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Mailbag 11/3

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What is the ceiling for Men’s Basketball this season?

ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Georgia Tech v Florida State Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Games ahead. Most people look at Miami, Binion Index agrees with a 0.38, and see that as a loss (I think Tech matches up well to Miami like tech matched against UNC with Tech likely to Upset big) and most are pointing to BC as a win, Binion Index gives a 0.64; however when BC and VT are compared They are a lot alike (I think Tech matches up better to BC than VT but am now feeling this game is less likely of a win than Miami). Which games remaining do you feel Tech has the best chance at winning and with CGC sitting at 2 FBS wins, do you believe CGC eclipses the 3 FBS win mark of the last 2 years? - gtbadcarma

Ben: I felt pretty good about the Miami game until this last week. But at this point, it feels like on a good day, Georgia Tech is either really hot or really cold at best, and there’s absolutely no way to know which it’s going to be.

Logan: I feel best about BC. In true sportscaster sense, BC is not a well recognized jersey name, so they must be beatable. No actual logic required.

Chris: I feel the best about Miami just because for some reason we play weird games against them where anything can happen. Also they’re coming off a big emotional win and I don’t trust Miami to handle that well.

Jake: Miami is looking better now than they have all year, but BC is looking relatively pedestrian in conference play. I think we take one of two at most, and that it could very well happen, sure, but I definitely don’t think it’ll look pretty.

Austin: With three Old Big East games in a row here (VT, Miami, and BC) I initially saw us going undefeated and making the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. I still think winning 2 out of 3 is achievable, but if I had to choose one I’d say Boston College. Miami’s strengths are our weaknesses and if nothing else they are big and fast. While I agree with Chris about a potential letdown from the Canes, I could also see it getting away from us.

Sammy: I think we beat BC barely, and I think Miami beats us pretty handily. I hope I’m wrong about the Miami part. 4-8 seems like the winning ticket for this season, unfortunately.

Carter: After the Duke game I thought this team had the potential to finish the season 0-6, and boy, it’s not looking great right now.

Jumping the gun a bit, but IF the administration and CGC elect to part ways with our current problem children coordinators, which personnel would you like to see take over the roles, and would they be within our limited resources? - chilidogringsFO

Ben: Personally, I wouldn’t mind giving Tashard Choice a shot as the offensive coordinator. I don’t know how he would do as a playcaller, but I think he’s probably the best coach we have on staff and it would be dumb to not at least talk to him. As far as the defense, I want to see someone who has had success coaching a defense.

Logan: Since Halloween just passed by... If Georgia Tech were to bring back John Heisman from the dead in a Frankenstein’s Monster-esque project and put the undead Heisman monstrosity at the helm, I feel confident the Heisman monster could win at least 3 games a year. Just keep him away from fire and he’ll be fine.

Jake: I like the robo-Heisman idea. But as far as predicting coaches go, that’s super tough to do. There’s just so many out there, unless you mean promoting from within. I agree with Ben about Tashard Choice, but, heck, ask, like, the recruiting coordinator or Lewis Caralla, or something because those are the departments that seem to be the most successful or improved outside of the running backs room.

Austin: I love Choice as OC. New blood rather than recycling an old hat coordinator, a former Tech player, and he clearly cares about and connects well with his players. He is leading by far our best position group and deserves a call up.

Defense-wise I’d like to see someone from the Wisconsin coaching tree get a call, preferably their outside linebackers coach Bobby April. UW consistently has one of the stoutest and best coached defensive units in the country and April would bring a real edge to the Flats.

Ben (again): Logan, funny you mention that. Back during the coaching search, Akshay (I think) wrote an article about the idea that a hologram of John Heisman should be the next head coach. Looking back, I think that would’ve been a good idea.

Carter: Choice as OC has the potential to be really fun. For DC, I’d say we should find out what Ellis Johnson is up to, but he’s probably too old and un-hip for Geoff Collins.

