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Mailbag 1/12

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When is that Super League happening?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 10 CFP National Championship Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Were the writers underestimating how impactful the losses of Wright and Alvarado would be? Most of the preseason expectations were relatively high. How big of a difference would having both of them be? Top 15 in the country? Maybe the Pastner extension was too early? - Nononsense92

Logan: I think most of us knew that losing Wright and Alvarado would have an impact, but also knew we had players like Usher and Devoe who were capable of at least putting some duct tape on the gaps. I think what we may have underestimated was how quickly the rest of the league would bounce back after the COVID season last year. I don’t want to downplay what our team did, but we did get plenty of luck with playing some weakened teams and avoiding tough games due to outbreaks of the virus. There is also the tougher schedule (3 of the 4 OOC losses were to ranked teams), but we are facing much stronger ACC opponents than what we did last year, despite the logos being the same. That’s my opinion on the record. I do think Pastner is still doing a good job, and I think we will be back in it sooner that you may expect; but there will definitely need to be adjustments. I think Pastner is capable of making adjustments though.

Jake: In hindsight, I would say that I was too optimistic. I knew it would be tough to adjust, but, well, things are a bit different in practice. The lack of experience in the middle really shows, too. I presumed the freshman would also come along a little faster, too. I agree with Logan about the tougher non-conference schedule, as well. While there have been some tough losses and distinct patterns that have emerged — the pre-half collapse is certainly a new phenomena vis a vis last year’s team — I think that the handful of one score losses and wins show that the team has also played several tight games, too.

Sammy: My preseason expectations were pretty high. I was hoping the relative imbalance of power in the ACC would somewhat offset the loss of two very meaningful players, and unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. The schedule as a whole has been pretty tough, so it’s not like we’re losing to Mercer every week, and the youth is clearly still developing. Injuries + COVID also haven’t done the team very many favors from a consistency/chemistry standpoint. But... no excuses...

Carter: It’s very difficult in basketball to bounce back from losing the talent Tech lost from last year and I certainly felt as much before the season even started. The next season and a half will tell us a lot, I think. Also — I know people are dragging him for losing the only NCAA tournament game he’s been in, but I think that’s unfair. Loyola being underseeded was the prevailing thought before the game was even played, and they went on to knock off one of the tournament favorites. Pastner got dealt a bad hand on that one.

PANTONE 17-3938 “Very Peri” for 2022. What say we all? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: To save everyone else the trouble, here’s what it looks like:

Personally, I’m a big fan of this color. It feels very soft and comfortable, which is something I think we could all use in 2022.

Carter: I dunno, 2022 is starting pretty Vantablack for me.

Logan: Reminds me of the Hey Arnold episode about the Mauve Avenger.

Jake: Kind of looks like a hyperlink that got stuck between the color before it is clicked and the color that it is after. Sorry, hyperlink, you’ve gone to internet purgatory.

Sammy: I can dig it.

Chris: I’d wear a hoodie in that color (I’m becoming more of a hoodie guy in 2022).

Jeff: I have four colors I wear outside of formal wear and they are dark blue, grey, dark green, and sort of a burgundy red. I'm not a bright color person unless my wife forced me to wear Easter colors or Christmas colors.

The Divide: when and how many? While it may not be a majority of pundits that feel a divide is coming to the teams in FBS, it is certainly not an unpopular opinion. Current TV contracts expire anywhere from next year until the 2030s, with dates as follows.

AAC: 2031-32

ACC: 2036

B10: 2023

B12: 2025

C-USA: 2023

MAC: 2022-23

MWest: 2025-26

Pac-12: 2024

SEC: 2034

Sun Belt: 2030-31

ND: 2025

CFP: 2025-26

That being said, if/when a divide between the NFL feeder teams and the rest of FBS occurs, how many teams do you see staying in the league? When do you think this shift happens? - Phys99

Ben: I think there will be some kind of split in the next 10-15 years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was even sooner than that. The expanse is college football is only widening. How many teams stay? If you want to keep things on a level playing field and actually have competition, I would say 10-15. And honestly, I think that’s pushing it. There aren’t 10-15 teams in the country right now that truly compete for a title year in and year out. Realistically, I think somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-50 teams will be in that league. And I stand by the opinion that if Tech ever wants to see success in college football again, they need to be left behind after the split.

