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It’s the 10th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s split national championship, not that anyone notices, so busy are they frothing at the mouth over Georgia’s supposed breakthrough season. It’s breakthrough, all right. This is the team Jim Donnan waited 55 years to coach, remember? This Georgia team that lost to the South Carolina Chickens.

Which is more irritating: Watching Lou Holtz win or seeing the Dogs bumble around without a clue?

Quincy Carter threw six interceptions all last year and five last Saturday in Columbia against the Gamecocks, who had only the week earlier posted their first win after 21 consecutive losses.

The Bees, meanwhile, gave old granddad Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles all they could handle.

Tech is where Georgia was a year ago. That is, they are a young team. The reason George O’Leary agreed to that lightninged-out season opener against Virginia Tech was that he wanted his neophytes to get their feet wet before they met a tough Central Florida team, then an even tougher Florida State team — a conference game, at night and on national television. O’Leary was expecting the Jackets to be late and out of position on defense. That’s what young teams do.

O’Leary’s one wish going into the Florida State game was that somehow his team could find a way to get into the fourth quarter. They did that. Against the Seminoles’ superior speed and depth, and despite a school-record 140 penalty yards, Tech managed to finish only five points behind the defending national champions.

Nobody awards championships for moral victories. Especially not after only two games. But if you are a Tech fan, you should be feeling a whole lot better than all those carloads of people moving at a snail’s pace through Spaghetti Junction on Saturday mornings on their way to Athens.

Early as it is, Tech is getting superior performances and harder work out of its players.

Yes, the Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern in their season opener. But they didn’t look good doing it. They looked worse than bad; in fact, they looked unprepared. One week later, in Williams-Brice Stadium, they looked dazed.

Perhaps they were preoccupied with the pickle-juice problem. Donnan announced during the week that the Dogs were adopting the Philadelphia Eagles’ secret weapon for beating heat cramps: pickle juice. Two ounces of that stuff has more salt and cramp-fighting nutrients than a gallon of sports drink. And it tastes better, too.

Speaking of pickles, Georgia is officially in one. An SEC Championship was never in the cards, much less a national title. But you couldn’t tell that to the Bow Wow nation two weeks ago.

Today, you can.

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What has Atlanta’s sports scene buzzing ...

7 — Number of illegitimate children — by five different women — left by the late Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hey, what’s up now, Knight? — Bob Knight grabs a kid by the arm, thumbs his nose at Indiana University President Myles Brand and Athletics Director Clarence Doninger, berates yet another female IU employee, disses the trustees and goes fishing. Oh, yeah, he was fired.

Have the Broncos stopped scoring yet?

This week’s reason why the Hawks are the Hawks — Ohio State guard Scoonie Penn, the 57th pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, signs a one-year deal with a team in Trieste, Italy, rather than play for the Hawks this season.

.185 — Chipper Jones’s batting average with runners in scoring position from Aug. 1 through Labor Day.

.120 — Opponents’ batting average against Pedro Martinez with runners in scoring position.

12 — Number of Thrashers from last season’s opening roster you can expect to see on the 2000-2001 team.

Fantasy league — Which Rookie of the Year candidate would you rather have on your team: Rafael Furcal or Mitch Melusky?

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