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Mailbag 10/21

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We talk horror movies and the horror from this past weekend!

2019 Los Angeles Comic-Con Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images

Why do sports hurt me? - Notwima13

Ben: Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?

Akshay: If I knew the answer to that, we all would be well emotionally-adjusted sports fans. Alas, we are tethered to this city and its foibles.

Chris: because they also make you happy.

Jeff: With great love also comes great pain.

Jake: All sports glory eventually fades. The trip up the mountain is a lot longer than you get to spend enjoying it at the top. This is why Tech needs more non-revenue sports. Maybe we’ll get some more shots at that exceedingly rare mountaintop.

Carter: It’s your fault for not being a Yankees/Lakers/Patriots/Alabama/Bayern Munich fan.

Is the 96 Olympic curse real? - Notwima13

Ben: That depends on how superstitious you are. Or how much you think Atlanta United’s championship overcame the curse.

Akshay: Despite having been born after the actual awarding and hosting of the 1996 Olympics, I have done a lot of reading in this department, and my research indicates that Atlanta actually had a fairly decent chance to win after Athens (Greece, so the one farther east) put together a sloppy bid package that pinned its hopes primarily on the IOC awarding the centennial Games to the birthplace of the Olympic movement. It’s not that Atlanta sold its soul for the Games — they had a chance to win the whole time, so there is no Olympic curse.

Jeff: Wait, we have an actual curse? I wasn't aware there was one. I was 6 at the time and remember walking around the park and the blue mascot but that's it.

Jake: *Laughs with Chicago accent*

Carter: As real as the curse of Michael Vick, something I was first made aware of only a couple weeks ago.

So as low as some feel after that loss, will they feel better with a BC win? What about ND? We can still realistically be 6-5. Will that be good enough?

Ben: I would honestly be ecstatic about finishing 6-5. I didn’t expect anything out of the Clemson game, so I’m not too heartbroken about it. I think we’ll learn a whole lot more about this team against Boston College.

Akshay: My expectations are still at 4-5 wins — anything more is gravy.

Chris: I said this before the Clemson game, but going 5-6 would mean we win only the ones we’re favored in (by SP+), and I’m fine with that.

Jeff: Winning always makes one feel better. Beating ND is fun no matter what. I actually moved Tech up a spot in my rankings because the bottom 5 look so bad and we play two more so yes we can win 5 I say.

Drew: I know some other people might feel differently, but there’s not a huge difference between losing by 35 and 65 when you’re losing to Clemson. A win against BC would have us back at 3-3 with a shot at finishing .500. A win would erase most negative feelings.

Jake: WELCOME TO THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF OUT OF CONTROL EXPECTATIONS!

Carter: Sure, winning is nice.

I watched the game on TV, almost every play except when going for more bourbon. I saw 2 attempts to go deep. One resulted in a TD and the other would have if not overthrown. Given the results of the 2 listed above, why didn’t we try more? Or did we and I was just getting more bourbon? - tlbriley

Akshay: It’s hard for plays to develop when the defensive line is in your quarterback’s face almost immediately after the snap.

Chris: ^ what Akshay said. We didn’t really have much time at all.

Jeff: Oh they did try but it typically ended up as a Sims scramble play.

Jake: There are weren’t a ton of opportunities, with how few times we got a shot on first down.

Do you agree that Clemson ran up the score? Or did they appropriately take their foot off the gas and we are just still that bad? - SullyGT

Ben: I think it’s all of the above. Clemson definitely looked like they were trying to make a point. They also put in a punter at quarterback and Tech couldn’t do anything to stop them still.

Akshay: Probably the latter, but I’m willing to allow for some conspiracy.

Chris: Little column A, little column B. I don’t think they expected to score so much with their fourth string walk-on QB.

Jeff: They skipped their 2nd string QB and went to lesser options so probably just that bad. There was no energy in that team in the 2nd half though.

Jake: They absolutely took their foot off the gas, a PUNTER played a series at QB. I’ll own what I said after Louisville - if you can’t actually stop it, don’t complain about it. They still have to run the plays, after all.

Carter: Clemson took a timeout with 30 seconds left in the first half so they could score once more before halftime. They were already up 45-7 at this point. Later on, in the 4th quarter, up 59-7, the Tigers had their third string QB throw on fourth down rather than just kick a field goal. They got it, easily. So the answer is: Clemson ran up the score, continued running up the score while taking their foot off the gas, and we are that bad.

