ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Though it may have been the bye week for football, that had little bearing on the rest of the Flats, as many teams were in action in locales stretching from University Park, Pennsylvania to the lakes of Florida. Given that so many teams were in action this week, it is fitting that I finally debut a little something I have been tinkering with since last fall that I’ve tentatively been calling the Ratings Evaluation Composite Calculation, or RECC, which functions as a composite average of all rankings of all Tech sports (polls, computational rankings, etc.), subject to a confidence adjustment. This accounts for a lack on inclusion in polls (particularly top 25s) by allowing an associated adjustment downwards. The output is still being refined, but you can see the first public release below. Since I backronym-ed this into being called RECC, let’s say this the Ford 1929 Model A Roadster to the final goal of a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe, as I continue to work out the aesthetic kinks and the right balance to the confidence adjustment.
Dear reader, you probably look at that chart and have very little context as to what the heck the lines in the chart signify, and I wouldn’t blame you. How, for example, did Tech manage to leap 3 points higher in the adjusted rankings in the two weeks before any team even played a game? Well, you see, in the first week (ranking release dates are rounded to the Monday of the week they came out), only the football Coaches Poll and SP+ numbers had been released that I have recorded. I had found Massey numbers already posted, but those were lost to time when my computer crashed, which is a completely different story. Anyways, with Tech only appearing in one of those two rankings, the confidence was adjusted downwards accordingly, based on the percentage of rankings in which Tech appeared. The following week, with Tech volleyball in their AVCA Coaches Poll and Sagarin coming online for football, Tech was ranked in more polls, though absent from the AP Poll. Thus, the adjusted RECC — aRECC — grew more confident, even as the Sagarin rating brought the average as a whole down somewhat. Between poll releases, for those that are biweekly or monthly, the results are carried over until the next ranking, as long as the teams are in-season.
The week of August 30th, Tech added a solid Golf Coaches Poll result to the mix, along with a great Women’s Cross Country poll result, but Men’s Cross Country was not ranked. Thus, as the raw RECC went up 16 points, the gap also grew somewhat. More recently, this past week, preseason Massey rankings for the basketball teams and the preseason CSCAA Swimming Coaches Polls were added to the composite, increasing confidence and overall average, particularly from the Men’s Swimming and Diving and Women’s Basketball numbers. In addition, Golf’s Golfstat score (13) was recorded for the first time, while the Volleyball RPI cracked the top 10.
All of this is to say, there are a lot of factors at hand, and I’m still working on how best to balance it. One thought I’ve been giving particular credence to is averaging rankings by team, then averaging the averages, so additions like Golfstat or RPI midway through the season don’t cause so much change. Like I said, it’s a work in progress. For now, I think it is reasonable to use as an interesting talking point as a way to say that, even heading into a bye week, we saw some good improvement department-wide, and that it seems to be trending in a positive direction.
I’d be very curious to hear your impressions on the concept in the comments. Now, on to the specifics.
Overall: 15-3 / Last Week: 2-0
Polls - AVCA Coaches: 16
Nerd Stuff - RPI: 8 | Massey: 12
We said about as much last week on the podcast, but what Tech needs to do in the next phase of the schedule is get back to work as usual and take care of business. They did exactly that this week, sweeping both Clemson and Duke. I don’t have a ton to say about either game at a high level — I caught the latter in person — except that Tech played like the talented team that they are, and the crowd at the Duke game was another sellout, and very well-engaged with the game.
As far as gameplay goes, both games were sweeps, and, in the latter, the first set actually was pretty tight at the beginning. A healthy contingent of Duke fans made their presence known as the Blue Devils took an early two point lead, but, as Tech settled in, they kept themselves in the match early, enough that there was never a concern and eventually seized an opportunity to make a run. The Jackets were noticeably effective from the back up the middle today, and repeatedly used Mariana Brambilla and Julia Bergmann in this setup to effectively put the ball through the front Duke line, and often evaded Duke’s returners altogether.
This match was also notable across all three sets for very effective play by Erin Moss and Breland Morrissette, particularly in the middle at the net. The quick sub to bring in [insert specific sub of your choice, reader, but several times today it was Moss in particular] for a quick play and point was quite successful, as well.
Tech didn’t attack particularly well, statistically speaking, in the first set, hitting at just a .150 clip, but it was enough to be quite a bit better than Duke, who notably did not finish above .000 in any sets. Just as much as the match was about limiting mistakes for Tech and playing solidly, there wasn’t much Duke could do without having the attack to match Tech’s, which at this point is a very honed combination of both precision and power.
In the second, though, the attack was absolutely on fire. Even though Tech did win the first set by a very respectable 9 point margin, the second was, well, a clobbering. Tech won the set 25-10, but even on a casual glance at the box score, the attack percentage of .684 is eye-popping. Combine that with Duke dipping into the negative (-.071) due to errors, and, well, suddenly the quick set makes a lot more sense. It’s worth noting that only looking at attack percentage is a bit reductive, but it is usually pretty indicative, and, in this case here, absolutely worth a mention. It is not terribly surprising, I’m sure, to hear that Spoiler alert, it stayed above .400 in the third set.
I almost typed “last” instead of third up there, and, well, that wouldn’t be false, now, would it? The set played out similarly to the first, as Tech and Duke took a bit of jockeying to sort out the beginning of the set. However, as Tech got settled in, they were again started to go on a run. Duke was able to once again force a second set point as the match came down to a close, but it was too little, too late, and Tech won the third set 25-16.
Tech has sold every ticket available for every single one of their matches in the past month, and for good reason. They’ll hit the road this coming weekend for contests in Syracuse and Chestnut Hill.
