Bradley’s year in picks: Good on Tech, bad on the Vols

Who saw this coming? Why, yours truly. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Not to say I told you so ... (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

It was the best of years, it was the …

OK, that’s a a lie. It wasn’t the best of years, prediction-wise. It was only OK. I’ve had better. I’ve also had worse. (Lots worse, as you know.) And our annual Accountability Scoreboard begins with the obvious high point:

I picked Georgia Tech to go 10-2 and win the ACC title. It went 10-2 and won the ACC title. I was wrong about the the games Tech lost — I had the Jackets succumbing to Florida State and, for reasons I’ll never understand, Vanderbilt — but I was, big-picture-wise, dead on.

Regarding Georgia, I wasn’t dead on. But I was pretty darn close. I had the Bulldogs going 8-4, which many among you insisted was way too low. They went 7-5. Until the season’s 11th game, I had picked every game save one (Tennessee) correctly. Then things went ka-blooey. Georgia lost to Kentucky, which I didn’t think could happen, and then it beat Tech, which I insisted would never happen.

I was half-right about the participants in the SEC title game. (Right on Florida, wrong on LSU.) I was half-right about the participants in the ACC title game. (Right on Tech, wrong on FSU.) I’m half-right about the participants in the BCS title game. (Right on Texas, wrong on Alabama.) I was wrong about Colt McCoy winning the Heisman, more wrong about Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer finishing fifth.

This year I endeavored to pick every SEC game, and I did OK, if I do say so myself. I picked Florida to go 13-0 and win the conference title; it went 12-1 and lost to Alabama. I picked South Carolina to go 7-5; it went 7-5. (I also maintained Steve Spurrier would resign, which hasn’t happened.) I picked Kentucky go 7-5; it went 7-5. I picked Vandy to go 5-7; it went 2-10.

I picked LSU to go 11-1 and win the West; it went 9-3 and finished second. I picked Alabama to go 11-1; it went 12-0 (now 13-0). I picked Ole Miss to go 8-4; it went 8-4. I picked Arkansas to go 8-4; it went 7-5. I picked Auburn to go 6-6; it went 7-5. I picked Mississippi State to go 4-8; it went 5-7.

Where I really messed up (other than Vandy) was on Tennessee: I thought the Vols would stink. They didn’t. I picked them to go 4-8, losing to Georgia and Vanderbilt and Kentucky. They went 7-5 and beat all three. (I was also wrong about Florida scoring 63 points on Tennessee; the correct total was 23. But what’s 40 points among friends?)

I also sought to predict the postseason destination of every SEC bowl-eligible team, and I got exactly one (of nine) correct — Ole Miss to the Cotton. But I did have Virginia Tech opposing an SEC opponent in the Chick-fil-A. Half-credit, right?

Turning to professional doings: The Falcons will not go 10-6 and win the NFC South. Good news: Through 14 games, my preseason breakdown has been right 11 times. (I had them losing to Carolina here and winning there, and it was the other way around. And I had them beating the Saints here.) Bad news: I didn’t see anyone in this division flying past them, which New Orleans rather obviously did.

The Braves did not win the wild card. (Though they had a chance with six games to play, whereupon they neglected to win again.) I had them winning 89 games and finishing second to the Mets. They won 86 and finished third behind Philadelphia and Florida. Brian McCann didn’t win MVP, as I maintained he would. Jeff Francoeur did not hit .285, as projected in this space, nor did Kenshin Kawakami win 12 games.

The Hawks did, however, beat the Heat in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs. I had them prevailing in six games. They needed seven. Details.

I picked three of the correct Final Four — Villanova, North Carolina and UConn — in the annual Fiasco, an achievement for which I’d ordinarily award myself a passing grade. Alas, the one I missed — Louisville — was my national champ. More details.

I’m sure there were one or two predictions I’ve forgotten — write 520 posts in a year and you try keeping track — and if you find one feel free to bring it to my attention. And, as has become Accountability Scoreboard tradition, I leave you with one forecast for the new year. The last time it didn’t pan out: I picked the Falcons over the Giants in the NFC title game. I’m thinking this one just might.

