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Mailbag 12/23

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This mailbag covers favorite Christmas traditions and some previewing of the upcoming bowl game.

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What can we be most thankful for this year?

Obviously, I can't speak for everyone here, so I'm going to answer this questions in two parts. First, I'll answer this question as a Georgia Tech fan. Secondly, I'll give my personal answer.

As a Georgia Tech fan, I am most thankful that the Yellow Jackets did not fire Paul Johnson when I wish they had. I was vehemently on the fire-CPJ bandwagon for a while. Last season only made me even more frustrated that we thought we had the quarterback that we had wanted for so long, only for him to come in and absolutely blow it.

Honesty, I wanted Johnson fired. I didn't think we'd get any better. In fact, I thought we'd only get worse. Thankfully, this season proved me wrong. I have since switched bandwagons and want to keep CPJ for the long haul. I think he is a great coach that is a great fit here at Tech.

And 4-0 against the so-called "big four" wasn't too shabby either.

For my personal answer, I honestly don't even know where to begin. I am thankful for so much in my life. I continually go through my life just to find more and more things for which I'm thankful. I have two wonderful parents who love me way more than they should and support me no matter what I do. I have three great sisters and an awesome brother (even if three out of the four are dwag fans). I have loving friends.

So to answer your question, we have a lot for which to be thankful. Even being able to wake up in your own bed in your own home and being able to sit there and drink a cup of coffee. Not everybody is given that luxury.

I've got one more thing to say and then I'll get off the soapbox. If there's one piece of advice I could give y'all in this holiday season, it'd be that you shouldn't take anything for granted. Cherish every moment that you have with your friends and family because you never know when or if that will be the last moment you get. Help others that might be less fortunate than you. Go do good for people that truly need someone to be good to them. And don't do it for yourself; do it for those people.

What is your family's Christmas tradition?

We have quite a few. I'll list a few of them. Every Christmas Eve after the Candlelight Service at our church, we and this other family that's about as big as ours (seven in ours, eight plus cousins in theirs) all go to the IHOP. It started a few years ago by accident. The other family had decided to go there unbeknownst to us and we just showed up and asked them to seat us together. Since we were really good friends with that family, we decided to make it a tradition.

For our family Christmas celebration, my dad's immediate family (parents, brother/wife/2 kids) and part of my mom's immediate family (parents, two adopted brothers about my age, sister/2 kids) all get together at my house and usually eat some sort of meal that has enough food to feed a small army. We usually have something different every year. We've done barbeque. We've done low country boil (my personal favorite). But for some reason, my mom's dad (the one that's is the hospital currently) always wants to bring a ham. It's always a great time. A lot of food and a lot of fun.

The last tradition I'll share is another one of my favorites. My family is made up of a bunch of nerds, so every New Year's, we decide to see who is the nerdiest in a competition called Nerdfest. We play different card and board games (mainly Spades and Trivial Pursuit) to see who is in fact the biggest nerd. Unfortunately because we played Trivial Pursuit on our vacation over the summer, I am not the reigning champion, but I do look forward to reclaiming my title.

Who's the offensive and defensive MVPs of the bowl game?

My current pregame picks for offensive and defensive MVPs for the bowl game are Dennis Andrews and DJ White. I picked Andrews because he has been our best A-back recently and I think he'll make a big impact in both the passing and rushing game. He could easily total 200 all-purpose yards (but maybe I'm biased).

As for DJ White, he had a coming-out party in the bowl game last year, and I don't see any reason why he can't have another one.

Would you prefer the Falcons to lose next week and retain a high draft pick, or win, make it into the playoffs, and draft around 10 spots lower?

Personally, I will never root for the team for which I root to lose a game. That doesn't mean I don't want them too, though, if that makes any sense at all.

For instance, Sunday when the Falcons were playing the Saints, I wanted the Saints to win the game because I don't like Mike Smith and I want the Falcons to get a high draft spot. I was fully expecting a Falcons loss. But during the game, I was cheering for my Falcons. My favorite part was right there at the end when Osi Umenyora was taunting the Saints on the fumble return for a touchdown. It was hysterical.

