Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crowded near Top of ACC Tech Still a Player, but Must Win Out

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crowded near Top of ACC Tech Still a Player, but Must Win Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble, Times-Union sports writer

ATLANTA -- The formula to decide which team will represent the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Orange Bowl is complicated and controversial.

Coaches don't like the idea that rankings from sports writers and fellow coaches will have a greater influence than head-to-head competition. It's entirely possible that a sports writer from Idaho will have a greater say in which team represents the conference in the Bowl Championship Series than taking a team that's proven its worth in a game.

For Georgia Tech, such headaches would be welcomed.

Saddled with two overtime losses, the Yellow Jackets can only hope they beat Virginia this afternoon and Florida State on Dec. 1, and Maryland needs to lose one of its two remaining league games. If that happens, it's possible the ACC can wind up with as many as four co-champions.

There are ample opportunities for Georgia Tech to play itself back into championship contention. At the same time, there are more chances for the team to fall through yet another trapdoor.

The Yellow Jackets haven't won at Virginia since 1990. Two years ago, another Georgia Tech team that was expected to be a conference leader lost 45-38 at Charlottesville.

The games have all been so close, usually by a touchdown or less,'' O'Leary said. I didn't even realize we haven't won there since 1990. I don't think there's anything wrong. If I did, I'd fix it.''

It's taken more than half the football season for the Yellow Jackets to play at a championship level. A 28-21 victory over North Carolina on Nov. 1 was the team's most-complete game of the season.

The Cavaliers, however, are moving in the opposite direction. After winning three of its first four games, Virginia comes into today's game at Scott Stadium with a five-game losing streak. Kickoff for the non-televised game is at 3:30.

Georgia Tech will have all of its key players healthy for the game; the Cavaliers are missing several key starters, especially along the offensive line. However, tailback Antwoine Womack, the leading rusher in the ACC a year ago, has returned from an ankle injury suffered in the season-opener last August. …

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