College football 2010: Georgia wins nine, Tech loses four

Washaun Ealey's team will again run this state. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Washaun Ealey's Bulldogs will again run this state. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

It’s time — actually, it’s a week past due — for our annual Memorial Day college football predictions, and I begin with a word in my defense: I actually got a few things right the last time around. I said Georgia Tech would go 10-2 and win the ACC, which it did. I said Georgia would lose four games, inducing many among you to cast aspersions; the Bulldogs actually lost five games. Against that cheery backdrop, we begin:

Georgia will go 9-3 but will finish third in the SEC East. Todd Grantham represents an upgrade. Given time, Aaron Murray will represent an upgrade. Thing is, the Bulldogs’ second game is in Columbia, and that seems a bridge too far. (More precisely, a bridge too soon.) The guess is that Georgia will be rolling come November, but that Sept. 11 loss — and one the next week against Arkansas in Athens — will keep the Bulldogs from a true breakthrough.

Georgia’s true breakthrough? That comes in 2011.

South Carolina will likewise lose three SEC games. It will shade Georgia in the East standings on the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Gamecocks will lose to Auburn, Alabama and Florida.

Florida will go 11-1 because of a remarkably kind schedule. The Gators play four road games: Two against teams (Tennessee and Florida State) with new coaches and one against Vanderbilt. The Gators will lose in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 2, but they’ll see Alabama again.

Florida will beat Alabama for the SEC title. Just one of my dumb hunches. Like the one that told me Texas would beat the Tide for the BCS crown. And the Longhorns would have except for Mack Brown’s SHOVEL PASS! (Don’t get me started.) (Alas, too late.)

Don’t get me wrong: Alabama will be outstanding. But I recall the 2008 BCS titlist going undefeated in the regular season and losing beneath the Georgia Dome. I don’t believe the Tide in 2010 will be any better than the Gators were in 2009. And I do believe it’s tough to go through the SEC unbeaten twice in succession.

Florida will beat a Big Ten representative for the BCS title. I’m tempted to pick the Big Ten rep, but I’ve seen that game before. I know how it ends.

The Big Ten rep will not be Ohio State. It will be Iowa. Ask Paul Johnson about the Hawkeyes.

Tim Tebow will win the Heisman Trophy. Whoops. Force of habit. Case Keenum — Houston QB — will win the Heisman Trophy.

Boise State will go 11-1 but will be remembered for the “1,” not the “11.” The Broncos play Virginia Tech in Washington D.C. on Sept. 6. That’s a Labor Day “L.”

The ACC Coastal will be the nation’s toughest division. There’s not a great team therein, but there are four good ones. Miami will be the disappointment. North Carolina will be the surprise. Virginia Tech will win the division. And Georgia Tech …

… will finish third. I yield to no one in my esteem for Joshua Nesbitt, who had a busy offseason. (He had surgery and added two vowels to his first name.) But I cannot believe a team that bid adieu to four NFL draftees early will be quite as good. (Didn’t Georgia suffer a bit without Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno?) The Jackets will lose three road conference games: At North Carolina, at Clemson, at Virginia Tech.

Florida State will win the ACC Atlantic. By default.

Under Derek Dooley, Tennessee will win its final four games. The Vols will, however, lose six of their first eight.

Southern Cal will finish fifth in the Pac-10. Lane Kiffin: Money for nothing and quips for free.

Georgia will beat Georgia Tech. A.J. Green will catch the winning touchdown pass from Murray with 41 seconds remaining. The score will be 27-24. Paul Johnson will suppress the urge to punch somebody in the face.

668 comments Add your comment

Bulldog59

June 4th, 2010
8:39 am

Ouch Mark, where’s the love?

Seriously, I agree the SC game will be a war! But I predict UGA wins a nail-biter and this sets the tone for a 10-2 season.

Not sure I understand this statement though:
The Gators play four road games: Two against teams (Tennessee and Florida) with new coaches and one against Vanderbilt.

Mark Bradley

June 4th, 2010
8:43 am

Sorry. Meant Tennessee and Florida State, Bulldogs59. Thanks.

JB

June 4th, 2010
8:46 am

Georgia goes 11-1, beating Florida…….Probably lose to a upstart Auburn team, and lose to Bama in the SEC title game and play in the Sugar. Tech I doubt will lose four, I say another decent year, 9-3 I’d say.

Zeeeeee Nachos

June 4th, 2010
8:46 am

Respect Saban, Bradley.