Nov. 20, 2010; Tuscaloosa, Ala.: The Georgia State Panthers cap their inaugural football season by shocking the world. They score against Alabama! Three whole points!

369 comments Add your comment

Reid Adair

December 26th, 2009
9:43 am

Not bad overall, Mark. At least you’re willing to go back and summarize your predictions, right and wrong.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
9:45 am

Thanks, Reid. And kudos on being first, which you were far too modest to claim.

lanier

December 26th, 2009
9:46 am

520 posts are not enough

snapshot

December 26th, 2009
9:46 am

Tech beat themselves against the mutts they did not beat Tech.

FUGLYDAWG

December 26th, 2009
9:48 am

Mark – spot on about the Dawgs needing a wake up – hope they finish up strong. Also wish the Jackets well against the Hawkeyes.
Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to all Dawg fans and most Techies !

D-man

December 26th, 2009
9:49 am

Who could do better? I mean really? Your a good man for trying Mark!

Blago

December 26th, 2009
9:50 am

Yeah, Mark. I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve already got enough jerks on this message board to do that for you.

Milton

December 26th, 2009
9:50 am

Mark, great work this year. It is a tough time for newspapers, and I appreciate you making an effort to reach readers. I re-upped my AJC subscription, largely for this reason. I wish the blogs would stay focused on the issue, but too many people want to rant at each other over nothing. Please keep up the good work. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

GA State in Ohio

December 26th, 2009
9:50 am

Mark, thanks for picking the Panthers to score. I’m holding you to that :-)

Milton

December 26th, 2009
9:56 am

Oh Mark, been meaning to ask. I don’t see Stan Awtrey’s work in the sports section any more. He’s an old frind from college at Georgia State. Is he still in the news paper business??? I know there have been lots of cut backs and hate to see familar names leave.

Reality Check

December 26th, 2009
9:57 am

Hey Snapshot,

The Dawgs beat Tech by running it down your pathetic defense’s throat. If you mean “beat themselves” because of poor tackling, getting beat on the lines of scrimmage, and getting hit in the mouth, then I’d say you are correct.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
9:58 am

Stan no longer works for the AJC full-time, Milton, but he is, I believe, free-lancing for various publications. Including ours, if I’m not mistaken. (But I’m often mistaken.)

Milton

December 26th, 2009
10:04 am

Thanks Mark. Enjoy your work. Have a great holiday. Take some time off!

Without-a-clue

December 26th, 2009
10:04 am

The Techies may have “beaten themselves against the ‘Mutts’ “, but the score was still 30 – 24 HaHaHaHaHa! Deal with it!

1970Dawg

December 26th, 2009
10:07 am

Mark, Good recap. I’d give you an “A” overall. I know it’s too early to predict 2010, but what do you fore see in general for UGA and the Fl
gaturds for next season?

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:07 am

Tech didn’t beat itself against Georgia. Georgia was the better team that night. Credit where it’s due.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:09 am

I think Georgia will be better than 7-5, although how much better depends on the new quarterback. And I can’t imagine the Gators don’t slide some in Year 1 after Tim Tebow.

1970Dawg

December 26th, 2009
10:09 am

Tech has gotten really good at beating themselves against UGA the last decade, not that our players and coaches had anything to do with it HaHa

GTinAlpharetta

December 26th, 2009
10:10 am

I am most impressed by your 3 out of 4 of the college basketball final 4 this year. So, swami, is Tech going to make the field of 64 this year? And if they do, how far do you think they will go and if they don’t – is Paul Hewitt history? Have a great new year.

Some Sense

December 26th, 2009
10:13 am

Speakin’ of writers Mark…what’s up w/ Sekou???

Fleischman in Chi Towns Bed

December 26th, 2009
10:13 am

Did anyone from the bulldawg nation predict a 7-5 record? Or a berth in the Shrevegas Independence Bowel? It must be great to be a Georgia Bulldawg….

