Tuesday, January 5, 2010
8 pm ET
FedEx Orange Bowl
(10) Iowa (10-2) vs. (9) Georgia Tech (11-2) (-4)
This might be the only bowl I watch from beginning to end. Seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it? But my love of Georgia Tech’s offense began way back at the beginning of the 2008 season and has gotten stronger ever since. Simply stated, I love the triple option, and not just because many said it can’t work in major conference football anymore. Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer are truly fantastic, but what makes the offense great is its simplicity. It’s not like the defense doesn’t know what’s coming, but the triple option is so perfect because, if properly executed, it cannot be stopped. It’s football at its most simple and yet cerebral. I love it.
Even better, Tech gets to face Iowa’s tough defense and prove it can score on anyone. One of the downsides of being an Indiana alum and living in Indiana is having to watch a hell of a lot of Big Ten football. So I know Iowa’s defense is definitely respectable, but if Georgia Tech can’t stop Iowa’s offense, I don’t know what to tell them. Ricky Stanzi is back, but it’s not like Iowa lit the world on fire when he was in there anyway.
What they DID do was come back from a lot of deficits and play close with pretty much everyone they played.
That means Georgia Tech, above all else, cannot make any mistakes, commit turnovers, or lose the field position game at any point. Their offense is built on winning every one of those battles, but it’s still incredibly important against Iowa. Plus, the Hawkeyes have gotten pretty much a month to prepare for Tech’s offense. But the point of Tech’s offense isn’t preparing for it, it’s actually executing and stopping it. If Iowa is going to do that, they’re going to have to do more than be in the right place at the right time.
I don’t trust Stanzi to come back after such a layoff and be as clutch and tough as he was when he was healthy. And even when he was good to go, he was a turnover machine until it was crunch time. I don’t think Iowa gets away with it. I know they’ll play close again, but they’ll make one too many mistakes.
Pick: Georgia Tech