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Mailbag 10/6

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Can Georgia Tech win the remainder of its games this season?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Mayhem at MBS - North Carolina at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I have already heard the sigh of relief, including my own, its Duke this weekend. Could this be a trap game or are you anxiety free for this game? - gtbadcarma

Ben: This game absolutely has the potential to be a trap game. Obviously last Saturday wasn’t great, but I’m also starting to think that Pitt’s game against Western Michigan was a fluke and that they are actually a pretty good team. Duke, on the other hand, is not a great team. They have wins over powerhouses like NC A&T, Northwestern and Kansas. I think Gunner Holmberg has been fine, but not great. Mataeo Durant could be a problem. The starting running back for the Blue Devils has put together a solid season so far, averaging six yards a carry with eight touchdowns. Even in last week’s loss to UNC, Durant was the highlight of the team, rushing for over 100 yards.

Watching his highlights from that game, Durant is able to diagnose what’s happening at the line and find holes and then take that quick cut and shoot right through it. He didn’t break off a big enough run to really show any top end speed, but Tech’s defense will need to make sure they are keeping those gaps plugged. Honestly, since they are more run focused, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more 4-3 looks on defense.

Logan: Given what we’ve seen in the games thus far this year, I wouldn’t go into any game expecting it to be anxiety free. I also wouldn’t expect any team we are facing to go into a game against us anxiety free. Its the ACC, anything can happen.

Sammy: I felt anxiety heading into the Kennesaw State game. I definitely feel anxiety heading into this game.

Chris: TRAP GAME

Stephen:

Carter: When was the last time a Georgia Tech football game didn’t give you anxiety? I want to feel like Chris wants to feel. It’s been ages.

Jake: I choose to enjoy a fall break in the mountains. I choose happiness.

Drew: This game is also only the second road game of the year. I was actually still fairly confident until I saw the spread, and then I got nervous. It was much lower than I thought it would be.

Akshay: Tech preparing for this game is kinda like Wile E. Coyote planning an elaborate scheme to capture the elusive Roadrunner. Will his gambit work this time? Well....we’ll find out, I guess.

Is georgia as good as they appear or are they fraudulent? - Ramblin_Illini

Ben: So coming into last weekend, I thought Arkansas would have a chance to make them honest. They proceeded to get shut out 37-0. I don’t know that their offense is amazing, but they have the best defense in the country, and I think this is the best Georgia team in recent memory.

Logan: Fraudulent in what sense? I would say they are definitely good, hard to argue against them being a top team in the country. Are they really the second best team in the country? Well of the two teams they played that were supposedly decent (Clemson and Arkansas) one has shown they can’t move the ball on offense at all and the other showed that if you shutdown their run game, their QB can’t carry them (I’ll let you choose which is which). As much as it pains me to say it, the athens contingent of the state is pretty good, but lets wait till they face a decent team before we just assume they’re #2 in the country.

Sammy: They’re really good. The offense can be inconsistent, but their defense is going to keep them close in any game they play. The only team that legitimately stands in their way is Bama, and losing to them wouldn’t qualify the team as fraudulent in my mind. It’s about damn time though, they get 57 five-stars every single recruiting class...

Chris: They are VERY good. I still feel like Bama is better and that someone like Ohio State could take a swing at them, but they are easily a top 3 team minimum.

Stephen: Andy Staples at one point in their podcast feed brought up the stat that this iteration of uga has more 5 star players than any team since recruiting rankings became a thing. So, yeah, it’s safe to say they’re pretty good.

Carter: Georgia played the #6 team last weekend and made them look like most teams make Vanderbilt look. Think they’re pretty good.

Jake: I want them to be bad, I don’t think that makes them bad. I have accepted fate.

Drew: They’re unfortunately good. The good news is that I still think they’re a level behind Alabama. I could absolutely envision a scenario where they lose to Florida and then to Alabama in the title game and miss the playoffs.

Akshay: They’re good — certifiably so — but there’s a weird semi-paradox with them that I’m feeling that I have to put on paper to explain: I’m not convinced that they have figured out the whole “passing offense” thing because 1) they haven’t thrown entirely effectively on a defense worth its salt and 2) when they have the opportunity to throw the ball against a defense worth its salt, they prefer to power-run instead (see: Arkansas). The entire conceit of this season for them comes down to the SEC championship (regardless of the Cocktail Party result), and everyone and their mother knows that Athens will need to be able to throw the ball to win. However, they’ve refused to do it in the few games that matter before then, and thus, I remain unconvinced that they will be able to do it versus Alabama.

