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Mailbag 2/17

When will the cold misery end?

Snowy Atlanta

Will this cold, wet, cruel Winter ever end? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: It’s been in the 50s and 60s all week down here in Savannah, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Jake: Atlanta getting a perfect little dose of “real” winter this week, but I am sad to be 0-2 on potential nearby snowstorms.

Akshay: At least we’re not in Texas, currently....

Carter: ....unlike a lot of people I know, between friends, family, and coworkers. It’s bad over there, y’all.

How long before Geoff Collins gives in and hires a full-time Special Teams coach? - Anuj Bhyravabhotla

Ben: Hopefully, it is soon. And to address the reply to you about how we fit one in, I personally don’t think we need two coaches for defensive backs. I think we would do better to have one coach solely focused on defensive backs and one solely focused on special teams.

Jake: I like Ben’s answer, so I’ll just echo that here.

Robert: I feel pretty confident that placekicking will improve this year with the addition of Cimaglia, but performance on the other units also left a lot to be desired. My fear is that the potential FG improvement will cloud thinking on other areas that need improvement, so I will say 2022 offseason.

Last week y’all warned me about optimism regarding the NCAAT. I ignored that excellent advice, and we lost an absolute heartbreaker on a Clemson buzzer beater. BUT after Pitt similarly tied the game late after we had been up big, we didn’t let Clemson beat us twice and we held on for the win. So, since I have learned absolutely nothing, how deep do we have to go in the ACCT to get an NCAAT bid? (Assuming winning out the rest of the regular season but losing the first ACCT game won’t get it done.) - SullyGT

Ben: I haven’t been following college basketball super closely this year, but I’m guessing you’re probably right that a first-round exit from the ACC tourney probably won’t do us a whole lot of good. So I say, why stop there? Win the whole dang thing!

Jake: I think we need to be darn near perfect down the stretch, and that potential for a Quad 1 win against VPISU is huge. We’ve burnt the rope, so now we have to do what we can with the charred stump that’s still in our hands.

Akshay: Win as many games as you can and pray.

Carter: WBB would probably have to lose every single game remaining on its schedule to fall out of the tournament. Two of those games are against the bottom two teams in the league that didn’t opt out, so that’s not happening. As for the men, they probably need at least one ACCT win, any loss before then adds another win there.

Will special-edition pre-smashed face shields be available for sale anywhere? - Burdell91

Ben: I sure hope so.

Jake: A couple of my friends got their hands on some Pastner-style face shields, I should double back and see where they placed their order. That was such a ridiculous sequence.

Akshay: sidebar — it irks me that players lauded Pastner’s COVID safety early in the season only for him not to wear the face-shield consistently or wear a face-mask at all. What’s the point of even attempting to keep with on-court regulations if you’re just going to flip it up to yell at your team?

Does anybody want to do a deep stat dive on MBB and see if I’m dreaming or do we only have ‘foul trouble’ when Teddy Valentine is officiating? - GTnuke12

Ben: I would not be remotely surprised to see some kind of correlation there.

Jake: I think my big dream is to be actually good at sports statistical analysis. This is where we call in Robert and Akshay. But my gut tells me you’re right. I might see if I can just brute force a decent answer to this question.

Update: I found a Teddy Valentine game log (I also notice he refs a LOT more games than the average referee). You can find it here: The weird thing is, though, that I can’t see him listed as even having reffed our game on Friday, so who knows how complete it even is? Also, here’s our team page: To disagree with Akshay a little bit, we are only 110 in the national at PF/game, so perhaps that sentiment is a little overblown. And to disagree with my own sentiments about TV Teddy, he calls just 31 fouls per game, the 13th fewest in the country, at 302 out of 315, which is downright shocking to me. Now I don’t know what to think...

Akshay: Unfortunately, I’ve been looking at a lot of (mildly disconcerting) football numbers recently (more on those later this week), so I don’t have this answer off the bounce for you. However, my gut says this is not a “TV Teddy” problem and is more an effect of Pastner’s short bench strategy forcing players to rack up minutes despite their personal fouls.

Ben: This is an Akshay question, so I’m sure he has a whole thesis ready for you.

