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Mailbag 7/8

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Which FTRS staff member is the first to be voted off the island?

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US-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Will the Board of Rejects Regents cave and let GT’s administration make decisions regarding how to handle classes in the fall with covid-19 still likely to be around? What are the chances that at least some portion of the 800 (latest count I saw) faculty that signed the letter telling off the BoR will refuse to teach in person if students aren’t required to wear masks and/or other measures aren’t taken?

Ben: Well, this question didn’t exactly age very well. USG announced a couple days ago that they were requiring masks on all USG campuses. Had they not, I think a good portion of them would have followed through and either refused to teach or taken measures of their own within the classroom.

Jake P.: This is a friendly reminder to WEAR YOUR [RELENTLESS EFFORT] MASK.

Jake: This is worth a lengthy editorial, but the Georgia Institute of Technology, as the state’s most economically impactful and world-renowned institution, deserves its own Board of Trustees, which should never have been taken away in the first place. Untie Ángel Cabrera’s hands and let our administration make its own decisions. Also, the vocal minority of folks online should direct their vitriol at the BoR, rather than acting like Tech doesn’t want to make decisions in its own best interests. Because that seems to be the constant theme of this pandemic, and it just won’t end.

Nishant: I had a conversation with a couple friends the other day about this. One was really disappointed at the lack of public statements from the administration, and honestly I can’t help but agree. As Elder Jake pointed out, it’s a Georgia Board of Regents tradition to enact policies that are seemingly designed to [ATTACK EVERYTHING] over GT, and ultimately it’s on them for enacting such a shortsighted and tone-deaf policy and then retracting it after letting one of their most prominent institutions get dragged through the mud. All that said... as at least one prominent professor pointed out, Tech’s own administration didn’t do much to inspire confidence publicly and privately. Perhaps Cabrera and the other administrators were aggressively lobbying the BoR behind the scenes and helped to get the eventual updated policy pushed through. I’d certainly like to think that was the case. Regardless, when you have a massive, sprawling bureaucracy to run your school, and no part of it can be brought to bear to even make a simple statement (even a private one) to reassure openly fearful students and faculty... that’s a bad look.

Levi: This is also where I’d like to point out once again that schools are uniquely vulnerable to a pandemic. Where else do you pack 200 people in a room for an hour and then send each individual to a random 200 person room? and we shuffle that deck 8 times a day. This is a bad idea.

What is your favorite football uniform combo from 2019, and why is everyone else wrong?

Ben: I don’t buy much team merchandise in general, just because it’s not part of my everyday wardrobe. However, I did purchase a Georgia Tech jersey fairly recently. Which one?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 05 North Carolina at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Why it’s this lovely jersey. I know the grey jerseys are controversial, but they are my favorite design in recent memory and just had to have one. The one thing I didn’t like with this combo was the clear GT logo on the helmet.

Jake P.: The W/G/W for The Citadel and u(sic)ga. Although both games were horrendous, at least Tre Swilling looked good while fighting George Pickens.

Levi: For me, nothing beats the classic. Gold helmets, White tops (w/ Gold numbers), Gold britches.

Jake: What Levi said. Love the look of the white tops. There’s no second color that screams “Georgia Tech jersey” to me.

Jeff: I'll add that the traditional white tops are our best combo, but I did like the greys from the UNC game.

Nishant: Anything that doesn’t have navy pants is good with me.

Akshay: What Jake and Levi said — don’t change what works. A navy or gold jersey (though the latter should probably be burned and the ashes burned given what happened whilst wearing them) works for away games, but don’t tinker with what’s already a great combo for home games.

What cliché do you hate? Why?

Ben: I’ve been sitting here for a couple minutes, and honestly, I got nothing.

Akshay: Running the ball more to win football games, especially when commentators present the idea like “when X team runs the ball Y times, they usually win”. Paul Johnson’s offense aside (and I do respect the man’s offense, don’t get me wrong), the stats show that running the ball does not contribute to offensive effectiveness as much as passing the ball. Now, there is a correlation between rushing attempts and wins, but that’s confounded by the fact that teams run the ball more while they are leading.

Jake: Not quite what you asked, but I must say that I hate the device of using rhetorical questions instead of introducing the topic/product/idea.

“Do YOU like eating kale with peanut butter?”
“No.”
“Well do I have the product for you!”
“ ... Still no, my guy.”

Jeff: Hey Akshay, send a memo to a former Falcons OC about running while you’re up big. Anyway, I hate the generic keys to the game announcers do before a game. Like telling us if a team can limit turnover or play better they have a better chance to win.

Akshay again: [sighs in Atlanta-based sports depression]

Levi: I cannot believe no one ever agrees with me that “he has his work cut out for him” means the opposite of what you think it means. We generally agree that it means you’re about to have a long day. But I can’t get the image out of my head that having my “work cut out for me” means its laid nice and neat in front of me, like a tailor or Rachel Ray with pre-portioned ingredients. This should make my task easier.

How many games will MLB actually play this season before getting shut down?