Sounds as if you were rooting against the Tide for the BCS crown.

JB

June 4th, 2010
8:47 am

loose that is

SimpleDawg

June 4th, 2010
8:48 am

I see we’re having Bloody Mary’s for breakfast this morning……I’d say about 4 by now.

Well, whatever works.

Mark Bradley

June 4th, 2010
8:48 am

Nah, Zeeeeee Nachos. I had just picked Texas. And that SHOVEL PASS was the silliest thing I’ve seen by a good coach in a big game.

Gary

June 4th, 2010
8:50 am

JB- you had it right the first time

The Dream

June 4th, 2010
8:52 am

I agree with most of your article, but I do expect GT to continue to roll. I know we have some people to replace, but I hope and feel that some of the guys will be stepping up quickly. A new defense will be good at times and not so good until they start doing their jobs without having to think about it. Nesbitt is the key and as long as he is healthy and Johnson is on the sidelines, we always have a chance. You also give too much credit to Butch Davis and to Dabo. They aren’t there yet. Maybe 2 losses, maybe not. That’s what makes college football so great. I can’t wait.

Blewitt agian

June 4th, 2010
8:52 am

UNC is getting way to much love. They have no offense. I think Tech wins the costal and loses 2.

OGRES

June 4th, 2010
8:53 am

Seriously Bark, why the love for UNC and Clemson over Tech? Please tell me what in your pea brain makes you think that is going to happen. I can see the Vippiesue loss for the Jackets but UNC and Clemson? You need to explain. Tech rebounds at U(sic)GA this year. No way we lose to the mutts again.

MatthewH

June 4th, 2010
8:53 am

YES! Bradley picked Georgia to beat Tech. That means it’s a Tech win for sure!

Crow H

June 4th, 2010
8:54 am

We’ll see Mark, we’ll see. Jackets aren’t losing to Clem’s Son and the Pooches are gonna be whining come Nov. I’ll be realistic and say we split VT/UNC – but on other hand… UNC is always highly toted at the beginning of the season and then are less than spectacular. I say same as last year… 10-2. We’ll be at the ACC Championship. GOOOOOOO JACKETS!!!! THWG!

Bulldog59

June 4th, 2010
8:55 am

I must be over-estimating the impact of the loss of Charlie Strong for UF. Or is Teryl Austin the best kept secret in college D? From what I can tell, he has been a DB coach his entire career. Did I miss something? Or is the belief that, UF signed so many top athletes, that Austin is all set?

JB

June 4th, 2010
8:55 am

I see us winning 10, frankly.

I also don’t see the crocs only losing one. You just can’t lose that many studs, two of whom were your leaders and still be really good.

HBTD!!!

Mark Bradley

June 4th, 2010
8:56 am

The Clemson game: I just think Tech is due to lose to the men of Swinney. (Two pretty close games last season, as I remember.) And North Carolina is my silly un-chic pick to surprise.

Vixzilla

June 4th, 2010
8:57 am

Holy cat scat!! Are you serious Mark or was this an attempt at satire????

JB

June 4th, 2010
8:58 am

And to the yellow maggot faithful, do you really expect to be able to stop an even better running game, up in Athens?

Not to mention a better QB and D? C’mon.

I know your throat is still hurting because you haven’t been able to dislodge that football that is still stuck in there but that shouldn’t effect your thinking.

HBTD!!!

Worm

June 4th, 2010
8:58 am

If the dawgs lose 2 of first 3,then that seat might be lukewarm..I think they go 2-1 in that stretch..running game wears the cocks down in 4th quarter heat.

Tech Guy

June 4th, 2010
8:59 am

No way Tech loses to UGA if Tech’s defense is improved.

D B Cooper

June 4th, 2010
9:06 am

Mark you are really dreaming if you think Clemons will beat Tech. I saw where Dabo’s boys were ranked 61st by some prognosticator.
They generally play Tech close but generally loose even in an up year and this ain’t an up year bubba

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 4th, 2010
9:07 am

You saw Stephen Hill catch that TD from the soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner Joshua Nesbitt.

gadawgs

June 4th, 2010
9:08 am

Mark,

I normally agree with alot of your points but I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one in regards to the Dawgs. I do not see them losing to SC this year. People keep pointing to SC having a more “experienced” qb in Garcia as the reason but Garcia has yet to show me that he is consistent enough to really be a difference maker. I think CTG and his D will take care of them. I am more concerned with Arkansas the following week. Ryan Mallet on the other hand is a VERY good quarterback that will eventually play on Sundays and as much as I despise Petrino he is an outstanding offensive coach. If our D is going to have problems early I think it will be with them. But I still think we get it done because we are at home. I see us going 10-2, 11-1 with a break or two and yes Tech will lose atleast four this year.

godawg

June 4th, 2010
9:10 am

No matter how you slice it, what players you get, who your coach is, or even if you’re wearing your lucky yeller wig….Tech sux…

Ted Striker

June 4th, 2010
9:11 am

I laughed out loud at the Tebow comment. Seriously.

