Independence Bowl: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech Need Win To Hold Critics at Bay

Jeffrey FannAnalyst IDecember 26, 2010

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 09:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against the Virginia Cavaliers at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For 2 years Paul Johnson could do wrong at Georgia Tech. In 2008 Johnson and Georgia Tech exceeded expectations won 9 games and beat the hated Georgia Bulldogs. In 2009 the Jackets won the ACC and went to the Orange Bowl. Then in 2010 Georgia Tech opened the season in the top 20, and was expected to be a contender in the ACC Coastal Division.

This didn't happen. The Jacket finished the season 6-6 and lost 4 of their last 5 games. Then the critic's questions started. Paul Johnson had only won with Chan Gailey's players. The triple option which led the nation in rushing still wasn't effective enough to lead Georgia Tech to consistent success.

The Yellow Jackets play the Air Force Academy on December 27th in the Independence Bowl. In a word Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech HAVE to win this game. Why? As I said the critics are waiting to pounce. Even a win wouldn't completely quiet, them but the difference between a 6-7 and 7-6 season is enormous. Georgia Tech hasn't has season with fewer than 7 wins since 1996. That was pre-Chan Gailey.

Now mediocre seasons can happen to good coaches, just ask Texas's Mack Brown or Florida's Urban Meyer or Georgia's Marc Richt. All of these coaches have been conference and national champions, but this year Mack Brown went 5-7, Meyer 7-5, and Richt 6-6. Meyer ended up retiring. Most savvy college football fans realize Johnson is and continues to be a very good college football coach.

They know part of the problem this year was a defense that was low on talent and ranked 9th in the ACC. There were also a multitude of special team mistakes that Johnson will need to find some way to address in the off-season.

Personally I believe Paul Johnson win or lose the bowl game is absolute the right man for the job at Georgia Tech. To get his first bowl win at Georgia Tech though would make things in the off-season a little bit easier and hold those critics at bay.

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