Give us your weirdest / wildest holiday stories!
Ben: I don’t know that I really have had any weird or wild holiday experiences to be honest. I remember a few years ago my family made it a tradition to go to IHOP on Christmas Eve after my church’s candle light service. That tradition ended really quickly, though, after we went one year when IHOP had originally planned to close at 5:00 before changing their minds at the last second to stay open until midnight. The staff there was absolutely pissed (rightfully so) and we ended up sitting there for like three hours before we got our food.
Chris: Not that weird, but in the same realm as Ben’s - one year our usual Christmas Eve restaurant ran out of potatoes.
Jake: I’m stumped, for once.
What’s the first present you remember getting as a kid? (birthday, holiday, etc)
Ben: First one I remember is my birthday present from when I turned seven. I got a gameboy advance with Pokemon Crystal. I loved that game.
Chris: My brother and I got this 9-in-1 game table. It had things like pool, table tennis, etc. but we spent hours playing pool for years after that.
Akshay: I remember getting a Bioncle video game for the original Xbox years ago — that was pretty neat.
Jake P.: The first gift I remember getting was a Darth Vader action figure when I was four or so.
Jake: Wooden toy trains were my jam as a little kid, and the amount of money various relatives spent on those for my siblings and I must’ve been ridiculous.
In the spirit of my recent road trip from Atlanta to Huntington and back, what’s the farthest you’ve roadtripped over a weekend?
Ben: I roadtripped to Nashville for a weekend about a year and a half ago, and that was a ton of fun.
Chris: Not quite a weekend situation, but my friends and I roadtripped from southeast Georgia to Miami for the 2014 Orange Bowl. Best road trip ever.
Akshay: Tampa. Dear lord, that game sucked.
Jake: I swear I spend half my weekends out of Atlanta anyways, but the trek to Columbus for club swimming nationals was a Thursday afternoon to late, late Sunday night affair. Otherwise, probably Charlottesville or Tampa for football games.
When is Winter coming?
Ben: In Georgia? We had a couple days last week when it rained that it was kinda cold.
Chris: I live in Boston; it was 7 degrees the other day. It’s here.
Akshay: [laughs in stable 55-degree weather in San Francisco and 70-degree sunny weather in Atlanta on Christmas Eve
Jake P.: I got to play golf in NC yesterday in 65 degree weather. Two weeks ago we had freezing rain. The answer varies.
Jake: It’s shorts weather in Chicago, after being like 0 degrees last week. What is this madness, I don’t like it.
If you were to re-rate players from the transfer portal, how would one do that? Some players were 4-5 stars and ended up at different programs before submitting their names into the transfer portal. Just curious since Collins has been able to bring in players who were once highly rated recruits coming out of high school.
Ben: 247 Sports started to experiment with this some last year, giving re-rankings to some players in the transfer portal. I would mostly base it off of what they’ve done at the school they’re at. Using a hypothetical situation, let’s say this three-star quarterback comes in to a school and has a Sam Howell-esque first couple years and his coach leaves so he decides to enter the transfer portal. I could see him getting a higher ranking. I believe Parker Braun last year was considered a four-star transfer last year.
Akshay: Ben explained the usual process, but I bet it gets a little murkier when considering transfer candidates that didn’t get a lot of starts or non-garbage time. In those cases, it may be prudent to rely on high-school rankings to evaluate the player, but that’s still a bit risky.
Which new recruit is better than people really think they are?
Ben: I would say Tyson Meiguez, not that people don’t think he’s good. I just think that not enough folks are talking about him.
Watching his senior film really excites me, because Meiguez’s strengths are in his eyes, instincts and coverage abilities, which are all traits Tech has needed at linebacker for a long time. I think he’s got a chance for early playing time on his coverage prowess alone.
Which current player(s) on the roster do you think will transfer out of Tech? Collins is bringing in a big class that includes transfers, so there has to be attrition.
