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Mailbag 4/13

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Is Georgia Tech school spirit bad?

NCAA Football: Georgia at Georgia Tech Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

I was amazed to realize that every major college baseball team in our state has an RPI of 31 or better. Tech, Mercer, Ga State, KSU, Ga Southern, even Athens. RPI of top 32 usually gets a team picked. The Jackets are 4-4 against the group with Southern and Mercer yet to come to Atlanta.

Could all six of them make the 64 team tournament? - Bill Brockman

Ben: I don’t know a lot about the current landscape of college baseball, but I’m sure more bizarre things have happened, so sure, this could potentially happen.

Andrew: It’s possible, but that would mean that the Sun Belt is a multi bid league. KSU looks to be the best team in the Atlantic Sun, but might have to win the conference tournament to make it. Mercer is leading the Southern Conference, but may have to win the conference tournament to make it.

Logan: Baseball is a notoriously fickle mistress. I’m not sure I would expect all those Georgia teams to maintain the same level of play throughout the year. It could happen, but I struggle to see a way where all 6 teams get in given the conferences some of them are in.

Jake: I think it’s possible, but particularly for the mid-majors they might need some help in their conference tournaments. Selection committees are not kind to non-power at larges.

Carter: I wouldn’t bet a lot money on it, but it’s not impossible. The A-Sun and Sun Belt have been multi-bid conferences at least once in recent years, and Mercer won the Southern Conference not long ago either. I don’t know that the non-power teams, with their RPIs as high as they are, necessarily have to win their conferences (although one of State/Southern probably do, because two Sun Belt teams getting at large bids seems extremely unlikely), but they probably should for this to actually happen.

Using the highly calibrated eye test, I believe the football team will not be as good as last year. Everyone has been talking about, including myself, that if the team does not make a bowl that CGC needs to be fired. It’s taken from the end of last season until today for the smoke from my ears to dissipate to allow my cooler head to prevail. For me its following my heart vs the right thing for Gatech overall. Most people already feel we are in the end game but If season 4 is as bad as most people expect should CGC go through to season 5 as the damage to the program/recruiting is done (I dont believe an extra year of CGC will make a starting point for a new coach any worse IMO) and Tech save a pile of money in payout or would firing after season 4 be the right move? - gtbadcarma

Ben: For Collins to get a Year 5, that means he will need to show tangible progress. That means he needs to—at the very least—make it to a bowl game. I would certainly prefer he lead Tech to a bowl victory or better, but I don’t see him being retained if he misses that. All he has to back up his record is his words. That isn’t going to help him this year.

Andrew: I can’t imagine a scenario where Collins keeps his job if we miss another bowl game.

Jake P.: I just don’t think the program can take more of Geoff Collins that it already has. Apathy has already set in, and if you keep Geoff around after a poor season 4, you’re basically just asking for every donor to stop giving money to the GTAA. Even though you’d save buyout money, you’d be harming the program in the long-run.

Logan: So... this is complicated because on paper I agree with you. One of GT’s biggest problems is that it has no money to invest in sports at the moment so we are continuously digging a bigger hole for ourselves by trying to pay more money to buy out a coach to gamble on another coach.

That said I have a firm belief that playing to lose is the worst thing a program can do to itself. You see this in pro sports all the time (aside from the 76ers who somehow sort of made it work, but still haven’t won a championship) where a team decides to tank and then just suffers for years because the players and coaches lose motivation. If the plan is to lose then why would people want to go to the program and why do the players want to put in effort. Now I’m not saying CGC is planning to lose, but my point is that if GT athletics continues to show that we don’t care about 4 bad football seasons in a row it sends a bad message to the athletes and the fans. With all that in mind, If CGC doesn’t show some improvement, like at least get a bowl game, I feel like it would be a bad idea for GT to sit on its hands; something would need to be done about the coaching situation at that point.

Carter: At some point the cost of keeping a dead weight coach outweighs the cost of eating their buyout. Collins’ drops significantly after this season, and that’s where we’re going to cross that point, barring a miracle season.

If GC goes after this year, should we go for a replacement running the “modern option”, that is, not every play under center and not so purist (some would say “stubborn”) in the CPJ mold, or do we try to continue to build on what GC ostensibly started with a pro-style offense, just with a different staff?

Or has the option ship sailed, particularly with the rules changes related to cut blocks (on the line and in space) and similar DaNgErOuS FoOtBaLl defensive tactics? - jabsterjacket

Ben: I don’t think a coach should be selected based off the type of offense they want to run. Whenever Tech is on the hunt for a new coach, I want them to find someone who has proven they can actually develop a team as a head coach. If they run the option, great. If they don’t, great. If we are looking for someone to run a particular offense, I wouldn’t mind seeing an air raid, just because I think it would be fun.

Andrew: I would love for us to take a chance on Jamey Chadwell from Coastal Carolina. He runs a good bit of option out of the gun. My other guy to look at would be Mike Houston at ECU, he ran an offense like CPJ’s at Lenoir-Rhyne and the Citadel, but then changed when he got the job at James Madison. That shows me that he is a coach who is more focused on doing what he needs to win than running a certain offense to prove a point.

Jake P.: I love the option, and if you can minimize the talent disparity with other schools and run it in a way that doesn’t make people scream “MiDdLe ScHoOl OfFeNsE,” I’m all here for it.

