Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins experiment needs to end

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and Georgia Tech's head coach Geoff Collins shake hands after the game. (Hyosub Shin /



Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and Georgia Tech's head coach Geoff Collins shake hands after the game. (Hyosub Shin /

This was the kind of game that can get somebody fired.

In Geoff Collins’ 37th game as coach, Georgia Tech was overwhelmed by Ole Miss. The Rebels led 14-0 after five minutes and nine seconds. They led 21-0 at the half, 42-0 at the end. They did nothing fancy. They ran the ball. That’s all it took.

If you didn’t know Lane Kiffin, epitome of 21st century cool, was coaching Ole Miss, you wouldn’t have guessed. This looked like a throwback to the days when Johnny Vaught and Bobby Dodd reigned, the difference being that Dodd’s Jackets were never helpless.

Over their past four games against Power 5 opposition, Collins’ Jackets have been outscored 183-10. Whatever he’s doing, it’s not working. It’s not working to the extent you can’t imagine it ever working.

The No. 20 Rebels needed five plays, four of them runs, to score. After they blocked a punt, it took them six plays, four of them runs, to score again. When you can hand off the ball for a first down on third-and-7 and a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 7, why pass?

Tech was outgained 547 yards to 214, outrushed 316 yards to 53. The only adjustment Kiffin, style influencer, made involved haberdashery. He worked the first half in a powder blue T-shirt and matching sneakers. He added a white hoodie for the second.

As for what Collins was doing: Who knows? Trailing 14-0, he eschewed a field-goal try, opting to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 4. Jeff Sims was sacked. Tech would remain pointless. I understand being aggressive. I try to understand analytics. That said, a 14-3 deficit midway through the second quarter after having been roundly outplayed wouldn’t have been a terrible thing.

In the first quarter, Ole Miss chose to punt from the Tech 38. The Jackets were flagged for illegal substitution, which moved the Rebels within range of a longish field-goal try. The kick was blocked, but still.

With Ole Miss leading 21-0 and driving, Collins made no effort to buy his team a chance to answer before halftime. When an interception halted the Rebels, 24 seconds remained. Tech hadn’t deigned to call timeout. Why? To round out the merriment, the Jackets ran the ball. For reasons unclear, they snapped it again, as opposed to letting time expire, from their 23 as the half ended. What?

After three full seasons under Collins, Tech still doesn’t do anything well. Through this season’s first two games – the first against Clemson, the second against Western Carolina – the Jackets ranked 14th among 14 ACC teams in offensive efficiency, 11th in defensive efficiency, 14th in passing offense, 11th in passing defense, ninth in rushing, eighth in rushing defense. (That last category just took a heavy hit.)

Maybe Tech was ready to play. (Collins said it was.) Maybe Ole Miss is just too good. This, however, was as easy a road victory as one Power 5 team can have against another. Bobby Dodd Stadium wasn’t full at the start. By halftime, some home fans were booing Collins, master of the non-timeout. When it was done, there was no booing. Apart from Ole Miss backers, only the Tech band was still around, and it was playing “Ramblin’ Wreck.”

Any recruiting traction Collins gained – and he did gain some – is gone. His best signee starts for Alabama. There’s no way any prized transfer wants to slide into this mess. This program has nothing going for it. (Paul Johnson’s Tech always had Paul Johnson’s offense.)

Afterward, Collins said such a performance “is not up to the standard of Georgia Tech football.” Alas, this has become Tech’s standard. Against an opponent of quality, it can’t compete.

Collins again: “That falls completely on me.” And it does. He was Todd Stansbury’s choice to lead Tech beyond the Johnson era. By side-to-side comparison, those years now shimmer like the glory days of Dodd. Even the two-plus years of Bill Lewis weren’t like this.

Asked if he was still the man for Tech, Collins said, “Absolutely.” But what’s he going to say?

Here’s the terrifying part: He’s not yet at the halfway point of his Stansbury-supplied contract. As awful as Tech football has become, nothing says it won’t get worse.

This was the kind of game that can get somebody fired, and it should.