Who can win the NC? Other than the nightmare out East, which team has the best chance to win the NC? - Bill Brockman

Ben: Maybe it’s because I’m just weird and don’t hate UGA, but I really don’t think it’s that big a deal if UGA wins the National Championship. I mean, they are consistently recruiting among the best in the country, and their coaching staff is really well put together. Say what you want about Kirby as a game manager, but the guy has put together a really good football team.

Logan: Other than georgie? umm... Hate to be boring, but Alabama and Ohio State. Alabama had one tough loss on the road and has since looked just as good as always. Ohio State stumbled early against a good Oregon team but has since turned things around and looked like a top team. So if we’re ignoring georgie, then those are the 2 teams that stand out.

Also, for the record, I do not hate that school in athens. I may hate everything about that school, everything it represents, and all the people associated with the school; but I definitely do not hate the school itself.

Chris: Ohio State has been getting better as the season goes on, I think its up to either them or Bama to challenge UGA.

Jake: I have become immune to the antics of the hedged menace. I agree with the Ohio State and Alabama takes, but, wow, does that feel hallow and boring after a relatively interesting year in the college football landscape.

Austin: I said it before the season and it’s looking more and more real every week: it’s u(sic)ga’s year. The talent has been there for some time now, but their Achilles heel has always been discipline, until this year. There was one play during the Florida game that epitomized the step they’ve taken: a play was called dead right as a cornerback was zeroing in on the UF quarterback. The corner immediately pulled up and bounced up and down a yard or so in front of the QB, never touching him. In years past, he would’ve cleaned the QB’s clock and gotten a penalty just to send a message. This year, they are letting their play do the talking, and my does it have a lot to say.

Sammy: Hard to picture any other team winning it right now. I don’t see anybody scoring more than 10 points on UGA the rest of the season, and I think their offense is finding a groove. Once again, I hope I’m wrong...

Carter: Same teams that can win it every year, Pinky.

What happened to the postgame threads? - jabsterjacket

Ben: That’s on me. They’ll be back. I just haven’t been able to post them the last couple weeks.

Logan: The Braves are distracting people.

Jake: We have postgame threads? Just kidding.

Carter: Fine, we’ll make our own postgame threads!

What does CGC have to do in Years 4 and 5 to not be shown the door? - jabsterjacket

Ben: Winning two games in a row would be a nice start.

Logan: In the words of my OOTP 21 owner Geoff has to “not suck completely.”

Chris: 6 wins MINIMUM in Year 4 (and agree with Ben, it has to include two in a row), then we’ll talk about Year 5.

Jake: I’d say make a bowl, but next year’s schedule isn’t going to be all that much better than this one. I just want to feel like there’s progress. It feels like the glimmer in September has faded, and that is frustrating.

Austin: Less of this, more of this:

Sammy: On top of 6 wins and a bowl game in Year 4, I’d like a return to reality and some acknowledgement that this program is not where it needs to be. And some new vocabulary words. “ELITE”.

Carter: Fewer hashtags, more wins.

So Money Down is raising money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. That’s great. Two questions – 1) Why only $10? If we were a juggernaut stopping teams then maybe $10 works because of the volume of work but we let teams run over us so maybe we should increase the donation. 2) (and more importantly) why isn’t this being heavily heavily marketed? Do we have something on the jumbotron on Money Down stating if we get the stop, money is donated to Children’s? Likewise, I had no idea that you can go to the Money Down fundraiser page and donate along side per down / per stop. Iowa gets a lot of good publicity with the 1st Quarter Wave to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. I think this should be put on the big screen and should be talked about on the broadcast of every home game. “$4.04 donations” would be another idea to market. IMO, another example of a great idea with terrible execution – the story of Georgia Tech Football. - NCYellowJacket

Ben: I wish it was more than $10 too! Looking at last year, a total of $10,404 that was donated. Most of that was added on top of how Tech actually did on “Money downs,” which, surprise surprise, was not a whole lot. As for the marketing of it, I think that’s a great question. I wish Tech would market that more and have more opportunities available like you mentioned.

