Fan loyalty key to football wins

Paul Johnson is a great coach, and as the Athletic Association likes to say, “the perfect option.” However, I do not believe that even Dan Radakovich and Paul Johnson could spin the straw remnants of last season’s team into gold, at least not in one year.

Looking at the football vouchers, we should win the first four home games, with Mississippi State being the toughest game and possibly a disappointment if the Jackets do not pull through. Winning two out of the last three home games against Virginia, Florida State and Miami would be impressive.

With the road schedule stacked with Boston College, Virginia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina and Georgia, Tech could expect to probably pull out two road victories in the ACC this season. Hopefully Paul Johnson has the solution to end the seven-year drought and bring Tech a third road victory.

A successful season for the Jackets will probably be made up of about seven wins and a late December bowl game against some team from the MAC or WAC. Sound familiar? Yet there is definitely room for improvement for Tech football, and it does not even involve the players. Tech students, myself included, demand a successful and exciting football team, but last year showed we did not deserve one.

Everyone wants to go to the big Thursday night game against Miami or against Florida State, but how many of us student “fans” are actually planning to show up and cheer on the team at the Duke or Gardner-Webb games?

Last season people complained that there are not enough student tickets because some people did not get into the UGA game, but there certainly was not a ticket crunch for the UNC game, or much less for the Army game, and that was Homecoming. Kick-off for the UNC game took place at noon last year, and the student section might (and I am being very generous) have been half full by twelve thirty. It was embarrassing and pathetic.

Flash forward to a week later. Students were whining that there were not enough student tickets, but at the UGA game there were some people in certain parts of the student section wearing red pants, boat shoes, and Croakies. I am not saying that all people who fall into that stereotype (but wearing gold instead) are harboring the enemy, but if any person or student group gave a member of the UGA student body a Georgia Tech student ticket then that person or student group is a disgrace. They are essentially stealing from their fellow students to support the opposing team—treason, basically. And people who commit treason should be fed to the dogs they serve.

As students we should be above reproach, the loyal, vocal supporters of our fellow students competing. There should only be two colors in the student section: white and gold (maybe a little navy blue and black is not completely out of the question, but no other exceptions).

While people always gasp and scream bloody murder at the idea, online ticketing might be the best fix, similar to the way basketball is set up. Of course, a system for group ticketing would need to be worked out, and a loyalty system could be set up so those who do go to the Duke and Gardner-Webb games or actually care enough to walk to the stadium to get their ticket scanned on game day, get priority for the Florida State and Miami games.

But beyond changing the system, a change in the attitude of the student body is needed. While the football games should be seen for all festivities and pre-gaming, they should also be seen as a chance for the Institute as a whole to unite to support our team. Last year’s Georgia game should have been a wake-up call to the entire Tech community, students and alumni included.