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Mailbag 1/26

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How will MBB finish things out?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 ACC Tournament - Georgia Tech v Pittsburgh Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The regular season is more than half way over for men’s basketball – what are y’all’s predictions for final records, if we get to the NIT, and final ACC standings? - Educational Engineer

Ben: Uhh...at this point, I don’t know that Tech is going to have to worry about the postseason. The women’s team, on the other hand, is looking pretty solid!

Jake: I think the team still has plenty of time left in the season particularly to position for an NIT run. I just don’t think the perception of the ACC is high enough for a mid-tier team from the conference to make the dance, and short of a run in the ACC tournament, I don’t think we have enough to separate ourselves from the chaff.

Logan: I expect our record to sit between 15 to 18 wins if the season continues as is. This might get us a NIT bid, but we will be on the bubble. There is no way we get to the Dance unless we win the ACC tournament, there just aren’t enough high rank opponents down the stretch for us to squeeze in.

Share animosity levels for Athens school affiliations below:

Side walk fans

Students and faculty

Alumni

Former players

Intriguing situations out there. Examples: Houses divided, academic transfers to and from, athletic transfers to and from, Matthew Stafford trying for post season success coming to mind right now. - GTalbatross

Ben: I mean, if you take issue with UGA alumni, I probably shouldn’t show you my degree. Anyway, I care less about UGA than a lot of Tech folk, so I don’t carry any animosity for folks with affiliations with UGA. Some of my best friends are alum. All of my siblings graduated from there. Have I met obnoxious fans of the school? Sure, but every school has them, and I’m not going to automatically assume something about someone based on the school they graduated from or root for.

Jake: I honestly don’t know many students, faculty, or alumni. That limits me to people I interact with at sporting events, who are usually barking at me, and that is very obnoxious.

Logan: I will say most of the actual students and alumni I have little to no beef with. They seem to be more controlled and less focused on the sports program. Not that they don’t like the sports program and go to games, they just don’t seem to have the fanatical insanity of other fans (again outside of games). Former players... it depends I guess, I don’t have outright animosity towards them but I might be more willing to believe some of the bad rumors I hear about them.

The sidewalk fans are the ones who drive me crazy. They have no affiliation to the program, they have plenty of other teams in the state to cheer for, and they also seem to be the rowdiest of the fans outside of games. Like, what compels you to do that? I shouldn’t be that upset about it (there are plenty of other things to be upset about in this world) but it really gets under my skin for some reason. It’s weird because I am an obsessive Bama fan that never went to Alabama, but I’m not going to deny being a hypocrite.

You can almost FEEL Spring coming on now that Football is winding down…What are you most looking forward to as the hemisphere tilts back towards the Sun? - DressHerInWhiteAndGold

Ben: I’m getting married at the end of May, so that is my answer!

Jake: I am looking forward to being able to bike after work again. It is usually pitch black by the time I get home in the winter and I enjoy it also as a method to see the city, in addition to working out.

Logan: I want to play some tennis. Looking forward to baseball if they can figure out their problems soon. Hoping to get out to the beach with the girlfriend. Plenty of other good stuff.

Women’s Basketball ranked #14

When are the fans going to start embracing us more as a Basketball, Volleyball, Baseball, Tennis, and Golf school, rather than Foosball.

OK, some of that comment is in jest, but seriously, we have other sports to sell our brand. Should we support our other sports more to make them perennially competitive (e.g. giving more resources to WBB so they can get more depth on the bench)? Should we be promoting our international brand through sports better (due to our international players)? Can we make money (direct or indirect) off that. Should we try to embrace different audiences through other sports (soccer, lacrosse, women’s golf)? Can those make enough money (direct or indirect) to be comparable to other institutions (since most colleges don’t make money either off anything but FB and BB)?

I’ve tried to look at such things, but the amount of reporting and consistency of reporting on sports revenue and their costs make it hard to craft any opinion. - BuzzForPresident

Ben: That all sounds great in theory, but in practice, the majority of the general population only cares about football unless one of those teams is in the national championship, and even then, that’s not a guarantee.

