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Mailbag 6/16

Where are we going to find the next big 50/50 jump-ball wide receiver?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Clemson at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

BuzzForPresident: What is the appropriate reply to someone saying “Go Jackets!” to you,

“Go Jackets!” (ok but bland)

“Sting ‘em” (too close to the dark side but I think more traditional)

“Swarm ‘em” (same)

“What’s the Good Word” (lazy as it’s too soon)

“Together we Swarm”

“Be the Swarm, Dude”

“White and Gold Forever”

“Bleed White and Gold Bro” (with fist bump)

“Bust their A**”

“I drink my whisky clear”

Etc, ...

Obviously I’m having fun with some of those, but seriously I see too many people hesitating about what to say back. Some of that is just the surprise of running into someone who’s a good guy, but I think it has more to do with it not just being an automatic reaction as there appears to be no set standard (according to the media material regarding traditions that I can find).

Ben: Unfortunately, Georgia Tech doesn’t have its own “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle,” where every fan knows to say that to each other. The closest Georgia Tech has is “What’s the good word?” and even with that, I kinda wish Tech fans would stop. Why should Georgia Tech’s phrase (for lack of a better term) have to do entirely with a different team (e.g., To Hell With Georgia)? I would rather have a phrase that has to do with Tech, but things like “Together We Swarm” just don’t work. I don’t have a good answer, so I’ll probably just stick with “Go Jackets.”

Jack: To take your question literally, “Go Jackets” I think is the easiest response in that context. “To Hell With Georgia” as a rallying cry I find awesome. It keeps the rivalry front of mind, and only will be said with more passion this coming season after Brent Key’s remarks in his opening press conference when he got promoted to HC. These kinds of things are best when naturally occuring, so you never know when a new catchphrase will take hold.
Logan: I just use “Go Jackets” since it’s simple and easy to understand. I’ll respond to “hell with georgia” if someone says “what’s the good word”. Occasionally when CPJ was here I would say “we have the perfect option”. Tech is school with plenty of history and traditions, some which live on and some which have been largely forgotten. I feel that Jacks statement is accurate though, new traditions happen naturally so we’ll see what the future holds.

Chris: If someone says “Go Jackets” to me, I generally say “Go Jackets” back. “What’s the good word” -> “To hell with Georgia” is a good call and response, but I don’t think you really here it outside of gamedays.

Jake: Considering I sometimes accidentally reply “to hell with Georgia” to very not-Tech folks who incidentally ask me what the good word is, I would say that is a pretty ingrained response in my brain. That said, I think for the specific case you were referencing, “go Jackets” is a perfectly acceptable response, if said with a little vigor, and that I usually go with that or a “sting ‘em.” If it’s a stranger, I try not to get too off-the-wall with it. Usually with people that I initiate the “go Jackets” with — say, at a random airport, or if I’m up in Chicago — are usually surprised or gut reacting, so I can’t say it shocks me that, upon my reflection, my usually response is very much a reflexive thing.

CTJacket: I saw a few commits... can we get a recruiting update?

Ben: We have a State of the 2024 class article coming up as part of the 100 Days to Kickoff, so we will have a more in-depth update then. It’s still pretty early, so I wouldn’t take too much stock in a Top 40 ranking at the moment, but I do like some of the pieces that Brent Key is bringing in. The guy that has stood out to me specifically is the QB from Prince Avenue in Athens, Aaron Philo. I think he has a chance to be really good.

DressHerInWhiteAndGold: I’m seriously down on sports in toto and writ large.

Golf will become birdies and bonesaws and the talent has NO power.

CFB will become SEC20 vs Big20 and all others can soak corks by choice

Baseball is quicker than ever and EVEN more boring and the money men won’t let you watch your local team (but you can get a West Coast game on 7 different screens).

Games/Seasons are now becoming no different that a visit to a theme park/casino/shopping experience (did you know that the same arena music plays in Charlotte, Milwaukee, Fresno because survey says THAT’s what people want to hear!)

I fear that ALL sports will be pre-determined by AI to max Net Present Value of owners’ investment, and it’ll be RedSox v Yankees, Bama v Clemmins, Cowboys v KC, Manchester v PSG and ONLY those games going forward.

Tell me there is something worthwhile down this road beyond Saudi bucks, Quarterly Earnings and $trillion deals - PLEASE!

Ben: I’m not worried about sports being pre-determined by AI, but I can definitely empathize with a lot of this. Personally, I have gotten to the point where I care very little about college football outside what Georgia Tech does. I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually watched the national championship.

