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Mailbag 12/21

What is the expectation for Brent Key’s recruiting next year?

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

GTalbatross: What is the coldest or most miserable weather-wise sporting event you have attended? Please elaborate on why you subjected yourself to the conditions.

Ben: I remember the 2014 game against Miami being particularly cold. I don’t remember what the exact temperature was, but I remember being in the press box that night freezing my butt off.

Carter: The 2009 Orange Bowl. I don’t think I need to elaborate on why I was there, but I will say my options for layering up under a band uniform were........ limited.

Chris: 2021 Fellas Trip, Wisconsin vs Nebraska, in Madison in November. It was maybe 25 degrees max and my warmth strategy was hot chocolates from the stadium concessions. I had a great time.

Logan: it was just a regular season game so I don’t remember it well, but I once stayed for an extra innings Braves game because I went with my friend (he gave me free tickets) and he didn’t want to leave. It started pouring rain and got cold as the night went on. I was miserable, but my friend had fun so good for him I guess.

Jake: In 2010, I went to watch a bad Cubs team play a bad Nationals team at Wrigley Field in a late spring snow storm. Many periodic breaks were taken to flee to the concourse to check the Blackhawks/Predators game updates and warm up. That would prove to be a magical run for the Hawks, at least. I’ve been to some other snowy games, particularly of the youth and high school variety, but that one sticks out as being memorable.

GTalbatross: Did anyone else watch the volleyball championship? Would have been good for the Cards to at least push Texas to 4. Had their chances in set #3.

Logan: I tried but I could not find where to watch it. Where do they stream those games?

Jack: It was on ESPN2, Logan! Yes, I did watch the whole thing. Texas was ridiculously good all year, and the match that played out felt right in line with how good those teams have been all year. I said on the most recent episode of Scions of the Southland that Logan Eggleston deserves whatever award exists for best female NCAA athlete. Both teams are loaded, but Eggleston is incredible.

Jake: I spent my Thursday evening watching the semifinals, but got more sporadic viewing spurts on Saturday. I agree about going to 4, but, regardless, it is the furthest run an ACC team has ever made in the tournament, and Texas really just was that good this year. It also goes to show how quickly the conference has improved in the past few years.

YankeeJacket: Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers on Coach Brent Key, and that was a great idea of getting Zach Calzada. He would be a good addition and the Three Zach’s would make for great promotional material.

Okay to begin with I want to say that Jeff Sims was not a bad quarterback. He got better each year even though he had a terrible line protecting him and by last year he was good. Not great, but good. Unfortunately he had problems with injuries.

Now we seem to be in the Zach Pyron era. He played 3 games in his freshman year and had 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, a 59.8 completion rate from 82 pass attempts, and he broke his clavicle. He does not have much experience.

Do you believe that having him as our full time quarterback will improve the team?

Ben: Sims might not have been a bad quarterback, but he certainly wasn’t a good one for Tech. Can some of the blame be placed on the offensive line? Sure, but he also made some very poor decisions when throwing the ball, likely due to any lack of good development while he was here. As for Pyron, I think he played well despite the circumstances. The stats may not show amazing numbers, but I think it is a good start. Also, while he is expected to be the starting quarterback, he is not guaranteed the job at all. I expect Zach Gibson and Haynes King to compete for the job, and at this point, I’m not sure who starts. King has a ton of promise if he can improve his decision-making. As for Gibson, I think he’s a good quarterback when he hast time to throw. I think it will be a fun competition to see play out.

Chris: I moderately disagree about Sims. He maybe improved slightly from 20 to 21, but I think he’s largely the same QB he was in 2020. As far as “good”...I dunno. In his GT career he averaged 1.2 passing TDs, 0.92 INTs, and 178 passing yards per game with a 57.5% overall completion rate. In the ACC he finished 13th, 12th, and 13th in overall rating among eligible QBs. His best season was 2021, a year where he finished 63rd in the nation in passer rating. Of course a lot of blame can be put on a bad OL, but I kinda think you have to at least be in the top half of QBs in your conference to be called “good”. As far as Pyron, I’m interested to see how he can improve. Like 2020 Sims he showed good potential, but it’s all going to come down to actual development. He was thrown into the fire this season so I’ll wait to see what he looks like come September of next year.

Logan: Sims was fine, I don’t know if he was ever really good. The way he left the team (not the transferring, more his attitude and quitting on the team in the Miami game) soured my opinion a bit, but he was fine. Looking at the stats Chris listed above, I think Sims helped more with his legs than with his arm. I have no reason to believe Pyron can’t match Sims passing stats assuming he recovers well from his injury.

