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  • Bill Chastain

SOUTHERN FOOTBALL FRIDAYS: Celebrating a National Championship on The Flats

Last Thursday, Georgia Tech’s 1990 National Championship squad was honored at halftime of Tech’s game against Virginia Tech.

The ’90 Jackets were the personification of a team that had some struggles, persevered, and continued to grow, finishing the season a superior team.

Bobby_Ross Bobby Ross. Photo by the Army

Tech began its championship campaign by outscoring N.C. State, Chattanooooga, South Carolina, and Maryland by a margin of 92 points. Clemson then came to The Flats and Tech escaped with a 21-19 win. Memorable from that weekend, other than the big win, was spending three days with my Georgia Tech classmates, Bobby Maxwell and Vic Rice. In typical guy’s weekend fashion, we ate every meal at Waffle House and we all ate the same thing at every meal.

Note: Rallying at the Waffle House always provides positive karma, and it’s good for absorption, too.

Virginia’s Scott Stadium proved to be the setting for the most memorable game of that special season. The Cavaliers entered the November 3 game ranked No. 1 and Tech came away with a come-from-behind a 41-38 upset.

From then on, Tech cruised, eventually defeating Nebraska 45-21 in the Citrus Bowl to finish the season as the only undefeated team at 11-0-1 to win half of the National Championship (UPI recognized Tech as No. 1).

I’d just started working for The Tampa Tribune in 1990 and that summer I interviewed Tech coach Bobby Ross when he came to Tampa to talk to the alumni group. Even though the Jackets had gone 7-4 the previous season, Ross told me on the record that he could roll the balls out and win eight games in 1990. Pretty bold talk for any coach, huh?

Surrounded by an impressive contingent of players from the 1990 team, Ross spoke to the crowd at halftime of last Thursday night’s game. He pointed out that the team had talent and they were smart, but mostly they were together, which he noted could be seen in the player turnout last Thursday.

A special night for a special team. And talk about backing up some smack, Bobby Ross more than delivered.

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