Logan: I think the option is more versatile for a school like Tech in the sense that we don’t need stand outs at every position in order to make the offense work. GT is not going to be as good at recruiting as other schools (for a multitude of reasons I will not get into) so the option would be a good idea here.

Regarding your question... after the past 3 years I think the hate against the option has died down in most fans. The option offense was the last offensive style that saw real success at our program. Most fans I talk to are now of the opinion “I don’t care what we run anymore, I just want to see us win”. With that in mind, I don’t expect people to put up too much of a fight if GT decides to hire a HC who runs an option offense.

Carter: People were clamoring for a Gus Malzhan-style spread offense while Paul Johnson was still coaching at Georgia Tech, and honestly I see no reason why Georgia Tech shouldn’t have moved that direction, other than a pathological need to make sure everything was the exact opposite of what the last guy did. 2022 will be the eleventh year in the 21st century Georgia Tech has run a pro-style offense, and with one exception the results of that have been mediocre to awful. I would like to see Georgia Tech move away from it.

Hello,

As always I hope everyone is doing well. Question this week... What would be your ideal work shift period during a week. Lets assume you need to work 40 hours a week, would you rather work five 8 hours day from Monday to Friday, or maybe from Tuesday to Saturday or some other combination. Would you rather work four 10 hour days instead, or maybe three 13 hour 20 minute days? What do you think Hope y’all have a good week no matter how you work it.

Cujo (submitted via email)

Ben: Right now, I work 8-5 with a lunch break, but I have the flexibility to leave early if I work through my lunch break. Ideally, I would love a four day work week. I think it would make my weekends far more refreshing and make me more productive during the week, especially if I could work remotely more.

Andrew: I work a job that has incredibly flexible hours. I tend to frontload my week and work 9 to 10 hour day Mon-Wed, then short it a lot on Friday.

Jake P.: I’d love working 10-hour days Monday-Thursday.

Logan: I definitely want the weekends available. You don’t realize until everyone else is working different shifts from you but you want to have the same days off as everyone else so you’re not spending all day with yourself. I think four 10 hour days is the one everyone is leaning towards now because that extra day off just makes so much of a difference. I would do 10 hours monday and tuesday, wednesday off, and the 10 hours thursday and friday just so I have a break in between everything.

Jake: 4 10 hour days would be ideal. I would love to have Friday to myself.

Carter: I’d be down for four tens.

Is Georgia Tech school spirit bad? (submitted via Reddit DM to a staff member)

Logan: It could be better. The short answer is that the school spirit at Tech does not compare to most other schools. There’s plenty of reasons that school spirit at Tech is not the same as other big schools (extra time required for classes compared to other schools, less successful sports programs, a decent portion of the student population comes from overseas where school spirit is not the same thing as it is in America, Less alumni showing up due to traffic in the downtown area, restaurants and shops in the downtown area having many customers so they are not reliant on showing spirit directly around the GT program... I could go on, but I have other things to do with my day). When I went to school I still saw plenty of school spirit from the Fraternities, Sororities, and at the student center; but I also saw plenty of students who were just too burnt out or too focused on other tasks to worry about showing school spirit. I think it just depends on the person, I don’t think its “bad” necessarily but not everyone is going to prioritize showing school spirit like you might see around other schools.

Carter: Redditor fndabs asked me this directly, so I figured I should probably give my thoughts. For reasons I can not explain, the Georgia Tech fanbase as a whole is extremely fickle. If you tried to go to a volleyball game this past fall, you probably couldn’t, because the games kept selling out on account of how good the team was. Women’s basketball is on an extremely successful run under Nell Fortner and are getting a lot of support as a result. Baseball sold out its game against georgia and then whipped them. But if you stumble into a game at Bobby Dodd this fall sometime in the middle of the second quarter, they might not even check your ticket. A fanbase that prided itself on setting a school record for spring game attendance tuned out on Geoff Collins real quick. Is there a diehard segment of the fanbase that still attends every game? Sure there is (hi!). But it’s a small segment, and it doesn’t feel like it’s getting bigger. I don’t know what the solution is other than the obvious one (win more).

Jake: Using my eye test, I feel like I generally saw fewer “other school” sweatshirts and shirts at the end of my grad degree than I did my freshman fall. Perhaps, though, I just wasn’t paying as much attention. When it comes to more “traditional” expressions of spirit - aesthetics of campus, attendance at large events, attitude and perspective - I would say in general it is a mixed bag. The groups that are bought in are usually fanatical. These are your stereotypical options like fraternities and sororities or the band/Reck Club, who do great work supporting things like homecoming or attending football and (bigger) baseball/men’s basketball games. However, one should not sell folks like club athletes or the student competition and design-build teams short. I may be extremely biased in mentioning club sports in particular, but these are the folks that take hours of their own time for no scholarship to add a specialized skill to their repertoire and represent Tech. Club athletes in sports that overlap with a varsity team are often the core of student attendance in varsity sports like tennis, swimming, and volleyball, this year notwithstanding for the latter.

That said, there are also large pockets of campus that, plainly put, do not give a single thought to things outside of their immediate interests, be that a friend group, schoolwork, research, intramural team, or extracurricular. When combined with Tech’s post-graduation alumni diaspora and placement as one culture aspect of many in a large city, I think these aspects compound to yield a general perception of it not being that, well, important to a lot of people. I would simply recommend, for people that think that spirit is lacking, they attend a volleyball game, join a sport club, try to join the marching band, or get their friends to sign up for the Mini 500. The spirit is there, it’s just not always so patently obvious.