Carter: It’s when, not if. In Europe, the powers that be pushed for a Super League in soccer and were pretty swiftly shut down by a fan revolt plus the threat of sanctions from their national leagues. In America, the schools are just going to leave the league they’re in now to form a new one, and the fans will just go along with it. Georgia Tech will be left behind, and that’s probably for the best.

Jake: I think it would be about 20. I used to hate the idea, but there is clearly something sapping a lot of people’s passion for the sport all at once, so now I’m closer to ambivalent. I also think that if they’re going to do that, the NCAA ought to slam the door on them and kick them out of everything else (baseball, basketball, etc.) too and see how they like it out in the cold.

Sammy: 2035. I originally was thinking it would be less, but I could see 40-50 teams since it would be difficult to move football into another league without moving any other sports. If it ends up being just football, I think it will be more in the 20-25 range. A lot of ACC schools rely on basketball exposure/$$$, so a team like UNC (who puts people in the NFL and is relatively competitive but is definitely a basketball school) may stay behind if it was one or the other...

Chris: I think it’s around 30 that go to a Super League. That gets you five-ish programs from each P5 conference that typically have a winning record season after season plus a few of the top G5 programs. It’s also roughly how many “good” teams exist at any given time based on various Top 25 rankings. As far as when, I agree with the 10-15 year window.

Logan: It’s too early to say exactly what will happen and how the fanbases will react to potential conference changes; but there will assuredly be changes to how the conferences are aligned in the future, and more likely within the decade if not sooner.

Jeff: It'll be about 30 teams and the league already exists. It's the SEC. They will absorb whoever they want cause Oklahoma and Texas are on the way. Once the money becomes beyond stupid...more stupid than already is you'll see Ohio State and the like join and that would solve the other sports issue to an extent. They'd toss Vandy, Mizzou, Mississippi State. I'd also think brand revenue will be equally weighted to how often the team wins. And GT will not be a part of it.

I’m curious what y’all’s thoughts are on CGC’s job security following the dwags natty. - Frodo Swagginz

Ben: The same as they were before. Collins needs to be in a bowl game at the absolute minimum this year to keep his job.

Carter: If Tech and uga were on similar levels prior to last night, it would probably have an effect on Collins’ job security. But they’re not, at all, so it shouldn’t.

Logan: the uga win doesn’t really change anything. The one thing it might change is that if we beat the dwags next year CGC might trip into an extension no matter what his record is... but I don’t see that happening.

Jake: If I was a mad rich guy with a lot of money to spend before, I think the willingness to open the pocketbook has to be open even wider now. It’s an ego business, and, well, seeing the rival win it all isn’t exactly a fun sight.

Sammy: Agree with Logan. I only think it changes if he somehow finds a way to beat them next year... which is... well... I don’t wanna say impossible.

Chris: I don’t think it changes anything, his future is still in his own hands. They’re already so far beyond us anyways that adding “National Champions” to their name honestly doesn’t increase the distance meaningfully.

Jeff: It has no bearing no matter what the outcome for the title game. If you're not making a bowl game three years in you can't look at other programs.

Also, is anyone one attending the Spring game? I don’t usually care for it, but thought that this year would be fun to see. - Frodo Swagginz

Ben: If I’m in town that weekend, I would certainly love to go, but I’m starting grad school this semester, so I am not able to travel as much.

Carter: Ah, yes, the spring game. The most important game of the year, as I understand from having many arguments about it in the comments. No, I will not be attending; I have to, uh...... wash my hair. Yes. Very important.

Logan: I once got in a fight with an offensive lineman at Georgia Tech. The day after was the spring game and I went there to see how he played. I found out from a film runner that the guy I fought was “not playing due to an injury”. I like to think I beat him so bad that he couldn’t play, but I also had one hell of a black eye so I didn’t walk away unscathed...

Anyway, no I won’t be attending the spring game.

Jake: It’s free and a nice precursor to going out for a nice Friday dinner or something of that nature. I’ll be in the unofficial FTRS section if you want to come find me. The only way I wouldn’t, though, is if baseball is at home, particularly if it is a compelling series.