I know last year was a one off with not playing COFH but this rivalry feels really stale as of late. Does COFH have any bearing on if CGC lasts any longer here? I.e. if we by some miracle snag a win over georgia can that save his reputation at Tech? The old school mentality was that a 1-11 season with the win being over georgia was good enough but I get the sense this game is less and less significant nowadays. - Ramblin_Illini

Ben: I wouldn’t be upset if Tech stopped playing Georgia. It’s not really a competitive series, and Tech already has to face Clemson every year.

Logan: Not everyone shares the same opinion. In my mind, YES, ABSOLUTELY YES. Think about how good it felt getting a close loss against Clempson and think about the good feeling of blowing out UNC. The reason the rivalry feels stale is because GT isn’t taken seriously by uga and GT fans struggle to be motivated for the matchup when they feel like we have no chance of winning. If we pulled an upset and ruined uga’s chances for a Championship, that would add some new fire to the rivalry for sure. It’s hard to view the situation outside of the emotions of the moment, I think if that happened at the end of another mediocre year and we beat a highly ranked uga team, then Collins buys himself more time regardless of my opinion of him up to that point.

Sammy: Since we’ve fallen into a well of mediocrity over the past few decades, I’ve come to accept being the gnat (or yellow jacket, if you please) that constantly annoys Georgia at the end of every year. CPJ’s record of 3-8 against the dwags was very impressive all things considered, and quite honestly, he should have won two more. If CGC fails to win or compete in that game consistently, it has to be part of the conversation.

Chris: I don’t want to stop playing them, but I don’t think the game should have any influence over how CGC is treated (at least for five years or so). If we get to a point where we consistently win 9+ games but still can only beat them once every 5-6 years then I think it’s part of the conversation, but until we’re at that point I think it’s a non-factor.

Stephen: what Chris said.

Carter: Three years ago I was firmly on the side of maintaining the rivalry no matter what. Then last year happened, and the two teams didn’t play, and you know what? I felt a huge sense of relief. It was nice not having to think about playing them. The gap is further than it’s ever been. I’m okay with giving it a break. I am not going to humor the thought of Collins pulling out a win at this juncture.

Jake: I’m with Carter. Rotate ‘em with Auburn and Vandy and Tennessee every few years. The “for old times’ sake” week.

Drew: I strongly disagree. Play them every year. Just don’t give that game too much influence on your decision making. The best way to consistently beat them is to have a team that is consistently good. One game isn’t a good determinant if a team is or will be consistently good.

Akshay: While Drew’s point re: one game not being a determinant of a season is entirely sound, I find it important to note that even if Tech gets back to competitive status in that rivalry, it will suffer from the “Michigan problem”: the hated rival is operating at such a historically-good level that it just doesn’t matter how good the program is. Case in point: Michigan has been a consistent 9-win program under Harbaugh, but he’s on the hot seat because of his failure to beat Ohio State, who is recruiting and performing at a historic clip after Urban Meyer’s tenure.

Re: the continuation of the series — it’s a moot point to me; the all-but-guaranteed creation of college football Super League in the next two decades will take this game off of the schedule for us, regardless of whether any of us want it to be removed or not.

Question for the Falcons fans on the staff: How do y’all feel about Kenny Pickett? Our terrible defense aside, he looks really good. Does he have serious draft prospects? - thebugman10

Ben: I’m not the Falcons fan I once was; I tend to follow them more passively than anything now. I think the Falcons should wait for a quarterback they absolutely love, not just some guy who might be higher up the rankings. That team has so many other issues, they really just need to commit to a rebuild.

Logan: Aren’t there a few good options out there? Why are you honing in on Kenny Pickett? I think Pickett is a good option (not the best, but good) and might go in a later draft round if not the late first round. The Falcons should probably focus on O-line before they bring in a new QB who will need to run for his life from opposing D-lines. If you’re stuck on QB, the Falcons will probably have somewhere between the 3rd to 8th draft pick on the year (behind Detroit and the Jags, in the mix with Jets, Houston, Indy, The Giants, and a few others). I don’t know if the Falcons have traded their pick (I’m not a Falcons fan I just like rambling about things), but that should put them in a spot to take a top QB. Desmond Ridder from Cincy and Jayden Daniels at Arizona State are getting a lot of hype, They might be good targets if Falcons spend a top pick on a QB. To the original question, the Falcons could do worse than Kenny Pickett, but Pickett currently sits pretty far down the draft board so I don’t see him ending up with the Falcons unless they decide to invest in O-Line early and pick up a QB in a later round.

Sammy: I don’t really like any of the QBs that will be coming out of college this year. At least not for the Dirty Birds. Call me crazy, but I still feel we missed our chance with Justin Fields...