Akshay: I’m going to try to keep this short because I could really talk for days about Atlanta transit. Realistically, it’s MARTA expansion to Cobb (+ North Fulton), and it’s not even close. The biggest problem for people coming to Tech sporting events is entrance and exit because of the hellacious nature of Atlanta traffic. If you get more people off the roads and onto MARTA, you make that experience better for all parties involved AND potentially lower the barrier for entry for alums in the area that want to attend games more often but have hated braving traffic. Northside BRT would get people onto campus, but not almost immediately at any sporting venue (besides CRC, I guess); the Atlanta Streetcar system would have to be rapidly expanded past its current Beltline-adjacent plans to place people near campus; and there’s already a tunnel under the interstate to handle pedestrian travel to Techwood. Therefore, in terms of immediate feasibility and benefit, it has to be MARTA expansion. (Caveat: BeltLine light rail seems to have more of a chance of actually happening than MARTA in Cobb, so take that for what you will.)

Jake: I’m going to put a caveat on Akshay’s answer - MARTA to North Fulton, Cobb, AND Gwinnett, as well as deeper into DeKalb (i.e. Clifton Corridor) would be useful, but we can get all of that for cheaper if we just go for regional rail. Not commuter rail. Commuter rail doesn’t work and only serves upper middle class suburbanites who need to commute to the center of a city. If Atlanta was smart, like Philadelphia tried to be when they built the Center City Connection, but then failed to be, when they completely whiffed and their network wilted due to labor issues and infrastructure meltdowns, or like Toronto and Montreal are trying to be, a German-style S-Bahn/Regional Rail is totally possible. With the exception of the 400 Corridor, which already has a MARTA line, so much of the older built environment in this city is already oriented towards rail lines (which makes sense, Terminus), and regional rail runs on the same tracks as normal freight trains, so all the state/city/counties would need to do is get rolling stock and rebuild or restore simple platform stations all down existing main lines. I found this on Reddit and it is not infeasible. Especially when you consider feeding the all-day regional rail lines across routes through the MMPT/Five Points hub, literally the entire metro has a one-seat ride to Georgia Tech. And it’s cheaper (err, in a price per mile way), easier, and uses existing, well-maintained infrastructure than anything else anyone could possibly propose.

Hello All,

Hope this email finds you well. It’s been nothing but cold and rain where I’m at the past few days, so just lovely times for all. Luckily I have plenty of firewood which I was able to find next door in my neighbor’s backyard, so that is keeping me warm.

Been a mixed bag for Tech sports. Tough loses down the stretch have taken us out of the possibility of being in the NCAA tourney. Could we be in the NIT if it happens this year? who knows. Looking forward to baseball season, that should be full of more possible disappointments.

My question this week is what is your favorite type of transportation that never became popular. I watched a video on the Russian Ekanoplane, which is a ground effect vehicle. Its not a boat, not a plane, definitely not a hovercraft, its a ground effect vehicle... see link below, takes too long to explain (even for one of my emails):

So that got me thinking about hovercrafts, mag levs, ground effect trains (which are a thing), downhill toboggans, sleighs, suspension railways, dogsleds... you know, transportation that never really caught on (or hasn’t caught on world wide yet). What’s your favorite and why should or shouldn’t it become popular.

Have a good rest of your week,

Scungilli Man (submitted via email)

Ben: Does anyone else remember those cool solar powered cars we used to see all over the place on tv that had the gigantic solar powered panels on the back?

Yeah, something like that! I know there have been some more modernized concepts for a solar-powered car, but I have yet to see one that has been available for sale, so that is something I would like to see. I’m also just a fan of moving everything towards clean and renewable energy.

Akshay: Lemme tell ya — if we could ever figure out how to make the Concorde safe and more efficient to fly again, that would be an absolute game changer for sports leagues itching to put teams in other countries (see: NFL, NBA) or expand wildly (see: MLS, UEFA Champions League). I’m in it just to see the absolute dumpster fire that national sports league realignment would be.

Jake: Mmmm strong Airplane Conference vibes from Akshay. Also, something something high speed rail in America. I swear my true love is aviation, but this is really the train week for me, isn’t it? In terms of actual technology that never caught on anywhere (here’s another video on that Russian monster you might like) I’d say my favorite mode that never really caught on in America is probably short distance/last mile Personal Rapid Transit like WVU has. Tech had one for a hot minute, but details, sadly, are scant other than this report. I wish there was a track map, or something.