If they did run up the score, what was the motivation? Did Collins do something to piss off Dabo and/or was it personal? Or is Dabo, well probably not “scared” so let’s say “aware,” of Tech’s recent recruiting efforts and was trying to stop a potential challenger in the region before we get started? Or did he just figure #2 Bama was about to spank a “#3” u(sic)ga and needed to make a statement to stay #1, and we were just the unlucky opponent? - SullyGT

Ben: If Dabo was scared of Tech’s 20-something ranked class last year, I think he has bigger problems. I think it was more of a mix of trying to get some style points and something a little more personal. Dabo and Paul Johnson coached in the same league for a long time, and while I don’t know the full nature of their relationship, you have to assume there was a mutual respect. Geoff Collins hasn’t quite earned that yet.

Chris: Dabo and PJ were good friends. I certainly don’t think Dabo is scared of us in recruiting, but there has been some chatter about him not loving the things that have been said about the former regime.

Jeff: Clemson is not scared of us in recruiting. The orange paw on a letter beats anything our staff can say at the moment. I'd say there probably is some need for style this year. Supposedly Dabo was mad about something but nobody wants to say what it is.

Jake: I heard sooooo much on Twitter about Dabo being scared of us on the recruiting trail. There is absolutely no chance Dabo is scared of us on the field or off of it. Clearly, we can’t hold a candle to them yet on either. This, my friends, felt personal, and I’m very inclined to believe it has something to do with the RELENTLESS EFFORT the current regime uses to bash the last one, which I abhor, and the uppity Atlanta-ness, which I do not abhor. So yeah, a mixed bag.

Carter: I think Dabo’s feelings about Collins have been made pretty clear, and fear is certainly not one of them.

What is your perception of this team after the Clemson game? - thebugman10

Ben: My perception hasn’t changed very much. This is still a very young team, but there is some promise there. At the beginning of the game, Tech scored on a deep throw, forced a couple turnovers against some of the best players in the country. Obviously, things didn’t continue to go well, but I’d say I’m still at about the same level.

Akshay: It’s dipped, for sure. Clemson was always going to be a tough out, but I thought the final score was going to be 52-14, not as bad as it was. Regardless of talent difference and regardless of program status, no P5 team should ever be giving up 73 points to a conference opponent.

Chris: again, same as Akshay. I think the offense is alright as long as they are somewhat in control of the game flow. The defense needs a lot of work though before I’ll be happy with it.

Jeff: Getting beat by better players is one thing but there were a lot of bad reads by the defense as well. I saw several occasions where DBs passed off receivers to open expanses of grass. Something wasn't clicking in the secondary.

Carter: The last time Georgia Tech played Clemson was Collins’s first game as head coach, and Tech looked so, so much worse this past Saturday. This team is forcing me to reevaluate my expectations after every single game, and right now they’re not high.

Jake: I knew it was going to be bad. I did not know it was going to be that bad. At least the Syracuse game had a lot of “gosh that’s a dumb fixable penalty/freshman throw/blocked kick,” because here, we weren’t all that penalized, Sims looked pretty okay, and we went 1/1 on kicks. This was...altogether being totally outclassed.

Did your perception of Collins change after the Clemson game? - thebugman10

Ben: Like with the team, it’s difficult for my perception of something to change after just one game. My issues with Collins (little defensive improvement and very special teams) were certainly highlighted against Clemson, but that’s nothing new.

Akshay: Somewhat. Chris put it pretty well yesterday, but TL;DR: hiring a former defensive coordinator as a head coach implies that there will be defensive improvement (and in lieu of that, at least maintenance of defensive quality). The evidence so far does not support that implication.

Chris: Man Akshay is all over my opinions today. Less so the Clemson game on it’s own, but more of a “straw that broke the camel’s back” situation. Hearing so much hype about the defensive mindset coming in and then getting **this** is a big let down.

Carter: My opinion of Geoff Collins remains the same following Saturday as it was before, and I’ll leave the interpretation of that up to y’all.

Jeff: I'm starting to wonder about player development a bit. Not so much from the offense since they are quite young. The secondary and some guys up front are veterans missing assignments.

Drew: I’m more optimistic on Collins than most people here. The only thing I’m really disappointed in has been the secondary. Collins is a defensive guy and the I thought the secondary had more quality and experience than the front 7, but they haven’t played like it yet. I really thought he’d get the defense going quickly while the offense took years to get going. The opposite has kinda happened. I think we’re still headed in the right direction with him.

