Terence Moore is one of the best columnists in the world. Today. Because he agrees with us. And we love it when columnists. Do. That.
Apologies for the postmodern columnistspeak--we won't do it.
But Terence Moore, whom we usually glance over just before we scan the NASCAR news in the AJC, is right here not only because he agrees with us, but because he cites a number and a historical fact that, prior to Chan Gailey becoming coach, was not true. (Numbers? Facts? Columnist's daily column? Phone Dan LeBatard and Peter Kerasotis--even bad columnists like Moore can be reformed! We're in charge of the re-education camps, of course...)
When this one was mercifully over, Techs 38-10 beating was its worst in a bowl game in terms of margin of defeat since, well, ever. And the Jackets have played in bowl games since they actually did go to the Rose following the 1929 season. Thats 34 bowls overall, which means you have to wonder if Tech was ready to play against what was an average Utah team that improved to 7-5.
Numbers don't lie. People do, of course, both to themselves and to their readers. For example: we were once the Minister of Agriculture for Hualien Prefecture, Taiwan: lie. We were once detained by police for over fifteen minutes once for doing donuts behind a parking garage on the edge of campus: true. A fun game to play with your friends, too, especially after a few drinks. ("I'm a registered sex offender in Missouri: true or false?" Uncomfortable silence in bar booth, other people sitting at table futz around with coasters while trying to decide how they'll answer...)
We were once Agriculture Minister of beautiful Hualien Prefecture, Taiwan. And Chan Gailey is a good coach, too.
Which brings us to yesterday's Tech game, which we swore we weren't going to watch in our preview.
We watched it, true or false? Unfortunately, we have to cop to true, following the first half on GameTrack and catching the rest while having a post-work cup of coffee at home. We thought the long, sudden red lines on the gridiron graphic of GameTrack denoting Utah scores couldn't really look worse in person than they did in cold numbers, but they did. The badness, the sheer lazy rottenness of the whole thing wasn't even lost on Stuart Scott, who pointed out (no doubt with help from alert writers) that Utah scored on the same route to the same man four times. New rule: when Stuart Scott notices something, it's the sports equivalent of Nelson from The Simpsons giving you the "HA-ha" noise and pointing.
Stuart Scott just noticed how much you suck. HA-ha!
The defense was the highlight, though, which should be a given since the man behind the offense is Coach Gailey himself. Calvin Johnson may have to ask what a post is when he gets to the combine, since he hasn't been asked to run one all year. They run a curl and a fade and that's it, an abomination given that the Jackets, in the family backyard football metaphor, have fit Uncle Bob at wideout and the opposition has the fat niece who just wants to play guarding him. They run the ball well enough, but it all goes to shitty shards once the ball finds its way into Reggie Ball's hands. Tell me the difference between Omar Conner, oft-pummeled qb for Mississippi State, and Reggie Ball? About 255 miles.
Few in the genteel sports community in Atlanta embrace the Northeastern model of sportstalkdom, the fat loser radio guy who froths up into murderous rages about the tiniest of infractions or the hardest fought losses. (Going 12-4 is not acceptable in Philly, Andy? DO YOU HEAR ME?) Fewer still, though, like to say the slightest negative thing about Gailey, a guy who takes taxpayer money and cranks out mediocrity year in and year out to little public disapproval. We should consider for a moment that there's only one public official who enjoys that kind of consequence-free, carte blanche employment: the governor, and that job's taken.
Gailey's record, over his four seasons at Tech:
2002 7-6 Georgia Tech Silicon Valley Classic
2003 7-6 Georgia Tech Humanitarian Bowl (W)
2004 7-5 Georgia Tech Champs Sports Bowl (W)
2005 7-5 Georgia Tech Emerald Bowl
7-5, Every year. We bet he's this consistently average in all facets of life. In Monopoly, games would stretch on for hours. In poker, chips would ebb and flow for days across the table, and he'd never go all in--never. When he drives, sometimes he lets people in, and sometimes he doesn't, and we bet he cuts bagels in sandwiches in slices exactly 7-5 ratios. Too bad he's not a baseball player--we'd wager that he'd average .417. If you thumb wrestle Chan Gailey, he wins exactly 58.3% of the time. Which is a nice average, if you're a thumb wrestler.
As a coach, he's mediocre, and that's fact. It would be one thing to have Randy Walker 7-5, with a "ninja-football" attack throwing exotic formations and shifts all over a field and racking up points with voracity. It's quite another thing to have the "Carroll County High School" playbook approach at the university level, especially when your mad witch doctor of a defensive coordinator can stymie the likes of Miami with his schemes. Gailey isn't terrible when you look at the whole of D-1 football; that would be an abuse of the word terrible in a world filled with Hal Mummes. But he is just above average, mediocre, and can't seem to do much better than 7-5. If that's what you want...well, cool, we guess. But Tech teams have fared better in the past, and for Dave Braine, the AD at Tech, to suggest that 7-5 is the ceiling for optimum football performance at Tech is horseshit. They just added a whole mess of new seats at Bobby Dodd stadium; if they want to fill them, they'll either have to pray for another cardiac emergency in the offseason for Gailey, or find someone else to add some verve to a program quickly becoming as mild-mannered, muddled, and unassuming as their coach.