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Mailbag 9/2

A Georgia Tech Quidditch Team?

A mockup of the ‘quidditch’ field of the film ‘Harry Potter... Photo by Jesus Merida/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Make a Quidditch roster of all Georgia Tech greats: 5 Chasers (3 starters, 2 reserves), 4 Beaters (2 starters, 2 reserves), 2 Keepers (1 starter, 1 reserve), 2 Seekers (1 starter, 1 reserve), and what houses are the players in?

Ben: Man, I don’t even know where to start with this. I’m not super familiar with Quidditch (or the abilities needed to succeed at each position), but I’ll take a shot at a starting line-up:

Chasers: Clinton Lynch, Robbie Godhigh, Juanyeh Thomas

Beaters: Phillip Wheeler, Tariq Carpenter

Keeper: Jemea Thomas

Seeker: Justin Thomas

Levi: “I wish I had a whole team of Brad Stewarts!”

Nishant: It’s finally my time to shine. Here we go. (Addendum: I was gonna do houses at the end but I’m out of energy, so I’m just gonna say they’re all Hufflepuff because it’s the best house.)

  • Chasers: The key skills here are throwing accuracy, catching ability, and agility/evasion, with throwing power and straight-line speed as bonuses. The heart of my chaser group will be Joe Hamilton and Justin Thomas, a pair of dual-threat quarterbacks who have the arms to score from range and the athleticism to avoid defenders and Bludgers alike. Joining them will be Kelly Campbell, whose speed and chemistry with Hamilton should pay dividends—he won’t do a lot of scoring himself but offers a fast and dependable option for moving the ball around on offense whenever Hamilton and Thomas get bogged down. (Reserves: Robbie Godhigh to have another versatile player who can weave through traffic, and Monique Mead because hey, as far as I know, there’s nothing in the rules that says you have to throw the ball instead of just whacking it)
  • Beaters: It’s all about hitting power and accuracy here, with speed as a bonus for getting into position for a strike. The starting spots go to Jen Yee and Jason Varitek, who were almost certainly the best college hitters to suit up for Tech’s softball and baseball teams, respectively. Yee has nearly unmatched accuracy in directing her hits, which will help her put Bludgers on target, and Varitek combines good raw power with great leadership ability. He’s the captain of the team and she’s arguably its best player—not a bad tandem. (Reserves: Mark Teixeira and Irina Falconi, another pair of Tech legends in sports that involve hitting a projectile)
  • Keeper: Given the importance of reach and reaction time... this might seem unorthodox, but I’m rolling with Calvin Johnson. He has fantastic size and proved during his career that he can get to any ball, which seems pretty ideal for a Keeper. Plus, being able to catch the Quaffle instead of merely deflecting it is a nice way of preventing rebounds from ending badly. It hardly needs to be said that Megatron would also make a fantastic Chaser; I have him starting here because this feels like where he can do the most good, but if the team is struggling to score as a game drags on or Chaser injuries pile up, he can move up to the scoring line and let his capable backup take over in goal. (Reserve: Alvin Jones, who averaged 3.4 blocks a game over his basketball career, and I want at least one reliable shot blocker at this position)
  • Seeker: Honestly, even a cursory dive into the rules of Quidditch reveals that the sport was hastily cobbled together to make the main character of the story seem even more important. With that in mind, there are three things that matter most for a seeker: speed, reaction time, and—by far most importantly—the hero factor. The last one means Clint Castleberry is the natural pick to anchor Tech’s squad. (Reserve: I dunno. I’m too tired to think about this anymore. Ahmarean Brown has the speed to be a good seeker, so let’s give it to him)

Jake: I am enlisting my much more knowledgeable-on-the-subject-of-Quidditch girlfriend to inform me on how best to proceed. One second.




Okay. So, if I understand correctly, chasers have to be fast and able to throw. Beaters have to hit. Sounds like a vintage CPJ blocking receiver to me. Someone call Brad Stewart. I wish I had a whole team of Brad Stewarts. Or something. I digress. Keepers are basically goalies. Someone get me the club lacrosse/soccer/hockey rosters, stat. The seeker is a speedy guy with a good eye. Alright, here’s what I got.

Chasers (3/2): Joe Hamilton, Calvin Johnson, Stumpy Thomason, Everett Strupper, and Leonard Wood. On Wood, who I choose to be the team captain - “If he can beat [Athens], he can beat Slytherin.” And since he nearly-single handedly did that, drove the Spaniards out of Cuba, and ran two different places that are now their own countries, I think he could handle a Quidditch team (“AND Oliver Wood was the captain in Harry Potter! He was the best one, easily.”). As for the rest, well, Joe can throw and Calvin can catch, and each of them are some of the best to ever do it on the Flats, so I presume that they can do the other thing good enough to make this squad. As for Thomason, he wrangled a bear pretty darn well, and also won a Rose Bowl, and Strupper ran circles around the entire southeast despite not really being able to hear. Now that’s determination.

