Jackets soar in coach's second year

ATLANTA --- Georgia Tech is probably a little too far back to become a factor in the national championship race.


That doesn't diminish what the program has accomplished in less than two years under coach Paul Johnson.

"I have all the confidence in the world that this team could go out there and play with anybody on a given Saturday," defensive end Derrick Morgan said. "We have that confidence about ourselves."

With good reason. The No. 10 Yellow Jackets (8-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are on a six-game winning streak and haven't been ranked this high since 2001. They are two victories away from clinching a spot in the league championship game, where they likely would be playing for a spot in the Orange Bowl.

"I haven't mentioned it to the players," Johnson said Tuesday. "I'm sure they're aware of it, but we've still got to finish out."

Georgia Tech is also No. 10 in the BCS standings and would need a major shake-up to climb into contention for a spot in the national championship game. None of its last three regular-season opponents is ranked.

Players are moving around with a little extra bounce in their step, which isn't that easy considering they've played nine consecutive games without an off week.

"We've put Georgia Tech on the map," star running back Jonathan Dwyer said.

Johnson, who made his first big splash as a coach leading Georgia Southern to what was then known as the Division I-AA championship, said he doesn't put much stock in the poll voters. The only fair way to decide the national champion is a playoff, he said, just like the one they have in every other division of the NCAA.

"Whoever is picked first to start with, unless they lose, they're going to play in the (BCS championship) game. They pick that before we ever play a game."


- South Carolina at Arkansas, noon (CBS-Ch. 12)

- Tennessee Tech at Georgia, 1 p.m. (pay-per-view)

- Wake Forest at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m. (ABC-Ch. 6)

- Georgia Southern at Samford, 3:30 p.m. (No TV)

- Florida State at Clemson, 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)


Saturday: vs. Wake Forest

Nov. 14: at Duke

Nov. 28: vs. Georgia



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