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Mailbag 9/7

What do the new ACC members mean for permanent ACC opponents?

NCAA Football: Memphis at Southern Methodist Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Brockman: Any ideas on how best to integrate our new ACC partners into the scheduling? Will this throw out the current permanent football opponents? I hope so, since Tech’s baffle me.

Ben: I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if all three become permanent football opponents. The issue is that there isn’t a fourth team that’s close by, so I’m not totally sure how that would work. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing SMU join Tech’s permanent opponent pool. I think that would be a really fun regular match-up. I imagine the whole thing will get reorganized, though.

Chris: I am definitely in favor of throwing out the existing scheduling system and re-doing it with these additions. Personally I’d love to see us play Stanford regularly, I think that could turn into a fun rivalry.

Jack: Echoing Chris and Ben, throwing it out seems like the obvious first move. There will have to be some optimization to minimize miles flown for each team that I’m sure some AI could spit out in seconds. I’m not super opposed to the three new teams potentially playing a home and home with one the others just to make it a little bit easier on everyone. I do not know off the top of my head if NCAA rules allow teams to play each other twice in the regular season.

gtbadcarma: I believe it irrefutable the team/coaching was better all around after coach error 404 was dismissed. Key made some strides but being happy with 5 wins only comes after been starved to see 4 wins. I, for one, will not be happy to see 4-5 win season.

I know it is “just one game” and many will say its “too early to draw conclusions” but I have found myself especially disappointed with blocking on the o-line/special teams, the lack of adjustment in play calling to bring about success more quickly and lack of adjustment to continue the success once discovered, and the lack of ability to tackle. My contention is Key has been with the team since 2019 and I expect a quick turn around considering he knows the locker room, knows the culture, he helped recruit many of the players and he should have no surprises. Are you as concerned as I am with the progress that was made from the end of last season or do you have some words of encouragement to offer over its just one game?

Ben: I can definitely understand the frustrations, especially with fundamental issues like tackling. I came into the season believing that this team is capable of going to a bowl game, and I still believe that. From what I understand, Louisville actually does have a pretty good defensive line, so it’s possible that the OL failure could be chalked up to that, but it’s still not a good omen for the rest of the season. Key and Wade need to get that group playing much better.

Chris: I’m mostly with you yeah, I expected a little bit more maturity from units like the OL. I’m hoping that some of it can be attributed to first-game growing pains, but we’ll see. We can go nowhere without at least a serviceable OL.

TheCalvinist: Not so much a question, but a statement that invites discussion.

Zach Pyron’s mustache is a great look, and it’s giving me hope that Tech is going to the ACC Championship Game.

Ben: Unfortunately Pyron is not the starting QB, so that mustache is wasted.

Chris: I kinda disagree Ben, I think “backup quarterback with strong facial hair” is a big cultural boon for the team - he’s like our Ryan Fitzpatrick (and hopefully this means he’ll randomly come in one game and throw 5 TDs).


Do you agree with GT>FSU (14:02 time stamp) as our MOST ICONIC PLAY?

Ben: Absolutely not. I don’t even think it’s the most iconic play of the last 10 years. For me, that would be The Kick and The Pick. When I think of Tech moments, that’s the one that stands out to me.

Chris: I think I agree, from the standpoint that “most iconic” means “most recognizable by a national audience”. The Kick and The Pick is maybe more iconic to our fanbase, but for pure national recognition it’s hard to beat the Miracle on Techwood.

DressHerInWhiteAndGold: How do you rank all-time/all-team?

Ben: I’d probably go The Kick/Pick, Miracle on Techwood, Josh Nesbitt stealing the fumble back from FSU.

Chris: My top three in recent memory would be the Kick/Pick, Miracle on Techwood, and Qua’s TD against UGA in 2016 (are we actually calling this The Quantum Leap? is that official?).

TkTheGoat: Is Clemson OFFICIALLY a thing of the past?

Ben: I was a big fan of what happened because it only supports my conspiracy theory that Dabo Swinney isn’t actually a good coach.

Chris: Kinda seems that way right? I find it hard to believe they’ll be bad anytime soon, but it does seem like they’re at least firmly down off the “national title contender” list.

Jack: Lord willing! I think we all can agree Dabo’s “god’s NIL” bit automatically brought every bit of bad karma their way and it should in perpetuity.

TkTheGoat: What are Top 3 most annoying CFB fan bases?

Ben: Although I have friends who are UGA fans, I still have to put them up there. The constant thought that UGA is some sort of underdog baffles me in a season where UGA is coming off of back-to-back national championships. I would also put Ohio State fans up there. For the third, take your pick of perennial CFP contender.

Jack: UCF, UGA, Bama. No, I’m tooootally not influenced by the fact I grew up in an Auburn household that witnessed the 2018 Peach Bowl in person and went to Tech ;)

Chris: UGA, UCF, and yeah maybe Ohio State?

