Heat Check: Everybody – Tech, UGA, the Falcons – is smokin’

The men of Groh are growin' on me, I must confess. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The men of Groh are growing on me, I must confess. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Georgia Tech wins a big game and is back in the Top 25. Georgia beats Florida and has climbed to No. 18. The Falcons don’t even play but gain on New Orleans in the NFC South. Our weekly Heat Check begins with the question: Are we Winnersville or what?

Georgia Tech: A big-time performance was needed, and that’s what the Jackets provided. Coming as it did after two small-time losses, Tech now gives the impression of having turned a corner. (Then again, it’s always nice to happen on a corner and find Dabo Swinney standing there.)

There was a neat little hidden stat coming into the Clemson game, so neat and so hidden I’d have missed it if a faithful Twitter follower hadn’t called it to my attention: In ACC games, Tech was 11th in the conference in total offense but first in the league in total defense. Which tells us that, for all the hand-wringing over Al Groh’s D, he has fashioned a unit that will give the famous offense a chance in every game, provided the offense doesn’t turn the ball over and the special teams don’t collapse completely. Heat Index: Beat the nation’s No. 5 team, even if it is Dabo-coached, and you’re certifiably smokin’ again.

Georgia: I have to say I’m a bit confused. Georgia beat Florida for the fourth time since 1989 after trailing by two touchdowns, and the reaction on this site wasn’t so much exultation but complaint. I’m willing to concede that reader comments aren’t necessarily an accurate gauge of anything and that some folks who present themselves as Georgia fans might not be. That said …

Are you serious? When you’ve lost as many games to Florida as Georgia has, you should take a one-point victory on a safety induced by a punt that bounces off a seagull and be happy with it. I know special teams were terrible. I know this isn’t much of a Florida team. Doesn’t matter. It was still Florida in Jacksonville, and Georgia won. Heat Index: Six in a row after 0-2 — me, I’d call that warmth.

The Falcons: Had a bye. Will have another Sunday. (Technically, they meet Indianapolis. Same difference.) Then again, the Saints thought they’d have a bye in St. Louis, and they lost to an 0-6 opponent. Which means the Falcons are tied with New Orleans in the loss column, which is a pretty good place to be after starting 2-3.

Do I think the Falcons have played to their capacity? No, I don’t. Do I think they can win the Super Bowl playing as they have? No again. But do I think they have room to grow into a Super Bowl-type team? Yes, I still do. Heat Index: After the trip to Indy, the Falcons’ next three are at home, including a Nov. 13 date against New Orleans. Time to get hot, I’d say.

Will Muschamp: The former Bulldog officially became the first Florida coach ever to have a losing record against Mark Richt, and Gator fans don’t know what to do. Should they write off Muschamp as the next Ron Zook, or should they blame Urban Meyer for leaving so little talent behind? Heat Index: Florida was winless in October for the first time since it went 0-10-1 under Charley Pell in 1979. That’s cold.

Dabo Swinney: He replaced Tommy Bowden, who would raise hopes only to dash them, and after two years on the job it’s unclear whether Dabo isn’t really Tommy B. in disguise. Because nothing at Clemson has changed. This is still the team you can’t believe in. Heat Index: When you come into a game thinking about a national championship and trail by three touchdowns at the half, you’ve undergone a cold snap.

The Braves: They finished one game behind the eventual World Series champs. Which sounds nicer than saying, “The Cardinals wouldn’t be champs if the Braves hadn’t squandered an 8 1/2-game lead in September.” Heat Index: A chilly winter awaits.

The Hawks: They’re locked out. Their new owner might not be their new owner after all. Other than that, everything’s hunky-dory. Heat Index: Let’s see, when were the Hawks ever a hot item? In 1988, maybe?

By Mark Bradley

369 comments Add your comment

dtanner

October 31st, 2011
7:57 am

first! and i’m at work

Ramblin On!

October 31st, 2011
7:58 am

FIRST! Hope you like the way crow tastes Mark! Georgia Tech is actually pretty good! Go Jackets!

hank

October 31st, 2011
7:58 am

GeorgiaDawg91

October 31st, 2011
7:59 am

I have been smiling ever since Samuel ran for the first down that clinched the win!!! Its a win against Florida all other aspects do not matter

lanier

October 31st, 2011
7:59 am

I like Tech’s chances anytime they face Jabo which they will again in the ACC Championship

Draggin Fly

October 31st, 2011
8:00 am

First…and if Tech hadn’t had a late game Saturday, there would have been a lot less negativity on the afternoon Ga/Fla blog. Congrats to both teams, however.

hank

October 31st, 2011
8:00 am

Tech sucks Ramblin On! and we will see how bad in a couple of weeks. And to answer another point from Mark we don’t want a 1 point win we want the complete and utter destruction of Florida.

old devil

October 31st, 2011
8:01 am

First! At last…

gdawginkalamazoo

October 31st, 2011
8:01 am

http://bustedcoverage.com/2011/10/28/34-greatest-famous-sports-celebrity-halloween-costumes/athletes-halloween-costumes/#3

I hope our defense can get by these gals/guys in a couple of weeks.

