Mark Bradley blog 

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

UGA’s best downfield passer? Also Todd Gurley

  • 7:09 pm Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He runs! He throws! He points after scoring points! (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Athens

These short takes are presented as companion to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game column, which can be found here. Georgia won 44-17, FYI.

1. Todd Gurley’s first pass as a collegian resulted in Georgia’s longest completion of the season, which tells us something. The Bulldogs deployed Gurley at quarterback in the first half — call it the Wild Gurl formation — and let him run off direct snaps. Late in the second quarter, Gurley ran from the WG on first down and then, on second-and-7, stopped short and threw long for tight end Jeb Blazevich. The 50-yard completion — OK, so the [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]

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]

Phil Steele picks UGA in the East; SI does not

  • 11:18 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Uga IX suffers from no lack of affection. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

In the never-ending attempt to keep you apprised of all preseason predictions I deem pertinent, I note the following: In a post for ESPN Insider, that man Phil Steele picks Georgia to go 11-1 and win the SEC East; Andy Staples of SI.com picks Georgia to go 10-2 and finish second to South Carolina.

Ol’ Phil, whose idiosyncratic yearbook apparently sold out quickly at the Publix on South Cobb Drive and the East-West Connector (though not before I bought mine), has already tabbed the Bulldogs as his No. 1 surprise team in the nation. The assembled SEC [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]

UGA’s Ramik Wilson: ‘We need to win now’

  • 9:48 am Thursday, July 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The fashion-foward Ramik Wilson. (Photo by M. Bradley)

HOOVER, Ala. – Three Georgia Bulldogs showed up for Day 4 of the interminable SEC Media Days wearing bow ties. “Chris Conley’s idea,” linebacker Ramik Wilson said, speaking of the filmmaker/wide receiver. “A great idea.”

(Let the record show that Conley — who bought the ties and tied them for the other two — arrived wearing Batman socks. Wilson and Todd Gurley didn’t follow that trend.)

It took Gurley, who doesn’t much enjoy media interaction, 30 seconds of his session with Georgia reporters to author his first eye-roll, but the tailback bore the burden in good humor. (And wore his bow tie [More]

Missouri winning the SEC East? Still hard to believe

  • 11:40 am Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The team from the Show-Me State showed the SEC. (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – The coach of the reigning SEC East champion took the podium this morning, and it still comes as a surprise that said coach is Gary Pinkel of Missouri. Not that Pinkel isn’t good at his job. (He demonstrably is.) But even now, Missouri’s achievement hasn’t been afforded its due. What the Tigers did was astonishing.

The SEC is a snooty place. (Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.) SEC folks believe the best football, if not the only real football, is played in the Deep South. Missouri isn’t located in even the Shallow South. It’s as Midwest [More]

There’ll be no sudden rise for Jones’ fallen Vols

  • 4:26 pm Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Butch Jones explains "the power of one." (Butch Dill/AP)

HOOVER, Ala. – Apparently Butch Jones is a persuasive guy. His Tennessee Volunteers compiled what Rivals rated the nation’s No. 5 recruiting class last winter, which is big deal for a  once-proud program that has had one winning season — and that only 7-6 — since 2007. Ordinarily you’d look at such a class as a signal that better days are ahead, and they might well be.

Just not yet.

Jones appeared here Tuesday at the elongated SEC Media Days and ramped up the quantity of coach-speak by a hundredfold. He expounded on his team’s slogan — “The power of one” [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]