- 3:02 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Little Rock, Ark. – Bret Bielema coaches Arkansas. Jen Bielema is his wife. Apparently she’s kind of famous over here. (This isn’t without Arkansas precedent: The airport is named after Bill and Hillary Clinton.) She and I rode the same elevator at War Memorial Stadium — she and her crew were headed to the suites; I was bound for the seat I currently occupy in the bare-bones press box — and she, being neighborly, said, “Hello.”
True confession: I didn’t know who she was. After she exited, I asked an Arkansas media type as to her identity. “That’s the coach’s wife,” [More]
- 11:59 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
News, as relayed by esteemed colleague Chip Towers, that Todd Gurley didn’t board Georgia’s buses leaving Athens and thus won’t make the trip to Little Rock will come as a disappointment to Bulldogs fans. (Unrelated thought: Does Mark Richt still speak to his men of “The Energy Bus,” a business concept that became the theme of the 2011 bounceback season?) But it shouldn’t. I don’t think anybody who works in Butts-Mehre seriously believed Gurley would return this week.
This ball, as it were, is apparently still in Georgia’s court. For Gurley’s status to be clarified, the athletic department must first [More]
- 6:57 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
If the Atlanta Falcons’ record — they’re 2-4, the four losses having come by 10-plus points — didn’t tell you that there’s trouble afoot in Flowery Branch, these numbers will. Pro Football Focus grades the Falcons’ offensive line as the league’s 28th-best, which is actually an upgrade over last season, when it ranked 30th. Advanced Football Analytics assesses the Falcons’ defensive efficiency as the 32nd-best — there are 32 NFL teams — and the team as the league’s fifth-worst despite the presence of the 10th-most efficient offense.
FiveThirtyEight’s rankings have the Falcons as the seventh-worst team, and Nate Silver’s [More]
- 8:31 am Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that John Hart has declined the Atlanta Braves’ offer to remain their permanent-if-only-for-a-while general manager. (Hart is already the interim GM.) If this is indeed true — team president John Schuerholz told esteemed colleague David O’Brien the report is “not accurate” — it would be a mild surprise but no shock. Hart is 66, and it has been unclear whether he wants to return to baseball on a full-time basis.
Assuming Passan’s report is accurate, we need to ask how it affects the Braves’ search. Not much, I’d suggest. Passan identifies the two leading [More]
- 1:22 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
If any team was equipped to lose its best player, Georgia is that team. And not because the the Bulldogs have Nick Chubb to emulate Todd Gurley — this isn’t about personnel. This is about temperament.
Not to go all Phil Jackson Zen Master on you, but something is a distraction only if you allow yourself to be distracted. Even in a perfect storm, Mark Richt is the ideal skipper. (Now I’m taking the nautical route. Somebody stop me before I indulge in any more imagery.) Richt never gets rattled. He never punches walls or lockers. He is what you see [More]
- 9:06 pm Sunday, October 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
These short takes off Falcons-Bears are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. The Falcons came within 15 points of winning, if you hadn’t heard.
1. It’s hard to believe now, but the Falcons were favored. By a field goal, which is the standard home-field allowance. They lost 27-13. They scored one touchdown. They yielded 478 yards. There were long moments when it seemed the Bears could name the score, and they essentially did. There have been more lopsided losses under Mike Smith, but there has never been one in which the Falcons appeared [More]
- 3:46 pm Sunday, October 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Not to belabor the blatantly obvious, but the Atlanta Falcons need to win today. They’ve lost two in a row. This will be their last home game until Nov. 23 against Cleveland. (Unless we count the London date with Detroit as a “home” game, which the NFL does but I’m sure Mike Smith does not.)
Lose today and the Falcons could go a while longer without winning. Next up are the Ravens in Baltimore, and then the Lions at Wembley, and then Tampa Bay and Carolina on the road. Lose today and the wondering about Smitty’s job — and Thomas [More]
- 7:06 pm Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
These short takes off Georgia Tech-Duke are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Tech lost 31-25.
1. Justin Thomas has had some splendid days in his first season as Tech’s quarterback, but this wasn’t one. He ran the ball quite well — 119 yards on 19 rushes — and he kept plays going longer than they should have. Trouble was, his improvisations masked the inherent problem Tech was having: Its running game wasn’t overwhelming Duke, which entered the game ranked last among ACC teams in rushing defense. The Jackets were moving — they [More]
- 11:38 am Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The only good team Georgia Tech beat last season was Duke, and that game carried an asterisk: Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone didn’t play. The Jackets won 38-14 in Durham behind Durham’s own Vad Lee, who won’t play quarterback for Tech today, seeing as how he transferred to James Madison over the winter.
Tech is 5-0; Duke is 4-1. This is a big game regarding the ACC Coastal, a division that has been flipped on its head. Georgia Tech and Virginia — which were picked to finish fifth and last, respectively, in the seven-team division by the ACC media — are [More]
- 5:01 pm Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
If Todd Gurley has indeed played his last game for Georgia — quoting a source, the AJC is reporting that he might not be allowed to return this season — the sensation would be the same sadness as in February 1983, when the greatest collegiate player ever jumped to the USFL with a year of eligibility remaining.
With this difference: Herschel Walker had already lifted the Bulldogs to a national championship and three SEC titles. Todd Gurley, the greatest Bulldog since the matchless Herschel, hadn’t done any of the above. Gurley had come close to the SEC part in 2012, [More]