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Mailbag 12/19

Got a whole lot of volleyball talk here!

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being Park Atlanta and 10 being the Maroon 5 halftime show, how cringeworthy is georgie’s ‘wElcOmE to aTlanTA’ campaign?

Ben: ...I liked the Maroon 5 halftime show

But yeah, the Welcome to Atlanta campaign was super cringy. And that’s coming from someone who has lived in Athens his whole life and got a degree from UGA.

Chris: 8. In-state recruits definitely know it isn’t true, but I’d wager some kid from like Illinois totally believes it.

Jake: HEY. I came here to answer already a lil’ heated, but I didn’t expect to have shade thrown at the good people of Illinois by one of my own.
Though I’m not doing myself any favors to be honest and admit my related great shame when I started looking at colleges is that it took me a minute to realize the white and gold Georgia Tech from sports on TV and the yellow and black mailers from the Georgia Institute of Technology were from the same place...

But yeah, no, I blame terrible branding for both that and the Kirbster’s silly poster. If people are so proud of Athens (I personally have never seen the appeal) as America’s perfect town, why not sell the “Classic City?” It’s like Michigan saying “Welcome to Detroit” or UConn saying “Welcome to Boston.” Makes no sense. But it sure is fun to poke fun about on Twitter. Remember, they never think about Tech...

AND please rank your Top 5 fave responses to it

Ben: My favorite response was probably Geoff Collins pulling out the Waffle House AND Varsity cups today.

Jake: I appreciate the excessive Twittering and was pleasantly surprised to see the good folks at Clemson-without-a-lake pick up on that today. Truly the gift that keeps on giving.

What’s the best GT themed Christmas present?

Ben: I think it really depends on who you’re giving the gift to. Find out what they like and find something Georgia Tech-related of that thing to give them. Do they like jerseys? Get them one! Do they like a coffee cup? Get them that! I’d say just make sure it’s something they actually want.

Chris: I’m all about classy items. Rocks glass. Beer glass set. Garment bag. Duffle bag. Something that isn’t over the top bright yellow.

Jake: Ugly Christmas sweater! Honestly, the best Tech Christmas gifts are ones that bring out personality, too, or are good talking pieces. Can’t tell you how many great random conversations have started because of this Miracle on Techwood shirt I found online.

Is there a bad GT themed Christmas present?

Ben: Something in the wrong shade of gold.

Jake P.: If it is a knock-off item and says “Georgia Tech University,” it is a bad GT themed present.

Jake: The fake version of the T-hat from baseball. What a disappointment.

Coach Collins indicated that he intends to take in 3 transfers in three different positions (preferably grad students). We just got Ryan Johnson. Any guesses at what other positions we’ll shore up?

Ben: Biggest position I’d like to see Tech add to with a grad transfer is the defensive line, specifically interior. The defensive line will get a boost with Antonneous Clayton being eligible, but they don’t have a whole lot of depth at defensive tackle. Tight end would be the other spot I wouldn’t mind adding someone at.

Jake P.: I would assume the coaching staff at least looks at the TE spot, as the only players on the roster at that position are sophomore Dylan Deveney and incoming freshman Billy Ward.

Nishant: I think Collins is counting Derrik Allen as one of the three transfers. He has three years to play and should initially slot in at safety or nickel—personally would be interested to see what he could do at the latter. As for the third and final spot... hoping it’s either another offensive lineman or a defensive tackle, because this team needs the most help in the trenches.

Second, my bubble of cfb fans is limited to mostly other Tech fans. Do other fandoms look on that ‘Welcome to Atlanta’ graphic with half the cringe we do? Or is it seen with the same apathy as LSU claiming New Orleans?

Ben: I feel like it was more of a “15 Minutes of Fame” kinda thing. I haven’t really heard people talking about it too much since like the day after it happened. I’d assume most folks outside of Tech were like “Huh...that’s weird” and moved on with their day.

Jake P.: I would say it’s met with the same apathy as LSU claiming New Orleans. Outside of Tech, who really cares? There are no other schools that are in a real position to claim Atlanta as “theirs.”

Chris: I’ve had many people that are not from the state of Georgia ask me if UGA is in Atlanta. If you don’t know, it’s a natural assumption to make. And even if you know it isn’t directly in the city I’d be most people think Athens is a suburb. So I’d say people outside of the SEC world don’t care. I did see some Auburn people chirping it since Auburn is basically the same distance as Athens though.

Nishant: Nobody else really cares outside of the rivalry. It was probably a blip at most for fans of schools in neighboring states. Go far enough away from the state and you’ll find people who aren’t even aware that Georgia and Georgia Tech are different schools.

Jake: Let me tell a story to illustrate a similar point to Chris and Nishant. I was a lifeguard at the local pool back home outside Chicago, and the same smart, successful adults would come to lap swim every morning to start their days. I was sitting there, a newly minted high school grad, safe in the knowledge that I was going to Georgia Tech and the Georgia Institute of Technology, because they are in fact the same place, with my gold Georgia Tech shirt on with the Institute seal in the middle. You know the one. I got a lot of “is Tech in Atlanta?” that day, but I also got several inquiries about our mascot being a canine - as you all know, it’s not - and as to whether or not it was the same place as the school out East. However, the most [Duran Duran]ing question came last, from a bright business guy I saw almost every day. He asked me, dead serious, if Georgia Tech was in Tennessee.