Maggie: UGA is number one obviously. I am a huge Notre Dame hater so I’ll put them second. Then maybe Ohio State or Louisville after last week.

gtbadcarma: Back in 2013 there was a large sign hung off of a LSU fraternity that was coarsely offensive towards Kent St. UCF had a coarsely offensive Tweet from their account towards Kent St. during the game this last Friday. I hear the reasoning that “its generational Misunderstanding.” I am sensitive to Kent St as my father is a graduate and was on campus during the shooting. I know that Kent St is not the only target and I see an increase in coarsely offensive signage, not to mention behavior, appearing on campus’s that are from school sponsored/affiliated groups. My question is, should there be more accountability, such as fines or bans for tailgating etc, for universities not better policing itself/students/fans or is an “oops sorry” enough for you?

Ben: So because most college football teams are through publicly funded universities, it gets into some First Amendment issues. Although school-sponsored or school-affiliated groups might be saying something offensive or using offensive signage, the University (assuming it’s a publicly funded university) cannot prohibit any speakers for content-based reasons. I actually wrote a whole paper and gave a presentation about this for a couple of my classes recently. It was reaffirmed by a District Court in Washington in College Republicans of the University of Washington v. Cauce (2018) that any prohibitions or restrictions that are placed on speakers must be considered viewpoint-neutral. An example of this in action is when a group at the University of Tennessee brought in Ben Shapiro for a speaking engagement. I don’t care how you feel about Shapiro, but he could be considered a controversial figure. Anyway, the University could not treat the student group any differently from if a group wanted to bring in LeVar Burton, meaning they can’t charge any extra fees, require more security, etc. The bottom line is that it can get a little dicey when Universities try to tell people affiliated with the University what they can or cannot say. Is what they said stupid and inconsiderate? Yes, but they also have the Constitutional right to be stupid and inconsiderate.

Submitted via Twitter:

Ben: I guarantee part of it was losing Jordan Williams going down to injury. He’s arguably Tech’s best offensive lineman, especially when it comes to run blocking. I’m hopeful he’ll be back soon, though.

I think the fair catch rule is the worst thing to happen to kickoffs. I can’t validate this with any statistic, but it seems like most kick returners call for a fair catch 90+% of the time. If that is what’s going to happen, just let drives automatically start at the 25-yard line. If a team wants to try an onside kick, sure, let them, but kickoffs are just becoming meaningless.

Kickers are mostly headcases, so probably not great. We really can’t blame Stewart for the first kick. It was a 54-yard try, and he just didn’t have the leg. The other kick, though, one of the folks in our Slack channel noticed that Stewart swung a little low and dragged his foot on the ground when he kicked, which impacted the kick and caused it to miss. Hopefully, he is good at forgetting things because Stewart was a really solid kicker last seaosn.

Chris: I’m not sure we went away from the run so much as it completely stopped being successful; losing Jordan Williams certainly seemed to be a factor there.

Submitted via email: Larissa Mendes looks like she’s turning into the next great impact hitter on the volleyball team. Between her, Tamara Otene, and Liv Mogridge, is this one of the deeper offensive lineups we’ve had? Also who else do you think is gonna have an impact on what is early on looking like an excellent volleyball team?

Jack: Yes, this is easily one of the deeper lineups Michelle Collier has ever had. When I chatted with her and Paola Pimentel before the season, they said as much. Plus, I don’t think we’ve seen the full cast of characters for this year’s team play yet (holding out hope to see Kali Engeman at some point). Smiley Manyang finally got some playing time in both matches against Ohio State and had a couple kills. DeAndre Pierce has honestly played far better than she showed at the intrasquad and Auburn exhibition games. Larissa Mendes very well could be the most impactful freshman in all GT sports this year (pending who baseball/golf grabs). When people see her at McCamish, she’s going to become a fan favorite very quickly.

To answer your second question: I think our early success largely sits with Bella D’Amico and how she’s distributing the ball. Last year, it was quite obvious she was targeting Julia Bergmann (for good reason), but now she has three equally high level outside hitter/right side players to rely on, and then Mogridge just to top it off. Even more, she’s targeting Bianca Bertolino, Tamara Otene, and Mendes equally. All of them had 44 attacks in the second Ohio State game, and all were within 37-39 attacks against Penn State. It’s literally a toss up at any given moment who Bella will go to. My personal volleyball playing time is abysmally little, so I can’t confidently say if the three of them is harder to defend than a single Bergmann, but I imagine it has to be at times.

Submitted via email: Hey guys,

Hope y’all are doing well. It was a fun week of college football. Even with the tough loss it was still nice to have good games on the tv to watch after such a long break. Fall is back, and it feels good.

So with all the action this weekend there is only one question on everyone’s mind, did you see the live action One Piece adaptation on Netflix? If so what did you think? Best of luck this weekend.


Eiichiro Oda

Ben: So I’ve never seen One Piece, so no I didn’t watch the live-action adaptation either. From what I’ve seen, though, it seems like it’s been pretty faithful to the original. I could also be completely wrong on that, though.