Akshay: I am a Matt Ryan apologist, but even I am not blind to his cap hit. The smart thing for the Falcons to do would have been to commit to the rebuild and either:

1) Keep Ryan and trade the fourth overall pick for a king’s ransom of picks to another team needing a quarterback in a quarterback-rich draft, OR

2) Trade Ryan, get rid of his cap hit, and draft a quarterback with the fourth overall pick.

Either of these options would have provided enough capital to bolster positions of need on both sides of the ball and secure the services of a talented quarterback. The Falcons chose to do neither, and that’s bearing out in the results.

Unfortunately I think uga is the best team in the country, and I also think they win it all this year. I’m not sure if I could continue to live in this state if that happens. My wife likes Charleston, so does anyone have any job connections up there? - thebugman10

Ben: I don’t, but I’m probably going to be taking a vacation to Charleston in the next year or so, and I’m super excited for it.

Logan: Alabama and Nick Saban would disagree with your assessment. Speaking of, Tuscaloosa is a pretty nice area to live with a high growth rate, maybe check it out.

Sammy: I fear the same. I may need to move back to B1G country if that happens.

Stephen: Be a martyr. Stay in Georgia.

Carter: South Carolina isn’t going to be far enough to save you.

Jake: Might I interest you in the North?

Akshay: It’ll be time to quit college football and commit to non-rev sports and soccer full-time.

Did I read the box score correctly that Georgia Tech’s offense had more total yardage than Clemson? If I am correct when was the last time that happened? - YankeeJacket

Ben: SullyGT beat me to it, but yes and 2014. The issue with the Clemson game this year is the same issue Tech ran into against Pitt. They could get the ball to the redzone, but they couldn’t finish drives.

Logan: Ben gave the answer you needed. I would like to add, obviously part of this is on the offense being able to move the ball (outside of the redzone) but I feel the defense deserves some recognition for keeping us in close games. Defense has gotten some flak from me in the past, I’m not saying they’re the best defense in the land but I want to give credit where credit is due.

Sammy: We’ve outgained every opponent this year except Pitt.

Chris: Just against Clemson or in general? We do a couple times a year in general. Twice in 2020 and once in 2019.

Akshay: Others have actually answered the question, but I wanted to add: more important than outgaining the opponent in aggregate is outgaining them on a per-play basis. Out of the games this season I do have data for, Tech did this in all but one: the aforementioned game at Clemson (but the difference is 0.08 yards/play, so somewhat negligible).

Why does our offense stall out in the red zone? Part of me feels like we’ve tried everything to punch the ball in and part of me feels like we haven’t done enough. What can we do in terms of schemes/playcalling to get over the hump? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Ben: It all starts up front. I think the offensive line is better than it was when Geoff and Co. got here, but it’s far from good. Sims is also not confident about making passes over the middle of the field, so we don’t see them very often. Ideally, they just stop trying to run it straight up the middle when they know that the offensive line can’t get push. It’s hard in the redzone, but you have to do what you can to get players in space.

Logan: I think there is a mentality given where our talent is on offense that we can just run the ball in. Unfortunately the O-line is not our best unit and that works against us when we try to get a push to get the ball in. Despite many people wanting us to “Just run the ball”, once the defense gets to work in a smaller space that lets them stack up instead of spreading out so the defense can focus on getting through the O-line and stop the run. Ben makes a good point about struggles over the middle, maybe more misdirection plays or plays involving an outside rollout out would be beneficial.

Sammy: I’ve noticed success when we stay up-tempo. On Saturday, and at other points in the season, costly penalties have slowed the offense down in the red zone and given the defense a chance to catch its breath. So stopping that would help for sure.

Chris: 1. Can’t punch it in with the OL. 2. Our strength is talent in the open field and there is less open field in the red zone.

Stephen: Be like Stanford. Spam fade routes until successful and claim your process works perfectly.

Austin: Inside the 10 yard line we shrink our playbook and essentially only run the “Goal Line” package from NCAA. It’s almost exclusively standard plays that everyone sees coming. Would love to see us try to catch the defense off balance, a la the shovel pass from the Clemson game.

Drew: I think one thing that hasn’t been mentioned is Jordan Yates. To me it seems like Yates feasts on the easy decisions. He loves the wide open short pass or the scramble when there’s no defenders near him. When you get in the red zone the field shrinks. Defenders are closer to the receivers and the line of scrimmage. You sometimes have to make a tight pass or commit to the scramble and make defenders miss. Yates seemed to struggle with that. Sims is a better runner and is a more aggressive passer. It didn’t pan out against Pitt, but I think with Sims in the red zone offense will improve.

Akshay: Others touched on the need for better offensive line play in the compressed field, but I want to add: last season in the NFL, Green Bay made a big deal out of running their regular offense in the red-zone, and it led to a lot of success. To me, that should be Tech’s strategy: don’t get cute where it matters, just run your normal offense.

