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Mailbag 8/24

Clemson, Ole Miss, and dwags: which one would be the best chance for an upset?

NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

TkTheGoat: We haven’t seen much from Haynes King but did he deserve a starting job? And will the QB battle extend into the season?

Ben: I wrote in my article yesterday that the QB battle is over. Brent Key stated that he isn’t going to give King a short leash, so I see no reason to think that the battle will continue into the season. If King comes out and is just abysmal, then yeah, I could see contemplating a change, but for right now, Haynes King is the starter.

Logan: I think many people will be concerned with King’s performance at TAMU before he got benched. From the information I have gathered it sounds like the development out at Texas A&M was lacking and the coaches at GT seem to have faith that King is talented and given time to develop he will become a great QB. At the moment I would not expect there to be a battle at QB. Things can always change but I think King is a good candidate for running this new offense. I am a little sad because Zach Pyron looked very good last year, but I also know King is talented and I have no reason to think that this decision was made for a reason outside of coach Key feeling King is currently the best option at QB.

Jeff: I wouldn’t say we’ve seen less out of King than we had Pyron last season. Both had varying success in several games before being injured and being out for the year. King nearly upset Alabama last year so he certainly has shown flashes. As Logan said, there has been a lot of criticism of Texas A&M and how they are developing players. There was a large exodus and we even grabbed another player on the defensive side from them. I think it is great Coch Key decided on a QB to start the game prep for Louisville. Trying to figure out who should start takes reps away from one QB focusing on being the guy for the opening game. Louisville is a game you can catch off guard in week one and having your guy fully prepared will help.

GTalbatross: Does a named starter for QB in preseason affect your expected wins or predicted wins?

My expected record: 3-9

My predicted record: 5.5-6.5

Follow on: can we do any over-under predictions for season metrics to kick off the weekly wagers?

Ben: No, my prediction doesn’t change. If King won the job, I take that to mean that the coaching staff is more confident he will win games for Georgia Tech. And sure, I’ll post something tomorrow about over-unders for the whole season and post the results next week, so keep an eye out for that.

Logan: I walked away from the spring game feeling both Zach Pyron and Haynes King were comparable in many ways. I don’t feel choosing one over the other was going to significantly impact the way the offense operates and the results on the field. If you’re talking about adding over-unders for the season pick-em articles I can see about setting that up for week 1 next week.

Jeff: I might be optimistic but I think 5 wins should be the floor for this season. You have three very winnable games and plenty of toss-ups in the mix. I don’t really change that based on who got the starting role.

Jack: Same as Logan, based on what I saw from the spring game, both guys played well enough to be serviceable options. For me, it’s helpful to remind myself that Pyron barely got a half-season’s worth of games with us, so the idea that he could not win the job I think should’ve been more realistic an option than we maybe thought. All in all, I can’t wait to see how he’ll do, and it’s nice to know there’s depth behind King in case it comes to that.

GTSMURF: What will be the “Key” to our success this season?

Ben: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the offensive line. If the OL isn’t any better this season, it doesn’t matter how good everything else is. If the OL is decent to good, this team goes bowling.

Logan: ... listen here GTSMURF, if that is your real name, only bad site writers like myself are allowed to make terrible puns on this site. As far as your question goes, I need to see a “King” step up at QB if we expect to get “Moore” out of our wide receivers in this offense. It doesn’t help that we had a ”Fusile” O-line last year which melted against strong defensive fronts, so we need to “Seither” (see their) blocking get better. I also want to see our defense “Douse” the opposing offense with strong rushing and coverage, because we can ill “Efford” to give up big plays on the defensive side of the ball.

All of those were terrible, I will not apologize, I hope you’re happy GTSMURF.

Jeff: OK, that was beautiful Logan. The offensive line is going to be better because well they were just bad last year and inexperienced. Now they are more experienced and have pretty good depth for what they normally trot out there. I am going to go with the linebackers because they are such a wildcard. None of the starters return but Tatum rotated in a lot as a backup and the two transfers White (Texas A&M) and Oliver (Minnesota) are seasoned veterans. If this group gels well then this might be a strong defense overall.

Jack: I defer to Logan and everyone else here. Just win baby.

jabsterjacket: Clemson, Ole Miss, and dwags: which one would be the best chance for an upset?

Ben: I’m going to say Ole Miss. Kelly Quinlan mentioned on the Basketball Conference Podcast’s Georgia Tech preview that Ole Miss is replacing a ton of players this season, so catching them early in the season could give Tech an opportunity. At the very least, I think Tech has a better shot in that game than they do against Clemson or UGA.

Logan: I’ll certainly have a better idea following week 1, but right now I think Clemson has looked weaker than they have in almost a decade. I think Clemson almost seems to lack the same confidence they have had which has led to them struggling in games they would normally overwhelm opponents in. That doesn’t mean they will be easy to beat, but I do feel like Clemson would be the most beatable team of the 3. uga is what they are, and Ole Miss still is one of the most talented teams (with one of the most annoyingly talented coaches) in the country so I don’t have high hopes facing either of them this year.

Jeff: It is definitely Ole Miss. Clemson looked weaker last year but I think that was their down year. I expect them to roll through the conference this year. UGA just has more defensive phenoms than should be allowed. Oh, and possibly one of the best TEs to ever play. Outside of the demolition job Deion Sanders did at Colorado, Ole Miss probably had the most flux through the transfer portal. They are still talented but it's an early season game and it is hard to get everyone on the Lane Train that fast.