I rest my case.

What Temporary Superpower is: in your stocking, under your tree, under your Festivus Pole, in your Boxing Day, um,, box(?), on your front porch at Kwanza, next to your Dreidel?

Ben: For me, I’d want super speed.

Jake: Can I be decent at swimming again? That would be nice. Fitness is hard.

Gift suggestion for the u(sic)ga fan in the office whose name you drew in secret Santa?

Ben: I’d give an answer, but I don’t think I can top Jake’s.

Jake P.: A big bowl of sugar.

I think Stansbury throwing some money at Borrell and Ramsey to keep them here under Danny Hall is huge. I promised him I’d increase my Grandslam Club contribution if he did so. How much do I owe?

Ben: Enough to gently persuade Danny Hall to retire so Ramsey can take over.

Jake: A first base side equivalent of the snazzy new entrance they’re building on the third base side. Can’t wait for that.

Which GT teams have gotten the biggest shun/shaft by the NCAA ever (top 5)?

Ben: 1990 ring a bell?

Nishant: The NCAA’s decision to prosecute the heinous crime of accepting $312 of clothing and later returning it with the tags intact ended up costing Tech both the 2009 ACC title (in the record books anyway) and, I could argue, the UGA game that same year. The NCAA investigators did conveniently show up to bother everyone on campus a few days before that game, after all. In some ways the second one bothers me more because it was Tech’s chance to make a major statement in the rivalry, and it ended up going horribly sideways. If they had picked another week, any other week, to show up...

Jake: Off the top of my head, no particular order:

  • Five downs, one loss.
  • Strong anti-ACC bias in softball and volleyball, with respect to non-revenue sports. But ACC bias works in our favor for things like tennis and golf, so go figure.
  • 2016 Volleyball got more shafted than this year, in my opinion. They had better wins against some better opponents, and finished the season with three more wins than this year’s edition.
  • All home regional baseball teams, ever. No top 3 team has earned the right to potentially get walked off in their own stadium. If Wisconsin can be a home team in a volleyball postseason, baseball teams that are top 16 have earned the right to be the home team.
  • 2009 football. The NCAA can do something, you know what.

Which team would you consider to be the most successful GT team for 2019? (Not by academic year but by season finishing Spring 2019 or Winter 2019)

Ben: I’d say either baseball or volleyball. Baseball hosted a regional while volleyball got snubbed for the NCAA tourney and won the next best thing with ease.

Jake: Baseball. What a return to form, solid recruiting to fill needs, and snagging a huge upgrade in the form of Borrell? Danny Hall is writing a masterclass, but Michelle Collier’s team is finally getting her due, too, so maybe all it takes on the Flats is a little good, old fashioned success to escape from the constant narrative of football. Most successful athlete, though, would go to Caio Pumputis of swimming (he’s world class) or Andy Ogletree with golf, winning the US Amateur.

How deep would Tech have gone in the NCAA volleyball tournament? Is there a huge quality level drop between the teams in the NCAAVT and the teams in the NIVC, or does the Lady Jackets’ dominant NIVC performance indicate they could have had a shot at winning the NCAAVT?

Ben: I’ll be honest. I don’t know much about the state of college volleyball, so I don’t really have a good answer for this question. But I like to believe Tech would have been able to make a decent run. They won the NIVC with pretty relative ease, so seeing them go on a run in the NCAAVT is something I could see had they been selected.

Jake: Hi, non-revenue guy here. I have a controversial opinion, too. To be completely honest, I was kind of glad they landed in the NIVC, but hear me out. They don’t have a lot of experience. Being a bubble team, they would’ve gotten a draw that meant going into the home arena of a regional powerhouse, and I’m not saying that’s unwinnable - look what Louisville did, knocking off a tremendous Texas team in Austin - but it’s mighty difficult for a young team. They played through and won a championship, and played with a chip on their shoulder, and, more importantly, got the attention of a lot of people out there because of two magical things: 1) controversy and 2) success. They didn’t play the best teams, because the quality does drop pretty quickly for the most part, but a very young team learned a lot these past few weeks, and I think that’ll be important next year. It’ll also be helpful to see that they need to schedule stronger in the non-conference slate, and to win those games when given the opportunity. Do I think they would’ve made a better showing than Florida State? Absolutely. Do I think they would’ve won a first round game? Probably, they looked like a really tough out, especially with how they played down the stretch - like a top 32 team. Do I think they would’ve gone as far or gained as much attention? Nope, but I really can’t say for sure because that absolutely would’ve changed based on where they were in the draw. But they definitely did the best with the hand they were dealt, and, at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. It’s time to hang a banner. Plus, this team has an outside shot at an ACC title in 2020. That, really, would eliminate the worry about the bubble altogether.