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Mailbag 11/28

The Thanksgiving edition!

American Thanksgiving Dinner Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

What crimes do the hokies commit that they need to be pardoned every year?

Ben: I don’t know if it’s the same every year, but I fully believe Justin Fuente and Bud Foster performed some sort of voodoo ritual on Hendon Hooker and the VPI defense to get them to the level they are at now.

Chris: Yeah Bud Foster absolutely has some sort of ritualistic basement that he does sacrifices in. Only explanation.

Given a need to drive to and from Thanksgiving (thus no alcohol) and a lack of the ability to watch football, what is the best way to cope with this ‘holiday’?

Ben: Thanksgiving is the single best holiday ever, and I won’t hear anything else. So the way you “cope” is by getting you some stretchy pants and stuff yourself until you can eat no more and then enjoy your turkey/stuffing coma.

Chris: Fully charged phone. Other than that, find the person you think you can relate to the most and don’t let them out of your sight. Become best friends with this one other person. Lean on them.

Jake P.: Eat a lot. Then sleep.

Pokemon Sword or Shield?


Which one of these looks cooler? Get that one. Or go back and play Platinum again, because it’s the best game of the series!

Nishant: I picked up Sword yesterday. It came down to two things: 1) I like Fire Emblem and 2) Sword has Sirfetch’d.

Carter: The last Pokemon game I played was Silver. But I’ll go with Shield.

You wake up from a hangover on 12/1. You open up Twitter dot com to see that Tech shocked the world the day before, and that is why you are hungover. My question: How did it happen? If Tech is to pull a rabbit out of a hat Saturday, what does the game look like?

Ben: The essence of Calvin Johnson inhabits every single person on the team giving them the ability to outplay UGA in every aspect of the game, allowing them to win 56-0.

Patrick: JP Mason breaks 4 tackles on every play and scores a TD on every touch. Tech wins 77-14.

Chris: I think it’s gotta be like how the South Carolina game went down - super super ugly where no one can visibly pull away. Jordan Mason absolutely has to show up and go over 100 yards. Graham is going to have to make a few really clutch throws. The defense is going to have to make a few big stops. Special teams will have to go our way (e.g. Blankenship missing one or more times and/or a big kick return late in the game). It’s gotta be low scoring, we can’t keep up in a shootout. Something like 17-16.

Jake P.: The entire u(sic)ga squad got sick on old turkey, so they don’t make the drive to Atlanta.

Nishant: It turns out they didn’t shock the world for football reasons. Georgian Tech had another data breach.

Carter: You’ve actually just woken up from a five year coma — it’s Sunday, December 1, 2014.

Corollary: how many touchdowns did PH3 have? How many TDs were on defense or ST?

Ben: PH3 has two, the defense has one, and Tobias Oliver returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

Patrick: 0 for PH3 since we won’t ever be punting.

Chris: I have a hard time imaging a scenario in which we win and don’t have at least one special teams or defensive touchdown. If we win, it’s due to a difference making fumble recovering TD or something.

What is your Thanksgiving Sides Power Rankings?


  1. Mac and Cheese
  2. Dressing
  3. Rolls
  4. Mashed potatoes
  5. Green bean casserole
  6. 50 miles of [Styx]
  7. Anything remotely related to sweet potatoes

Patrick: I’m a sucker for casseroles

  1. Corn Casserole
  2. Green Bean Casserole
  3. Mac and Cheese
  4. Sweet potatoes


  1. Garlic green beans (probably more specific to my family)
  2. Mashed potatoes
  3. Rolls (i’m a sucker for good bread and butter)
  4. Cranberry sauce
  5. Sweet potato

My family has never done Mac and Cheese so I didn’t include it here but if we did, it would probably be #2 or #3 for me.

Jake P.:

  1. Dressing
  2. Cranberry sauce
  3. Green bean casserole
  4. Deviled eggs
  5. Sweet potatoes


  1. Stuffing
  2. Mac and cheese
  3. Rolls
  4. Carrot Souflee (personal entry)
  5. Cranberry Sauce
  6. Mashed potato
  7. Sweet potato casserole
  8. Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving Dessert Power Rankings?


  1. Pecan Pie
  2. 50 miles of [Styx]
  3. Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie

Patrick: Pumpkin pie...and then everything else


  1. Apple pie
  2. Pumpkin pie

End of list. There are no others.

Jake P.

  1. Vanilla ice cream with a piece of cherry pie
  2. Cherry pie
  3. A piece of cold turkey
  4. Apple pie
  5. A half-eaten deviled egg
  6. Pumpkin pie


  1. Apple Pie
  2. Fig tart
  3. Chess pie/Egg Custard Pie
  4. Any other dessert
  5. Pumpkin Pie
  6. Pecan Pie

Oven roasted, deep fried, or smoked turkey?

Ben: I’ll power rank these too.

  1. Deep fried (specifically with a cajun butter)
  2. Smoked (as long as it’s done well)
  3. Oven roasted

Patrick: Same as Ben

Chris: I’m actually not going to answer this question and instead use this time to stump for my most vehement food take: turkey is an absolutely trash meat and I would rather eat literally anything else. It blows my MIND that we as a national culture have decided that our special meal meat is TURKEY. It’s bland, it’s dry, it’s awful. And don’t give me this “well you must’ve just never had good turkey” crap. Uh uh. “Good” turkey does not exist. We need to start a movement of eating something like tenderloin on Thanksgiving. Not throwaway poultry. /EndRant

Jake P.: Exactly what Chris said. With the addition that a Honey Baked Ham is the best Thanksgiving meat.

White or dark meat?

