As sports come back, seeing as there isnt much going on yet, we will attempt to give each team a little preview along with the usual schedule review of non-revenue sports content.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Right off the bat, expect a short one this week. With not a lot going on, I’m not going to belabor any points, at the risk of wearing out the welcome return of this column. I will say, I appreciate the 100% approval rating on the schedule charts and the graphs, I aim for perfection. Even if that’s going 1 for 1. Anyways, as always, if you have any comments, concerns, or requests for coverage, let me know below. Let’s get down to business.
Last Week On the Flats:
No. 28/26 Football:
Wow. Is it weird to say that feels weird to type? As per usual, I leave the football breakdowns to the rest of the site, but I really wanted to put our theoretical rankings (per the number of votes received in the major polls) next to Georgia Tech football. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to do that.
For football coverage, click here.
In the Club House:
No scores to report yet from the club sports world, but reports are slowly trickling out that teams have incrementally been permitted to start practicing again, provided proper safety precautions are implemented. Progress! If you’re a representative of a club sports team and would like to make sure I get the results for your team (looking at you, teams with more limited social/online presences), please comment below or email us at email@example.com and we will be in touch!
The Hot Corner:
I’m itching to talk baseball. Only problem is that there’s not much to talk about now, seeing as Tech baseball is at about as much of a peak in the offseason as one could be, with or without the realities of COVID-19. However, there are two topics I don’t think have gotten much play lately: Joey Bart’s Giants debut and the ongoing work on Phase II of Russ Chandler Stadium.
Joey was on a vacation far away - he’d been kept down to mess with his service [time]. So many things that I want to say! You know, they like their players a little bit older. They just want to use your runs tonight - they don’t want to lose your runs, tonight. [singing]
Anyways, distractingly terrible rewrite of his former Tech walkup song aside, Bart has been very solid for San Francisco since his call-up roughly 20 games ago. He’s currently batting .270 with 17 hits, but hasn’t put one over the wall yet. He’s been getting on base exactly one third of the time, and is slugging a solid .349 so far. All of this adds up to a decently pedestrian 0.3 bWAR (wins above replacement, per Baseball Reference). That’s a better number than FanGraphs wanted to give us, so we will stick with that. So far, he’s in the Show ahead of schedule (FanGraphs projected 2021) and he’s holding his own, for the most part. We’ll take it.
As for the construction, I’m no insider, but I do go out of my way to walk by it with regularity. As of last Friday, the structural concrete had been poured back up to around the old concourse level, and the buildings should start to take shape here soon. As of now, what was the last three or so section of the third base grandstand no longer exist, so work continues on the facility, which will improve the tunnels for players to work on batting and pitching underneath, while yielding much more space to work with up top for nicer public-facing facilities. Future updates should continue to grow in intrigue, in my opinion.
Things are quiet on campus in general, particularly given that most students have vastly reduced their trips to campus. However, library renovation is essentially complete - the modernist touches in Price Gilbert look great and the addition of a full cafe is very welcome. In other construction news, the Stamps Addition to the student center is completely gone and site clearance for the new student center south/east-facing wing is underway.
As for coronavirus case numbers, as per the surveillance testing results (which miss a few of the symptomatic tests conducted at Stamps, for the record), things continue to be on the right trajectory. The updated versions of the graphs I included last week can be seen below:
Top Content of Last Week:
- Florida State Recap
- Carter Reminisces on Lightning Game I (2009 @ FSU)
- Mailbag 9/9, particularly the restaurant analytics in the comments
This Week On the Flats:
Only two up this week, and those are football and cross country. One is (as always) must-watch TV and the other is can’t watch TV. So take the easy route and pick the football game. Unless you feel like driving to Athens. Even then, I’m not sure they’d let you in.
Season Preview - Cross Country:
This is perhaps YJR’s weakest sport, both in knowledge and coverage. I acknowledge this gap, and I really do go out of my way to find info on the cross country folks, but there’s not a ton of info to build off of, particularly in this odd COVID season. Interestingly, the men were picked to finish higher in the conference standings than the women, which is not something we’ve seen in recent years, with the men pegged at tenth and the women one spot behind them. In the last meet of last season, NCAA Regionals, the women finished fourth, while the men finished in fifth. This was about as expected for the men, but the women were a bit of a let down after their best finish in the better part of two decades in 2018, when they qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2001 and placed solidly in the top 30.
On the men’s side, look for Andrew Kent to be the leader of the team as a senior, as he had been running well last year, and, without old fast faces like Nahom Solomon and Avery Bartlett, he’s the next man up in terms of leadership. For the women, Nicole Fegans gets one more year, which is great, since she is almost certainly the fastest runner on the team. Other notables from the past two years include Liz Galaraza, Mary Kathryn Knott, and Claire Moritz.
As far as expectations for the Jackets go, well, I don’t have many. There are four meets this year, including the ACC Championship, so I think two accomplishments are reasonable. First, Tech should be able to go 2-1 in the regular season, with a loss to one of the other big schools (they face the Athenians, UAB, and Florida State) to be expected, and two not being out of the question. Additionally, it would be nice to finish above expectations from the Coaches Poll, since I think it underrates both teams, particularly the women. In a COVID-altered season, I’m not sure what else would be reasonable to ask for, but I think it’s a nice thing for these athletes that they at least get a season, even if it is shorter than expected.
Poll of the Week:
Which spring-dominant sport that also usually gets a few appearances in the fall will play in a game/match/series/invite first?
This poll is closed
Tennis (M or W)
I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts that may have gotten lost in the good news of football this weekend. What do you think about other sports returning? Are we ready for the hopeful eventual return of sweater weather? Is everyone tripping over themselves to be able to catch the return of Scions of the Southland this weekend? Let us know below.