SOUTH BEND, IND. – Every parent knows it, and preaches it: Kids don’t load up on the cupcakes, because that’s going to spoil your appetite for the dinner to come.
We pause in the aftermath of Saturday’s 30-22 loss to Notre Dame to remind Georgia Tech of the same nutritional truth.
The argument against the kind of scheduling that brought you 60-point outbursts against the likes of Alcorn State and Tulane was made loud and clear on a late afternoon in Knute Rockne’s house.
When Paul Johnson says afterward of his team, “Today, their eyes got real big, especially from the start,” you wonder if their expression might have been a bit steelier had they been tested a little more in advance.
Beating Tulane by 55 a week earlier did nothing more to prepare a team to go into the maw of Notre Dame Stadium than playing beer pong would prepare a person for Olympic table tennis.
The oddsmakers – or those who made the bets that influenced the spread – may have been fooled by Tech’s opening outrageous victories. Only the Fighting Irish – who at least opened with teams you have heard of, Texas and Virginia – didn’t seem impressed at all.
To their credit, Tech players did not seize on the out of blaming the intimidating environment for the loss.
“I don’t think that’s an excuse we can use at all,” B-Back Patrick Skov said. “It doesn’t matter where we play, our offense should be able to execute on a tundra. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, who’s in the stands, whether you can hear the cadence or not, we need to execute in all phases of the game.”
Saturday represented the first honest look in the mirror that Georgia Tech has had this season, and it has taken three games to provide that.
The reflection was of a team that was not quite as physically stout up front as maybe we thought, or quite as unstoppable on offense or nearly as ready for the premature whispers of post-season tournament play.
Finally, in Week Three, the Yellow Jackets had a game that was, as defensive lineman Adam Gotsis said, “a good measure to see where we’re really at.”
There is much value Georgia Tech can wring from the long season to come. But first it had to get an honest appraisal, not coming until a quarter of the way into the schedule.