumbag Sr. will say how disappointed he is and never saw this coming. Predictable and sad. And the Scumbags will have laughed their way through this season. And the strange thing is Fisher has no idea how pathetic he looks to 99% of America.

Peachs
Peachs

@zonadawg61 you know I honestly don't care about Winston, I want him on the field, what good is beating a team that is undermanned, what does that prove.  What this kid does or doesn' do off the field doesn't take away from who he is on the field and that is all Tech needs to worry about for now. And if he goes on to win the National Champonship more power to him and FSU, this is not a beauty contest or a Mark Richt religious experience this is four quarters of being a man, four quarters of the Old Testament, and I for one love watching it.

John Kilpatrick
John Kilpatrick

Jackets, this is your year!! Should I say- destiny? beat FSU!!

DrPhill
DrPhill

I saw Winston turn his back and walk away when Jimbo was talking to him. Tha tells you who is in charge of FSU football.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DrPhill

How did that work out against Clemson, when Winston didn't play?

Peachs
Peachs

@DrPhill they won every game, no one in the country can say that so what's your point?

dawg4u
dawg4u

I think Tech will probably beat FSU and I never thought that I would say that this year. I never figured Tech to dominate the LOS against UGA either.

khd713
khd713

@dawg4u That was an amazing thing to see, wasn't it? Of all the amazing things that happened in that game, watching BOTH of Tech's lines blow Georgia to bits was one of the most overlooked and unbelievable occurrences, but it was real. Never thought I'd see that, either.

Caius
Caius

@khd713 @dawg4u Yeah I would agree with both of you.  In particular, the GT OL performance against the superb UGA DL was stunning.  If they can duplicate that against FSU, I like GT chances of pulling the upset.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

                                            Go Jackets !

bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

I don't think Mark will believe until Tech wins the whole thing!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

GT has to cover #35...all day long. That guy is a Playa.


Best of luck to the Jackets

RangeRover
RangeRover

Nothing would be more pleasing than watching the Jackets beat the Criminal Quarterback enabled by his midget coach. 

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

What happened at Winston's on campus investigation/hearing this week?

TreadLightly
TreadLightly

Can Jimbo talk the legs off a crab?????     Could not resist.....

GMAB
GMAB

GT will prove to be too sound for these Seminoles. " GO JACKETS "

Cristobalite
Cristobalite

Go jackets. I am happy win or lose.   Beating UGAG and doing it in the way we did was a sweet pay back.   This team does not know the word quit.   Love it.

gtgoguy82
gtgoguy82

Mark, please.  Georgia's Paul Johnson.  Right state, but wrong in so many ways.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Smiling and denying Jimbo (h/t Steve Hummer). Hope Tech runs them over.

OH-IO
OH-IO

Jameis is emotionally spent after two days of inqusition. 


April Grant
April Grant

@OH-IO Jameis will have the weight of the world removed from his shoulders.