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Georgia Tech Bound for Seattle Bowl

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ATLANTA, GA. — Georgia Tech began the season with hopes ofplaying in the Bowl Championship Series. Instead, the YellowJackets settled for a spot Wednesday in the inaugural Seattle Bowl.

The Yellow Jackets (7-4) will meet Stanford (8-2), ranked No. 12but only fourth in the Pacific-10, at Safeco Field on Dec. 27.

"We wanted to play a quality opponent," quarterback GeorgeGodsey said. "We didn't want to play a team that squeaked in. Theyare definitely a team that's deserving of one of the top bowls."

Georgia Tech was expected to contend for a top-level bowl. Moststarters returned from last year's 9-3 team, and the Yellow Jacketswere ranked 10th at the start of the season.

But they lost to Clemson and Maryland in overtime, then fell toVirginia in the final minute of regulation on a trick play. Anyhope of a New Year's Day bowl ended last weekend with a 31-17 lossto Georgia.

The Gator Bowl gave its Atlantic Coast Conference spot toFlorida State, which plays host to the Yellow Jackets on Saturdayin the regular-season finale.

"We wanted to go to one of the BCS bowls," running back SeanGregory admitted. "But going to a bowl is prestigious in itself.Not many teams get to do it."

Georgia Tech would have preferred to remain closer to campus.But the hometown Peach Bowl wasn't an option - the Yellow Jacketsplayed in that game last year - and the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando,Fla., decided to wait until this weekend to make its ACC choice.

Athletic director Dave Braine thought it was prudent to acceptSeattle's invitation instead of waiting for a better offer - andpossibly getting shut out.

"I think the kids deserve a reward for what they had to gothrough this year," Braine said.

The bowl guarantees $750,000 to each school, but the AtlanticCoast Conference will boost Georgia Tech's share to $1.1 million tohelp handle the cost of a West Coast trip.

"We're not going to lose money," Braine said. "We're probablynot going to make much either."

Georgia Tech has to pay for 7,500 tickets at $50 apiece, knowingit will not be able to sell the allotment. Braine hopes to takeadvantage of alumni totaling nearly 1,500 in the Seattle area.

"If we could sell 4,000 tickets, I'd be very happy," he said."We're going to ask our alumni base to help."

Georgia Tech will be making its fifth straight bowl appearance,its longest streak since a six-game run from 1951-56.

"We had some tough games that we'd like to have back," coachGeorge O'Leary said. "The players have worked extremely hard.Things didn't work out like we wanted, but it's not because theydidn't work hard enough. They deserve to be in a bowl."

The Seattle Bowl will be the first sports event other thanbaseball at Safeco Field, home of the Mariners. The game, formerlythe Oahu Bowl, was moved from Honolulu because of poor attendance.

Most Georgia Tech players have never been to the Northwest.

"All I know is the latte from the commercials," Godsey said."I don't even like coffee, but I may have to take one withIchiro."

The senior quarterback is also familiar with the area's musicscene.

"I know Nirvana and Pearl Jam are from there," Godsey said,smiling. "Maybe I can find those guys from Pearl Jam and hang outwith them."

The Yellow Jackets have met Stanford only once before, winning18-17 in the 1991 Aloha Bowl. O'Leary was Tech's defensivecoordinator in that game.

Stanford has a game remaining this week at San Jose State. TheCardinal are tied for second place in the Pac-10 with Washingtonand Washington State, but became the conference's fourth-place teambecause of losses to those two schools.

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