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Mailbag 12/31

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What round will our LARGE PUNTING SON be drafted?

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What’s the highest an All American punter can hope to be drafted? - Bill Brockman

Ben: Punters tend to go later than kickers, so I don’t think we see another Sebastian Janikowski or Roberto Aguayo situation with Pressley Harvin III, but I could see him going as high as the fourth round, but more likely going in the sixth or seventh.

Jeff: Tampa Bay took Aguayo in the 2nd round so never underestimate a team to be stupid. Like the Jets...

Jake: I’m thinking it’ll be sixth or seventh. I try not to get my expectations too high on these things.

Nishant: What Jake said. I think fifth round would be the absolute earliest. That said, it looks like there were a couple occasions back in the 1970’s where a punter was taken in the first round, and the Browns apparently took a punter in the second round in both 1977 and 1978. (The first punter had a contract holdout and sat out the season, so the Browns took another guy with an early pick the following year. In related news, there’s an old saying about the definition of insanity...)

Resolutions? Or resolving not to make Resolutions? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I’m less concerned about resolutions and more concerned with getting settled with a new job at a new place in a new town. I’ll worry about resolutions next year (maybe).

Jeff: I have added way too much sympathy weight through my wife's pregnancy this year so it may be generic but I could stand to slim down again.

Jake: I would like to be back in the water three times a week and start biking once I can get my bike to Atlanta at long last.

Nishant: I don’t live in the pool quite as much as Jake does, but I do hope we get to a point where my local indoor pool can open back up.

What are your New Year’s or NY Eve traditions? Are you going to be able to do any of them this year? Anything that you will miss in particular? - CTJacket

Ben: I normally spend time with my friends and it’s normally more than I drink any other day of the year. This year, it’s going to be a smaller crowd this year with less alcohol.

Jeff: My shift at work starts at 4am so I will be well asleep (I hope) before the New Year. I never had any New Years tradition though. I have been to a few bowl games on New Years so I'll go with that.

Jake: I’ll miss being able to see a few friends from home, as we have taken to doing board games on New Years’ Eve. If my family were bigger board game folks, I’d say yes, but, Settlers of Catan is a bigger leap for them than I would have thought. Takes buy in to get them to deviate from the classics, you know? I think my favorite holiday tradition of all is watching the New Years’ Day bowl games and eating appetizers you find in the frozen food aisle with my grandfather, though, which is not happening, for the obvious reasons. I sigh, and will go find some Bagel Bites to eat in memory of less COVID-y times.

Nishant: Never done anything particularly notable, though the one thing I’ll never do again is end up in Buckhead for NYE. If you want to hate your NYE experience, do that. In normal years, it’s a gathering of longtime family friends if I’m in Atlanta or joining a friend’s thing if I’m not.

I believe Tech athletics has dodged the need to trashcan any sports, unlike numerous other institutions. Maybe starting from a smaller number helped. If, worse case, AD Tod had to lose a sport, what would he do? He’s got to consider cost, fan base, Title IX implications, etc. I hope this remains purely speculation. - Bill Brockman

Jeff: This would be not ideal and Jake should be on this with a 10,000 word response soon. Jake also isn't going to like my answer but I think it would be swimming.

Jake: Based on the very credible rumors I had been hearing, swimming being on the block had been a very real possibility. Or maybe that was a scare tactic by Tech to animate the swimming donor base, who’s to say, really? I’ve seen other schools cut more successful programs - a shame - which isn’t to say either team is unsuccessful, of course, as both Are programs on the rise that rate very highly in From the Rumble Seat’s proprietary swimming ranking system, CAP. It is the nature of the sport to be the first in the crosshairs due to a variety of demographic, facility, monetary, and relative interest/”trends” in sport. We see swimming, tennis, gymnastics, wrestling, and baseball bear the brunt of cuts at a lot of schools, and Tech lacks two (gymnastics, wrestling), would never EVER cut another (baseball - though they did actually cut it for a hot minute in the 1930s), and just finish another capital infusion into the facilities and endowments of the other (tennis). However, I think men’s swimming’s extensive endowed scholarship list, the joint endowed coaching position, and use of a gorgeous facility maintained largely on the back of excruciating rental fees from outside users and recreational student fees, not the varsity program, I think any move to cut it would be horrifically shortsighted, cost the school more in lost scholarship revenue than it would save in expenses, cut a historic yet growing program, and be terrible for publicity. It’s still the most likely to go, though.