I'll be doing the same thing next week. I'll want the Panthers to beat us for the draft pick, but in the game, I'm going to be cheering for the Falcons.

Which bowl game has been your favorite so far?

Well, I've only really watched parts of two games, thus far, and they were both pretty good games. I'll go with the game that I watched more of, though. That would be the first bowl game: the New Orleans Bowl between UL Lafayette and Nevada.

I love both of these teams. Mark Hudspeth is one of my favorite up-and-coming head coaches and the Pistol offense is one of my favorite styles of offense, so I was happy regardless of the outcome. I was even happier that my ESPN pick for that game was correct.

Which are you most looking forward to?

The Orange Bowl, duh....

After that, the games that intrigue me the most will come in the College Football Playoff games. Those were my predicted match-ups after Championship Saturday's events, so I'm excited to watch them and cheer for Ohio State and Oregon (sorry ACC, I got the Ducks winning the whole thing).

Are the Hawks the best team in the NBA and why is the correct answer yes?

Obviously the Hawks are the best team in the NBA. And it's all because they are an Atlanta sports team who would never do something silly like get our hopes up only to crush them right as the season comes to a close. Why on Earth would that be a thing?

Would you be in favor of cutting down on the number of bowls which are played so that playing in a bowl actually carries some weight other than proving that you can beat up on bottom feeders and finish 6-6?

Yes, but I'm also in favor of a complete postseason overhaul for FBS football. Personally, I'd like to see them move more toward the direction of FCS football where there is a playoff, though probably not as extensive, as I don't think we need 24 teams in the playoff, but would 16-20ish hurt?

Do you think we land a big last-minute recruit this year before signing day?

Well, I suppose that depends on what you mean by "big recruit." Will we see some five-star kid sign with us out of the blue? Probably not. There are a couple guys, though, that IMO are pretty good and are considering Tech.

The first one is DE Anree Saint-Amour. He's a three-star DE out of North Gwinnett High School. From everything I've heard, he's down to Georgia Tech and Stanford, and he has not yet been accepted into Stanford. Word on the street is that if he does get accepted, he'll likely end up there. But for right now, he's our top target at DE.

Here's his film from the first half of his senior season.

The other one is IMO more likely. And that is HB Marcus Marshall. He's the brother of current uga HB Keith Marshall. He's not quite as big and tall as Keith is at only 5-9, 205 pounds, but he's still really good in spite of only being rated as a three-star recruit. He's really fast (maybe not quite as fast as Keith, but still pretty fast) and he's also pretty hard to bring down. Should he commit, he could play at A-back or B-back. Personally, I'd rather see his homerun potential at B-back.

Here's his film, and the fact that it's about 13 minutes is usually a pretty good sign.

What are the rules in Bowl games about who is the home team, how jersey colors are chosen and whether or not you can bring noise-makers into the stadium? And is there any actual, like real, advantage to being the home team?

Honestly, I have no clue, and I couldn't really find anything conclusive either. I know the home team gets to pick what jersey color they want and then the opposing team gets to select theirs accordingly.

The only real advantage I see is if you have had a good run with a specific uniform that could be deemed "lucky."

What is your favorite Christmas movie, and why is it Die Hard?

It's actually not Die Hard. My favorite Christmas movie is Scrooged. Gotta love Bill Murray.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, and you could have one Tech football player with you, who would it be and why?

I'm going to go with a former player here and go with Sean Bedford. That man is incredibly smart and could probably build something to get us off this deserted island with a coconut.

Who takes the Michigan job?

Not Jim Harbaugh. I think Michigan will take their sweet time waiting on Harbaugh until he finally takes another NFL job and Michigan will be left in the dust to take some no-name coach. At that point, I think the best hire they could make would be current UL-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth. He's done a phenomenal job with the Ragin' Cajuns and could be just what Michigan needs.

Are the Seahawks the best team in the NFL again? Are we approaching a dyansty?