Ben: I honestly have no clue, so any guessing at this point would be just that. Anybody that is leaving will announce sometime between now and the first part of January; otherwise, it’ll be after the Spring. I expect quite a few guys to transfer out, though. I just don’t know specifics as to whom. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t say because I wouldn’t want to take that opportunity from them.
Jake P.: If I were a betting man, I would say Lucas Johnson. (This is all speculation). He’s not been mentioned very much with regards to the upcoming QB battle, and he’s very far from home.
Santa came early and gave my girls (3 and 6) the Simon Game, LEGOs, and Hot Wheels Car and Service. Was he secretly getting these toys for me?
Ben: What your girls don’t know won’t hurt you.
Akshay: I’m no scientist, but the empirical evidence certainly points to that conclusion.
Jake: I see no issues here.
This year’s volleyball team was obviously very strong and very talented. Leaving them out of the NCAA Tourney field was an utter insult that they threw right into the selection committee’s faces with an extremely strong NIVC showing en route to a title. Obviously Kodie Comby graduated this Fall, but we’ll likely have some talent in the wings to shore up the Middle Blocker spot next season. Who do you expect to step up to fill the void next season and what’s it gonna take for Georgia Tech Volleyball to get some respect from the NCAA and make the Big Dance?
Jake: This is going to be a long one. Well, first let me reiterate what I’ve been saying all month - I think this team got a lot more attention from the non-volleyball-obsessed parts of the fanbase from being left out of the tournament, let alone then proceeding to win it - the best case scenario, given the circumstances - because people love controversy and will therefore pay attention to it. So, them leaving out got the emotions of normally apathetic people invested in the program, and then they doubled down and won it all, rather than the more likely 1-1 they would’ve gone in the tournament. Hopefully this gets more of the commentariat and Tech fans at large into O’Keefe for next year, or perhaps interested in contributing and donating. Same goes for students. And they are young and relatively inexperienced, so this was a good proof-of-concept run, so to speak. Especially getting a good, tough road game against a tournament-caliber team at the end and bringing home a banner. Anyways to get to the Comby question, I’d look for Grace Rigsbee - already one of Coach Collier’s go-tos off the bench down the stretch - and Erin Moss to work into the rotation more, and, if I’m not mistaken, we have at least one more known highly-touted prospect, so I think it’ll be a group effort at middle blocker to fill the big gap Comby is definitely leaving. I didn’t see a lot of Moss this year, but she’s young and seemed to have some potential. As far as respect from the NCAA - win your games, especially the non-conference ones. And schedule harder. They ran into the same problem 2016-17 men’s basketball ran into, or for that matter, themselves back in the fall of 2016. Good (or great, in the case of 2016 volleyball) team, great showing in conference play, but didn’t get it done early, and didn’t test themselves enough, especially with ACC Volleyball being soft. This, for the record, is another reason that softball coach Aileen Morales’ schedule is great this year - taking a huge leap forward with a challenging non-conference slate. People (including some colleagues at this website) take issue with football scheduling tough, but look at Danny Hall and baseball - last year, they were definitely made a better team for the three games they got in against UCLA early in the year, along with seeing Auburn, the school out east, and other solid teams throughout the year. The Kennesaw State loss week one didn’t doom them. But losing to run-of-the-mill Arizona State and Boston College hurt, especially when a lot of the banked wins were against mid and low-major teams. Can’t fault them to much for this, either, because their star player, Mariana Brambilla, was out all preseason and the first week of the year. But I think they should be able to make that leap forward for next year, and, if Coach Collier keeps up not only the great recruitment, but the development we’ve seen, even in the last two and a half months from this team - keep in mind they’ve only lost once since October 6th, and it was to the no. 2 team in the country and the only power in the conference, there’s a power vacuum in the ACC Volleyball scene for Tech to capitalize on.
How excited (or not) are you for CAPITAL ONE BOWL WEEK BROUGHT TO YOU BY CAPITAL ONE WHAZ IN YER BILLFOLD?
Ben: I’m not sure I could tell you who is playing in that game.
Akshay: Watching random mid-major teams playing in Large-Company-Sponsored Bowl game in nowhere, USA in the middle of the work day is one of my favorite parts of the winter — I am very excited.
