Georgia Tech is in the ACC Coastal Division and playing on Thursday night. The Georgia Bulldogs' season has followed roughly the same arc as this week's opponents. And the Atlanta Falcons had two weeks to prepare for what could be a trap game.
You have a lot to look forward to this week, Atlanta sports fan. The team that beat the Braves in the playoffs can win the World Series, so the Braves can make a solid "We played them the closest. We might be the second best team in baseball" argument. Georgia Tech is a two-touchdown underdog to a team that lost to I-AA James Madison (which is now 4-4 and 1-4 in its I-AA conference, by the way). And the Falcons find themselves in the Bermuda Triangle of NFL scheduling. Here’s what’s happening:
The team that beat the Braves in the Divisional Series mostly because the umpires refused to call Buster Posey out at second base under any circumstances (I’m not bitter), can clinch the World Series. The Giants have now been to the World Series three times since moving to San Francisco, and in the previous two visits they’ve been done in by a Game 6 collapse and an earthquake. So the series isn’t over. I’m guessing the Rangers win this one to send it back to San Francisco, but, barring a catastrophic act of God, I’d be surprised if the Giants don’t close the door at home.
The Hawks start a brutal stretch in which they play Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota over a span of four days ... oh wait. This isn’t 2005. Let me give this another shot. The Hawks’ early season visit to the bake sale (a lot of cupcakes) continues with three teams that may not crack 25 wins this season. The Hawks’ typical early-season giddyup will have petered out by Wednesday, so they’ll probably lose one of these games. But a 5-1 record heading into the first real test of the season (against Phoenix on Sunday) is something the Hawks will gladly take.
Last week I inexplicably found myself pining for a Georgia Tech Thursday night game, which was strange since, as a Georgia fan, Tech doesn’t generally register on my radar. It was like a vegan having an inexplicable urge to eat a porterhouse and club a baby seal.
This week my fantasies come to reality as Tech takes on the other Tech in a game that inexplicably (this section sponsored by the word "inexplicably") has implications in who wins the ACC Coastal Division. And, yes, the ACC has had two divisions for six years and I still had to look up which division the Yellow Jackets are in. My guess is that Georgia Tech’s slim hopes for a significant postseason get dashed to bits on Thursday, much like Georgia’s did on Saturday.
Georgia whimpers home from Jacksonville to take on a team that won its first game in blowout fashion, stumbled in Colorado against an out of conference team that it probably should have beaten, and has since struggled to keep pace in its conference. Of all of Georgia’s wake-up calls this season, the fact that they have more in common with Idaho State than any BCS contender should be the clanging cymbals at 6 a.m. that something is amiss.
The Falcons come off the bye to take on Tampa Bay in a battle of divisional leaders … Oh wait. This isn’t 2005 ... What? This actually is a battle of first place teams? Surprisingly, Tampa Bay has started the season 5-2 and finds itself filling the revolving annual role of "surprising NFC South team."
The teams that Tampa has beaten: St. Louis, Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Carolina. Combined record of those teams: 12-24. So the Falcons should have nothing to worry about. However…
This is a weird scheduling scenario for the Falcons, as they should be rested and ready to go coming off the bye. But they may also have one eye looking past this game, as they have to turn around and play Baltimore on Thursday. That’s right. The schedule makers gave the Falcons 14 days to prepare for Tampa Bay and three days to prepare for the Ravens.