Sammy: Depends on the weather.

Chris: If I lived in Atlanta I would maybe consider it. Alas I live in a city where it is currently 7 degrees.

Jeff: It'll be either on a Friday or Saturday and 12 years with my company is only enough seniority to have Monday Tuesday off...so no.

How many showers must I take to feel clean after last night? - ramblin gooner

Ben: I honestly couldn’t care less that UGA won that game. We all knew it was going to happen. They are one of three teams who (in my mind at least) can actually compete for a national title every year. It was bound to happen at some point.

Logan: Until we win another championship (which will be a while) you’ll never feel clean in the same way again... Sorry for the bad news.

Jake: My new year’s resolution to have sports control my emotions less was well-timed. It was going to happen at some point (I agree with Ben) so might as well come to grips with it. There’s nothing left to hold over their head on the gridiron.

Sammy: I managed to stay off the non-work-related internet for much of the day following the game, so that was good. I don’t really have much else to say here. 5 showers to answer your question.

Chris: I wouldn’t say I’m angry about it, but it definitely subdued me all day. My advice is to stay off social media for a day or two. Eventually the news cycle will move on to tell you how they added a 15th 5* to their 2024 recruiting class.

Jeff: The question is not how many showers but how high can you turn your hot water heater up.

Everybody seems to bring up Pastner’s contract. I didn’t remember it being that big of a deal (and he just won the ACC) so I checked, it doesn’t look particularly terrible to me. Plus, without an extension he would have definitely been at a recruiting disadvantage. Am I wrong here? - CTjacket

Ben: I think it was still the right decision to give him the extension for exactly the reason you gave: recruiting. Nobody is going to commit to a school if the coach doesn’t have a contract in place for the entire time that player would be there.

Logan: I like Pastner’s contract personally. He hasn’t been consistently amazing, but he has achieved great things for the program that we haven’t seen in decades. You can question how he got there, but facts are he has still made it to the NCAA tournament, won ACC coach of the year, won an ACC championship, and gotten great accolades for his players. He may not be the best coach in college basketball, but I think he’s doing a good job and I don’t think fans should be running a coach out of town just because he has a few struggles the year after he won the conference championship.

Jake: There will be some folks around here that disagree with you. I am not one of them. I think he’s a good guy with a solid vision, and I think last year was the culmination. I think we give the youths some more time to gel the rest of the way here and keep the building process going. I am not sounding any alarms by any means.

Sammy: Pastner is a step up from BG, which isn’t saying much, but from an expectations standpoint, I think he’s certainly over-delivered. We’ve always struggled to recruit locally (at least on a consistent basis), but you’re seeing players come back home after a year or two at other schools (Deivon, Usher, Bubba just to name a few), so I see that as a win, as well. The local talent is some of the best in the country.

Carter: Pastner won the ACC, he gets an extension. Maybe it was a bit longer than he deserved, but winning the ACC in men’s basketball — only the 4th in school history — is an accomplishment worth rewarding.

Can a team like Tech be competitive nationally these days? Or are our limitations (money, fanbase, money, curriculum, money) just too great to overcome now? I get the feeling it’s now ESPN’s and the $EC’s world, and everyone else is just living in it. - jabsterjacket

Ben: Quite simply, no, Tech cannot be competitive nationally. Could the stars align and Tech have a miracle season? Sure, but Tech does not have the infrastructure in place to be consistently among the top teams in college football, and they never will.

Carter: Georgia Tech is going to fall further and further behind. There are multiple principles that would need to be sacrificed to get back to “nationally competitive” and between the administration and fanbase there is no real will to sacrifice any one of them, never mind more than one. It isn’t 1990 anymore, much as many still want to believe it is.

Logan: Depends on what you mean by “these days” and what sport you’re talking about. I think Tech has a way to be competitive in pretty much every sport except football. We could eventually get better in football, but it will take a while because of who we play (seriously, why couldn’t we pick easier rivals than Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and Auburn) and the current lack of finances for the school. I could write a whole thing about this, but I won’t. Short answer no, we are not going to be nationally competitive for a while.

