Johnson on DC Bowl: We'll play Navy

Only details remain in finalizing a bowl game that could pit Navy against Georgia Tech on December 20 in Washington D.C. If the NCAA certifies the Congressional Bowl, as anticipated, it could set-up a match-up between Paul Johnson's former and present teams in a game that would undoubtedly be dubbed the PJ Bowl. When asked about the scenario, Paul Johnson didn't hesitate to offer his opinion.

I know what you are thinking.  I am getting way ahead of myself with this whole Navy-Georgia Tech bowl talk, but let's face the facts, just the possibility of such a match-up sends Midshipmen fans into a delirium.  Sure, about a million (more like a thousand) scenarios would have to play out for PJ Bowl to take place but that didn't stop me from asking Paul Johnson about it when we spoke last week.


Johnson, who is in the midst of spring practice with his Georgia Tech squad, admitted that he had not heard about the ACC signing the agreement with the Congressional Bowl, so in a way I guess I was delivering some news to him.  However, it did not take him long to digest it and form an opinion of what he thought of such a possible game with his former team.


"We'll play Navy," Johnson said immediately and in a tone that I would say was enthusiastic.


The reason why Johnson did not delay in his response was what he called the amount of "respect" he has for the Navy players, most of whom he said he had a hand in recruiting personally.


As I previously mentioned though there are a few hurdles that stand in the way of the potential match-up.  First and foremost, Navy would have to engineer six wins in a schedule that contains 10 of the 12 teams they faced last season.  The Mids went 7-3 against those opponents, but three of the wins (Notre Dame, Pitt and Duke) were decided by a combined 9 points and five overtimes.  Meanwhile two of the losses (Rutgers and Wake Forest) weren't that close.  Although anything short of six wins for Navy would be a disappointment, the Congressional Bowl folks probably need a decent back of plan on that side of the equation.


On the other side of the dream match-up is the ACC, a conference that already has eight bowl tie-ins for 2008/09: BCS, Champs Sports, Chick-fil-A, Emerald, Gaylord Hotels Music City, Meineke Car Care, MPC Computers, and Toyota Gator.  The Congressional Bowl would require the league to have nine bowl eligible teams to fill all of the slots – something they have yet to accomplish since realigning in 2006.  In the D.C. Bowl's favor is the fact that they would be guaranteeing $1 million to each team, which is more than the Emerald, Meineke Car Care and Humanitarian bowls paid out in 2007. 


Who knows what the pecking order would be, but it's safe to say that the Congressional Bowl could at best hope to land the ACC's sixth best team based on payouts alone.


After running through his team's schedule, Johnson let it be known that six wins for the Yellow Jackets is far from a guarantee.

Pointing to the away games on the schedule - at Boston College, Virginia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina and Georgia, Johnson said it will be a "big challenge" for his "young team that is only returning nine starters on both sides of the ball."


In addition to the daunting road schedule, Georgia Tech was unable to schedule a Division I-A opponent for this fall to replace Army, who opted out of the backend of a home-and-home series.  As a result, if Tech is able to win both of the two most favorable contests (Jacksonville State and Gardner-Webb) on its schedule, only one will count for bowl-eligibility.


I have to admit, I am not crazy about the idea of a bowl game being played on December 20 in the friendly but chilly confines of Washington D.C., but I'd warm up to the notion in a real hurry if both sides were running the triple option. Top Stories