I’ve been avoiding pushing the syndicated version of a newsletter I wrote for Matt Brown over at Extra Points since on EP the original was behind a paywall and I’m not sure how ethical it is for me to be openly pushing the free route to read it, but there actually was a time (spoiler: the Great Depression) where Tech did have to cut sports, and the mixed bag of results in efforts to bring them back and the odd methods they had to resort to in order for the ones that did come back to stay. Once you read that, though, check out the newsletter it originally appeared in, because Matt (our old boss here back when he was with the mothership) really puts out stuff with great insight and unique storylines, as well as his book, What If? A Closer Look at College Football’s Great Questions, the only book I’ve ever preordered (before I even worked here, no less), which has a whole Tech chapter, too. Okay, I can stop being a shill now, I think.

Hello Everyone,

Man, that was one crazy year. fun times had all around. Hopefully things get better from here on. I don’t mind chaos, but being stuck in your house while it all plays out can be pretty boring.

My question for this week, Who is your spirit sportscaster. The caster who embodies your ideals and that you would want to be if you were a sportscaster. Personally I want to be like Ryen Russilo (strong, confident, willing to take a neutral perspective but steadfast when he takes an opinion, generall a fun guy); but I feel more like a Bill Walton (does not pay attention to the game at all and somehow ends up discussing the port of Senegal in the middle of a GT basketball game). So who is your spirit sportscaster?

Have a Happy New Year!

-Macky Sall (submitted via email)

Ben: Brandon Gaudin is one of my favorite commentators and Twitter follows. He does a good job of mixing his sense of humor (which meshes well with mine) and his ability to call a game.

Jeff: I've always liked Wes Durham and feel like I would have the fed up tone he gets when the Falcons start doing what they do best. He has the dry sense of humor of, “well, here we go again.”

Jake: Just finished a GREAT book partially about the Walton years at UCLA (unrelated to your question) and if you’re interested in him, Tech’s Dr. John Smith wrote a good one on Wooden, Kareem, and Walton. Can’t say I’m a big fan of Bill Walton the announcer though, I find him rambling and meh. I prefer Andy Demetra/Sean Bedford/Wiley Ballard or Pat Hughes/Ron Coomer/Zach Zaidman, the Cubs radio team on the day-to-day. Hmmm. Maybe I like the radio guys. Both of those picks feel super homer-ish, though - doubly so when Andy is on the Bulls call. But I’ve never been one to shy away from homer picks. So, let’s go with Pat Foley, the TV play-by-play guy for the Chicago Blackhawks. This call is a perfect, like, thirty second encapsulation of the guy’s excitement, attention to detail, and passion. I like to think I have all of those things. Though, I think this particular call on this particular goal, for all it meant to the franchise, may be his best. I remember watching that goal as a sloppy mix of sleet and snow fell on a sleepy Wrigley Field. Good times. Foley’s inflections when he says “SCORES” is one of the iconic “fingerprints” of any call in sports, and his story of commitment to the franchise, even when it wasn’t committed to him (he forcibly left for a year when ancient, outdated owner Bill Wirtz cancelled television contracts to burnish ticket sales - IN 2007, NO LESS - making the minor league team, the Chicago Wolves, the must-watch ticket in town that year - they won the championship) is admirable loyalty.

Nishant: I’m gonna make myself sound old here and I suppose this won’t completely answer the question, but... honestly, as an Indian-American kid who watched Dream Job religiously and always thought it’d be cool to be an ESPN anchor, it was super cool to see Anish Shroff make a deep run on that show and super sad to see him burn out in the final stages. So when I found out several years later that he had actually joined ESPN and carved out a role as a pretty good play-by-play announcer, that made me super happy.