Well, since no one else has spoken up I'll say this. I was just playing with a gear calculator and a 42t front ring with a 32-11t cassette (which my not be possible) gives you almost the exact same range as a 36/46 with a 12-27t cassette. If 11-28 is as big as you can go then a 38t seems like a good range too.
As far as tires, I have no personal experience but on here people seem to thin the Schwalbes tubless up pretty good, and Vee Rubber has some tubeless tire now.
Gearing depends on what your typical courses look like and if you are more of a low cadence masher or a high rpm spinner. I run a 38 with usually an 11-26 or 11-28 in back. I find it works pretty well for most of the courses I race. Enough climbing gear, anything lower and it is probably faster to run and plenty of top end, although personally I rarely get past the middle of the cassette. I'm just not that strong yet.
As for tires, again courses and conditions will dictate. I'm assume Georgia is relatively dry compared to say Seattle/Portland or New England. You can probably get away with a mixed condition tread (Clement MXP or Vittoria XG (Grifo knock offs), or something more modern like the Schwalbe Racing Ralph or Specialized Tracer) and more of a file tread (Kenda Happy Medium or Small Block 8, Clement LAS, etc.)
I say go with a mix of tires, Like a Kenda Kommando or Sland 6 in back and a Panaracer Crossblaster or Clement PDX up front. This will tackle most of the loose, dry conditions pretty handily. Vee Rubber's X-C-X should take care of most cinditions for you as well.