Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles, Jackets Keep It Close; They Don't Play Often, but the Finish Is Often Fantastic

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles, Jackets Keep It Close; They Don't Play Often, but the Finish Is Often Fantastic

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | Most of the recent football games between the Florida State Seminoles and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been near-photo finishes.

The trouble is, they've been over a span of 15 years. Their last two meetings will have been in the ACC championship game after Saturday's game between second-ranked FSU (12-0) and No. 12 Tech (10-2) at Bank of America Stadium.

The Seminoles won the Atlantic Division with an 8-0 record. Tech clinched the Coastal Division in the final week of conference play with a 6-2 mark.

If the ACC ever considers realigning, it might take a look at putting FSU and Tech in the same division. They're close geographically (Tallahassee is 229 miles from Atlanta, the closest proximity the Seminoles have to another ACC opponent) and obviously close on the field in recent history, with six of the last eight meetings decided by an average of 4.3 points.

It started with a stern test the Yellow Jackets gave the 'Noles during their 1999 national championship season, as FSU had to outlast Tech 41-35. The following season, when Florida State was on its way to another national championship game appearance, it struggled to beat the Jackets 26-21.

Tech's only two victories over the Seminoles as ACC partners were in 2008 (31-28) and 2009 (49-44, an epic game that wasn't finished until nearly 2 a.m. because of thunderstorms in Tallahassee).

The next time they played was the 2012 title game in which FSU built a 21-6 lead and had to hold off the Jackets in a 21-15 decision.

Now, imagine those kind of finishes every season.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that when the league expanded to add Miami and Virginia Tech for the 2005 season, the groupings fell rather easily into place, and he doesn't recall any resistance in putting FSU in the Atlantic and Georgia Tech into the Coastal.

"We looked at a lot of combinations, and we think what we've had in place works very well and is very balanced," he said on Friday after FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and Tech coach Paul Johnson conducted their final pregame news conferences at Bank of America. …

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