DawginLex

June 4th, 2010
9:11 am

Heisman Trophy?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SimpleDawg

June 4th, 2010
9:13 am

I look at Georgia’s schedule and see 11 teams we should beat…..and 1 we could beat, but haven’t in a while.

The Dawgs will not lose to the Warrior Chickens…..they still have Stephen Garcia and no offense line.
The Hogs may have a great QB, but he can’t complete passes from his back.
The Vowels will be a mess this year, and hopefully someone has talked about the naked bootleg and the drag patterns that we couldn’t recognize last year.
Kentucky will be more like Kentucky of years past.
Vandy will be more Mandy than Randy.
Miss State is still years away from being good.
Awbarn will be good, but the Dawgs should still beat them….better talent, and more of it.
Colorado has become a joke under Dan Hawkins….the once mighty Buffaloes have become a WAC team.
UL-Lafayette and Idaho….
…and then the Gators and Tech.
History says we win one and lose one…….GIT lost too much talent and history repeats….Florida has a lot of good players, but just maybe we get them this year.

Should be a good year for the Dawgs.

DawginLex

June 4th, 2010
9:15 am

In the past MB, I would have been petrified of the Bradley curse with such a prediction for the Dawgs over GT. I am firmly convinced you have shaken the curse based on your Braves blog on the final day of the homestand vs the Phils.

We won’t lose to SC. It will be 125 degrees and our depth will wear them down.

N. Saban

June 4th, 2010
9:15 am

You guys are pitiful……..It’s all us over here……We eat it, breathe it, polish our trophy everyday……We talk to recruits anytime we want, especially since Fulmer is gone. It’s always a great day to be a Dolphin…..err I mean Elephant……Darline, bring me that latest pay stub to be sure…..OK,,,,,ROLL TIDE……………………….. By the way, Tell Mark my tan is real….none of that spray on stuff….got the tanning bed right here in the palace….err I mean office……..
Bubba, get that damn gravy biscuit out of my office……..I’m a bagel guy you know, but don’t tell any of these yahoo’s down here………….Whoops, gotta go, Michigan AD on the phone.
Darline, Bring those Mayflower Moving Van Frequent mover Coupons in here so I can check the expiration date on them……Gotta go….ROLL TIDE…..

Me

June 4th, 2010
9:15 am

“Florida will go 11-1 because of a remarkably kind schedule”. …I don’t see anything resembling “remarkably kind” about playing USF, Bama, LSU, and FSU. And thats not even counting Georgia, Tenn at Neyland and South Carolina. 10-2 would be an achievement and then it’s probably another dose of the defending national champs in the SECCG. How in the world do you get “remarkably kind” out of that????????

godawg

June 4th, 2010
9:15 am

Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why does Tech suck? Sure there are a lot of technical explanations, but explanations don’t change perceptions….WOOF!

Hey JB

June 4th, 2010
9:15 am

You spelled “lose” correctly.

Bradley you are a complete homer, the fact that you predict the ACC Coastal will be the toughest division in football negates your ENTIRE column.

Paul in RDU

June 4th, 2010
9:17 am

I think you are in the ballpark with your picks – within a game or so. GT could lose anywhere between 2 and 5, I see GT losing at least 2 conference games but I expect them to beat Clemson. UGA will likely be favored but anything can happen in that game.
UGA will have a better record than last year – not only have they upgraded at DC and QB, but they have a much easier schedule this year.
I wouldn’t call UNC a surprise. They are going to be good. Their defense has about 8 guys who will play on Sundays. The question mark is going to be at QB but there will be improvement from 2009 – either Yates will play well or Butch will replace him with his hotshot RS FR Braden Hanson.

DP

June 4th, 2010
9:17 am

I think it’s unlikely that the shovel pass call by Mack Brown (dumb as it was) cost Texas the national championship game. With a 24-6 halftime lead, Saban went very conservative on offense to milk the clock in the second half just as he did against Georgia in 2008 with the 31-0 halftime lead. Had the score been 17-6 at the half I think it’s virtually certain that Alabama’s play calling would have been less conservative in the second half.