Beaters (2/2): Mark Teixeira, Jen Yee, Tom Angley, and Jason Varitek. Who are these folks? Well, they hit stuff with sticks. And since I am told it’s best to hit it right at people on the other team, naturally, I picked the baseball and softball team’s top players of all time at...hitting not right at the other team. But I’m sure Jen and Tom can figure that out, they were good. Also, if you’re wondering who Tom Angley is, well, I just found out about him, too. He played for the Jackets from 1925-27 and batted .436. Yee’s was similarly gaudy. As for Varitek, he’s the all-time leader in hits for baseball, while Teixeira is Teixeira. We all know who he is.

Keepers (1/1): Ben Lammers and Kodie Comby. Ben Lammers could block better than anyone, AND he knew mechanical engineering AND angles! Wow! ESPN sure did layman’s work finding that one out. Plus, this is an equal opportunity Quidditch team, so it makes sense to have one of the best middle blockers in all of the NCAA last year guarding the big round hoops on sticks. I’m learning!

Seekers (1/1): Clint Castleberry and Bill Fincher. Castleberry, well, he could have been the best to ever play the game. Fincher? Well, I only said they had to have one eye, didn’t I?

Akshay: I also choose Jake’s girlfriend’s answer. I’m impressed that she allowed him to get his usual level of esoteric.

Jeff: Have you ever seen the movie “The Interns?” There is a scene where each team of interns has to play a Quidditch tournament. The characters played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn stare confused and dumbfounded. That’s me for this question but some of the scenes were filmed at Tech and one of the inters was a Tech grad in the movie so she can be on the team.

Assuming a full season of football is played this year, how many of Tech’s seniors do you predict to come back to use their extra season of eligibility?

Ben: I think it will vary from senior to senior. Take David Curry for example. The man’s already been in school for six years, maybe he’s had enough? I don’t know, but I would be surprised if they all came back.

Levi: I assume everyone will use their extra eligibility unless they are a sure-fire pick for the draft. Ryan Johnson and Antonneous Clayton are both RS Seniors that would make the draft. Ryan Johnson is a solid starter from Tennessee with 3 years under his belt and Antonneous could have a monster year. Tariq Carpenter falls on the fence, he might choose to chance it in the draft. Tariq is a late rounder at present so if he has a breakout year, expect him to enter the draft.

Every other Senior should and will take their eligibility, barring injury*

Robert: My guess on who might return: Brooks, Carpenter, Harvin, Ryan Johnson, Defoor, and Owens.

Akshay: The other guys have actually answered your question, but I think it’s also important to note that while these seniors may get another year of eligibility, they may not be on scholarship (at least, that’s what I understand from what happened this spring when this went in place for those sports and the NCAA rulings). The transfer market is going to be wild this offseason.

Jake: I also choose Akshay’s answer. I’m impressed that he allowed himself to not even really answer your question.

Jeff: I could see a lot of seniors who don’t have NFL ability to actually move on as they try to settle into careers. Though I am sure Curry will try to be the first player to gain a Doctorate on an athletic scholarship.

Will our running backs combine for over 2.5k yards rushing this season?

Ben: If it were an ordinary season, I would say yes, but I don’t think it happens this season.

Levi: Yes actually, we have the best stable of runningbacks in a long time. And I was around for Jonathan Dwyer, Roddy Jones, and Embry Peeples. 2.5k for a single back would be ridiculous, but I think our RB carousel will actually work.

Robert: I’ll take the under; there will be 5-10 Qb carries a game, and I expect passing attempts to slightly tick up. I’d guess around 2100 yards for RBs.

Carter: That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Akshay: Ehhhhh, that would be ~227 rush yards per game split across ~3 RBs and a dual-threat QB. If you think about this from the perspective of “can each of four players get ~57 rush yards per game?”, it’s definitely possible — but is it likely? I’m not entirely sure. Like Robert, I’m betting the total will sit somewhere around 2000 yards.

Jeff: I’ll say it could be done for the sake that we picked up some teams who aren’t the best defensive teams in the nation.

Will someone on the defense have 7 plus sacks this season?

Ben: Man, I wish. I think there’s a better chance of it this year than in years past, but I still don’t know for sure that anyone hits seven this season.

Levi: That’s enough to get drafted. Only Antonneous has the potential. or maybe, Sylvain Youdjouen.

Robert: I’ve been on the Jordan Domineck hype train all summer; I’ll pick him.

Carter: Yeah, that’d be really nice..... really nice..... //sighs deeply

Jeff: Patrick Gamble was the last to get that many back in 2016. Clayton is the only one right now that has the potential unless there is some serious development.