Polls - W: 46
Polls - M: NR
Tech headed up to Pennsylvania to visit the Nittany Lions and friends for the weekend. In all, they had a very successful weekend, too, as the women finished second while the men finished fourth overall. The women were hot on the heels of a top ten Michigan team, while they also edged out well-regarded Penn State and Syracuse teams. The men finished leagues in front of a ranked Syracuse team, so that was great to see, as well. This all buries the lede on the individual performances, and, while James Cragin and his fourth place finish is excellent, Nicole Fegans won the whole dang thing on the women’s side. This is great to see, and hopefully some wrongs are righted in the polls this week.
it was a mixed bag of a weekend for men’s tennis, as they played Vanderbilt, Memphis, and North Carolina at the Commodore Invitational. On the whole, the men were relatively successful in doubles, sweeping the Tigers and led by the nation’s #8 pair, Marcus McDaniel and Andres Martin, but only that vaunted pair was on the winning side of the ledger against the Tar Heels and Commodores. Tech was 2-4 in singles in the second and third matches. In the Commodores’ match, the Jackets went 3-4. Notably, on the weekend, freshman Angél Guerrero Melgar won three singles matches. That, I would say, is a good sign!
This weekend, the other contingent of Racquet Jackets was in action in Florida for the ITA Regionals. On the weekend, Tech saw two singles and one doubles entries rech the Round of 16. In that round, the Tech doubles contingent, Ava Hrastar and Kylie Bilchev went to the wire against a pair from Miami, but ultimately fell 8-6. The two also represented the singles entries, where Hrastar suffered a slight upset in twin 6-3 sets by South Carolina’s Emma Shelton. Meanwhile, Bilchev rallied hard to take a one set lead on a top-15 Meg Kowalski from the school out East, but after a tough 6-4 loss in the next set, Kowalski cruised to a 6-1 third set, taking the match.
In fall exhibition, Tech hosted the Troy Trojans for a lengthy extra-innings-by-design affair. The Jackets were decidedly effective at the plate, having several frames cut off by length maxima, and giving up a few runs very late in the game, so the final score of 11-7 was definitely deceptive. In particular, the pitching from Marquis Grissom, Zach Maxwell, and Cort Roedig was effective, and Tech only walked a handful of guys in the long game. Seeing improved control out of the Tech staff would be an instant upgrade for the Jackets on the mound. At the plate, Andrew Jenkins hit two deep bombs, and on the basepaths, Chandler Simpson is the best and most legitimate base stealing threat Tech has had in quite some time. I hate to wish time away — there’s too much volleyball, basketball, and the like to enjoy in the meantime to want that — but I am quietly keeping my baseball excitement fresh in the back of my mind.
If you’ve never heard the name Chandler Simpson, that would be because he is a transfer fresh from UAB. Interestingly, that same UAB team will be visiting for Tech’s other exhibition next weekend. So there’s an interesting storyline, if you’re looking for one. Might I recommend getting your fill of baseball while you have the chance, though.
It is a bit of a bummer there hasn’t been much from the social media feeds or a recap on ramblinwreck.com, because, at least while I was there, Tech was looking pretty solid in their second doubleheader in the fall slate. After heading to South Carolina for a set of games, the Jackets hosted North Georgia for another pair. In the time this here writer was able to drop by Mewborn Field, which was decidedly packed, the Jackets were able to amass a 6-0 lead as the game headed to the sixth. The bats were effective, and so was the pitching. Given that the Jackets host Emory on Friday night, a fun crosstown concept, perhaps I will join the rather sizable throng that showed up on what a gorgeous afternoon Sunday on the Flats. Keep that game circled if you want to catch any softball before springtime.
In the Club House:
Focusing on the action on the ice, this weekend, Tech played one game, and it was a road rematch with the school out East. After the Reck took the ice in the home leg, it looks like Uga got in on the action for this edition. Unlike the previous edition, this time the Jackets proved triumphant, as they held on to convert a 4-1 lead into a 4-3 win.
Upon a far too quick glance at the social media for this team, I was initially disappointed. No posts with scores had been made from their tournament trip to Clemson. However, they were far too busy winning the whole dang thing to need things like score graphics. Tech was given a draw of UCF, Kentucky, and the hosts split between Friday and Saturday, and were able to qualify for the tournament play on Sunday, despite a 2-0 loss to Clemson in pool play. Tech had shut out the other two pool opponents 1-0 and 2-0 respectively, and blanked North Carolina 3-0 on the way to a rematch with the Tigers in the championship. Tech clearly made the right adjustments going into the final as they cruised to a 4-1 win to come home with the title.
Swimming hosted their invite this weekend, featuring Florida State, Radford, Chattanooga, Emory, and Georgia State. The meet was a quick one, and a perusal of Meet Mobile indicates that having the majority of entries likely helped the Jackets on their way to their home meet win. Having spent some time in the press box for this one, I can say that Tech looks about as solid as every, and that Florida State has also put down probably some of the most impressive individual performances of the meet. All in all, it’s certainly a long way to Nationals in the spring at McAuley, and the next step on that road is next week at Clemson. With likely more teams at the meet, there will probably more to discern from those results than this weekend, too.
10/23 — at Virginia
10/22 — at Syracuse
10/24 — at Boston College
10/22-24 — Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate
10/21-24 — ITA Regionals, Gainesville, FL
Swimming and Diving:
10/23 — Florida Stat
10/23 — UAB
10/22 — Emory
10/24 — vs. Georgia Southern