Coaching Tip

June 4th, 2010
9:18 am

I think that we’ll see a big improvement in UGA football this year. However, there’s going to be a learning curve and the improvement will be progressive. The beginning of the season is going to determine the year. UGA needs to keep the ball on the ground with the strength of the offense and hope for a couple big breaks. I predict that the South Carolina game will be low scoring, as always, and a nail biter.

By the time November rolls around, the jackets are going to cry!

Leon "Pooch-Kick" Trotsky

June 4th, 2010
9:18 am

Case Keenum, Heisman winner? Mark, sounds like you’ve started your weekend partying a little early.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 4th, 2010
9:19 am

I agree as much as it hurts me to that the DAWGS may very well lose to SC and ARK and there is always fla , I am probably in the minority that will be happy with a 9 win season with all the changes
GO DAWGS
i think four losses is a little much for tech I see them losing two hopefully 1 of them to the DAWGS

JB

June 4th, 2010
9:20 am

good stuff JB HBTD

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Bryan G.

June 4th, 2010
9:23 am

Just like last year, UGA has a lot of questions. I think 9 or wins is a good over/under for the UGA regular season and I think 8 is a good over/under for Tech.

Charlie Bama

June 4th, 2010
9:23 am

Great off-the-cuff analysis, Mark —and I agree with 95%. But picking Bama OR the Gators in either of the match-ups this season is folly. Sabanator and Meyer will pull out all the best junk for both games –and both will be spectacles for the TV audience. But picking, right now? Hmmm. And thank you for not mentioning Auburn. Why would anyone?

Daniel

June 4th, 2010
9:24 am

I think Tech wins nine. They will beat Climpson (again) and should beat VT (again). The game with UGA is a tossup.

I think UGA probably wins nine too. But that is more a function of the manageable (read: weak) schedule. I also don’t understand the belief that Grantham represents an upgrade. He may but his only stint as a coordinator was an abject failure and, other than that, we have no proof that he’ll be successful.

Matt

June 4th, 2010
9:24 am

Serioulsy Mark? The ACC Coastal will be the toughest division. You are serious?

DP

June 4th, 2010
9:24 am

Also Mark, are you really saying that Florida’s schedule this year is softer than Georgia’s? Other than common opponents, Florida plays Alabama and LSU from the SEC West while Georgia plays Arkansas and Auburn. Edge for toughness to Florida. Florida plays Florida State while Georgia plays Georgia Tech. With Bowden gone and Georgia Tech losing 4 key players to the NFL I’d call that a toss up, but give a slight toughness edge to Georgia if you like. In the other out of conference games, Florida plays South Florida, Miami of Ohio and Appalachian State. Georgia plays UL Lafayette, Colorado and Idaho State. South Florida is the toughest of those teams so I’d give Florida a slight edge there.

So how does Florida’s schedule warrant a comment about softness but Georgia’s doesn’t?

Andy

June 4th, 2010
9:25 am

Mark

Your love of South Carolina is well documented. If you are wrong about this one and UGA does beat South Carolina you are going to be hearing about it for weeks, months, years? You may in fact be right about SC beating UGA but it will come down to the running game. If UGA can get that running game rolling like it did in the Tech game then I think UGA can win. I have no faith in SC, they always seem to screw it up some way. UGA 20 SC 17

Jacket Backer

June 4th, 2010
9:28 am

very, VERY happy you picked ugag to beat us!!!!….we will be coming into that game with the best case scenerio for us; playing in athens as underdogs!……can’t wait….btw, my prediction is 10-2 for the jackets…

Helluva….Go Jackets!!

JB

June 4th, 2010
9:29 am

Dawgs have greatly disappointed the last two years. Maybe this is the year they surprise. If that running game is working and Grantham has the defense playing good ball, anything can happen……..lot’s of Maybe’s though……..

JB

June 4th, 2010
9:30 am

And how often has he picked UGA, over say the last 9 years???

HBTD!!!

Crumpy frisky in Italy

June 4th, 2010
9:32 am

Dont mess with Saban there Mr. Bradley.. he will destroy you with his laser beam eyes.

Spike

June 4th, 2010
9:34 am

The dogs could possibly upset the Jackets, but not on 11/27/2010. There is to much riding on number 60.