Wait......I thought Johnny Football made Cleveland the best team in the NFL.

Seattle's definitely got a good team this year. I don't think they're the best though. I'm going with the Packers to win the Super Bowl this year. With the exception of the Bills game, Aaron Rodgers has been arguably the best player in the NFL.

As for a dynasty, first of all, we? I thought you were a Jags fan. Pete Carroll definitely has Seattle moving in that direction. Still need a couple pieces though.

How many cops would you have to high five on a Saturday night in Athens to wind up in the drunk tank?

Just one. They're pretty strict around these parts. I had a friend of mine, who was perfectly sober, nearly get arrested because he got distracted and accidentally ran into a tree.

How many fingers am I holding up?

Probably just one and probably because Die Hard isn't my favorite Christmas movie.

Mr. B Tank, Would you please have some of your stat people draw up all the Paul Johnson era critique stats of "when opponents have more than one week to prepare for our high school offense" since CPJ arrived in 2008?

I don't need stats. I'd rather use logic. When someone is working on a project of any kind, would it not be beneficial to have extra time to work on it? In the same way, when you are preparing a defensive game plan for any kind of offense, would it not be beneficial to have extra time to work on it? It's not difficult to understand at all.

Also, y'all can just call me Ben. There's no need to include "Mr." before my name. A lot of y'all are probably older than me anyway.

What would happen if a team won the Super Bowl with an 11-9 record? Would all of this come crumbling down?

Two things would happen. First, Mike Smith would keep his job because of that "miraculous playoff run." Secondly, Jon Bois would have a lot of fun on Breaking Madden.

How does our chance to win change with GT going into the bowl game with Smelter, Snoddy, and Hunt-Days?

Well, obviously our chances would improve with Smelter and Snoddy back in. They are both really good football players. I wish Smelter the best in the NFL and I can't wait to get Snoddy back.

Hunt-Days is a little different though. We don't really know what we have in him right now. All we have are practice reports, which have been pretty good. It's also important to remember that he'd be playing a new position at a speed for which he has had no real playing time. So, it's more a wild card than anything.

If I remember correctly, Antonio Messick looked impressive late in the NC State game with a Smelter-like TD catch. How has he looked in practice and do you think he'll be a Smelter-like player next year?

Your memory is spot on. That was Messick with the TD catch, his first career reception, too.

I haven't gotten the opportunity to see him in practice, so I don't know how he's looked. He is definitely a potential receiver to take the next step though. He and Ricky Jeune will be the two guys to keep an eye on for next season to see which one can step up.

Have I misunderstood "if I had a daughter, Sir" for all these years? Is it supposed to be Athena, goddess of War, leading us onto the field? Can we get her a tork or gorget with Buzz emblazoned on it?

In the picture you showed, she's in the white and gold. Let's just hope she's on the campus to cheer the brave and bold. Personally, I'd be perfectly happy with her leading us onto the field, just so long as she is driving the Wreck. I don't know what a tork or gorget are, but sure, someone get on that.

My rampant "expert" analysis on Tech's current recruiting situation via AOT's "question." What do you think will happen?

The first thing AOT mentions is that we have about three spots left that we are looking to fill and could fill as many as four. As far as I know, that's entirely accurate. Personally I don't see us oversigning unless attrition happens en masse prior to National Signing Day, which after what happened last year, is entirely possible.

The coaches know who they want and they have backups in case those first options don't work out. Now backups may not sound very great, but just remember that PJ Davis was a backup option.

As for the "other" site, I will say this. He has some very good sources and I think it's awesome that he publishes all of this information free of charge unlike some other sites. He's definitely a good source for recruiting info.

As for names whom Tech could be interested in, I honestly have no idea. But at this point, I completely trust the coaching staff whether they get their first guy or their second guy.

I think we'll end up filling up our class. I'm not too sure we get Anree Saint-Amour. I do think we get Marcus Marshall though. Anyone else, I don't really know.

Thanks for all the questions! Join us next week for an Orange Bowl-centric mailbag!