Jake: I’m with Akshay and Chris. Nishant pointed out that Geoff is young and still learning as a coach, but this looked to be a complete breakdown. I’ve been at this school for five football seasons now and we’ve never beaten Clemson. Never before has it felt so certain before, and never before has it felt so hollow or inescapable after. I don’t see a clear way out of this.

Are we still convinced that Sims is the guy? - thebugman10

Ben: If he wasn’t still the guy, he wouldn’t have started against Clemson. You don’t throw a true freshman quarterback into the fire against arguably the best team in the country if you aren’t 100 percent behind him. Now, can he get the job done? I think so. It’s important to remember that this year doesn’t really mean much, so for all intents and purposes, Sims will get two true freshman seasons.

Akshay: He’s a freshman quarterback in a mildly-mercurial offense behind an ACC average-ish offensive line. He’ll be fine (probably); just let him work through the kinks. The coaching staff clearly believes in him since they’ve let him play through his mistakes so far this season.

Chris: I’m pretty sold. I wouldn’t be opposed to Yates or Gleason getting some reps to see what they look like, but the ceiling for Sims is exciting.

Carter: Honestly, yeah. I think if he had a better line we wouldn’t even be asking this question, but unfortunately for us we live in this timeline.

Jeff: If the line takes another step next year Sims could develop into a really good player. He has a great weapon in Gibbs to assist with that.

Jake: Yes. Ride the hot hand. I think he's a talent guy who should keep improving.

Assuming Dabo doesn’t go anywhere, do we beat Clemson in the next 5 years? - thebugman10

Ben: Not without some MAJOR strides in recruiting and player development. Clemson is a full-on machine, and Georgia Tech has a long way to go in order to catch up.

Akshay: I don’t think it’s likely. Even if you assume a best-case scenario of Tech becoming the secondary power in the ACC — like Texas is in the Big 12 or Michigan/Penn State is in the B1G — there’s always a bigger fish that keeps wriggling away (Oklahoma and Ohio State, respectively). Clemson is at their all-time peak, and (considering the way modern college football recruiting and performance work) their success is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The ‘Big Orange Machine’ will not stop unless 1) the ACC gets better from #2 to #14 OR 2) if someone else knocks Clemson out of their virtually guaranteed annual CFP slot (notably, these are not mutually exclusive phenomena). My guess is that Tech will get at most one good shot in the next five years, and if you come at the king, you best not miss.

Chris: I’m probably a little more optimistic than Akshay, but not by a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us win one (or even two, max), but it’s gonna take us absolutely reaching our peak.

Drew: Over the next 5 year period I’ll give us about a 25% chance of taking one off them. You have to expect they’ll continue to be really good so we’ll have to get a good bit better and hope for an upset.

Jeff: I could see one if they have a big transition year at key positions. The separation of talent now is near impossible to close without stealing it from them. Nearly all the 5-star players go to about 5 or 6 schools.

Jake: Jeff Sims will get at least one win off Clemson before he exhausts his eligibility.

Carter: In the next five years? Sure, why not. Is it closer to five than one? Definitely.

Not to be a Debbie Does Downer, but has there ever been a worse Winter of discontent in Atlanta? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Akshay: From a socioeconomic sense, probably. From a sporting sense, it’s a little more unclear — you have to account for the fact that most of the city’s sports franchises have been bad for most of their history (United aside, but don’t worry, judging by this year, they’ll get there soon). The chance of all of the city’s franchises being good enough to create the intense emotional letdown that Atlanta sports usually begets in the postseason is exceedingly rare. It’s possible that this may have happened in the late 90s or early 00s (when you could count on the Braves being good), but without actually compiling all of the seasonal sports’ records, it’s hard to say. Offhand (and based on wikipedia), my guess is the winter/spring of 1998-99 was worse: Braves lose the NLCS to the Padres in six games; Falcons lose a Super Bowl; and the Hawks get swept in the Eastern Conference Semis. If you want to add college sports to that, things get a little muddier: at Tech, football went 10-2, basketball went 19-14, and baseball went 41-22 and appeared in the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Jake: At least the Braves were good. I’m not schooled on sports suffering like the native-born Atlantans here, but between soccer, Tech, football, and basketball, the rest seems pretty hard to match in terms of bleak. It almost seems unfair that Tech baseball and Braves baseball takes place at the same time.

Jeff: Well there was Snowpocalypse.

Akshay (again): I’m not even an native-born Atlantan (only been here for a decade-ish, but all formative years nonetheless) and I’ve still seen my fair share of Atlanta sports moments in my lifetime. Go figure.

