Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

No vote of confidence: Tech picked fifth in Coastal

  • 8:15 am Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
One of these guys will win the Coastal. And Dabo and Jimbo aren't eligible. (Chuck Burton/AP)

If you’re Georgia Tech, the good news is that nobody knows how the ACC Coastal Division will play out. The less-good news is that you, Georgia Tech, were just picked to finish fifth in it.

And a pretty distant fifth at that. In voting by the assembled ACC media at the league’s press convocation in Greensboro, the Yellow Jackets finished three points ahead of Pittsburgh, which was sixth, and 148 points behind North Carolina, which was fourth. Tech drew the sixth-fewest first-place votes (one) in the seven-team division; even Pitt, for some unknown reason, commanded two first-place votes.

[More]

Another UGA arrest, another phone call for Richt

  • 9:46 am Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mark Richt at SEC Media Days last week. (Butch Dill/AP)

Mark Richt was in a fine mood in Hoover, Ala., on Thursday. He told the media he liked what he has seen of his team. He’d just become a grandfather. He was wearing a bright red tie and smiling a lot, even by Richt’s affable standards.

He flew home to Athens and, twice in the past few days, was reminded that happiness, for a big-time college coach, can be a fleeting concept. A football recruit who visited Georgia over the weekend is being investigated for a dormitory burglary, and this morning comes word that Jonathan Taylor, a backup defensive [More]

UGA’s Ramik Wilson: ‘We need to win now’

  • 9:48 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The fashion-foward Ramik Wilson. (Photo by M. Bradley)

HOOVER, Ala. – Three Georgia Bulldogs showed up for Day 4 of the interminable SEC Media Days wearing bow ties. “Chris Conley’s idea,” linebacker Ramik Wilson said, speaking of the filmmaker/wide receiver. “A great idea.”

(Let the record show that Conley — who bought the ties and tied them for the other two — arrived wearing Batman socks. Wilson and Todd Gurley didn’t follow that trend.)

It took Gurley, who doesn’t much enjoy media interaction, 30 seconds of his session with Georgia reporters to author his first eye-roll, but the tailback bore the burden in good humor. (And wore his bow tie [More]

Missouri winning the SEC East? Still hard to believe

  • 11:40 am Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The team from the Show-Me State showed the SEC. (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – The coach of the reigning SEC East champion took the podium this morning, and it still comes as a surprise that said coach is Gary Pinkel of Missouri. Not that Pinkel isn’t good at his job. (He demonstrably is.) But even now, Missouri’s achievement hasn’t been afforded its due. What the Tigers did was astonishing.

The SEC is a snooty place. (Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.) SEC folks believe the best football, if not the only real football, is played in the Deep South. Missouri isn’t located in even the Shallow South. It’s as Midwest [More]

There’ll be no sudden rise for Jones’ fallen Vols

  • 4:26 pm Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Butch Jones explains "the power of one." (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – Apparently Butch Jones is a persuasive guy. His Tennessee Volunteers compiled what Rivals rated the nation’s No. 5 recruiting class last winter, which is big deal for a  once-proud program that has had one winning season — and that only 7-6 — since 2007. Ordinarily you’d look at such a class as a signal that better days are ahead, and they might well be.

Just not yet.

Jones appeared here Tuesday at the elongated SEC Media Days and ramped up the quantity of coach-speak by a hundredfold. He expounded on his team’s slogan — “The power of one” [More]

SEC Media Days: Way too much of a dull thing

  • 2:34 pm Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mike Slive throws out the first pitch. (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – Here we are at SEC Media Days, for which there’s an official logo (“MD14″) and apparently no end. We began at 11:30 CDT with commissioner Mike Slive again threatening to secede from the NCAA union if his and the other big leagues don’t get their way, and we just sat through another Gus Malzahn, snooze-a-thon, the highlight of which was the Auburn coach’s abject refusal to lobby for the legalization of marijuana.

We’ll conclude late Thursday, which is more than 72 hours away. And yes, if you’re detecting an undercurrent of grousing here … well, Sherlock Holmes has [More]

ESPN’s future power rankings: UGA is No. 8

  • 6:07 am Thursday, July 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"See if you can get me higher grade than 7.9, Jeremy." (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Not content simply to dissect the here and now, ESPN Insider has turned its collective eye toward the next three college football seasons. Travis Haney and an illustrious panel — recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill, playoff maven Brad Edwards, former quarterback Brock Huard and esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach — have cast votes and (big shock here) Alabama is ranked No. 1 going way, way forward.

Florida State is No. 2, Ohio State No. 3. Then come SEC reps LSU and Auburn. Then comes Southern Cal, then Oklahoma. Then comes Georgia.

The panel assesses five categories — coaching, talent, recruiting, title path [More]

Orlando Sentinel ranks Tech 55th in the nation

  • 9:47 am Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
All the color and pageantry of that rainy T-Day. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Every summer, Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel undertakes the massive task of ranking all the FBS (formerly Division I-A) football teams. Murschel slots Georgia Tech at No. 55 this time, which is above the halfway point — there are 128 FBS teams — but not all that far above it. Still, there’s a bit of a silver lining.

Even at 55th, Tech should be favored — at least by the Sentinel’s ratings — in half its games. Wofford, against which Tech opens, isn’t ranked since it’s an FCS member, and Tulane (75th), Georgia Southern (124th), Virginia (118th), North [More]

UGA vs. Notre Dame – a risk well worth running

  • 3:34 pm Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Scott Woener intercepts a pass; Irish eyes aren't smiling. (AJC file photo)

Georgia has announced that it will play Notre Dame in 2017 (there) and 2019 (here, or more precisely in Athens). When you play somebody good, there’s always the chance you’ll lose. In the grand scheme, however, that will be a risk even more worth taking.

We’re about to enter the playoff era. With a committee to select the teams, as opposed to a combination of computer rankings and polls, strength of schedule is going to matter more than it has. We’re going to see deserving two-loss teams make the four-team field. In the BCS era, only one two-loss team played [More]

Phil Steele: UGA could ‘shock the nation’ in 2014

  • 12:30 pm Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
In that backpack is a copy of Phil Steele's yearbook. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Phil Steele’s college football yearbook includes abbreviations that make your head spin — “LY” stands for “last year” — and more information than any human can process. The yearbook isn’t on stands yet – it arrives Tuesday, though a digital version is available now through an iTunes app — and we know from a Steele post on ESPN Insider that Georgia won’t crack his preseason top five. (That five: Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA.)

But another ESPN Insider post informs us that Steele isn’t short-selling the Bulldogs. On the contrary, he lists them No. 1 [More]