This is the time of the year where many people express what they are thankful for, as was the case with the most recent Discover Fan Loyalty Poll. College football fans across the country were asked which members of their favorite team they were most thankful for this Holiday season, as well as with whom they would prefer to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner. Make sure to read further to find out the results. Yet while championship weekend is upon us, at least one team does not seem thankful for the opportunity that was literally handed to them from another team.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be playing this Saturday for the ACC Championship against the Florida State Seminoles. This was an opportunity that was literally give to them by another team. I am not talking that a team committed too many turnovers in leading to a Georgia Tech win to clinch this spot. I am not even talking about the fact that the ACC should have been divided better so that the Clemson Tigers were facing the Seminoles again this season, as they would be a far worthier opponent.
I am talking about the fact that the Jackets were not the best team in the ACC Coastal division. They were not. In fact, if you look at the overall standings in the conference and their division, they were not even the second best team. The North Carolina Tar Heels were the best team in the division, and they could have set up a far more exciting ACC Championship against the Seminoles. But that will not happen due to the ‘Heels being penalized by the NCAA for past improprieties involving former student athletes on the football team. They are bowl ineligible, which means that they cannot play for their conference championship either.
Going further down the standings, the Miami Hurricanes finished behind the Tar Heels due to their head-to-head loss to UNC earlier this season. But Miami – like UNC – is also bowl ineligible, self imposing a postseason ban for the second consecutive season with NCAA sanctions looming for the ‘Canes. They would have also made for a much more intriguing ACC Championship Game against the ‘Noles in an old school rivalry matchup.
But that isn’t happening either.
Before we take a look at why GT doesn’t appear to be too thankful for this golden opportunity to play themselves into a potential BCS Bowl Game in a season in which they are clearly not worthy, take a look at the complete results of the latest Discover Fan Loyalty Poll. After reading through the official results, feel free to weigh in with your own responses at the conclusion of this article.
Georgia Tech is playing for the right to play in the Orange Bowl, which is one of the most prestigious bowl games of the college football postseason. It is not that the Yellow Jackets do not want to play in that game. It is actually more like they feel as if they have no chance to play in that game.
Florida State is a 14 point favorite over Georgia Tech as of this minute. I expect the Seminoles to win. The Seminoles expect to win. Pretty much everybody expects FSU to beat Georgia Tech in a game that should not be all that close. I think making the ‘Noles a two touchdown favorite is actually being generous to Tech. I don’t see them coming within 20 points of the ‘Noles on Saturday night.
Apparently, Georgia Tech has little confidence in its chances on Saturday night either. The Yellow Jackets will enter the game with a 6-6 record, meaning a loss would technically put them bowl ineligible with a losing record. Since they are fully aware of that rule, as well as their slim chances of pulling off a major upset, Georgia Tech has already filed a waiver to be eligible to be selected to play in another bowl game, just in case they do what everyone expects of them and loses to Florida State on Saturday.
Talk about a lack of confidence.
Joking aside, I understand that this is the smart thing to do. Georgia Tech wants to ensure that it plays in a bowl game this season, regardless of which one. This move in not without precedent, as the NCAA actually implemented a list of criteria for teams to be eligible to play in a bowl game even if they finish a game under .500, like Tech would with a loss.
Last year, the USC Trojans were ineligible to play in their conference championship game or a bowl game of any kind, meaning the UCLA Bruins took their place in the Pac 12 Championship game. They lost the game to the Oregon Ducks, finished 6-7, but were selected to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
They lost that game as well, but that is irrelevant.
Georgia Tech may be headed to play for the ACC Championship, but they are not at all thankful for the opportunity. By already asking for a waiver, what sort of message does this send to its players? I guess we will find out on Saturday!
Stay tuned to The Pigskin Report each and every day for the latest on the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll, as well as the most extensive coverage of the 2012 college football season, leading up to the BCS Championship game. Make sure to Like Discover on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!
* The 15-week Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 800 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online.
Discover launched the Fan Loyalty Poll to give die-hard fans a platform to showcase their dedication and love for their favorite college football team leading up to the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game and 2013 Discover Orange Bowl. Each week the poll will offer new questions about what college football fans are thinking this season.
Beyond title sponsorship of the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game and 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.