During ACC Media Days in July, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said that the ACC is the best football conference in America. Several other ACC coaches, including Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Boston College’s Steve Addazio, said the same.
Paul Johnson had no problem with it.
“Well, I would tend to agree with (Fisher) the last couple years,” the Georgia Tech head coach told Jody McDonald, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “If you look at the head-to-head records with the other Power 5 conferences, the bowl record, two of the last four national champions – by whatever metric you’d like to measure it against – I think the ACC hasn’t taken a backseat to anybody for the last couple of years.”
The ACC went 9-3 in bowl games last year, including Clemson’s national-title win over Alabama, Florida State’s Orange Bowl win over Michigan, and Georgia Tech’s win over Kentucky.
The Yellow Jackets open the 2017 season just as they closed the 2016 season: with an SEC opponent. They will face No. 25 Tennessee at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 4 – just two days after No. 3 Florida State faces No. 1 Alabama at the same venue.
“Well, certainly we’re probably pulling for the Seminoles in that one,” Johnson said. “I think anytime a team from our conference plays outside the league, we tend to pull for the conference. First and foremost, the teams are playing for their schools and what they represent, but you’d also like to see your conference do well against out-of-conference competition.”
Georgia Tech will have ample opportunity to do that this season. The Yellow Jackets open the regular season against Tennessee and end it with a home game against No. 16 Georgia on Nov. 25.
As of now, Georgia Tech will play five ranked teams, including No. 18 Miami (Oct. 12), No. 5 Clemson (Oct. 28), and No. 21 Virginia Tech (Nov. 11) from the ACC.
Johnson is yet to name a starting quarterback, but he has plenty of options, as Matthew Jordan, TaQuon Marshall, Lucas Johnson, and Jay Jones are all taking first-team reps.
“It’s been kind of wild this offseason and in fall camp,” Johnson said. “We haven’t named a starter yet and may not do so until game week. It’s still kind of up in the air and we’re kind of keeping that in our pocket for now. . . . The competition has been fairly close, but I think we know what we’re going to do. But until we get into the next week and the final week before the game, it’s still a fluid situation.”