Jake: Men’s golf is fully funded and has a nice facility. If we weren’t in so much debt as a school, I would say it’s a no-brainer. I really think soccer for the men and women would do well here, given the large international and Atlanta appeal of the game. I haven’t seen many, if any, non-football organizations able to use the field, despite the language used when the artificial turf was installed, so someone would have to tell them that they would need to give up some home game dates, too. I think the limited space for practice is just as tough an issue there, too. Again, the debt is such a significant thing across the board that even the probable loss that it would take only further hurts Tech, too, which is tough. In terms of student support, the Tech support for volleyball this year was great to see (and in my experience would have been great in 2020-21, too, but they were only letting in two dozen students per game) and in the last year before the pandemic, baseball was doing very well. Even last year, I’m pretty sure the tiny student allotment sold out pretty much every game, because when I would tear loose from classes, it would be impossible to get in.

Logan: I think you might see more of that as the future comes along. It’s easy to say “you should be a fan of sports other than football”, but most kids in the U.S. weren’t raised on Golf, Volleyball, Tennis, and Track and Field. Most people don’t fully understand those sports and frankly aren’t that interested in watching them no matter how successful our teams are.

I do believe we have good training facilities for those sports (at least to my understanding), but without fan backing it is difficult to get bigger stadiums or get things set up in the stadiums we have for those sports. Now, I do believe more people are getting exposed to those sports through TV shows, the internet, and more intramural activities becoming available to pre-college students; but people don’t change over night. I think a following will develop but it will take time, and may not necessarily lead to the huge numbers of fans you are picturing.

I do think baseball actually has a pretty big following. I’ve been to a lot of their games and the stadium tends to fill up for ACC games and the opening of the season. For women’s sports (like WBB) though... well its an unfortunate fact that fans just don’t turn out on the same level for women’s sports. That is another thing that may change with time, but it will certainly take a while.

If things continue like this (i.e. we have a terrible football team for the next decade and the basketball team can’t find consistency) then maybe we start seeing the change that you are talking about and the faculty begin highlighting games outside the big 3 programs (baseball, basketball, and football). Time will tell.

Hello Team Yellow Jackets,

I wanted to check in and see how things are going. I’m having a good time right now, watching scary internet videos because I hate being able to sleep at night. You know how it goes.

What do I want to ask this week... I dunno. How about y’all come up with an answer to something and the commenters try to guess what the question is that you are answering...

No? Too complicated? I dunno, I’m just trying to branch out and be more creative. If you need a real question then... If you could find a way to improve Georgia Tech Campus what would you add or remove from campus to make it more appealing for students and visitors.

Have a nice week y’all.

- Vox Machina (submitted via email)

Ben: That would be something interesting. There was actually an idea I toyed with a couple months ago. It was like Tuesday morning, and nobody had commented on the Questions thread, so I was just going to have the staff ask questions for the commenters answer.

Jake: I think I would add a better connection to the west side. Like make sure Eighth Street went all the way out to Northside and get rid of the parking lot/dead end over there next to Woodruff. A lot of students live over that way these days and a lot of good restaurants and things to do are on Marietta and Howell Mill. I think there’s a lot of things infrastructure-wise that seem pretty minor — pave the path between State and Atlantic behind Marcus Nanotech so it isn’t a mud pit when it rains — that would be great. If we’re talking moonshots, then visitors or students trying to get around town would be done a lot of good by MARTA if they pursued some sort of streetcar or BRT-esque high capacity transit for the Northside, Marietta, Tenth, or North Avenue corridors.

Also, if I could use the middle section of your question and modify it slightly to ask a question to the readers, I would want to ask you all what it is you most would like to see from FTRS in the new year? It always interests me to ask questions like that.

Logan: I second Jake. Any readers who have topics they would like discussed more readily by the FTRS team please comment below.

A mass transit system would be nice. I would like to see some renovations on North Ave. I know they added the new North Ave apartments, but many of the other buildings just look old and beat up along that area. I’m not sure the buildings need to be replaced but it might be good to renovate them so they don’t look so torn up.