Logan: yeah... those feel more like rhetorical questions, and I don’t have much to add to your thought. I agree with you, this is a missed opportunity.

Chris: WHEW you have hit on a nerve for this staff (paging @Carter @Stephen). I totally agree, it’s a poorly advertised and poorly done thing that a lot of opportunity we’re missing.

Jake: Yeah, I’m going to defer to Stephen on this one, but I would say that the entire staff would agree with the sentiment.

Austin: ^^^

Stephen: Because why do something meaningful when you can win the press conference by saying you’re going to do something meaningful and impactful and never bring it up again? It’s probably not too much to ask the second-highest paid government employee in the state to donate more than 0.6 percent of his salary to childhood cancer research, especially after he gets the good publicity of saying he was going to do it.

Sammy: For every dollar Geoff spends at Waffle House, he has to donate an additional $10 to CHOA. They’d be swimming in cash.

Carter: I cannot believe they are doing this again when last year’s number was so pathetically low and at the end they just made up a number, but yep, it’s back, and they’re touting that our head coach has donated the princely sum of $890. He makes more than $3 million a year. Oh, yeah, and rereading that I see the definitely real and not at all made up $10,404 figure includes donations from both Collins and fans. You know what Georgia Tech fans really turn out to donate to? The EDSBS Charity Bowl, which was started by a dude with a blog. Georgia Tech needs to do a much, much better job with this.

I heard that the coach said that the reason the defense is so bad is that players had not fully bought into his system (whatever that is). Could you give us some of the best quotes from that article (I don’t have access to the AJC) and your views on the interview? - Yankee Jacket

Ben: You can watch the whole press conference below:

What stood out the most to me is actually toward the beginning where he talks about closing the gap between Georgia Tech and the other teams in the ACC. Like sure, Georgia Tech is a better team today than they were in 2019. However, I don’t think they’re a better team than they were in 2018. More all around talent? Maybe. But the defense in particular is riddled with experience, and simply put, for someone that—in his words—has built some really good defenses, there is absolutely no excuse for Tech’s defense to be the liability that it is.

Logan: The part that bugs me is that CGC sells the idea that, essentially, things are going well and only a few bad things are working against us which lead us to losses:

He lists Bad calls by refs, 50/50 situations, look at our players’ career stats instead of what happened in the game, the practice looks good but the real game is a different environment, CGCs career is about making great defenses even if this one has not succeeded yet due to a few bad plays... it goes on.

I normally buy into that during the first few years. The problem is, as things continue to go on, if you keep losing games because of a few bad plays then you can’t keep writing it off as a good team with bad luck. Guess what? If you play what the coach considers to be a good game and still lose, you are a bad team. I’m not pointing fingers here, but call a spade a spade. That’s what frustrates me about the interview. CGC is putting a car salesmen spin on why this clunker is actually a sports car. I’m not buying it.

Chris: I kinda disagree about “closing the gap” with the rest of the ACC. We are very firmly in the bottom half of ACC teams in my mind and probably closer to bottom third. All this is also happening in a very down year for the ACC where Wake Forest is our shining beacon. Also totally agree with Logan; you can put as much spin on things as you want, but as of this moment I think there’s a good chance we finish this year with 3 wins based on what I’ve seen. Good teams don’t finish with 3 wins because of a few unlucky/close things here and there. Bad teams finish with 3 wins because they can’t overcome the unlucky/close few things here and there. I don’t disagree that it feels like we’re close, but we’ve felt stuck on that plateau for almost two full seasons now - at some point you have to break through and prove something.

Sammy: I’m surprised he didn’t talk about Hard Rock Cafe Stadium being a tough place to play.

Carter: I don’t listen to Collins’ press conferences. Any time he opens his mouth my mind goes blank and I just hear a bunch of loud echoes.

Your commemorative Barves World Series jersey is almost ready; they need the name of your favorite player (any era). I’m torn between Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky, Bruuuuuce Benedict or Biff Pocoroba. Yours? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I’ll take a Julio Franco one!

