Mark Bradley blog 

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

Was Bobo so wrong for not giving the ball to Gurley?

  • 7:16 am Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"What the heck did we just do?" (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

If a good decision yields a bad result, can it have been a good decision? Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, made what seemed a terrible choice — terrible in hindsight, we emphasize — by opting not to let Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback, run on first-and-goal from the South Carolina 4 with the Bulldogs trailing by a field goal. (Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about this.)

Georgia’s failure to score on that series — Marshall Morgan pushed what would have been the tying field goal wide right — has led to much criticism, some of it from this sector. [More]

Florida’s Muschamp knows what he’s doing, OK?

  • 8:30 am Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"Mark, if you ever need any tips on discipline, I'm available." (Bob Andres/AJC)

Florida planned to suspend three players — receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive linemen Darious Cummings and Jay-nard Bostwick — for its season opener against Idaho last Saturday. The Idaho game lasted one play. After a weather delay, the Gators returned the opening kickoff. Then came another weather delay, which became a postponement and ultimately a cancellation.

Florida coach Will Muschamp announced this week that the three suspended Gators would be available for this week’s game against Eastern Michigan, their penance apparently having been served by sitting out an opening kickoff. Asked about this odd decision on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Muschamp — [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]

SEC Media Days: Way too much of a dull thing

  • 2:34 pm Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Mike Slive throws out the first pitch. (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – Here we are at SEC Media Days, for which there’s an official logo (“MD14″) and apparently no end. We began at 11:30 CDT with commissioner Mike Slive again threatening to secede from the NCAA union if his and the other big leagues don’t get their way, and we just sat through another Gus Malzahn, snooze-a-thon, the highlight of which was the Auburn coach’s abject refusal to lobby for the legalization of marijuana.

We’ll conclude late Thursday, which is more than 72 hours away. And yes, if you’re detecting an undercurrent of grousing here … well, Sherlock Holmes has [More]

Phil Steele: UGA could ‘shock the nation’ in 2014

  • 12:30 pm Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
In that backpack is a copy of Phil Steele's yearbook. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Phil Steele’s college football yearbook includes abbreviations that make your head spin — “LY” stands for “last year” — and more information than any human can process. The yearbook isn’t on stands yet – it arrives Tuesday, though a digital version is available now through an iTunes app — and we know from a Steele post on ESPN Insider that Georgia won’t crack his preseason top five. (That five: Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and UCLA.)

But another ESPN Insider post informs us that Steele isn’t short-selling the Bulldogs. On the contrary, he lists them No. 1 [More]

With Matthews gone, who plays DB for UGA?

  • 9:26 am Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Guess you've seen this one before. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Somebody’s going to play defensive back for Georgia this fall. Question is, does Champ Bailey have any remaining eligibility?

Mark Richt dismissed Tray Matthews from the team Tuesday. Josh Harvey-Clemons got the boot in February. Shaq Wiggins is transferring. That’s three possible starters gone, but what’s truly intriguing is that Matthews expressed via Twitter his desire to play for Auburn or Louisville.

Auburn, as we know, is where Nick Marshall, once a Georgia defensive back himself, wound up playing quarterback and leading the Tigers to the BCS title game last season. Louisville is where Todd Grantham, who coached Georgia’s defense for four [More]

Auburn’s thirst for national titles can’t be slaked

  • 1:31 pm Friday, May 30th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Ho, hum. Another day, another Auburn title. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

At the rate this is going, Auburn and Alabama won’t stop until one or the other, if not both, has laid claim to every football national championship since Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 on Nov. 6, 1869. (And we all know Auburn and/or Alabama would have beaten either of those Northerners had the Southern bastions of higher learning gotten around to fielding a team.)

Alabama claims 15 national titles, some of dubious pedigree. (Here’s the Al.com story by Jon Solomon detailing how the school annexed No. 12.) Not to be outdone by its best buddy, Auburn is making eyes at past [More]

ESPN’s power index has UGA No. 12, Tech No. 47

  • 7:53 am Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley scores the winner in double OT versus Tech. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Yesterday we examined Football Outsiders’ early evaluation of the 2014 Atlanta Falcons. Today we check a different set of numbers — ESPN’s preseason football power index.

As you might know, the Worldwide Leader has been counting down its imagined 16-team college football playoff, and some among you will have noted that Georgia made the field. But not for long. The Bulldogs were eliminated at the first cut. The “playoff” is now down to its final four: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Oregon. Not coincidentally, those teams top ESPN’s power index.

Georgia starts the season — or at least the [More]

Johnny Manziel: Great college player, bad NFL risk

  • 10:19 am Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
This became the greatest moment of Manziel's greatest night. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Stepping back from the Atlanta Falcons and/or Jadeveon Clowney for a moment, we turn our attention toward Johnny Manziel, whom Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing believes ESPN is determined to make into the new Tim Tebow as a driver of 24-news cycles. And there are, I’ll concede, similarities. Both played in the SEC. Both won Heisman trophies early in their college careers. (Tebow as a sophomore, Manziel as a redshirt freshman.) Neither plays — or played — the way a classic pro quarterback plays.

I saw both as collegians at their absolute collegiate best. (Tebow against Alabama in the 2008 [More]

Fremeau: UGA 2nd in East; Tech 5th in Coastal

  • 8:22 am Thursday, May 1st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"See that guy? He's picking us second?" (Jason Getz/AJC)

Nobody enjoys preseason projections more than I do, and I especially enjoy the ones that apply advanced analytics. Regarding college football, the leading analytic light is Brian Fremeau, who writes for ESPN Insider and Football Outsiders. (And yes, I still get a kick out of the Insider/Outsiders dichotomy. I’m easily amused.)

For ESPN, Fremeau has offered his conference projections for 2014. He slots Georgia second behind South Carolina in the SEC East and Georgia Tech fifth — fifth of seven, I remind you — in the ACC Coastal.

From his Georgia forecast:

Georgia may be one of the best candidates across [More]