RomeDawg

December 26th, 2009
10:13 am

Not bad! What is your take on UGA and TECH football next year? I know, kinda dumb to ask but I love football. To me there are two seasons: football season and the rest of the year. GO DAWGS! And for all you Tech fans: 30-24, 339 and WE run this state! The ACC may be the 7th best conference in the nation so we still don’t know if Johnson’s offense works in big time college football.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:13 am

I think Tech will make the NCAA as a No. 5 seed and win three games in the Big Dance, GTinAlpharetta. In sum, I still think the Jackets will have a strong season, last Sunday’s dud against the Seminoles notwithstanding.

BJohnDawg

December 26th, 2009
10:14 am

Mark,strong record on the predictions.But you cannot get everyone of them right, and no one should really expect you to.Oh course there will always be someone ready to blast you for missing a game of a team they love. Good news is your not in Philly or NYC. Atlanta fans are a little more gentle.

Happy Holidays to all!Even Tech fans!

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:15 am

Sekou Smith now works for NBA.com, which is based in Atlanta. He still lives out here in Cobb County.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:17 am

Thanks, BJohnDawg. And the papers in New York, the tabloids in particular, are a bit different. They predict pretty much everything every single day, so it’s hard to remember exactly what they did and didn’t forecast.

Mike

December 26th, 2009
10:17 am

Too bad for ga that tennessee will now take over as the sec east champs. fla will still beat ga. 17 out of 20. why not? alabama and lsu will fight over the west for years to come.

SatchelBuzz

December 26th, 2009
10:19 am

Kudos on the picks,…well done. Big win for ugag in November,..yes it was an upset. It was their biggest win since they defeated Florida with Tebow playing with one arm. Yes,…..that too was an upset. Good things keep coming for Tech with CPJ in charge.

GO TECH!!!

chris

December 26th, 2009
10:20 am

Hey Mark…>Why LSU to win the west??? Haven’t we all learned by now that Les Miles is good for a couple blown games a year? Even the year they won the National title, he backed into it by a couple of unlikely loses by teams on the final day of the regular season.

I know the Braves aren’t done with off season signings but what is your prediction for 2010??? I’m not sure they can finish third as constructed right now. Too many old players with injury issues.

SatchelBuzz

December 26th, 2009
10:21 am

RomeDawg,……couldn’t run to Shreveport? Nah,…to easy. Actually don’t blame you. THWG!!!

sugarpikegang

December 26th, 2009
10:21 am

What do you predict for GT in 2010? More of the same or what?

Don

December 26th, 2009
10:21 am

Mark who do you think wins today? Does the acc go 0-2?

I think unc will win. It’s almost a home game and pitt will be down from losing to cincy. Big letdown.

I think the bc usc game will be very close but usc edges it out. So my guess is 1-1.

Scott

December 26th, 2009
10:23 am

You can’t make predictions for 2010 until you know who is coming back. JMHO

RomeDawg

December 26th, 2009
10:24 am

With the team the Braves currently have they couldn’t finish third in the SEC East. When will they learn signing old arse, injury riddle players will bite you in the butt.

Where have you gone Rico Brogna?

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:26 am

I would expect Tech to be a bit worse next season. I don’t see this defense losing Derrick Morgan and getting much better. Could be wrong, though.

Can’t imagine Southern Cal losing to BC. But I couldn’t imagine the Trojans in the Emerald Bowl, so what do I know?

And I guess I like Carolina over Pitt.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:28 am

Chris, what can I say? I started to come around on Les Miles — I kind of agreed with your take — and then he botches the Ole Miss game.

And I didn’t expect Alabama to be quite this good. I picked the Tide 11-1, which meant I figured it would be strong, but I didn’t see Bama going undefeated for the second consecutive regular season.

Hey Mark, 2010 predictions?

December 26th, 2009
10:28 am

How about some WAY too early predictions for next season? Here’s mine…

UGA will go 10-2 and play Alabama in the SECCG, not sure of the outcome of that yet. They will, of course, beat Tech and will also beat UF which will finish 7-5 and Meyer will wish he had taken the Notre Dame job.

It all falls apart for Tech in year 3 of the PJ experiment. Dwyer, Morgan and Burnett are all turning pro, so they end up 6-6 after a loss in the “Somewhere-out-west Bowl”. Clem’s sons will win the weak ACC but their record will still only be 8-4 which will have the BCS commissioners voting on whether the MAC or WAC needs to replace the ACC in the automatic BCS bid.