Ben: Dark meat

Chris: White.

Drew: Dark meat for sure.

Carter: Dark.

Dressing or Stuffing?

Ben: I don’t want my turkey violated by bread like that, so give me dressing.

Chris: Never really liked either to be honest.

Jake P.: Dressing. All day, every day.

Drew: Stuffing. But dressing is good too. Throw some oysters in it.

Carter: Dressing. Never had stuffing and that’s fine.

With Tech playing uga and the Falcons playing the Saints, is this the most hate filled hate week ever? Or does the impending doom we face Saturday coupled with the Falcons equally as bad season make this hate week a little less hype?

Ben: One of the best decisions I made this year was to stop letting the Falcons get to me. I have watched maybe one half of a Falcons game this year, and it’s been really liberating. But yes, this is certainly a very hate-filled weekend.

Do you think Tech-georgie is still the 5th best Intrastate Rivalry?

Ben: I’d say it’s probably still in the Top 10 somewhere, but with Tech only having won three times since 2008, it’s probably a little closer to 10.

Chris: I think I’d probably still say top 5-7. Of the ones on that list, I think we’re better than the California option, not as good as Apple Cup, not as good as Egg Bowl.

Carter: So, first, I’ll be that guy and point out Bird ranked COFH 6th, not 5th. I’d probably push it down a couple places, but not out of the top ten.

There has been talk here and there about moving COFH off the Saturday after Thanksgiving date. I used to be vehemently against this, but as the years drag on, I am now full on in support of it. Having COFH the last Saturday of the season causes the season to end on a bad note most of the time, has cost us Bowl positions in the past, and has affected our fan base so much that I saw a Facebook post in a GT Football Fan Page about someone’s dream season was a winless Tech ruining uga’s National Title chances. What is the FTRS thoughts on this now? And what are the odds the game ever does get moved from the Saturday after Thanksgiving?

Ben: I’m all for moving it. If for no other reason, just remember what Steve Spurrier used to say about playing Georgia early in the season: “I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.” Will it ever happen? Let’s just say I think there’s a better chance that Georgia fires Kirby Smart to hire Paul Johnson.

Chris: I’m kinda divided on this one. On the one hand I think the “Rivalry Week” slot puts an unreasonable anxiety and importance on the game. On the other hand, I think that we need to keep a big game in this slot to maintain clout and “traditional” status. The problem is that our other closest rivals have their own, bigger rivalries to play that weekend. Right now I think I lean towards keeping the slot and just shifting our thinking about it away from the “this is all that matters” mentality.

What would it take to make uga fans realize their football program is not divinely chosen to succeed, and also that helping them trim their hedges on even numbered years does not equate to property damage and tearing up turf?

Ben: Georgia would have to reach Rutgers or UConn levels of mediocrity, and even then, they would hire a new coach and be right back there.

Chris: The way I understand their fanbase, there are two big opposing factions: the “divinely chosen” ones and the “we are cursed” ones. The “we are cursed” ones are fine; they’re pretty reasonable and have tempered expectations. To convert the “divinely chosen” ones I think you have to have a few things happen. One, Kirby Smart has to leave (willingly or fired) without a National Championship. Two, they have to have a perennial big loss or two (think LSU winning the SECCG by 17+). Three, they have to have a somewhat-often-occurring small loss (think South Carolina). Four, they have to lose in big bowl games (think Texas). Basically they need to further develop their national reputation of being good but not good enough and make it abundantly clear that they are in fact not in the elite crew. To me college football programs are roughly organized in four tiers. Tier 1 is the true elites: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State. Tier 2 is the consistently-good-but-not-elite (i.e. teams that could round out a Playoff spot in any given year but aren’t consistently there): Georgia, LSU (getting close to elite), Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame, Oregon, etc. Tier 3 is perennially solid ranked teams (think Virginia Tech, Iowa, Auburn, etc.). Tier 4 is the rest. If Georgia routinely loses to the Tier 1s and often loses to the Tier 2s in big bowls, I think you have to start looking at yourself as not the chosen ones.

Do we make the jump from 3-9 (unless the impossible happens on Saturday) to 7-5 or 8-4 next season?

Ben: I think six wins is certainly achievable. Having seen the progress the team has made this year, there are a couple things they still need to continue to work on:

  • Consistent QB play, whether that be James Graham or someone else
  • Solidifying the offensive line
  • Learning to stop the run a little better
  • Getting a pass rush

Honestly, it’s a little crazy how close they were to six this year. If Tech pulls off the victory against Virginia and The Citadel, there’s five. Pitt was winnable. Temple saw Tech shoot them in the foot drive after drive. Those wins were there.

Chris: I think six wins is extremely reasonable to expect. We’ve shown that we can compete but we haven’t proven we can consistently beat people. It’s a tough schedule, but I think we’ll start to see more of the close games flipping our way.

Jake P.: Having Notre Dame on the schedule really hurts Tech. I’m going to say four or five is likely, but six might be a stretch.

Drew: Next year our non-conference games are Georgia, Notre Dame, and UCF. We very well could need 5 ACC wins to go to a bowl. That’s a tough ask. Our offensive and defensive lines will be better, but definitely won’t be there yet. We need those to improve significantly before we’re back. I don’t see it next year.

Nishant: Anything more than six wins is wildly optimistic in my view. The others have talked about the brutal schedule, which shouldn’t be discounted—a very good Texas A&M team is about to finish the year 7-5 thanks to a veritable gauntlet. On top of that, we don’t know how much improvement to expect in the offseason. The good news is that most key players are returning, so it’ll come down to how much both lines can develop over the next nine months.