The first thoughts, of course, are always negative, in my brain anyway.And, as far as negative thoughts are concerned, a home conference loss is a terrible thing to waste. So I sat there as the game ended Saturday watching a sea of orange pour onto Grant Field and began having issues.Yes, winning these games seems very important. The Dream Season had been mortally wounded before my very eyes. Amid the second guessing and disappointment, a somber realization set in. Celebrating the New Year in Southern California, Southern Arizona, Southern Florida or Southern Louisiana was suddenly a more remote possibility. Is this team Gator Bowl again? Oh my God! Not the Peach Bowl!
But fortunately, I have had to get over it and move on.So have the players and coaches --and most fans. And now I share a few random thoughts about that game and a season that could still be one of the most memorable in Tech history. -A big-time BCS bowl is still within the Jackets' reach. All they have to do is win the ACC in this new multi-contender environment. The race is wide open, but we now know that conference games will be much tougher than previously thought because Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and even Wake Forest are all suddenly better than the experts thought they would be in August. And there are still games with N.C. State and FSU. But keep the faith.
The Jackets lost two early gamesand still won nine. - The turning point of the Clemson game came on the 22nd play, when Daryl Smith dislocated his elbow. Suddenly there was a huge hole in the middle of the Tech defense, and Dantzler was uniquely talented to exploit it. It was hard to sit through all those third down plays knowing Daryl was on the sidelines. The doctors think he'll miss a month. Here's hoping he's back for the now critical North Carolina game on Thursday, November 1. -All four new ACC coaches are keepers. Jim Bunting, Jim Grobe, Al Groh, and Ralph have all led teams to substantial turnarounds.
This, of course, is going to make Tech's struggle for an ACC title that much tougher. Starting with Maryland on October 11, the Jackets will face four straight tough ACC games in a row. N. C. State, North Carolina and Virginia follow the Terps. Except for N.C. State, all those games seemed like easy wins a few weeks ago.-This is going to be one of the most intriguing recruiting seasons in recent history. All these new ACC coaches and Mark Richt of Georgia are going to have to have outstanding classes if they want to compete with the big boys. Stay close to dasting.com for all the details.