One of the amazing events of the weekend really was Tech's loss to a depleted Kansas squad. I'm not ready to throw dirt on the reigning ACC Champs nor am I ready to ignore Saturday as Mark Bradley did and say...well the ACC sucks so bad Tech can still win the league.
The problem at Tech ... talent matters. You have to replace talent with talent to maintain your program. You can only out scheme, out hustle, or out cheat the other guy so much. At some point, you need play makers.
Tech's 2007 recruiting class was Gailey's finest with a Scout.com ranking of 15th in the Nation. The class had 9 players ranked at four stars or better according to Scout. Tech's problem...only three of those players remain on the roster -- Nesbitt (Heisman Candidate*), Nick Claytor (OT) and Jason Peters (DE). And two of those players have made minimal impact on the GT program.
After Gailey's best class, Paul Johnson's subsequent recruiting classes were ranked 37th ('08), 32nd ('09), and 41st ('10). Granted Gailey needs a few non-traditional pieces for his system, but it's not like getting "his players" into his system will necessarily make things better. There's not a dramatically better back for Tech's offense than Dwyer. Nor is there a better WR than the super freak D. Thomas. Nor is there a better DE fit than D. Morgan. Plus, Morgan Burnette was the best GT defensive back since...well...Swilling in '91?
The UNC game will be an interesting one because the Heels have had an extra week to prepare for the triple option. Four of Johnson's seven losses at Tech have come to teams with more than seven days to prepare for his team. The extra time isn't a magic cure all as Willie Martinez found out in 2008, but it's an enormous help.
I'm expecting the Tarheels to win this one in a squeaker in Chapel Hill. If that happens, what become of Tech this season as they still have four more losable games on the schedule?
Our game with Arkansas is bigger for our program than their game with UNC. Of that there's no question. But both games represent an excellent opportunity to judge where both programs are going.