Mark Bradley blog 

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

Yes, Georgia was outplayed. But Georgia also blew it

  • 9:24 pm Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A scene Georgia fans are sick of seeing. (Rainier Erhardt/AP)

Columbia, S.C. – These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia-South Carolina game column, which can be found on myajc.com.

1. Georgia botched a better chance than it probably deserved. Having been on the back foot all night, the Bulldogs finally had the game in their hands after Damian Swann flashed in front of Dylan Thompson’s third-down pass and gave the Bulldogs possession at the South Carolina 4 with 5:24 remaining. A touchdown might have won it. The first-down call was a bootleg pass off a play-action fake to Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback. If it [More]

Live from Columbia: Will Georgia reign in the rain?

  • 1:49 pm Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Pollack for six on a rainy day. (AP photo)

Columbia, S.C. – It’s not raining yet — the sun’s out now and it’s unbelievably humid — but, according to the Weather Channel, it’s coming. There’s a 60 percent chance of storms at 4 p.m., an 80 percent chance at 5 and a 50 percent chance at 6. Conventional wisdom holds that rain favors a running team, which both Georgia and South Carolina have been, at least to date, but rain also slows fast teams, and the Bulldogs are the faster side.

The famous David Pollack game here in 2002 featured a first-half thunderstorm so wicked that play was stopped for [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]

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]

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]

Tech won’t let Carter go to UGA, and I understand

  • 7:37 am Thursday, May 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Robert Carter Jr.: He's a transfer, not a free agent. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

As noted by esteemed colleague Chip Towers, Georgia isn’t pleased that Georgia Tech refused to let the Bulldogs contact Robert Carter Jr., who considered signing with the Bulldogs — he’s from Thomasville by way of Shiloh in Snellville — before landing at Tech. As noted by esteemed colleague Ken Sugiura, the Jackets are unapologetic in their refusal, invoking the industry standard not to allow a transfer to alight with a school in the same conference or with a team his old school plays on a regular basis.

Without trying to cast myself as arbitrator, I have to say I [More]

Coming soon: Our 27th annual Bracket Fiasco!

  • 2:03 pm Friday, March 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
fiasco

Not trying to sound like Clark Howard, but if you’re going to enter only one NCAA pool this year, you should make it the one that’s paying $1,000,000,000 for a perfect submission. (That’s be the Quicken Loans Bracket Challenge, as backed by Warren Buffett.) But if you’re up for entering another, might I suggest Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco, which offers some fairly fabulous prizes its ownself?

In addition to the traditional Final Four sweatshirt, our winner will receive — courtesy of Verizon, our sponsor — a Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone and accessories valued at $950. Plus you’ll also be entered in [More]

Mercer’s in. Will UGA and Georgia State follow?

  • 8:22 am Monday, March 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Dancin' Bears: Jakob Gollon and coach Bob Hoffman. (Corey Perrine/AP)

The Mercer Bears beat Florida Gulf Coast, recently known as Dunk City, to win the Atlantic Sun tournament Sunday. The automatic bid means that Mercer will grace the NCAA field for the first time since 1985, when it was led by Sam Mitchell and when the Bears were part of an extraordinary subregional at the old Omni.

Of the eight teams playing on that Georgia court that March Friday, three were from, ahem, Georgia. In the afternoon session, Georgia beat Wichita State, which was led by Xavier McDaniel. In the long day’s nightcap, Mercer was beaten by Georgia Tech. (Georgia [More]

How is UGA winning? Start with Mark Fox

  • 12:24 pm Thursday, March 6th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mark Fox, shown in incredulous mode. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

ATHENS

For those still wondering how the Georgia Bulldogs, who were 6-6 in non-conference play, hold third place in the 14-team SEC with one regular-season game remaining, here are two words: Mark Fox.

He’s an adroit tactician. His team tends to get good shots. (Probably more good shots per game, I submit, than any SEC team save Florida, which has a splendid coach in Billy Donovan and way better players than Georgia.) Watch the Bulldogs coming off timeouts and note how often they’ll run a set that yields a high-percentage look. Now watch other college teams and see how seldom they do.

The [More]