It seems as if our pass rush out of the 3-3-5, which was extremely disruptive against unc and solid against climpsun (as was the defense as a whole in both games), got stonewalled against Pittsburgh. When would you like to see Andrew Thacker go from an odd front like the 3-3-5 to a more traditional 4-2-5 or (dare I say) 4-3 even front? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Ben: I don’t know that I know enough strategy-wise to say when a 3-man front would be advantageous over a 4-man front or vice-versa, but I think Tech has one really good linebacker in Charlie Thomas and two good ones in Ace Eley and Quez Jackson, so the more you can get all three on the field, the better.

Logan: I’m with Ben. The Linebacker core is probably the strongest part of our defense right now. They are versatile and can fill many gaps on the defense. I feel that it is more beneficial to keep as many of our talented line backers on the field than to put an extra rusher on the line to attempt getting a better rush in the backfield. A 4-3 could be beneficial, but where we really got burned against Pitt was in 1 on 1 coverage, especially with our safeties on slot receivers. I’m not a scheme expert but I think having 5 players in the secondary can make it easier to mix up coverages and may allow us to get some different unexpected blitzes off. I know it didn’t work as we would’ve liked last week, but it has been pretty good other than that one blow out. I don’t see a point to switch from the 3-3-5 yet, but if we lose to Duke and get blown out by Miami my mind might start to change.

Sammy: The blitzing from the second level on Saturday looked very predictable. There didn’t appear to be much movement pre-snap and rarely did it seem like the defensive line was twisting or stunting into different gaps. I think we were scared of Pickett’s escapability and sacrificed additional pressure to keep a body spying on him in the middle (good strategy, just ended up wasting it because the line/other linebackers couldn’t get pressure, allowing Pickett to stand there and find open receivers).

Stephen: I don’t think we’ve got the bodies to try and stay in a 4 DL setup long term, especially up the middle.

Austin: Like Sammy said, the issue Saturday wasn’t so much in the 3-3-5 front as the pressures we chose to deploy. It felt like blitzers were attacking the blocker rather than the ball, a major departure from the past couple of games. Perhaps it was their attempt to keep Pickett contained, but it was a very passive approach that hopefully won’t be seen again. 3-3-5 gets the most athletes on the field for us, just a matter of using them effectively.

Drew: I’d agree that our blitzing didn’t seem very good, but Pitt’s offensive line has been very good all year. They’ve got four experienced seniors in the group. UNC and Clemson have struggled up front all year. We could (and did) rush three against UNC and get some pressure on Howell within 3.5-4 seconds. Pickett could have stood back there all day if he wanted to. I’d love to see some more creative blitzes and stunts and moving around linemen to get pressure, but I think most offensive lines we see for the rest of the year will be more like UNC than Pitt.

What we have is a team that can be great. Not a team that is great at this present juncture but a team that, as the season continues to progress, can and will be great. How are we tracking against this sentiment (foolishly optimistic as it may be)? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Ben: It comes across as a team that is incredibly inconsistent and unable to put together back-to-back wins. The more that Tech is unable to show any kind of consistency, the harder it is for that to sit well. A lot of folks are already impatient. If you continue to fail to show any kind of consistency, you’re just going to keep losing folks.

Logan: I walk away feeling optimistic from a conference standpoint. Like we could win any of the remaining games we have inside the ACC. I think that says more about the conference than it does about GT. Consistency would help. If we could win 2 games in a row and get over the 3 win ceiling I would certainly feel much better. At the present juncture I feel decent, not proud but not ashamed to be a GT fan. I wouldn’t go so far that we will be great, there’s plenty of season left and things could get much better or much worse as things go on. I am hopeful though, so that is better than I felt after our first loss.

Sammy: Trust me, if we would have won on Saturday, I would be beating the Coastal Champs drum like a madman. Even if we would have kept the game close/respectable, I would not feel as differently as I do right now. I share your foolish optimism at times, and still think there is a very realistic path to 6-7 wins, but it all starts with a strong performance this weekend (the next five games are all winnable in my opinion).

Chris: I agree. My expectations at this point are: 3+ more wins this year and no more losses by more than 14 points (maybe UGA excluded).

Austin: I sent out two tweets that really sum up what it felt like to be a Tech fan Saturday.

The first came out soon after Jeff Sims’ first interception, and was full of hope.

The second came after our second half touchdown, and was not.

Do I believe we can beat every team (sans uga) left on our schedule? Absolutely I do. Do I believe we will? For my own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those that love and care about me, I absolutely cannot believe that we will. It’s the hope that kills you, folks.

