You know, over the last few days, I (along with the legions of other Bulldog bloggers) have been heaping plenty of insults and abuse on Georgia Tech in preparation for this weekend's in-state battle royale, but today being Thanksgiving and everything, I thought it might be a good time to, at least temporarily, take a different tack. This is, after all, a time to be generous, to care for others, to put aside our differences and unite in our hopes for peace on earth and goodwill toward men, and . . .
Wait, I'm thinking of Christmas, aren't I? Yeah, there's still an entire month before I have to start caring about that peace and goodwill crap. In the meantime, screw those Tech nerds.
But no, seriously, as we give thanks for all our many blessings today and (hopefully) renew our commitment to sharing those blessings with others, I decided I would sit down and come up with ten things I can admit to liking, respecting, or envying about Georgia Tech. Then I decided there was no way I was going to be able to come up with ten, so I knocked it back to six. Six was doable. So anyway, here are the Top Six Things I'm Thankful For That Are Actually Good About Georgia Tech, or whatever.
6. Tech's basketball team. Now, do I root for said team? Of course not. But unlike Tech's football team, I can at least admit they're pretty good. And their coach, Paul Hewitt, is a classy guy who runs the program well. There are very few things a Georgia grad will ever admit to envying about Georgia Tech, but sometimes I do wonder how history would be different had we hired Hewitt to coach the UGA basketball team back in 1999 instead of letting Jim Harrick play the $25,000 Embarrass That Academic Institution ("I can embarrass that academic institution in five notes!" "No, I can embarrass that academic institution in three notes!") for the better part of five years.
5. Jimmy Carter. When I express my deep respect and admiration for Jimmy Carter -- who went to Tech in 1942 as a Naval ROTC student before heading up to Annapolis -- a lot of people (Democrats as well as Republicans) give me a funny look. OK, so Jimmy's presidency left something to be desired (though, while rampant inflation, sky-high gas prices and nonstop Mideast turmoil was enough to get one drummed out of the White House in 1980, it's apparently enough to win you a second term in 2004 -- maybe it's a nostalgia thing), but as a person, Carter walked (and continues to walk) the moral, Christlike, whatsoever-you-do-for-the-least-of-your-people walk where an increasing number of people these days seem content merely to talk the talk. Anyone who's ever attended GT should be proud to count him among their own; for us UGA folks, meanwhile, the best we can put up against him is Zell Miller, who was a feather in our collective cap right up until he took his appointment to Paul Coverdell's Senate seat in 2000 as an invitation to go certifiably bat-shit Tom-Cruise-on-"Oprah" crazy.
Zell Miller: From HOPE Scholarship to "I will eat your soul" in just six short years.
4. My cousin. Right about the time I pledged my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to the University of Georgia, my cousin Duff did the same to Georgia Tech. Not only did he go there to get some kind of computing degree, he was in the marching band, which for any other person might've been a swirling black hole of dorkitude from whence there was no escape. But not for Duff. He graduated, got married, now has two adorable daughters and is an excellent husband and father. Plus he's making what I can only guess is a hell of a lot more money than I am, though that probably has less to do with any discrepancy between our educations and more to do with the fact that I'm pretty much lazy and don't apply myself. (I can drink him under the table, though! Who wants to give me a high five?)
3. This chick. Say what you will about Playboy magazine, but their "Girls of the ACC" search committee must be some damn hard-working folks if they can dig up hot Georgia Tech girls on a regular basis. I've never actually seen one in her natural habitat, to be honest with you, but apparently there's at least one, and Playboy found her whilst making their rounds of the ACC last year. Her name is Julia Ryan (original, uncropped, not-even-on-the-same-continent-as-safe-for-work picture here), and in addition to being hot, she's apparently also a very courageous individual, because being a hot girl at Tech has to be kind of like being the last surviving passenger along with Rosie O'Donnell of a plane crash in the Andes. But the point is, congratulations, Tech. All is apparently not lost for you guys.
2. Night games in Midtown. Saturday's game will be the first UGA-GT game I can remember that will be held at night, which is a good thing for Tech, because it allows them to show off what is, as far as I'm concerned, the one redeeming feature of their campus: the nice views of the Atlanta skyline in the background. Sure, we Georgia alums love to poke fun at "Thursday Night Lights" and the fact that the ACC still feels the need to weasel its games into prime time by invading what is otherwise a bastion of sub-BCS conferences, but in the end there are worse things than having the Bank of America tower, the Westin, and 191 Peachtree to gaze up at all lit-up and pretty. (Whatever distracts you from Tech's crapulence on the field, am I right? Ha ha! pwn3d! Don't e-mail me.) Tech's inner-city location presents it with all sorts of problems, as Nathan explained in detail in our Q&A earlier this week, but the Atlanta skyline is kind of nice as silver linings go, and it's going to be a treat for the 35,000 or so Bulldog fans who pack the stadium Saturday night.
The team and the fans aside, this isn't that bad.
1. 36-56-5. Yes, I'm quite thankful for that, so . . . thanks, Georgia Tech. (If you don't know the significance of that number, here's a hint.)