1. I'm sure that engineering (chemical, was it?) was probably a piece of cake at UTK (was it?). It isn't exactly known for the quality of its engineering school. Tennessee Tech had the better reputation in TN for engineering.
2. Senior year isn't the toughest year...at least not where I went to school. End of sophmore to mid junior year is when you took the crappiest classes.
I would love to see you try to put in your 55 days in the ChemE program at GaTech without having to repeat half of your classes. Is it possible? Yep... but you'd better be reeeeeally smart and work your ass off when you're not on the hill. (Even then, I wouldn't bet money on you being able to do it successfully)
FYI: I graduated high school in Knox county and could have easily attended UT (with in-state tuition).
No mechanical. UT is actually gotten way better in there engineering program. Still not where they want it but they are dumping millions into it. They are currently ranked 65 in the country for the engineering program. GT has a hell of a program, but I didn't want to pay any out of state tuition. Also I knew I wanted to move out of the South so I didn't go to TT since UT is a better school nationally than TT. I won't argue with you over if I could have done that at tech since there is no way to know. Would be a pointless argument for sure. Would I have tried? Absolutely.
I hope you could have attended UT easily. Pending when you graduated from HS it is much tougher to get into now due to the lottery scholarship. I also had access to the slopes an hour from my door step little easier than living in GA. You went to a better school by far and I have no problem admitting it. You are all about money and moving up in your career while I am the opposite. I love what I do but I love where I live much more. I love the activities I do after work so my job just helps fund every thing I do.