Jack: To make it 4/4, I think Ole Miss is the best shot as well. Roster rotation + early in the season + we’ll have a real game week one to test ourselves, it just feels like a good mix to at least make it interesting. That game will be nothing like last year’s game was when GT was in complete shambles. I’m also not fully ruling out UGA simply because Key had a really good gameplan that actually gave Georgia a legit punch in the mouth in the first half. Talent won’t win us that game, but I’m sure if we combine the great minds of our collective intellect at The Institute, I’m sure we can make a gameplan so great no one can beat us.

gtbadcarma: over the last 4 years, the rotation of the starting QB, to me, has been a huge issue, granted one of many. I am a bit surprised by Key’s pick and worry that the first bump in the road that Key starts switching QBs. What do you think the chances are that Key try’s the QB merry-go-round and if he does, would you consider it a bad indicator of things to come?

Ben: I know you already mentioned this, but I don’t believe we’ll see that merry-go-round this year. For me, the fact that he named a starter weeks before the game when he had absolutely no reason to tells me that it’s King’s job, and Key is not going to follow in the steps of his predecessor.

Logan: Unless King just struggles over the course of 4 games or so, I don’t expect much rotation at the position. I don’t foresee Key rotating the position now that he has an offense setup the way he wants unless he has certain plays setup for different QBs (like goal-line run plays). They picked the offense, they picked King to run it, that is what’s happening.

Jeff: Key explicitly said that Haynes King will not have a short leash and that is a good thing. Getting trigger-happy with the switch can destroy confidence. Let him make his mistakes and learn.

DressHerInWhiteAndGold: Since we are still (just barely) pre-season/off topic:

Favorite Harrison Ford roles?

Ben: I think he’s a great Han Solo, but he’s a better Indiana Jones. Just from watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones, it’s clear that he loves the Indiana Jones role so much more. I’m curious to see how he does in the MCU as Thunderbolt Ross. Honestly, I’m still shocked he took the role, but he’s a great actor, and I’m confident he’ll do a good job.

Logan: Anyone else watch “Shrinking” on Apple TV? That may have been my favorite role for Harrison Ford in a while. He is so darn funny and he has some great dramatic moments in the show. He’s only a side character but the show would not have worked the same way without him. Other options (trying to pick ones outside of Indiana Jones and Han Solo) I liked him in The Fugitive and Airforce 1. Blade Runner had to be up there as far as the level of drama he achieved.

Jack: YES LOGAN! Shrinking was AWESOME! Ford as Thunderbolt Ross will be interesting. He’s going to have a real villain role in that movie I think as he does his thing in that movie with US Agent (who is nowhere to be found at this point).

Jeff: I’ll go chalk but the original Indiana Jones movies are hands down the best.

TheCalvinist: I draft 3rd out of 12 teams in the first season of a Dynasty PPR Fantasy Football League. Assuming he is still on the board at pick 22, am I reaching if I draft Jahmyr Gibbs in the second round?

Ben: I’m certainly no fantasy football guru, so take this for whatever it’s worth. I think he has a chance to be very valuable, especially in a PPR league, but he also isn’t “the guy” in Detroit. He’ll be splitting time with David Montgomery at running back, so you’ll have to decide if the risk of inconsistent touches is worth the reward of the breakout performances Gibbs is capable of. So yes, I think it’s probably a reach, but I also haven’t played fantasy in years.

Logan: The answer, as with most fantasy drafts, depends on what your options are at that moment. I think Gibbs is going to be a solid RB2 or Flex option so there is nothing wrong with picking Gibbs as long as there isn’t still a top WR on the board (or possibly Travis Kelce). I wouldn’t think poorly of you for taking Gibbs late in the second, especially given what we have seen from him in the pre-season. Besides, you also have a quick turnaround on your 3rd pick so you should be able to make up your mind on who else you can take with the next pick if you know the other 2 players don’t have someone in mind and will only be taking best available player.

Jeff: Fantasy drafts are such a crap shoot because it depends on how your fellows draft and what is available. RBs are usually toast at this point. You’ll have wanted to grab one with that third pick most likely. If a major WR is still sitting there or a surefire TE like Kelce you don’t pass that up. If you took a high-value receiver then Gibbs could be an option but if Bijan Robinson hasn’t been picked you take him first because of the starting role and offensive style.

Submitted via email: Hey guys,

Hope y’all are doing well. I’m on a trip to flavortown, so things are feeling pretty good. Question for y’all, with GAMEDAY coming up where would you recommend grabbing food before going to a game at Mercedes Benz Stadium? I really dig Restaurant 10 over there, what food place do y’all think is worth going too before heading to the game? Let me know, and have a nice week.

Guy Fieri

Ben: I’ve never actually eaten at MBS, so I am not the right person to answer this. I just wanted to stop in and say that I’m a big fan. Always keep the frosted tips.

Logan: I also like Restaurant 10. NO MAS! is a good burrito place if memory serves. I think most people I know like STATs as a BrewPub. That’s about the extent of what I know to be in the area unless you want to eat Chick-Fil-A or Waffle House.

Jeff: I live pretty far outside Atlanta so I am not as well-versed on the best eats but I know a lot of people have suggested NO MAS!. One of my go-to's though is Beetlecats over in Inman Park. It’s seafood and they have an extensive list of raw oyster dishes to choose from or a lobster roll that did win a competition in New England. They rotate out a seasonal list of 3 to 4 main dishes of fish but I have never had a bad one. They also have a burger that is very popular but I haven’t tried it myself.

Jack: I’m sadly not well versed on the downtown food spots (although if you’re up for the vibe, the wings at Magic City I hear are phenomenal), but about 8-10 minutes away from MBS is El Tesoro at Wild Heaven West End (where I’m currently writing this from). Full disclaimer, my family runs Wild Heaven, but the fact I’ve voluntarily had El Tesoro like five times in the last two weeks should hint at how good their food is. The tostones are a must eat. You’ll want to get here ~5 p.m. to avoid a long line for food or just pick it up and eat near the stadium.