Carter: It’s so hard for me to care right now. Every Saturday we wake up and Georgia Tech football does the exact opposite of what it’s expected to do. I felt extremely optimistic about the season following the blowout in the Benz and then Tech completely wet the bed against a Pitt team it’s simply not 31 points worse than. It’s absolutely exhausting. Is there talent there? Absolutely, you can see it — flashes of it. But this team is not great, and promises of greatness get stale when there’s no delivery on them.

Jake: I’d take consistency over greatness at this point, to be honest.

Akshay: I have to agree with this part of Carter’s soliloquy here: “It’s absolutely exhausting.” It’s frustrating to watch Tech put together a complete game where they really look like a bowl (or better!) team and then go back to making some of the same mistakes we’ve seen for three years in the span of a single week. Everyone here is saying the same thing, and I’m going to reiterate it: this team shows flashes of talent and prowess, but it struggles to string those flashes into a single lightning bolt. Tech is going to need that lightning bolt and others of its ilk to strike and strike repeatedly if it wants to be great.

Is it weird that I still think we can win every game remaining except uga? I think what we’ve learned so far this season is that while we might not be a good team, we are capable of being a good team. - thebugman10

Ben: It’s not going to happen, but I don’t think it’s impossible. If we see the Georgia Tech that we got against UNC, I think this is easily a bowl team, especially since it’s proving to be a down year for the ACC.

Logan: It’s not weird. I agree it’s possible. It’s hard to see because we’ve been through the past 2 or 3 years, but it is possible given what we’ve seen this year from both GT and the rest of the ACC (and ND I guess). So no, its not weird.

Sammy: Hey! I already kinda answered this above. If Tech wins convincingly against Duke, I’ll feel a lot better about it, but it’s certainly doable. ND almost lost to FSU so there’s also that... They’re clearly beatable.

Chris: Not super weird no. I wrote about this last week, but no one on our remaining conference schedule is intimidating on their own and Notre Dame has shown cracks. The problem is us, not the other teams.

Carter: Don’t do this to yourself.

Austin: See my answer above.

Jake: The rollercoaster of emotions that I, too, have been on. It is exhausting, all this feeling. So I wouldn’t say you’re weird, no.

Drew: GT could win any game in that stretch, but I don’t think they can win every game in that stretch. You usually have to be a good team to rail off 6 straight against mediocre competition and I don’t think this team has shown themselves to be that good.

Akshay: Tech could win any of those games, but it could also lose any of those games. I’m saying this in the most positive and mentally-healthy way possible (for both of our sakes): try to go into these next few games without any expectations.

Conspiracy Theory Time: ESPN seems to be giving more and more time and space on their website to Top 25 teams to the exclusion of everyone else (for example, the all-conference beats are long gone). Is this part of ESPN’s efforts to create a CFB superleague, possibly out of the SEC? The Big XII is already calling shenanigans on ESPN. - jabsterjacket

Ben: Money talks. ESPN is going to do whatever they can to make money, and talking about the best and highest ranked teams in the country is going to get them more money than talking about the UConns of the College Football World. I don’t think ESPN is trying to create a CFB superleague. I think they’re just trying to make money.

Logan: At this point its not really a conspiracy theory. I think most people outside of ESPN and the SEC fanboys know that this is exactly what is happening.

Sammy: Agreed with Logan and Ben. MSG is added to food so that you’ll eat more of it. Not really a conspiracy when it’s super obvious.

Chris: money.

Stephen: thanks chris for your valued input. Back to you Jabster.

Carter: It’s bigger than ESPN, because it starts when the AP ranks half the SEC in the preseason top 25. Poll inertia is very real, and if you start in the top 25, pollsters are that much more reticent to drop you out. Unless you’re Georgia Tech.

Jake: I’m with Carter. It’s the “ACC team loses one game, they must stink” vs. “Arkansas beats A&M so SEC is so deep” debate, same as ever, but more pronounced.

Austin:

Drew: I think that’s just the nationalization of media in general. Fewer people than ever read local newspapers and listen to local radio etc. Of course national media is going to focus on the top few teams (either by performance or by fanbase or by some combination).

Akshay: S U P E R L E A G U E

Buying or Selling Barves: Division? Pennant? Series? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I don’t follow baseball much anymore, but I would love to see the Braves somehow do something good this year after losing Acuña, but I don’t think it’ll happen.

