1. Extensive travel can even catch up to 19-year-old football players.
Sunday, Tech safety Shaun Kagawa said he was still feeling the effects of jet lag after his trip back to Hawaii to see his grandparents. Kagawa, one of the team’s top special teams players, returned home on the 20th and then flew back to Atlanta on Christmas day.
“I don’t think I’ve caught up to my sleep yet,” he said.
However, it was worth the trip. Kagawa, Tech’s first scholarship player from Hawaii in at least 20 years, hadn’t been home since leaving Hawaii to enroll at Tech in June.
“It was just great to be around my family,” he said.
2. Tech is staying at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla., an oceanfront high-rise hotel. Players (at the least ones I’ve talked to) have rooms with ocean views. Rates start at $279 for an experience described on the hotel website as “an elegant retreat from the realities of day to day existence.”
“Nice scenery,” quarterback Justin Thomas said. “Wake up to the ocean view, so pretty nice.”
I understand the Wi-fi leaves something to be desired, though.
3. As usual, players had a wide selection of bowl gifts to choose from in the Orange Bowl gift suite. All players received a Tourneau watch, according to a story in Sports Business Daily.
Photos: College football bowl gifts
The NCAA permits bowls to give players up to $550 in gifts. Players could choose from sound bars, recliners, mattresses, sunglasses and other items. (Sound bars are elongated speaker systems, if you’re wondering.) Beats by Dr. Dre wireless headphones were a popular selection.
4. A couple tidbits from a story about Mississippi State cornerbacks coach Deshea Townsend, who is going to be calling plays for the first time in his career Wednesday, that didn’t make it into the story I wrote for myajc and the paper:
On Tech’s offense: “They always come out with something new. But the one thing about these guys is, they do what they do and they do it well. They don’t have to change too much because they go out and they know how they want to attack you. For us, we just have to be ready for that, make the adjustments and just play hard-nosed football, get after them in every phase and have some fun while we’re doing it.”
Townsend said that coaching colleagues who have faced Tech this season described him as a “difference maker, a guy that runs the ball how he does but surprisingly is a passer, a better passer than they’ve had at that position than they’ve had in a long time. You can see, with how they play teams and the amount of points that they’re putting up, that he is a tremendous athlete.”
5. After Clemson’s 40-6 rout of Oklahoma, the ACC is now 3-4 in bowl games with four (or possibly five ) games remaining, including Tech’s Orange Bowl matchup with Mississippi State. Louisville plays Georgia Tuesday in the Belk Bowl, Florida State faces Oregon in one national semifinal on New Year’s Day and then Pittsburgh plays Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl on Friday.
To finish above .500 for just the second time since 2006, the four teams would either have to sweep, win all but the CFP semifinal or lose one of the three non-CFP games with Florida State winning the championship. (More information than you needed, I suppose.)
Interestingly, when the ACC was 4-3 in bowl games, it was the sixth consecutive year that the conference was either above .500 (five times) or even (once).