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Opinion Week: You Can Still Have Fun in a Losing Season

always look on the briiiiiight side of life

NCAA Football: Quick Lane Bowl-Minnesota vs Georgia Tech Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Sup y’all, I’m back.

Since we last corresponded I have braved the Boston winter and come out the other side as a more hardened person. Now that I can finally just wear only one jacket when I go outside I’m looking for something to warm my soul, and that something is Coach Geoff Collins and his wild and wacky style of existence. Sign me up for whatever 2019 brings.

me between the months of October and April

It’s a pretty consistent occurrence in college football that hiring a new coach leads to a first-year losing season. That’s only compounded by totally revamping a program and its offense. I really don’t think that’s pessimistic of me to say - I think it’s just realism for how hard college football can be. In my opinion we’ll do better than a lot of people think, but I seriously doubt a winning season is attainable. Regardless, I plan on having a lot of fun this year.

But Chris, that’s ridiculous. You can’t have fun while we get our [Aerosmith] kicked.

Oh yes I can.

Geoff Collins is fun. Sure, it’s just about the most opposite thing from what we’re used to, but it’s hard to see how much fun the players are having and not smile. Recruits taking Game of Thrones -style photos with a sword and crown in the locker room is so [Duran Duran] funny. Watching grown men ride around on the “Chaos Cruiser” is as well. Coach Collins just oozes fun and excitement, and I think he’s bringing a breath of fresh air to the program. Whatever your opinion of Paul Johnson was/is, I don’t think anyone would have called him “fun”. Collins is different. We have a real chance at being one of the ~cool~ programs (PJ Fleck’s boat-rowin’, Dabo’s playground slide, etc.) that fans of other schools talk about, and I think that’s pretty neat. We’re no longer just the nerd school that runs a service academy offense. We’re the nerd school with a coach that has Waffle House directly injected into his veins, wears Yeezys, and seems to be obsessed with crowns. In my opinion the antics are fun for both the players and the fans; Collins is building a program that is so much more than 60 minutes of football every Saturday.

(I defy you to tell me that this isn’t hysterical)

Our traditions are fun. Win or lose we still have the Reck. We still have our fight song that’s 33% about whiskey. We still have the Horse. None of that changes in a losing season. Not all programs are created equal; we have some of the best traditions and lore of any school in the country. Quick, name two of the worst P5 programs - who comes to mind? For me it’s Oregon State and Illinois. When those programs win two or three games in a season it’s depressing and no one cares because there’s no heritage. Georgia Tech has heritage. Georgia Tech has history. I for one would love to flaunt that more. I don’t want to be one of those Dallas Cowboys fans obsessed with the “golden age” and thinking that it’s relevant in 2019, but I do want to take more opportunities to remind other people that we are an OG program. How many people know we have both more National Championships and the more recent Championship than UGA? How many people know we’re top 25 all time in wins? How many people know Nixon and Khrushchev sang our fight song together? Our history, brand, and lore are strong, and that’s a huge part of what engages me so much about the program. It’s fun to root for a team that has had such a massive impact on the landscape of college football. Georgia Tech means something, and that’s just as true when we’re 3-9 as it is when we’re 9-3.

College football in general is fun. Now, some of us might be more degenerate than others, but I think any reader of this fine site would agree with the statement “I enjoy watching college football”. And spoiler alert: the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech will be playing college football in the year of our Lord two thousand and nineteen. What’s more, one of the most fun things about college football is how unpredictable and wild it can be. We may not win many games this year, but I can almost guarantee we will win one game we aren’t supposed to. The hope of a miracle is a huge undertone to most sports fandoms out there; there wouldn’t be Mets fans without it. I believe we’re going to be competitive in most of the games we play this season, and the hope that we can pull off an upset will keep me hangin’ around until the final whistle.

Learning new things is fun. Okay, maybe some people don’t agree with me on that one, but I figure my engineering brethren probably agree with that statement more than the population at-large. One of the reasons I paid so much attention to football when I started as a student at Tech was to learn the offense. Many outsiders think the spread option was a simple “high school” offense, but years of watching it afforded me the opportunity to learn its intricacies, and I for one cannot wait for the opportunity to study and learn our new scheme. We have some hints and generalities about where we’re headed but we won’t really know what we’ll look like until that first play. It’s an exciting proposition; this is the future of our program. This season is where we’ll set the tone and the groundwork for what our 2021 National Championship warhammer steamroller team will look like.

Yes, winning games is fun, I have not forgotten that fact. But you can still have fun when you aren’t winning. You can still enjoy pictures of the coaching staff constantly being at Waffle House (side note, do we have a medical professional assigned to monitor them?), and you can still enjoy the players smiling as they write their Twitter handles on a whiteboard after takeaways. You can still enjoy watching a brand new offense, and you can still enjoy the hope that anything is possible. Will I be annoyed after losses? Yeah of course I will; that’s just how it works. But I think there’s a bigger picture to see this season. All I’m asking is that we try to look at the long term as we proceed through 2019. Don’t let a transition season get in the way of enjoying the game and team we love.