TCU will win the NC.
Pete Carroll will take another NFL job after USC goes 7-5.
Notre Dame will go to a BCS bowl and Brian Kelly will be proclaimed the Messiah.
Keenum from Houston wins the Heisman after throwing for about 6000 yards.
A.J. Green finishes 3rd in the balloting.
Nesbitt finishes 26th.

TampaGator

December 26th, 2009
10:28 am

Mark, congrats on your predictions. Not bad. But the Gators, even with some jrs. leaving, will still be the team to beat in the SEC East. They are still loading, and Meyer is bringing in perhaps the best recruiting class in the nation…and Dubose and Moore will be back at WR to go with Brantley (who will light up the passing lanes in the SEC next year). The Dawgs will be better (how could they be worse) next year, but still several big steps behind the Gators. oh….Dunlap’s parents want Carlos to come back next year and say it is 50/50 he will. For those who ripped (and will rip) this kid, Dunlap has never been in trouble before and comes from a great home and background. He is a super kid who made a real stupid mistake. I think he wants to come back and earn his rep back. The rest of the SEC better hope he doesn’t.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:31 am

TCU will win the national championship? That’s a bold pick. I’ll file that one. (And maybe steal it later.)

I would be higher on Georgia if we knew the identity of the new defensive coordinator. And also if we’d ever seen Aaron Murray in a real game. But I do think the Bulldogs will be better than 7-5.

TampaGator

December 26th, 2009
10:31 am

Hey, Georgia fan, Florida will never stoop as low as Georgia and go 7-5 under Meyer. You are day dreaming, as usual, about your team and beating the Gators, etc.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:32 am

I’d be surprised if Dunlap returns, TampaGator. He’s going to go so high in the draft that returning would be a huge risk.

And I don’t think the Gators will slide the way they did in 2007. Meyer has his guys in place now. I’d be surprised if they went worse than 10-2.

SatchelBuzz

December 26th, 2009
10:33 am

You’re probaby correct again Mark. There’s no way we will match this season,…giving the talent we’ll surely lose to the NFL. Morgan will never be replaced,….people catching on to the offense and no Dwyer or Thomas,..so there goes the big plays. Oh brother,…what will we ever do?,..please be sure to tell CPJ that it’s over,…yeah,..tell him we’re done.

See you in Charlotte.

THWG!

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:34 am

The Tech offense will be fine, SatchelBuzz. Dwyer would be a loss, but he’s not irreplaceable. Nesbitt, on the other hand, is irreplaceable.

TampaGator

December 26th, 2009
10:34 am

by the way, no comments on here about the great possibility that Willie Martinez will become the LB or DB coach at Florida after the bowl game. Say what you want, Willie is a great position coach and a great recruiter, especially in Florida. This will be a great add to the Florida coaching staff for next year. Chuch Heater, it looks like, is going to step up and become the DC at Florida (and therefore the Martinez hire). Getting Martinez to recruit south Florida will be huge for the Gators and, as I said, he is a really good position coach (although not a great DC).

TML

December 26th, 2009
10:34 am

Again, I find it humorous that beating Tech is now the highlight of the Buttlickers’ season. My, have the tables turned since preseason 2008.

“Toe Meets Leather” available at http://www.stinGTees.com.

Hey Mark, 2010 predictions?

December 26th, 2009
10:35 am

In all honesty, I agree with ya about our new D coordinator. That will tell the tale. While I got ya here….(speaking of TCU) you haven’t heard from any of your “inside operatives” if Bumpas has been given any consideration have you?

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:35 am

And let me wait a few more weeks on the Braves. Wren might have made eight more deals by New Year’s.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:36 am

Truth to tell, Dick Bumpas seems only to come up on these message boards. I really haven’t heard his name in media-type discussions.

Mark Bradley

December 26th, 2009
10:38 am

Which doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I hadn’t heard anything about the Braves trading for Melky Cabrera or signing Troy Glaus, and those things happened.

Alan

December 26th, 2009
10:38 am

GT has some guys on defense they redshirted this season that will be a big addition next year. Thomas would be the biggest loss if he leaves.