Mark Bradley blog 

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

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]

Many outlets have UGA No. 12; this one won’t

  • 8:36 am Thursday, August 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"If you ask me, Phil Steele really knows football." (AJC file photo)

A rather strong consensus is emerging: Georgia will enter the season ranked midway through most Top 25s but not in many Top 10s. (There are exceptions, as we’ll see.)

Sports Illustrated just revealed its Top 25, and SI has Georgia No. 12, with three SEC teams ahead of it, South Carolina included.  ESPN The Magazine likewise has the Bulldogs No. 12, also with three SEC teams ranked higher, South Carolina among them. That dovetails with the USA Today coaches’ poll, which had Georgia — do I detect a theme emerging? – No. 12 in the land and fourth [More]

Is UGA really the third-best job in college football?

  • 8:09 am Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"If we don't make a first down right now, I might slip to No. 4." (Jason Getz/AJC)

In a post for Fox Sports, Clay Travis of Outkick The Coverage has rated the 25 best coaching jobs in college football. He has Florida No. 1, Texas No. 2 and Georgia No. 3. Ohio State is No. 5, Alabama No. 6 and LSU No. 7.

Travis’ methodology: It’s better to be based in the South — “Increasingly, college football is a game played in the sunshine,” he avers — and most big-name recruits either hail from or want to move to the South. Which doesn’t explain why Florida State ranks No. 12, especially seeing as how Florida State graced [More]

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]