Stephen: Maddux. Always.

Sammy: Furcal. I feel like I could run 4-5 MPH faster just by putting it on, which has to be useful somehow.

Chris: Chipper Jones was my idol growing up.

Logan: Hank... this one was dedicated to him anyway. Gotta go with the Hammer.

Carter: I didn’t grow up with the Braves like most of y’all, so just give me a Ron Washington jersey.

Dang pretty much all of y’all nailed it last week with Braves in 6 - SullyGT

Ben: This isn’t a question, but I wanted to include this anyway. Go Braves!

Sammy: HOPE YOU HAMMERED IT! LFG!!

Logan: Oh my god, Atlanta actually won a thing. Am I dreaming?

Carter: Someone I know who’s from central Texas said Astros in 5 prior to the series, so this feels extra good.

What do you think the ceiling is for hoops this year? I feel like Pastner could be building something. (submitted via email)

Logan: Ceiling... The problem isn’t necessarily our team, it’s who is around us in the ACC. Despite losing leadership in Alvarado and talent in Wright, we still have some great players who can achieve amazing things. Problem is the rest of the ACC is gonna be more consistent this year as well and we probably won’t have teams missing games due to COVID. If you really want to be optimistic you could say we win the ACC tourney again... After all anything can happen in a tourney. I think more realistically we get a low seed in the NCAA tournament or a High Seed in the NIT. Frankly I’d be fine with those results after coming off the season we just had.

Jake: I would be fine with some more postseason basketball. I agree that I feel like Pastner is building something, but I think our shooting, minus Parham and Alvarado, and our presence in the middle on offense and defense, minus Wright, mean there’s a lot left to be learned about the team still. However, it is worth adding, I would argue, that it seems the team actively is aware of the issues they’ve had with slow season starts in the past based on the media availability Usher and Devoe have already had, and I think if they start strong and play well out of the gate, that could yield good things. Tech is certainly talented, and has been bringing in some quality players to replace the ones we’ve lost. It’s just a matter of how it shakes out now that the season is here. One thing I am sure of, though, is that the ACC media poll absolutely is underrating the Jackets. Tech is not the tenth best team in the conference.

Austin: I think unlike in years past, our most talented players are also our leaders (Moses and Jose were talented in their own rights but were more products of how they were deployed than objectively good basketball players). With Devoe and Usher leading the charge and having the experience of winning last year, I think they set a good example for guys who haven’t been there before and really put Tech into a good spot to compete in the ACC this season. The ceiling is another tournament championship and a single digit NCAA seed, most likely in the 5-7 range. It will really depend on consistent play from our leaders and steps being taken by Kyle Sturdivant and Rodney Howard, and whether the freshmen will be ready to contribute from the outset. Sturdivant showed in his limited opportunities last season that he could contribute more than was necessarily asked of him, particularly shooting the ball. Howard has known for some time that he would be the guy inside and based on how the coaching staff was able to develop Moses Wright and James Banks before him, I have immense faith that Howard will be ready to answer the call. I truly cannot wait for basketball season.

I’m not a fan of dumping coaches every 3 years unless they ride adulterous motorcycles or build massive Kentuckian prostitution rings. However, we gotta have expectations, right? Chan had flunkgate and took about 6 years to build a good team. CPJ kinda rode the wave of the ‘06 recruiting class for the ‘09 season and the cycle continued in 2014/2016. Do you think it will take 5-6 years to really get a feel of CGC’s potential? (submitted via email)

Ben: I really am curious to see what happens after this year. Due to his contract, Geoff is going to be here for at least a couple more years. Tech can’t afford anything else. I am not convinced that Dave Patenaude or Andrew Thacker will be back, though. I worry that Collins will end up being too loyal to the coaching staff to fire anyone, but I hope I’m wrong and we see some coaching changes this offseason, if not sooner.

