Mark Bradley blog 

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

The No. 2 choice to win the CFB playoff? Georgia

  • 10:35 am Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A sign o' the times. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Georgia won’t be in the first four when the initial College Football Playoff standings are announced today, which isn’t to say Georgia won’t be the final four come Dec. 7. For a team still officially without its best player, the Bulldogs are in a remarkably strong position, which is reflected by those cold-eye realists in Las Vegas.

According to publicist Jimmy Shapiro, Bovada lists Georgia as the second-favorite not just to make the playoff but to win the thing. Alabama is No. 1. (Wait a second. Wasn’t it just the other day we all thought Alabama wasn’t any good anymore?) Tied [More]

UGA’s Nick Chubb: Second-best back in the nation?

  • 9:05 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Nick Chubb runs to daylight, of which there was much. (

Little Rock, Ark. – These short takes off Georgia-Arkansas are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 45-32.

1. Nick Chubb is almost as great as the great Todd Gurley, and that’s saying something. The freshman from Cedartown followed his 143-yards-on-38-carries showing against Missouri with an even more spectacular display. He rushed 20 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns. (Gurley’s biggest day, FYI, was 208 yards against Tennessee last month.) “He’s built for it,” coach Mark Richt said of the workload, saying also that Cedartown High “played tough and coached tough.” [More]

Live from Little Rock: Jen Bielema says ‘hello’

  • 3:02 pm Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
War Memorial Stadium: Kind of old, kind of small. (M. 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]

Another game minus Gurley. Another win for UGA?

  • 11:59 am Friday, October 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He won't be waving hello from Little Rock. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

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]

If any place can handle the Gurley tempest, it’s UGA

  • 1:22 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He's so cool he even has a cool hat. (Steven Colquitt/AJC file photo)

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]

The notion of a gone Gurley is sad beyond measure

  • 5:01 pm Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Herschel ran over a Vol; Gurley jumped over one. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

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]

Live from Georgia: Vandy’s back to being Vandy

  • 3:09 pm Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Sanford Stadium on a lovely October day. (M. Bradley)

Athens – Not much to say about this one. Georgia should win by however much it wants. James Franklin no longer coaches the visiting side — and Todd Grantham no longer coaches the Bulldogs’ defense, by way of coincidence — and Vandy is back to being Vandy.

How do we know that Vandy, which actually beat the Bulldogs last year, is again seen as no threat? Because the Commodores have again been reduced to being a homecoming guest.

The Commodores lost their first two games under Derek Mason — to Temple and Ole Miss — by the aggregate score of 78-10. They [More]

Will Tech win the Coastal? Will UGA take the East?

  • 11:49 am Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Good luck in your title game, Paul." "You, too, Mark." (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Georgia Tech is tied with Pittsburgh and Virginia atop the ACC Coastal Division, and that’s a surprise. Those teams were picked to finish fifth, sixth and seventh in the division by the assembled conference media in July.

Georgia trails Missouri by a half-game in the SEC East, but the bigger consideration is that South Carolina, which beat the Bulldogs on Sept. 13 after being picked at SEC Media Days to win the division, already has two conference losses.

Both Tech and Georgia are in pretty good shape. The Jackets haven’t lost and won a big game at Virginia Tech on Sept. 20. [More]

On Todd Gurley, the straw that stirs UGA’s drink

  • 6:40 pm Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Guessing you'll see this picture a few more times. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

Athens — These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia-Tennessee game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 35-32, FYI.

1. Sometimes it’s unclear whether the Bulldogs are trying to win because of Todd Gurley or to prove they can win without him. Example: Saturday’s third quarter. It opened with five consecutive Georgia pass plays, one of which became a Hutson Mason scramble. The first series yielded an interception, the second a three-and-out. Gurley, who would finish with 208 yards rushing, didn’t touch the ball. Indeed, he carried only four times for nine yards in a [More]

Live from Athens: Will UGA awake and vex the Vols?

  • 10:49 am Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Clad in their traditional, er, gray, the Vols gather between the hedges. (M. Bradley)

Athens – Georgia should beat Tennessee. Let’s be clear about that. Still, this is one of those games that terrifies the man who’s coaching the favored team.

It’s at home, which means there’s a comfort factor (and not necessarily in a good way). Kickoff is early, which always makes for a late-arriving crowd and often a slow-starting home side. (The Bulldogs upset No. 6 Auburn in 2006 in a game that started before noon CST; Georgia lost here to Missouri last October in a noon game.)

And the Volunteers are talented enough to have played Oklahoma, which a lot of smart folks [More]