Ben: I’ll believe they play one game when I actually see them take the field and throw the first pitch.

Jake P.: I honestly believe they’ll find a way to get all 60 in. I’m surprised they aren’t keeping all of the players in Florida (or Arizona) like the NBA and MLS is doing.

Levi: The hardest part is to get started. I think they have measures in place that once the guys are together. It’s tough for infection to spread. Baseball players touch each other less than any other sport.

Jake: I think once it starts, they’ll find a way. But until I see a scorecard with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant at 1-2 in the Cubs lineup, I won’t believe its actually going to happen.

Jeff: I have a feeling they don't make it to the first game. MLS will start their tournament today and FC Dallas has already dropped out. If things go sideways for more teams it will probably roll into MLB.

Akshay: If the season is over and my team didn’t win the World Series, then they shouldn’t have played the games. If the season is over and my team has won the World Series, then they should have played the games and they were right to in the first place. (Non-meme answer: how a week or two of the MLS and NBA tournaments go will give us a better idea of how baseball will go, but I would not be surprised at all if they only get in 30 games before having to shut things down. Interstate travel when different states have handled this situation differently is going to be...interesting.)

Nishant: The protracted dispute was frustrating because it always felt like baseball was better suited for the quarantine era than most sports thanks to the relative lack of physical proximity (though I guess a huge portion of the risk is in off-field interactions regardless of the sport). At this point my expectations are at zero and I’ll consider any actual games that take place to be a bonus.

How many mixed metaphors about Tech football can you put in one sentence?

Ben: I feel like you could just watch any Geoff Collins press conference and find one that would suffice.

Jake: Boy, I sure do love our [insert every cliché about a football offense here in a randomly decided order] Attack Offense!

Chau: I still think about this tweet a lot https://twitter.com/MagnaCarterLive/status/1195809046034632711?s=19

Levi: The styrofoam Waffle House cup is the Gold Standard of drinks to Relentlessly wash down GriTs with Everyday.

Nishant: The buzz around the five-star developmental program is that how you practice determines how you play in this innovative NFL spread pro-style offense, and only elite competitors who attack everything will be out there to put the ball down when toe meets leather, because only big people who beat up small people with accountability can be above the line in everything they do.

FTRS writers are all playing Survivor. Who’s the first voted off the island and why?

Ben: My gut says Chau. He doesn’t write much, but he’s still in the Slack group, so that counts in my book.

Chau: Hi Ben. Honestly would be tough to argue against that. But I'd have to go with *checks slack* Joey for sharing that ermmm questionable Twitter account.

Levi: If you actually watch the show, you’d know the first person to throw a name out usually goes. Also, Ben is the chief. So, he’s too powerful to be left alive.

Jake: Well see, there’s a lot of ways you can take this. Unlike the game, we come into this theoretical game knowing each other, some better than others. There’d be the solid Chris/Stephen alliance, but also the Jake/Akshay back-and-forth that could be, like, super effective, or they could implode and destroy each other, which would be a shame, because if they would sync up with Ethan and Cade, well, boom, there’s the start of a group you can gel with. Who’s in with the Illuminati AND happens to be Tech’s most influential tweeter? Carter. And you have to start playing the game from day one or you’re toast, so I’d drop the mastermind and the boss (sorry Ben) to try to stack the jury with a fellow Jake or anyone who likes Chicago style hot dogs, Italian beef, or tavern-cut pizza.

Also, since we might not see them again post-COVID, what’s your power ranking of buffets (chains or individual entities)?

Ben: I don’t go to buffets much, but the KFC buffet, if you can find one, is a solid one.

Chau: in no particular order: Sushi Village, Nori Nori, Red Tomatoes (RIP), and any generic country cooking buffet

Jake P.: Let me see, I can think of only one decent buffet near me and it can be sketchy at times. If you ever find yourself in Transylvania County, NC, check out the Twin Dragons buffet.

Jake: Any good breakfast buffet is a buffet to be mourned. Lowkey, the Georgia Tech Hotel has a surprisingly good one, with a real guy making omelettes and everything. The more you know.

Levi: My heart actually sank when I realized we’d never get $12 Ru San’s Sunday sushi buffet ever again.

Akshay: <insert lunch buffet at any Indian restaurant here> — it’s astounding how much food you can get for relatively little at those places.

Nishant: (echoes Akshay’s answer)

As we’re at 5 crises currently, what do you expect to be the 6th and 7th curses in 2020?

Ben: Let’s see, I’ve got alien abduction of world leaders and a third party winning the 2020 election after Trump and Biden both do something stupid and get arrested.

Jake P.: I think this should answer your question. It probably counts as 6 and 7.

Chau: no fall sports can count as 2 crises right?

Jeff: Dogs discover space travel and leave us here to deal with our own kind.

Akshay: Please don’t ask; maybe they won’t happen if we don’t acknowledge them.

Levi: Hurricane season hasn’t even started y’all.

How long until various sports pull the plug on 2020?