Logan: We’ll see. For better or for worse we’re stuck together. Maybe CGC turns it all around next year and we’re back to laughing at his antics. People have short memories as long as your team is winning.

Chris: We better see something next year in Year 4. At minimum I need to see 6 wins and some really competitive losses. Given our largely-cupcake conference schedule there’s absolutely no reason a moderately decent Tech team should have less than 7-8 wins year in and year out. If I don’t see some inkling of our ability to do that in Year 4 then I’m gonna lose faith that it’ll ever happen. Better recruiting is nice right now but you have to sustain that recruiting by starting to win - if that doesn’t happen then we’ll fall right back down the curve.

Jake: I think that’s definitely something to consider. Something I was thinking about last night, though, was that I wasn’t exactly enthralled with Josh Pastner at a similar length into his contract, and I get that they are different sports and situations, but I think we have some potential to see growth and consistency still. As frustrated as one can get, saddling the department with a large buyout I think would be far more detrimental in the long term.

Austin: I can accept that timetable, so long as that CGC’s potential is 10 wins, and so long as Year 4 begins with two new coordinators and ends with 6+ wins and strong showings in losses.

Sammy: I think we’ve already had a feel for the potential. You can see good things happening. To me, the problem has been building on that and maintaining progress. If by Year 5-6, we aren’t consistently reaching that potential (and maybe even beating some teams we shouldn’t), then coaching changes have to be discussed at the decision-maker level.

Carter: He just needs 2-3 more years, y’all. He’s building something. Can’t you see it?

Hey guys,

Oh no, we suck again. I’d appreciate it if we could just have good things happen every once in a while. It makes me feel better about being a GT fan when we actually win games. If any one of you are friends with Geoff Collins, please call him up and let him know I would appreciate it if he could win more games.

Question this week... I looked at the tickets to the Braves games last week. Holy crap, that’s a lot of mula. My question is what is the most you have ever spent to attend a concert, sporting event, or other large public event?

That’s what I got. Thanks guys,

Harry Belafonte (submitted via email)

Ben: Well I know a couple of people on staff actually went to the World Series this year, but as for me, the most I’ve ever spent on a large public event is probably the Ed Sheeran concert I went to at MBS. I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but I don’t tend to spend a lot of money on large public events like that.

Logan: Metallica concert at Truist Park. It was worth it, but it was pricey. I struggle to spend money on sports teams I am invested in because there is always the chance they lose.

Chris: I’ve been to the US Open Finals twice now and both times were insanely worth it.

Jake: Uh, the Braves game on Sunday. I’ve done a lot of ridiculous things for sports, but given that the Final Four (which eventually got cancelled and refunded) included three games and the Braves just one, that takes the cake. Though I will also add, the Clemson and Athens road trip tickets are never all that cheap.

Austin: On the inverse, I sold my World Series Game 4 tickets for a nice chunk of change. Come at me, WE’RE WORLD CHAMPS BABY!

Stephen: I paid $250x2 to watch Tennessee @ uga in 2018. It was the temperature of the sun. We left at halftime. My wife was happy for about 3 hours so I guess I can’t complain. Other than that, paid $250 to get into 2013 uga @ Clemson and I literally had my back on the top of the stadium, but got the right result out of that game. Got SWINDLED for $50 at the Gator Bowl in 2016 and I might be the most mad about that one.

Sammy: Bama/LSU 2019 in Tuscaloosa. I paid $350 to sit in the nosebleeds and it was worth every penny. I’m a fan of neither team, so it was fun watching a very good football game that I didn’t really care about. The atmosphere was incredible. College Gameday was there. Cast included but not limited to - Joe Burrow, Najee Harris, Tua, Coach O, Nick Saban, Donald Trump, hundreds of thousands of drunk SEC fans, angry Alabama fans, happy LSU fans (happiness and anger are very similar with that crowd). It was a great time.

Carter: I went to a concert at Red Rocks last month. Resale tickets were $220. Oh! And the service fees were $75. For electronic tickets. Red Rocks is pretty cool though.