Jake: My favorite part of sports is unnecessary commercialism, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Best GT CFB memory/moment from the Twenty Teens?
Ben: It would definitely have to be The Kick for me. I was in the corner endzone of Sanford Stadium next to Tech’s band, surrounded by mostly Georgia fans, when it happened, and I just started going nuts. That whole game was one of the best experiences of my life.
Chris: Picking one is hard. I already mentioned going to the 2014 Orange Bowl above, so I’d probably have to say the Miracle on Techwood. I think I’ve said this before but I have a vial of field grass from that game that is among my most prized possessions. Somewhere there is a picture of me doing snow angels on the 20 yard line.
Akshay: The Miracle on Techwood Drive defined my freshman football season and cemented my fandom. O’ captain, my captain — my kingdom for another incredible sporting moment (Atlanta United games in 2017 notwithstanding) like that in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Jake P.: I would have to say the 2014 Clemson game. I got to enjoy it with my father, and it was the first Tech game I’d been to with national ramifications. Second, the Miracle of Techwood Drive just because I’m pretty sure my father and I woke up the rest of the neighborhood with our screams.
Jake: I prove myself the newest fan here, I guess, with my recency bias, but I liked Qua Searcy’s leap at Sanford Stadium in 2016 enough to get it framed. I remember, I didn’t have a car that day and the family took issue with me leaving Chicago early to go to Athens for the game, so I was watching at a friend’s house, and after we won I was biking home belting the fight songs in a very much not-college football town getting looks like I was insane. It was incredible. Though I guess I did literally get over the hump in deciding to apply to Tech after the Miracle on Techwood, so there’s that.
I can’t do justice to my experience at Tech without talking at least a little volleyball - one does not randomly fall for non-revenue sports, I’ll say. And that was the five set thriller that was my first Georgia Tech sporting event, a win over the school in Athens in a packed, brutally hot O’Keefe Gymnasium. That’s what started it all, really. As far as non-football memories go, Josh Okogie’s layup to beat the buzzer against Notre Dame in winter 2017 was incredible, Kyle McCann’s walkoff into the February gloom against UCLA last spring was amazing, that’s when I knew they’d be special, or him belting a dinger after the baseball Sunday song where everyone claps above their heads (roughly 1:50 in the link) was perhaps the most cathartic at bat I’ve ever seen. Sidenote: the quiet traditions of baseball and volleyball are the best on campus. Go check them out.
Both Sims and Gleason will be early enrollees so all 4 will have plenty of time to establish themselves in the offensive system. Who do you guys think will be starter first game next season and why?
Ben: At this point, there’s no way of knowing, but I have seen some people already counting out Jordan Yates, which quite frankly I don’t get. I fully believe that had Yates enrolled early last year he might have been able to lock down the starting job. Now, Tech has him, Sims, Gleason, Graham and Lucas Johnson all headed into the Spring at quarterback, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see nearly any of them starting. The only one that I would be a little surprised about is Johnson, as he got beat out this last season, so I don’t see him beating Graham and the other three out.
When will Santa bring us a national championship and what sport will it be in?
Ben: When Georgia Tech $tart$ getting along better with $anta.
Akshay: Any of them, when
the Federal Reserve Santa drops a big gold bag with big gold things in it off at the Edge. (Inb4 Jake says club swim)
Jake: Well we just got one in volleyball, albeit an NIVC one, not an NCAA one, which has to be our first in anything since, like, 2009 women’s tennis, besides all the club sports teams that win stuff (really resisted the urge to explicitly plug swim club here so how about climbing and club women’s basketball). Honestly though, if golf is going to win one in the next five, it’s going to be this year. I’ll hold my cards for baseball and give men’s tennis two years, though. Oh, and if Nell Fortner can do this with a depleted roster and no time to recruit, women’s basketball could have an exciting few years in front of them.
Should we bring back Paul Hewitt?
Ben: Thanks, I needed a good laugh!
Jake: Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.