Ben: Given how cases are still on the rise, I don’t think it’ll be much longer, but I don’t think we see any firm action until the Fall.

Jake P.: I think the NFL will still be played just because of how much money is involved. MLS is trying as best it can to stop play before it starts. There’s a 50% chance that the MLB season happens in full. Who knows (who cares?) about what’s happening in the NHL? College sports? Most likely not.

Akshay: L M A O this MLS tournament is doomed, given that one team has already been withdrawn (note the wording: it’s not that they withdrew; the other teams wanted them gone) and another team under threat of withdrawal — and this is even with a bubble enforced in Orlando. The sentiment voiced by a few pundits in MLS-land is that the bubble itself isn’t the issue: it’s that leagues are allowing teams to train in home markets where the situation may not be as contained and controlled before entering the bubble within the incubation period of the virus. It’s because of this (and the proliferation of similar plans in every league planning to restart in the next month — and FWIW, I do realize the lack of family time and other contingencies that come with quarantining for an extra two weeks in a bubble), I’m starting to get to the point where things should just be canned for now and restarted when things are safer. Some may point to the examples provided by European soccer where all of the Big 5 leagues have restarted without issue, but the current data in the US paints a vastly different picture compared to where Europe was at when those leagues restarted. However, I will say that the first American team sports league to return, the NWSL, has pulled this off without a hitch so far (beyond the one team pulling out at the start of the tournament), so there is hope, I guess — just not sure how much. (More on how I feel on CFB specifically in the next question.)

Jake: Until I hear Space Chords I won’t believe Tech football is ba-
[unintelligible whispering]
Wait, it’s already gone?
[unintelligible whispering]
Ah, well, uh, see you all in 2021; I guess we’re a food and power rankings blog again until then.

Jeff: The Ivy league is supposed to make a decision on canning their Fall sports today. Which I believe they got the party started back with tournament basketball.

Levi: There’s a lot of financial pressure because of the success of a few leagues. Borussia Dortmund tripled their US twitter in like 2 days, NASCAR ratings are way up. That is why we won’t see a regression any time soon. Once they get the players under team-controlled quarantine, I think it’ll be [Duran Duran] the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

What chance is there we actually see NCAA fall sports? And if they try to start, what chance do they complete the seasons?

Ben: I think the NCAA will at least try to play a few games, but I don’t know that they’ll finish the season. Right now, I would guess that they don’t finish the season in its entirety.

Jake: Ryan Nanni has been putting out “minimalist” two game schedules that I laughed about at first but, to be honest, seem more and more plausible every day.

Jeff: I think the Spring football scenarios are getting a lot of attention in the meeting rooms now.

Levi: I totally see the SEC going rogue in the face of overwhelming evidence. I think if they start, other conferences will start their season out of desire to not look weak.

Akshay: If one starts, they’ll probably all start — but if one stops, they’ll all stop in order to save face (see: Ivy League cancelling their basketball tournament a few days before the rest of the country followed suit). I’m not sure how the contracts work in college sports, but in the English Premier League, the games had to be played or the clubs would have had to pay back the (metric tons of) rights money they received from Sky Sports for broadcasting, and I’m inclined to think something similar may happen here (at least with football — who knows what happens to the others). We’ve said this a couple times, but it bears repeating yet again: if football doesn’t get played, there are going to be a lot of athletic departments in deep financial trouble. For that reason alone, football will get played. Should it? Probably not.

If you could go back in time and change one event/thing in GT football history, what would it be?

Ben: Oh, that’s a good question! I don’t know that I would want to see what happened, but I think it would be a fun What If scenario. I’ve always been curious what would have happened in Paul Johnson took the Duke job instead of the Georgia Tech one. Would Tech have hired David Cutcliffe and kept Sean Renfree? How much different would a Cutcliffe-led Georgia Tech be from a Paul Johnson-led one? Just fun to think about!

Chau: some bias here but if Roberto Aguayo missed just one damn kick in the 2014 ACC Championship game we're golden.

Jake P.: Miami being allowed to complete what seemed like an infinite number of screen passes in 2017.

Levi: Don’t leave the SEC

Jeff: Steve Spurrier was on staff at Tech in 1979. Imagine if he had been given a chance as head coach.

Jake: In order -

  1. Castleberry doesn’t die
  2. Heisman doesn’t get divorced
  3. No Graning hit
  4. Ross doesn’t leave and get replaced by Bill Lewis
  5. No fifth down
  6. Carson sees Steel Curtain success at Tech/gets another year or two to figure it out
  7. $300 of returned clothing
  8. “9-6 is your final in Jacksonville, Florida”
  9. Not building the Upper North and taking on all that debt
  10. They call offsides on Rudy (not really that important, but I want to plug this podcast reviewing the movie)

Nishant: The 2009 Georgia game. There are plenty of fascinating historical possibilities that the others have brought up, but I didn’t personally experience any of those. This game is the one I keep going back to as one that could have sent long-term shockwaves throughout the state if it just went according to plan.