Jack: Oh man, I need about five hours of podcasting to get through this question. I can say I personally have never had more fun watching Braves games between how good they are and how reliably I can count on the specific time frame the game will take place. It allows it to fit in with the flow of my life more than it used to.

Going to games has always been supposed to be an experience that everyone who walks in will enjoy. Serving only fans who don’t care about the glitter added on doesn’t help anyone and will lose your team money, plain and simple.

Golf is screwed though, hands down. Last week’s news was up there with the worst sports news I’ve lived to see.

Your best hope? None of us know, but sports perpetually has been changing ever since the invention of the concept. Our responses to the changes is what as fans and media we can control. Don’t like it? Be vocal, practice that reality you want to see in your own life, as I try my darndest to do in mine.

Logan: I’m with Jack, I do like the baseball changes and I do think sports are an ever changing concept. Basketball is a good example, the three point line got added back in the 80s but I still hear some purists complain about how the three point line ruined the sport.

I agree with your statements, but I am still going to be watching college football because I love the pageantry and the games which trumps whatever the division situation is for me. I already noted how i enjoy the baseball changes, I think pitchers and batters still have plenty of time to setup, the game is faster and easier to focus on important spots, and the stealing is up which I think makes the game more interesting. Golf I never really watched except for specific events or to nap to, so I don’t expect much to change there.

I understand your frustrations, but I think people love sports regardless of how it comes to them. More directly to your question, maybe check out hockey, rugby, or cricket those are all popular sports in certain countries that (to my limited knowledge) still have fun competition without the money being overly emphasized. Maybe you would enjoy one of those.

Chris: I generally sympathize with a lot of this. It feels like we’re trending pretty heavily towards “sports are vehicles for profit” being the predominant way of thinking for ownership/leadership/etc. Going to see a game is now a non-trivial expense, and everything about the experiences seem geared towards extracting as much money from you as possible.

Jake: I really like the baseball rule changes thus far on the diamond and relative to the speed of the game, but I hate the lack of accessibility of games, in and out of market, and really dislike generalizing the schedule away from division games and diminishing the regular season with expanded playoffs. Even worse, that is where all sports seem to be headed, and I don’t love it. I could not tell you the last time the bloated NBA playoffs interested me outside of my Bulls fandom.

That said, I think college sports outside of football are in a renaissance or golden age with the changes wrought by expanded streaming and NIL/fair athlete compensation. More baseball players than ever are making it to the college game, more people than ever are watching softball, women’s basketball, and volleyball, and NIL is helping mid-to-good draft prospects stay another year in baseball and men’s basketball. I am hopeful that the trend of new faces making strong runs in women’s basketball and volleyball continues, and with Oklahoma shedding one of their best players to Nebraska, hopefully the trend will spill over into Softball, as well.

Given the value proposition of investing in these sports, some due to small rosters and others due to relatively reasonable competitive budgets, getting Tech basketball performance or results relative to expectations on the diamond in line with the high-quality outputs of volleyball the past few years will be vital.

Anuj Bhyravabhotla (Submitted via email): Where are we gonna find our next great 50/50 jump-ball Wide Receiver?

Ben: That’s a very good question! Georgia Tech’s biggest receiver (Leo Blackburn) is dealing with an injury. And generally, there is just a lot of turnover in the receiver room this year. I am very intrigued by Abdul Janneh (the transfer from Duquesne), so he is probably a guy to keep an eye on this season.

Submitted via email: Hey Guys,

How are things? I didn’t have anything funny to say this week, so I’ll keep it short. Who is your current favorite to play the QB position and why? I don’t want to know who you think will end up starting, but do you have a favorite and why is that QB the best option in your mind? Let me know what you think, have a good one.

-Shylo McKenzie

Ben: If I had to pick a personal favorite, I would probably say Pyron, just because I think he did a great job last season as a true freshman in a very tough situation. I don’t know for sure that he will start. There’s a lot to like about Haynes King and Zach Gibson as well. I truly would not be surprised by any of them starting.

Logan: I like Haynes King from what I saw in the spring game, but I worry about turnovers which he seemed to struggle with at A&M. I think he really fits the idea of changing our offense to a more air raid style. As Ben pointed out though I would be fine with any of the QB options. It’s kind of a shame that we can only have one QB. it’s a good problem to have but I hate seeing talented players not get playing time.

Jake: Until I see otherwise, I’m sticking with Pyron. He was electric in Blacksburg, and I think he has a lot of growing left to do, which should only stand to benefit himself and the team.