Compare the 2020 Braves NLCS with 2017 Falcons Super Bowl. - Bill Brockman

Ben: I fully expected the Braves to blow the 3-1 lead in the NLCS. I didn’t expect the Falcons to blow 28-3.

Akshay: Does not compare. The only difference is that the Braves strung us along for a week, so there was no shock value, only crushing inevitability.

Carter: I can compare either to the Rangers losing the 2011 World Series, if you’d like.

Jake: It seems like everyone was expecting the Braves to lose (which is an aggressively not rewarding way to watch sports!) unlike the Falcons, who I recall distinctly seeing people already celebrating in the third quarter.

Jeff: The Braves did overachieve with having all those injuries but what the Falcons did was just a nightmare. You knew when the Patriots won the OT coin toss we were dead.

What’s the football textbook answer to why you would choose to go for it on 4th and 1 and then snap it in shotgun formation while you are going to run the ball? - DTGT

Ben: The only sense of it that I can make is that you don’t think your offensive line will get enough of a push against the opposing defensive line to get one yard, so you take a few steps back to try and make a read to get the yards. Situationally, I don’t hate it, but, I’m a big fan of a quarterback sneak and try and catch the defense sleeping with a different snap count.

Akshay: This is not a textbook answer, but the only way it might be a good idea is if you have enough faith in your offensive line to hold for the ~1 second it takes for an RB to receive a handoff and burst through a created hole. Starting in the shotgun gives the RB a couple yards of runway to build up speed and lower his shoulder into the hole. Anyway, please never actually do this. The QB sneak from under center is virtually undefeated in these situations. Just make the smart choice.

Jake: I can understand lots of reasons to go for it on 4th and 1, but, as the volleyball and swimming and history guy, I can tell you of no legitimate reason that would happen in the football sense other than to infuriate us fans in its inevitable failure.

Jeff: I never understood moving the ball farther back from the intended line of gain.

Carter: I could only understand doing this if you were going out of your way to prove to your fanbase that you would absolutely never ever do something your predecessor did.

Hey guys,

Hope everything is going well for you so far this current week. Well last weekend was terrifying for all Atlanta based sports (or georgia based sports depending on your definition how far Atlanta extends). Of course we knew that going into the weekend; we knew that there were some scary opponents wearing horror masks and carrying machetes waiting around the corner to hack up our sports teams in a myriad of terrible ways.

On that note, my question for this week is what is your favorite Horror film (or film to watch during Halloween if you don’t like horror) and why? Personally I’m a big fan of The Thing (the original one, not the remake. The remake is garbage, and may we never speak of it again). The Thing is more of a psychological thriller but the way the characters slowly unravel mentally and the practical effects are enjoyable in a sick way. Also, when it uses jump scares the film makes it feel like those jump scares are earned through the long tension the movie builds up over time; which is a nice change of pace from modern horror which uses jumpscares as much as they can to get a reaction out of you. But that’s just my take. Hope you guys have a nice rest of your week.

Cordially,

The Man With No Name... Zap Brannigan (sent in via email)

Ben: Well since pretty much nobody else will give you a straight answer, I will! I freaking love Ari Aster! His two most notable works are also both horror films: Hereditary and Midsommar. Midsommar definitely takes the cake for me. It is visually stunning and horrifying and makes you feel uncomfortable the entire movie. It also keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time just trying to figure out what’s going to happen. Personally, I HATE horror movies that rely on jump scares. It’s gimmicky and cheap and it’s not actually scary. If you’re looking for more classic stuff, I would recommend The Shining and A Nightmare on Elm Street (which I just saw for the first time last week). If you want a cheesy 80s slasher, go watch Slumber Party Massacre. It’s hilarious!

Chris: I don’t mess with horror films, nuh-uh.

Akshay: ^ this.

Jake: “Are you going to say you don’t like horror movies? Because you hate them,” my roommates said to me as I read that question aloud. And this is true. But for some reason, I do really like The Conjuring, which usually placates everyone I know that likes horror films enough to get by until I have to suggest it again next year.

Jeff: I like supernatural based horror films. The possession type stuff are the best ones. I don't know if I have a true go to though. I tend not to rewatch movies a lot. I refuse to watch "A Haunting In Connecticut" another time though.

Carter: I don’t dabble much in horror, but I watched The Thing as part of my ENGL 1102 class way back in the day and I’d recommend following it up with the rest of Carpenter’s Apocalypse trilogy (Prince of Darkness, In the Mouth of Madness).