Mark Bradley blog 

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

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]

ESPN: Tech football ranks among the most stable

  • 9:24 am Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Savoring the stability. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Here’s proof that Paul Johnson is, as Paul Johnson often suggests, winning at a rate that’s in keeping with his station. When asked about the difference between his first two seasons, when Georgia Tech went 20-7 on the field, and the past four, when his Jackets have gone 28-26, Johnson invariably notes that, over the Jackets’ history, double-digit win totals are the exception, not the rule.

(Dave Braine, Tech’s athletic director at the time, said something similar in November 2005: “Georgia Tech can win nine or 10 games but they will never do it consistently. That’s my belief.”)

Comes now an ESPN [More]

A really special (or not) opportunity: Free Bradley!

  • 3:30 pm Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Does this guy write too much or what? (Joey Ivansco,/AJC)

Owing to the storm, the ol’ AJC is making myajc.com, our premium site, available for no charge through Thursday. Which means: Bonus Bradley! Such a deal, huh?

OK, I’m kidding. Personally, I’d never advise anyone to read a word I’ve written. But if you insist, here are some recent offerings. (And if you don’t like the idea of such a listing, blame esteemed colleague Ken Sugiura. I stole it from him.)

On the rampaging Panthers: Georgia State’s Ron Hunter tries not to look toward March.

On Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart: Smart was wrong, but are loutish fans right?

From UGA on [More]

Mizzou’s Sam says he’s gay; will the NFL care?

  • 9:49 pm Sunday, February 9th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Michael Sam rushes Aaron Murray. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Michael Sam, the SEC’s defensive player of the year, has revealed to the New York Times that he’s gay. The NFL, through spokesperson Greg Aiello, has offered its immediate Tweeted support, saying, “We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage … We look forward to welcoming and supporting (Sam) in 2014.”

Our statement on Michael Sam: We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player…more— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) February 10, 2014

…Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) [More]

Mark Richt wants to coach until he’s 80 (maybe)

  • 3:21 pm Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
An energetic Mark Richt meets his constituency. (Jason Getz/AP)

ATHENS — Mark Richt, who coaches Georgia, will turn 54 in two weeks. He’s not yet at the age where recruits are asking if he’ll be around for all four (or five) of their collegiate seasons. He believes there’s a reason.

“I look so young,” Richt said Wednesday, speaking on Signing Day. “If it weren’t for these extra 40 pounds I’m carrying, I could pass for 40.”

Then this, smiling: “Coach (Bobby) Bowden went until he was 80. So I’ve got another 27 years.”

Then this, still smiling: “I’m young compared to a lot of head coaches. Some guys coach deep into their [More]