Jake: I’m worried about the injury recovery, but, in general, I would say I’m cautiously optimistic.

DressHerInWhiteAndGold: Whatcha hopin for from the Jolly Old Elf?

A pallet of shotgun shells would be NICE! And whirled peas.

Ben: I think the Jolly Old Elf came early for my wife and me! We recently bought a house that we will hopefully be moving into shortly after the new year. Additionally, I got a Christmas present for myself too in the form of a coffee bean roaster. Once we get moved in, I will start roasting my own coffee, which is something I’m incredibly excited about.

Chris: I’m always interested in comfy pullovers and actual adidas Tech gear.

Logan: I just want socks. I got my significant other a piñata shaped like a penguin. She is gonna be very confused when she unwraps that.

Jake: I have some books on my list, including one from a pilot about urban planning, so that should be delightfully esoteric. Mostly, though, I am hoping for a new pair of shoes that I can wear to work.

BuzzForPresident: Even though it has been happening to an increasing rate over the past few decades, now that there is no pretense any more to the claim that a college football championship can’t be bought, should the record books have a stars next to all future champions along with a disclaimer? Similar to how baseball records are labeled during the doping years or the difference between amateur and professional status in the Open era of tennis.

Ben: Having great players means nothing if you can’t coach them up. I don’t think there’s any reason to put an asterisk next to champions. Teams like Texas A&M and Miami keep dumping money into their programs, and they still aren’t winning. It isn’t as easy as just spending money.

Chris: Eh. There’s always been a correlation between budget and results throughout the modern era. And teams like Texas A&M are proving that it’s not quite as simple as buying a championship - you still have to do all the countless other things right.

Logan: Do the Yankees put an asterisk on every World Series they win just because they pay more to get the best players? Winning a championship takes more than buying pure talent, although I do agree that it helps things. I think the asterisk idea is a bit silly.

Jack: I concur with what’s been said here. The NIL phase of college football we’re in now is just an evolution in team building, not individual performance. The players are as good as they’ve ever been, just now they’re concentrated into more select spots. The doping thing in baseball is a complete other issue that does not align with what we’re seeing in college football.

Jake: Playing devil’s advocate here slightly, if the boys from Athens can asterisk losses to us from World War II because we fielded a better team given the circumstances, I suppose anything is possible.

BuzzForPresident: Do public school record disclosure laws cover NIL deals for college athletes? Will we ever know how much money it takes to win an NC?

Ben: Technically, NIL deals are agreements between student-athletes and private corporations, so there should be no public record to disclose that information.

Logan: Someone might know more than me, but my understanding is that the NCAA gives schools permission to post information about NIL agreements, but they are not forced to. It is a case by case basis depending on what the school wants. My guess is the big schools may not want to let all that information out though.

Chris: I believe Logan is right - there’s no nationwide mandate for disclosure, but it’s influenced by state laws.

gtbadcarma: What were your best and your worst predictions that you made for 2022?

Ben: I predicted that Jeff Sims would not be the starting quarterback by the end of the season and that Tech would be using multiple quarterbacks besides Sims, so I think that’s pretty neat that I was right about such a specific prediction.

Logan: I think I predicted us to go 7-6 at the end of the year because ACC coastal… feels like worst, but we made it closer than I expected. Best was that Illinois would make a bowl game, they did it and got close to playing in the BIG10 championship game.

Jake: I honestly don’t really remember my predictions about football, if that’s the main gist here. It was an interesting year, to say the least, but I’m not sure anyone could have called how it played out exactly.

Frodo Swagginz: Key and his staff are heating up on the recruiting trail, which is always nice to see, what further additions would you like to see from the portal?

ASSUMING a 7-5 season next year, with Tech making it to a bowl game, how do you expect that to effect recruiting? Would Tech make a jump to the 40s or 30s for 2024?

Ben: I think expecting a jump to 30 is setting yourself up for disappointment. Will recruiting get better if Tech makes a bowl? Yeah, probably. This class is basically a complete wash because Tech had a lameduck head coach for most of the season, so if it isn’t better, that’s a problem. At this point, my expectation would be for Tech to jump into the 40s. If Key is the recruiter everyone says he is and Tech is making a bowl, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Carter: Whoa there, buddy. You know what happens when you start going around making assumptions.

Logan: Depends on who those wins are against. I would expect a bump, it would possibly put us as one of the mid tier recruiting teams in the ACC instead of being one of the bottom barrel teams in the ACC… not sure where that would put us nationally.

Chris: It would definitely go up, but 30s might be a bit high.