Logan: I can totally see he Braves winning the Division. Brewers had one of their best pitchers injure his hand punching a wall and they stumbled a bit at the end of the season. By comparison the Braves are on a hot streak going to the end of the season and seem to have chemistry. Definitely have a good chance at taking the division matchup. After that things get hazy. We’re likely going to see either the Dodgers or SF (I don’t see the cardinals making it through). Both teams have more talent than us at the moment (darn injuries) and will have a significant homefield advantage being on the west coast. I would give a 40% chance we take the pennant, just because of how hot the Braves engine is running. For the series it will probably be against the Rays, but might be the White Sox or the Astros. This is where I think the AL is just straight up on another level. Our chances drop closer to 20% once we get to the series games. In short, I definitely buy us taking the division, I could see us taking the Pennant but won’t put money on it, and I would sell the idea of us taking the series.

Sammy: As a fan of the Hawks, I would love to watch our beloved Braves get some citywide revenge on the Brewers, and I think it’s definitely possible. It’s sports, anything can happen, but the SF/LA buzzsaw might be a little tougher...

Stephen: As a lifelong fan once we win the pennant, I’m here to go down in a blaze of glory in the crappy Chicago suburb of Milwaukee in a day game. It’s the only way.

Carter: in order: Barves, BARVES, and BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARVES.

Austin: Do it for Hank!

Akshay: I mean this in full seriousness: they aren’t even supposed to be here, given where they were at the All-Star Break and after the Acuña injury. Any single-game wins from here are just icing on the cake. This is like 2018 all over again where I’m just pretty satisfied to have made it this far.

Why is it that when SEC teams beat up on each other (Miss St. over A&M; UK over UF) it’s that they’re deep and competitive top to bottom yet when it’s the ACC it’s that we suck? It’s the same logic with Texas every year. Can we be honest and say that aside from an aberrant LSU team, the SEC is only really Alabama and everyone else. - Neal Royal

Ben: Let’s take a look at this table!

Interconference Records since 2010

Conference 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Overall
Conference 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 Overall
ACC 9-14 9-16 9-16 7-13 10-11 9-12 17-9 10-14 7-13 6-14 0-6 93-138 (40.26%)
Big 12 11-9 12-5 9-5 4-6 6-11 7-7 5-8 8-8 8-9 7-7 4-0 81-75 (51.92%)
Big 10 8-8 9-10 8-11 7-9 11-13 12-13 9-11 14-6 12-9 7-10 3-2 100-102 (49.5%)
Pac 12 11-6 7-11 8-6 9-5 11-4 6-8 8-8 7-9 6-7 8-5 0-2 81-71 (53.29%)
SEC 15-10 14-5 13-9 14-8 11-10 14-7 11-14 10-12 14-9 16-8 5-2 137-94 (59.31%)
These records are from these teams against teams in the conferences listed here. The website I used to gather this included the Big East through 2012, so those records are included here too.

So, head-to-head conference record may not be the best way to look at this, but using this, the SEC has clearly been the best conference in the country consistently since 2010. Not only did they win more games and have a higher winning percentage (by a lot), they have also played more out-of-conference games against opponents of theses conferences. You may not like it, but the SEC is actually really good, and a lot of times, it’s top to bottom.

Logan: Sure we can just be honest and admit that statistically the SEC has shown to have the edge top to bottom, but where is the fun in that? My take is it’s because the SEC has a deals with ESPN. ESPN is the biggest sports network in the country and has to have a reason for people to keep watching the lower tier SEC games they cover on a week to week basis. To do that, they hype up bad SEC teams to make the matchups look better. The hype ends up with the lower tier SEC teams being ranked higher than they should. There you go, its all a media conspiracy. Also, the moon is a hologram.

Sammy: I don’t think I’ve ever denied that the SEC is a great conference. My gripe is with how high the pedestal is that it’s placed on every single year. The vast majority of high school talent comes from states with major SEC programs, schools in the SEC invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year into developing and maintaining their programs, and academic standards in the SEC aren’t as high as other conferences. I’m not just saying that as a fan and graduate of Georgia Tech. Only 5 of the 14 schools in the SEC rank in the Top 100 National Universities according to US News, with the SEC’s red-headed stepchild Vandy leading the way (shocker). The ACC, on the other hand, has 13 of its 14 schools ranked in the Top 100, and the ACC still ranks third behind the SEC and B1G in terms of active NFL players. So to me, it’s like the conversation I have with Georgia fans all the time, congrats. You should be good. You’re playing with a pat hand. I’m sorry... I feel like I’m getting off topic. What was the question? Yes. Everyone is riding Bama’s coattails.

Chris: The SEC is definitely over-talked about, but they are absolutely the best conference. I think the difference here is that their “underdogs” are still 6+ win teams that would be favorite over most teams in the ACC.

Stephen: “But Boston College beat Mizzou!”. Yeah, it’s a money thing, and if you can spend your money to get fast, big athletic people to pretend to go to class at your diploma mill, you’re likely going to be good at the game that at its core is about blocking and tackling.