Jake: Stay tuned for what we in the writer’s room have been calling the Magnum Opus. It’s a fundraising thing, sure, but there’s so many moving parts to it. I, personally, see the path to basketball, baseball, and other sport glory still open, but, if the money that overwhelms football keeps growing, I can’t see why it wouldn’t start to make a difference in other places, too.

Sammy: You ever see a movie called LITTLE GIANTS???

Chris: Yes, depending on your definition. Under a loose definition of “these days” meaning “in the coming few years” I think it is plenty reasonable to expect that eventually we can obtain a Top 25 ranking in most seasons and a Top 15 or so ranking in a few good ones every now and then. But I think somewhere around a 10-win season is the ceiling in the current climate. If you’re asking whether or not we can compete for the Playoff then my answer is no. I think that ship has sailed and until both we as a program radically change how we do things and the Playoff structure itself radically changes to give more opportunity, we are firmly on the outside of that room.

Jeff: In its current format most teams will never compete for a playoff spot. Notre Dame had one loss, Baylor had two losses so was never considered despite winning the Big 12. Oklahoma State would have been one loss if they had won the conference title but it still might not have been enough. And when Clemson fell out of the running the ACC was written off like the PAC12. Wake wasn't going to be put in even with a perfect record. Pitt? Maybe if they were undefeated but it would have been close. The system has its anointed ones and thats it.

Hello Guys,

Hope your week is going well!

I don’t know why I’m so excited... I gotta watch a game with a potentially terrible outcome tonight. By the time the mailbag gets opened we’ll know how that played out. For now I guess I’m just upbeat about the week, so hopefully it’ll play out well.

I started collecting baseball cards recently. I don’t know what it is but I suddenly got the itch. Kind of reminded me of collecting pokemon cards as a kid, except baseball players have a larger vocabulary than pokemon. With that in mind, my question is what hobby (I don’t care if you think its cool or dumb) did you invest the most time/money in over your lifetime?

Hopefully everything works out and we won’t hear any barking this week. Take it easy guys.

Manny Machado (submitted via email)

Ben: When I was a kid, I collected Yugioh cards. I knew how to play, but I didn’t really know anything about deck composition, so any deck I built was never any good. Nowadays, I just spend a lot of money on DND stuff.

Logan: Big fan of Yugioh and Pokemon cards. Also collected Beyblades for a while. Someone brought up beanie babies, I almost forgot I collected those when I was much younger. If I count all the money I spent on dumb toys, I probably could afford a fancy house right now.

Jake: Gosh, now I miss my baseball card collection. I really thought my Sam Fuld rookie card was going to be worth something big back in the day. That said, I definitely invested too much in the free-mium Simpsons: Tapped Out iOS game back about 7-8 years ago. That was pretty dumb. I have no regrets about the amount of money that went into the ol’ Lego collection, either. Other things include sports stuff (trying to see all 30 ballparks), an ill-fated attempt to start a scale model plane collection, and my off-and-on again penchant for buying antique Tech books I happen to run across. The latter, though, is how I stumbled into a player piano roll of Ramblin’ Wreck (despite not owning a player piano), as well as signed copies of the memoirs and autobiographies of George Griffin, Dean Dull, and Bobby Dodd. I’m sure there’s something else I haven’t thought of, too, though.

Carter: If you check my Untappd history, you’ll note my list of check-ins there approaches legendary status. Does each of those check-ins represent a full pint/can/bottle of beer? Dear lord, no. But all those beers cost money, and I’m willing to bet I’ve spent more on that than I did on Pokemon cards or Beanie Babies when I was young. My quest to try an ever-increasing breadth of beers is unending, and at times has strayed into ticking territory. No, I don’t have a problem. (More seriously, I don’t have that problem. Trying new beers is fun, but I don’t need them to get through the day, ya know?)

Sammy: Concerts. It’s been a while, especially with COVID... I still love live music, so I hope that becomes a regular part of my life again soon.

Chris: Hobby-wise it’s absolutely tennis; I played competitively and spent basically every weekend from age 10 to 17 traveling to tournaments. You got me thinking about collections though, and the two things that I collect are playing cards and wooden tennis rackets. Most of the rackets I’ve gotten have come from Goodwill though where you can get ‘em for like $2. Playing cards, however, are sneaky expensive depending on where you are. I’ve paid upwards of $8, $9 for some packs.