Chicken sammich on the run: Popeyes or Chic Fil A or _____ ?

Ben: Probably CFA, but Popeyes is also really good.

Levi: Chick-fil-A on the run? It has an advantage, it’s steam-powered.

Carter: I’ve heard really good things about the Popeye’s chicken sandwich. I’ll have to pop over to the one over on Boulevard and Ponce now that the hype has died down.

Jake: Honesty time, I haven’t had the Popeye’s sandwich yet, because I am someone who sees what everyone else is doing and refuses to do it. I still have not seen Guardians of the Galaxy, because the rest of the marching band in high school would not shut up about it. Though, on the whole “high school marching band” thing, we as a drumline were rather obsessed with Popeye’s, so it’s probably time to check it out. That said, honesty time, my name in the Tech Swim Club GroupMe right now is “Chick fil Bae” so I don’t think it would change my answer.

Jeff: I am about to commit a Southern Culture Sacrilege but the Popeyes sandwich is better. Its cheaper than the Chic Fil A, it’s a chicken breast on steroids so a lot more food, and if you get the spicy one it comes with a sauce that better than anything Chic Fil A gives you. Here is a real curve ball for you though, WnB Factory has one called the #NotClosedSunday Chicken Sandwich and it is the best.

Thoughts on new Madden?

Levi: I have bought every Madden every year since “25”. The new Madden is great, they made tiny improvements and covered every fan suggestion. Therein lies the problem, the game feels like a patch, very stale. $60 bucks for the new Falcons uniforms is enough for me, but irks some folks.

Jeff: I haven’t played any of the newer Maddens in a while. Mainly because they keep dumping all their time into the MUT mode to leech all your money. Don’t take my word for it though, it set the record as worst Metacritic score ever.

All I want is a Tech Gold adidas track suit. When will I be able to buy one?

Ben: Beg the adidas gods like the rest of us when we want new merch

Levi: Did you really come to us first before seeking professional help?

Chau: LOL, good luck.

Carter: Given the amount and quality of gear adidas has provided us over the past two years, the magic 8-ball says “don’t count on it”.

Akshay: Quite a fashion statement you’re hankerin’ for there.

Jake: The day adidas starts offering real merchandise to us 1) they will sell out, because the demand has been so very repressed and 2) pigs will fly, because at this rate it’s never going to happen. It’s infuriating! I love the football guys, but not even the other programs seem to have some of the stuff they get. And even then, the odds that you, dear reader, are a varsity athlete, are slim to none. So we wait. In the meantime, I settled for a navy Arena Tech set of warmups in the meantime.

Jeff: When you graduate from SCAD in fashion design and pay Tech for use of the logo and Tech gold.

What are the chances of Nebraska, Ohio State, and Iowa trying to play somebody this season, despite threats to kick them out of the Big 10? Alternatively, would they just look to leave the conference?

Ben: Well, since the Big Ten is talking about getting back into football, I would say it’s not super likely. But I think it is super likely that these teams trying to play someone anyway helped spur the actions taken by the Big Ten.

Levi: Oh, I love this theory. Allegedly, Nebraska started a movement for a single NCAA Commissioner. They do have multiple points and imagine if Ohio State and the others threatened to leave the Big Ten? It would be like the time Texas threw their weight around in the Big 12 negotiations. A conference would absolutely accept them. It would be chaos.

Robert: My (without sourcing or evidence prediction): 8 of the Big Ten teams start a season back sometime in October with the hope that Ohio State will still be able to make the playoff.

Jake: Please give them the old Michigan treatment (Michigan will say they walked out, but that’s wrong), because that would be exquisite. I get that it stinks not to play, but the conference is as the conference does. If the ACC did the same, it would have been the right thing to do to respect that.

Akshay: The B1G would absolutely kick out programs that attempt to negotiate with schools outside the confines of the Grant of Rights agreement signed by all 14 programs. All three of those schools would lose an unconscionable amount of money if they left the B1G, to the point where an administrator batting around the idea should probably question their sanity. Each program was paid $55 million from the conference’s sponsorship and TV deals in 2019, and out of the three schools mentioned, only Ohio State could put a dent in that loss on the balance sheet via other partnerships, merch sales, etc. TL;DR: 0%; no. However, I will admit that I am a glutton for realignment drama...

Jake again: Let’s just do an ungrounded vamp on realignment, that sounds fun.

Jeff: The B1G is already trying to do an about face because they came to realize that only the PAC12 is their whipping boy. No one is leaving that conference though because as Akshay said, it would be financial suicide. It is the largest payout in college sports since the SEC is still tied to a CBS contract that is outdated. Though when the SEC does renews it media rights lets just kick out Vandy and add in Ohio State.