So, it only seems like just yesterday that we were staring at the beginning of a brand new College Football season. If, like me, you kept up with the NFL over the offseason, the lockout talks and the lack of general football news made the anticipation for any football greater than ever.
Now, we are staring down Week 7 of the College Football season, and we've had many unexpected outcomes for the season.
This is just as prevalent for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who, after beginning the season unranked and garnering just one vote (No. 25) in the coaches poll for the preseason, are now ranked No. 12 in the nation after shooting up the polls with multiple dominant victories. At this point however, we are going to take a moment to reflect on the season so far and give out a few rewards to some of the players that have set themselves apart from the pack.
A Look Back at the Games
There may not be a single team in the FBS that started as quickly as the Jackets. And a favorable schedule helped to set that up. Starting with a Thursday night game against FCS foe Western Carolina, the Jackets blasted off their 2011 campaign with a huge win, beating the Catamounts 63-21 and racking up their highest yardage total since 2000.
Little did the Jacket faithful know that this performance would be followed up with two more dominating victories, one against Middle Tennessee State and a record setting 66-24 win over Kansas, exorcising some of the demons of the previous year.
At this point, the conference schedule began in earnest for the Jackets, giving them eight straight ACC games before matching up against the Bulldogs in November. And perhaps the toughest test of the season came in the first of these matchups against a renewed UNC team. The Jackets grinded out a gritty 35-28 victory that showed us they could win the tough matchups in this season.
Not to be outdone, their next two opponents, NC State and Maryland, tried to pull the upset against the Jackets, but neither prevailed, as the Jackets reached the midseason point sitting at 6-0 and Bowl Elligible for the season.
Offensive MVP: Tevin Washington
While it would be easy to sit and gripe about the lack of offensive execution in the previous two games, Tevin Washington has quickly established himself as the offensive leader of this team. After spending the offseason listening to many fans yell for exciting true freshman Vad Lee to play, Washington came in and instantly quelled those complaints, showing solid touch in the passing game and an ability to effectively distribute the ball on offense.
Honorable Mention: Stephen Hill, Orwin Smith, Omoregie Uzzi
Defensive MVP: Julian Burnett
While some may argue with this notion, I personally feel that if you are going to have success in the 3-4 defense, you must field a good middle linebacker. Julian Burnett has filled that role admirably for the Jackets.
After losing Brad Jefferson to graduation last year, many feared that the 2011 Jackets defense would lack a true leader in the middle. Burnett made sure those were unrealized fears, as he has been a constant force for the defense, constantly flying to the ball and making consistent plays in the backfield.
Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Attaochu, Isaiah Johnson
There it is. Your review for the first half of the 2011 Georgia Tech Football season. And if the Georgia Tech faithful have their way, there will be much more of this where it originally came from. Keep an eye out for my preview of the second half of the 2011 season for the Jackets.