In my first article for the site (which hasn’t aged great since the SEC is still really damn good), I came up with what might be the best sentence of writing to escape from the train wreck of my consciousness: “I’d come up with a conference-wide chant too if the coattails were long enough for everyone to grab on to...”

Jake: See my above comment. I think part of it is bias, but I would say, top to bottom, it does feel like the ACC has more than our fair share of clunker games every year, too.

Akshay: In a heel turn, I don’t care about the statistical analysis here. The SEC East has an effective cakewalk on par with the ACC Atlantic under Clemson’s reign, and the West is a dead rubber by October most years. I will die on this hill.

What year will GT football be relevant again? - Yeller Bug

Ben: I don’t believe Tech will be relevant at national level in the current state of college football, short of a flash-in-a-pan season where everything goes perfectly. And even then, I think that would be short-lived. Simply put, Tech does not have the money and resources to be consistently relevant with the likes of Alabama, Georgia and Clemson. What is more likely, in my opinion, is that Tech will become more relevant after the inevitable split of college football leaves Georgia Tech in the lower division. They will be competing without the college football superpowers, so there will be a path to national relevance. Are people absolutely going to hate my answer? I fully expect it, but I’m also trying to be realistic here.

Logan: I don’t practice Santeria, I ain’t got no crystal ball. If I had a million dollars, I’d spend it all. So I could see my Jackets, heading playoff bound. we’d line up against the dwags, and then smack them down.

That’s a Sublime reference for the uninitiated. I do believe Tech will be relevant at some level in the future, probably not for a national championship but maybe to win the conference or division. I have no way of knowing when that will be though, because I can’t see the future.

Sammy: Relevant in terms of consistent media coverage, Top 25 rankings, conference championships, and recruiting success - 2025. The future is bright. I believe it.

Chris: We have a chance at being interesting in the second half of 2022. I very very much want to be a factor in 2023.

Carter: I don’t feel like pulling up that GIF of the kid who’s getting interviewed and starts out smiling but quickly starts bawling, but that’s my answer.

Jake: We couldn’t make it last after 1990, and it’s a heck of a lot harder to do that now. It might take years.

Austin: I’m just gonna pretend the question was “When will GT football win consecutive games again?” To which I answer: Nov. 6 @ Miami and Nov. 13 vs. Boston College. LOCK IT UP.

Akshay: Are you planning on making any seven-figure donations to GTAA soon? If so, that year.

Bad jokes aside, I don’t think putting a year on it and hoping for the best in that year is wise. Program investment and construction take time (as Twitter likes to remind us) and debt minimization, and the national environment of the sport shifts in ways that are unpredictable (see: this round of realignment, previous comments about the Super League, etc). Tech is doing some of the right things at the administrative level and football levels to set itself up for success in the future. Will it get to that success? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Should there be any CFB rankings early in the season? Sure seems like they get it very wrong every year, and the mistakes help some teams and hurt others. With only a 4-team playoff if you do not start the season highly ranked you may not ever get high enough to play for the championship. - YJAlleyCat

Ben: I don’t think there should be subjective rankings early in the season. I want to see more things like SP+ rankings and the Bindex that try to take a more objective look at things. Sure, anything can happen in a season, but there are also steps that these two systems take to account for past experience and what the current makeup of a given team is, so I’m good with having those rankings early on in the season. Subjective rankings are dumb, though.

Logan: I have always liked the idea of waiting a few weeks before putting out rankings, just because it is so hard to tell exactly where a team is talent wise without actually seeing them play. With that said, we have talked about media conspiracies a lot in this mailbag. The reason teams get ranked is more so because it makes it fun for the media to talk about and it gives us something to discuss for fanbases to be interested in. That’s the reason you see rankings, it has nothing to do with how talented the teams actually are and everything to do with putting on a show for fanbases to either be upset or happy about so they will keep an eye on sports media. Another conspiracy theory that isn’t a conspiracy theory.

Sammy: Remember when Condoleezza Rice was on the committee? Put more people like that in the room, provided they are fans and students of the sport. Or get a bunch of NFL people in there who know the game at the highest level. You can’t tell me bias creeps into the conversation when mostly AD’s from across the country are sitting in a room conversing over their teams. Making the CFP = $$$ for conferences and schools. With that being said, I’m a fan of the playoff as a whole and do believe it’s given us the best team most years it’s been in effect.

Chris: Weekly Playoff rankings are dumb. Jason Kirk has talked about this a lot, IIRC his idea is to release one rankings starting in week 8 or whatever and then not release them again until the very end.

Stephen: I have so many thoughts about ranking systems but none of it matters cus the Associated Press has to prop themselves up to maintain relevancy in the twilight of print media. One point on the CFP rankings - they’re in theory supposed to start each week from scratch, not relying on the previous week’s rankings. How they do that is beyond me, but give them credit for saying they do it.

