7 pre-, pre-bowl Tech notes

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas is the pilot of the most efficient offense in the country, by judgment of Football Outsiders. (GETTY IMAGES)

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas is the pilot of the most efficient offense in the country, by judgment of Football Outsiders. (GETTY IMAGES)

1. Georgia Tech great Joe Hamilton will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday night in New York at the National Football foundation’s annual awards dinner. He will be the 13th Tech player and 18th person associated with Tech to be inducted. He’s also the first quarterback.

Among those in New York helping him celebrate is former Tech offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen, now the offensive coordinator at Rutgers, and Friedgen’s wife Gloria.

I caught up briefly with Hamilton Monday for a story for myajc and the paper.

2. Coach Paul Johnson said Sunday that, regarding injuries, “I don’t think we lost anybody seriously for the long term. I think they’ll be O.K. for the bowl game.”

Defensive back Lawrence Austin, offensive tackle Bryan Chamberlain and A-back Tony Zenon all left the ACC championship game with injuries.

3. The team will begin practicing Thursday after a short break to recuperate and take final exams. The Jackets’ preparation time is compressed with the ACC title game extending the season. Typically, the team has taken a week or so off after the Georgia game and then begun bowl practices the following week.

4. An interesting name on the Mississippi State coaching staff – defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. Collins is from Rockdale County High, and had two separate stints on the Tech football staff, once as a graduate assistant 1999-2001 for George O’Leary and then again in 2006 as director of player personnel under Chan Gailey. In that year, Collins most notably helped bring together the ballyhooed 2007 signing class featuring Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer, Joshua Nesbitt and others.

5. Orange Bowl tickets are available through the Tech athletic department, starting at $99 and up to $325. Ticket allocation will begin Friday at 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Tech website.

According to the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., Mississippi State fans had already purchased 12,000 of the school’s 15,000-ticket allotment by Sunday night, just hours after the bowl matchup became official.

Upper-deck tickets are going for considerably less on Stubhub. The least expensive tickets early Tuesday were available for $12.27. There was also a suite available for $7,000, which is probably a little more than I’d be willing to pay.

Tech’s bench will be on the south side of the stadium. The Jackets will be the home team.

6. Tech is a seven-point underdog to Mississippi State. For the sake of comparison, Tech was a 3.5-point underdog to Florida State and a 10.5-point underdog to Georgia. That reminds me, the win over Georgia was Tech’s biggest upset, in terms of point spread, in coach Paul Johnson’s tenure. The previous record, if you want to call it that was four games that went off with a spread of 7.5 points – Georgia in 2008, North Carolina in 2012, USC in 2012 and Virginia Tech this year.

7. The Tech offense is ranked No. 1 by Football Outsiders ratings, which measures drive and play efficiency and takes strength of schedule into consideration.

Tech played six of the top 34 defenses by Football Outsiders’ rankings – No. 1 Clemson, No. 4 Virginia Tech, No. 15 Virginia, No. 20 Florida State, No. 22 Georgia and No. 34 Miami.

Tech’s overall rankings was No. 10. The defense was ranked No. 58. Special teams was No. 23. If memory serves, the defense was ranked in the 90’s in mid-season.


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