Mark Bradley blog 

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

Was Bobo so wrong for not giving the ball to Gurley?

  • 7:16 am Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"What the heck did we just do?" (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

If a good decision yields a bad result, can it have been a good decision? Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, made what seemed a terrible choice — terrible in hindsight, we emphasize — by opting not to let Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback, run on first-and-goal from the South Carolina 4 with the Bulldogs trailing by a field goal. (Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about this.)

Georgia’s failure to score on that series — Marshall Morgan pushed what would have been the tying field goal wide right — has led to much criticism, some of it from this sector. [More]

Your Heisman Trophy frontrunner? UGA’s Gurley

  • 4:28 pm Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley ascendant. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

According to Jimmy Shapiro of Props PR, Georgia’s Todd Gurley is now the Heisman Trophy betting favorite, at least according to Bovada. Perhaps this should be taken with a pound of salt, seeing as how Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill, who has played two collegiate games, ranks third, one spot ahead of Florida State’s Jameis Winston, who already has a Heisman.

From Kenny Bradley, manager of Bovada’s sports book:

An influx of money on (last week’s) second favorite Todd Gurley has catapulted him to the top of list all alone now at 5-1. While we are more likely to move off money and [More]

Florida’s Muschamp knows what he’s doing, OK?

  • 8:30 am Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Mark, if you ever need any tips on discipline, I'm available." (Bob Andres/AJC)

Florida planned to suspend three players — receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive linemen Darious Cummings and Jay-nard Bostwick — for its season opener against Idaho last Saturday. The Idaho game lasted one play. After a weather delay, the Gators returned the opening kickoff. Then came another weather delay, which became a postponement and ultimately a cancellation.

Florida coach Will Muschamp announced this week that the three suspended Gators would be available for this week’s game against Eastern Michigan, their penance apparently having been served by sitting out an opening kickoff. Asked about this odd decision on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Muschamp — [More]

About Tech: The good, the bad and the Wofford

  • 5:29 pm Saturday, August 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Justin Thomas had a nice starting debut -- as a passer. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

These short takes are presented as an adjunct to the Georgia Tech-Wofford game column, which can be found on myajc.com. (Tech won 38-19 but had to score the final two touchdowns to do it.)

1. Tech threw the ball better than Tech usually throws the ball, but that’s not entirely a positive. Making his first start at quarterback, Justin Thomas completed 11 of 15 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is the Jackets needed to throw the ball to win. They couldn’t make Paul Johnson’s option work the way he wants it [More]

Live from Tech: Will Jackets waffle versus Wofford?

  • 11:42 am Saturday, August 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Historic Bobby Dodd Stadium. Did I mention it's hot? (M. Bradley)

To answer the question posed above: No.

With the exception of Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech tends to beat teams from lesser divisions/conferences like a rug. Remember last year’s opener, the 70-0 demolition of Elon? Remember 59-3 over Presbyterian in 2012? Remember 63-21 over Western Carolina in 2011?

(You might also remember the 10-7 victory over Gardner-Webb in 2008, but that was on a day when Joshua Nesbitt didn’t play.)

It would be a major shock if Tech doesn’t look good today. These games are made for the bigger program to look good. Indeed, the season’s first three weeks — the Jackets play Tulane [More]

South Carolina’s collapse opens the East for UGA

  • 7:54 am Friday, August 29th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
I'm guessing this pass was completed. (Rainier Erhardt/AP)

Two thoughts occurred Thursday night. (And only two; I’m not exactly a deep thinker.) First, that South Carolina, having been routed by Texas A&M, will be in desperation mode when Georgia plays in Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept. 13. Second, that the Gamecocks mightn’t be good enough for it to matter.

I’ve been around the SEC long enough — I covered my first conference game in 1976 — that not much surprises me. South Carolina being picked over Georgia in the East did. The Gamecocks had lost the best quarterback in school history (Connor Shaw of Flowery Branch) and the best defender [More]

Some ESPNers see Georgia as a playoff team

  • 8:43 am Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Everyone pictured thinks Georgia will do well, too. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

The Worldwide Leader leads the world, duh, in analysts on its payroll. This week ESPN prepares for the onset of the college season by asking its many voices to predict the end. Given that Georgia wasn’t even picked by the SEC media to win its division, it comes as a bit of surprise that the Bulldogs are ESPN’s second choice to win the SEC.

Five of ESPN’s 23 assessors picked Georgia. South Carolina and Auburn each drew two votes. The other 14 went to Alabama.

Moving forward, we note that six of the 23 put Georgia in the inaugural four-team playoff, [More]

Phil Steele picks UGA in the East; SI does not

  • 11:18 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Uga IX suffers from no lack of affection. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

In the never-ending attempt to keep you apprised of all preseason predictions I deem pertinent, I note the following: In a post for ESPN Insider, that man Phil Steele picks Georgia to go 11-1 and win the SEC East; Andy Staples of SI.com picks Georgia to go 10-2 and finish second to South Carolina.

Ol’ Phil, whose idiosyncratic yearbook apparently sold out quickly at the Publix on South Cobb Drive and the East-West Connector (though not before I bought mine), has already tabbed the Bulldogs as his No. 1 surprise team in the nation. The assembled SEC [More]

The fickle finger of Johnny Football: What it means

  • 10:47 am Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
This sort of gesture is A-OK. (Evan Vucci/AP)

In most cases, it would be wrong to make too much of a gesture made in the heat of competition. In the case of Johnny Manziel, the middle finger he flashed toward the Washington Redskins’ bench during Monday’s exhibition game — repeat, exhibition game — is too much in keeping with his persona to be dismissed as a one-off. This being Johnny Football, you half-expected as much.

Having seen Manziel in person as he directed the epic Texas A&M comeback against Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, I consider myself a convert. Before the 2013 season, I wondered if the 2012 Heisman [More]

From SI: Petrino and Grantham aren’t getting along

  • 10:18 pm Monday, August 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"All these guys? They hate me already." (Garry Jones/AP)

Well, that didn’t take long. According to an SI.com report by Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans, the odd Louisville couple that is Bobby Petrino (once the Falcons’ coach) and Todd Grantham (recently Georgia’s defensive coordinator) has already had a falling out. Who among us didn’t see this one coming?

Write Thamel/Evans:

Sources with ties to the Cardinals’ football program and Petrino said there’s significant friction between Petrino and Grantham. The two have feuded often since Grantham’s hiring in January — so much that one source insists Petrino would have already gotten rid of Grantham if not for his guaranteed five-year contract [More]