Well...no replies but that's okay. It's been a whirlwind 24 hours with no luck at recovering anything off the crashed hard drive at Best Buy or via Seagate Tech Support. Just as I sat down to re-edit the project from the beginning (ugh!) after about 60-70 hours of work lost a thought hit me:
"When auto-save reaches the maximum number of copies, it starts replacing the oldest ones. Does it replace them, or write over them?"
Either way, I thought maybe it's worth looking into recovering deleted files and sure enough, I googled just that and found www.recovering-deleted-files.net ...Now this may sound like a commercial but you can imagine how floored I was to do a quick sweep of my local drive and there they were, my .prproj files waiting there for me!! Even though my original project files and auto saves were on the crashed hard drive only. A quick $99 bucks (to actually unlock the recovery part of the app (the search part is free)) and I had my project files back!!!
Now, everyone reading this may not care, but my day instantly did a 180 and I felt like sharing. Who knows maybe someone else will one day hit this thread looking for a way to recover their crashed project files. Now, what's weird is that there were like 5 different recovered project files and each one contained only one of the four original sequences and files associated with that sequence. There wasn't one single project file that had all of the sequences that I edited like the original project file did, but right now, I don't care. I had to redo a few of the image files that I had in there that I had created in PS and saved on the crashed drive but because I had the original video files, I just link/located the videos and I'm back in business...literally.
Going forward...I think I may have my auto-save folder on a different hard drive than my project files. Just in case. Also, looks like I'll be looking into a good, new fast external scratch drive for my mac. What a day.