Carter: Feel like I already covered this with my talk of poll inertia above. The CFP doesn’t meet until halfway (or more? idk) through the season, and (in theory) they actually create a new top 25 from scratch every time. The polls should operate more like that.

Jake: The AP can preseason rank, whatever, but then take a break until mid-October. I think Tech fans, as much as anyone, can vouch for the early season being a rollercoaster of wildly varying expectations.

Drew: I strongly, strongly disagree with every other answer here. They’re all very wrong. Rankings were originally just done for fun and that’s how people should see them early in the season. I like arguing about week 1 rankings. If you don’t then that’s fine. Just ignore them until later in the season.

Ranking inertia is a real problem, but the CFP committee has done a good job of limiting it. They have other issues, but inertia is not one really.

I’ve never been a fan of the “money down.” It seems like a gimmick in poor taste, but last week I just learned it’s actually for a good cause:

Maybe better marketing or a better name than “$ down” could help fellow fans come around. Seems like allstate does a better job promoting their “good hands” donations. GT should follow suit. (submitted via email)

Ben: I think winning would help fans come around. It’s hard to get fans to buy into gimmicks like that (even if it is for a good cause) when you’re down 30 points, and the announcer comes on and says, “IT’S MONEY DOWN!!!”

Logan: I didn’t even know it was for a good cause. Why haven’t I heard about that until now? Shouldn’t commentators be bringing that up? If the students like it, I’m fine with the gimmick; I’m a crotchety old man who doesn’t like anything so I don’t really care if we keep it or not. More advertisement of the gimmick would be good if it really is for a good cause, all I see is the gimmick itself which is a bit silly given our performance on defending 3rd down plays.

Sammy: Excuse me while I go repent. I share Logan’s ignorance, so nice to know that this is for a good cause. I’m all for it now. Definitely needs more exposure though.

Chris: I think part of it is “money down” is kind of a silly name and people dislike that it is speaker music and not the band. You can do the good cause stuff in a better way.

Stephen: $10 a pop is broke boy status. I think we did the math in a mailbag or twitter screed in the past, but Geoff’s money down contributions from 2020 totaled something like $1000...

Carter: Don’t worry, Stephen, I did the math. If Collins and GT football want to impress me with their charitable donations, they might want to consider upping their amounts.

Jake: I haven’t actually heard the CHOA part mentioned this year at all. But I will absolutely say, call third down whatever you want, but there is absolutely no chance that piped in music is possibly as climactic and loud as the band playing chords. Not a single chance. I thought that was change for change’s sake when it happened, and I think after 2+ years, it is pretty clear the effect just isn’t the same.

Austin: Call me crazy but what if we had the band play on third down AND donated money for each stop? Also, that article is from 2020, do we have any info on whether they are still donating in 2021?

Drew: I don’t like it, but I’m a traditionalist when it comes to college football. In general the problem with it is that GT is losing. People get frustrated with gimmicks and schtick quickly when things aren’t going well. Harbaugh’s weirdness and PJ Fleck’s “Row The Boat” and Miami’s turnover chain were loved by fans when things were going well. Now that success is mixed all of those have become less popular.

Hey Y’all,

How’s it going? Probably not great given GT disappointed a bit this last week on the football field. Pitt’s pretty decent at football this year so try not to let it hit you too hard. We did have some aspects of the game to be excited about, but overall it shows room for improvement.

Enough about that though, The real sporting event of the year is the League of Legends World championships going on in Europe right now. As we all know NA has historically struggled to get out of group stages in the tournament. This year with teams like G2 from Europe not making it to the playoffs I gotta wonder if this is the year an NA team can finally show up on the world stage or if it will be another embarrassment for LCS squads.

My question this week is, how far do you think an LCS team will make it in the championship, and what team do you have winning the entire match. Best of luck to y’all this weekend.

Love,

Captain Flowers (submitted via email)

Ben: I don’t know a dang thing about League of Legends, so I don’t really know what any of this means. But I hope you’re having a good time Captain!

Logan: I got no faith in the LCS. They cannot perform against the teams out of Korea and China. I’ve always been a Cloud 9 fan. Even though they have the longest road to take since they have to go through play ins, I’ll say C9 finds a way to make it through group stages. I have no faith in Team Liquid, they always fall short. I think Cloud 9 from NA gets to playoffs, I’ll take Mad Lions from EU to make it to Semis, and Edward Gaming takes the whole shabang. Really flexing my nerd muscles on this question.

Sammy: I wish I could help you here... But I’ll go with 100 Thieves. Pretty sick name.