I’ll take the one point win over ANYBODY. The way our defense dominated two very good backs in Rainey and Demps I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

Congrats on a well played game Dawgs. Samuels thanks for running the way you should. Conley for stepping up for Mitchell. Jones for dancing with Brantley all day. Keep it going get healthy and beat Auburn

Draggin Fly

October 31st, 2011
8:01 am

Ok, not first, but right.

old devil

October 31st, 2011
8:02 am

Drat. Fooled by the android again…

Max Sizemore

October 31st, 2011
8:02 am

Cheap shot on Dabo, second graph. Mark, maybe you’ve been reading too many blog entries.

Tuckerboy

October 31st, 2011
8:03 am

My Shoes are made of gator!!!!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

October 31st, 2011
8:03 am

Congrats to the Bees on a big win. What the heck happened at Virginia and with Miami? Those were two that I thought you should have won.

Shug

October 31st, 2011
8:05 am

(Let’s give credit where credit is due. The Braves didn’t blow an 8.5 game lead, they blew a 10.5 game lead.)

Georgia’s win over UF was nice, but not something any UGA fan should get excited about. They barely beat a team that’s now lost 4 straight and who has a doofus coach.

David

October 31st, 2011
8:16 am

I’m a little more at peace about the Cardinals, now that St. Louis sent the us a return gift yesterday by way of the Rams.

MalibuGT

October 31st, 2011
8:16 am

great weekend for football indeed! although since all these teams have a tendency to reject prosperity, need to keep it up

would be great to have two conference division champs playing thanksgiving weekend

Go Jackets!

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 31st, 2011
8:17 am

Watching GT vs Clemson replay on ESPNU.

dobearsbare

October 31st, 2011
8:18 am

Yes, the clouds are a little puffier and the leaves a little more colorful this morning since Georgia beat Florida.

GT Girl

October 31st, 2011
8:20 am

GT won even with bad officiating! Go Jackets!

coma toast

October 31st, 2011
8:22 am

wake me up when Georgia beats someone with a pulse…

Herschel Talker

October 31st, 2011
8:24 am

MB:

We’re angry because we know that garbage performance in Jacksonville (offense and special teams were garbage, defense was great) just bought us another year of the Richt stink bomb. The special teams and offense disasters had Richt’s fingerprints all over them. When we have a tough schedule next year, we are doomed.

IT’S GREAT TO BEAT THOSE LOSER GATORS, BUT WE STILL NEED TO FIRE MARK RICHT!!!

HT

BobDawg

October 31st, 2011
8:24 am

MARK, Some of the Young-uns on the blogs want ’style” points when we play and this team isn’t that. It just plays hard and gritty… I’m perplexed about you saying UF has so little talent… I read Mike Bianchi’s column in the Orlando Sentinel and he said the same thing…. Didn’t the Gators have the #1 CLASS RECRUITING just a year or 2 ago…. Hmm. What happens when those recruits get to UF???? If fact, they finished in the top 5 the last 5-10 years. UF never has talent problems… Stop buying into that. I mean Omar Hunter is down there, Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, Jeff Brantley, #2 & #3 qB’s were all highly rated,,, What is going on down there????

BobDawg

October 31st, 2011
8:26 am

@HT, you are like “Occupy Atlanta”, dude… You are fighting a losing battle… CMR has a new contract on his desk this AM…. Give it up… and enjoy the rest of the season…

Michael M.

October 31st, 2011
8:27 am

Last week the Aints were like unstoppable and this week they were bending over grabbing their ankles and tellin the Rams ” Kick me as hard as you can !” so you go figure……….anything is possible in the NFL, the Birds could go all the way with the way they are playing so don’t kid yourself ! That is the thing with the Pros……….you never know who is the best til the last game with two teams in the Superbowl !

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 31st, 2011
8:28 am

Congrats to Tech and a helluva good victory by my Dawgs! I think I asked the Dawgs to Hunker Down about 25 times during the game, a new personal record. Sure it wasnt pretty but we got the W and thats all that matters.

Coach

October 31st, 2011
8:30 am

Not a Vanderbilt fan, but…On a CBS update Saturday, Tim Brando poured salt on Vanderbilt’s tough loss, recapping the loss and adding, “That’s why you’re Vandy.” Come on, Tim. Leave the trash talking out of your reports. The Bulldog network could take a few lesson in sportsmanship, too.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 31st, 2011
8:33 am

MalibuGT, yes that would be a good thing.

DD

October 31st, 2011
8:35 am

Falcons rest of their games look easily winnable now. 5 home 4 road. TB home. Car road. Aints home and away. I think they can finish 11-5.

Herschel Talker

October 31st, 2011
8:35 am

Bobdawg:

Please don’t compare me to those horrible Occupy Atlanta people. Though I get your drift, I can’t stop fighting the fight. Richt will not get the job done in the long run.

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!

HT

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 31st, 2011
8:37 am

Florida Recruiting Rankings

2011- #12
2010- #2
2009- #11
2008- #3

So the talent is present in Florida. I know they have had some attrition and a coaching change, but its still Florida. Florida fans lose the benefit of the doubt when they taunt rival fanbases. Time to pay up…

RambleOn84

October 31st, 2011
8:39 am

Great weekend for both state schools!

Tech actually had a homefield advantage for once!

It made a HUGE difference, as did the excellent play of the defense. That was one of the best offenses in college football, and Groh and company shut it down when it mattered.

The offense also looked much better as Tevin grew more confident. Those late pitches are scary, indeed; but they are vital in making this offense run.

Next up the Hokies…let’s make them wish they would have stayed home.

GO JACKETS!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 31st, 2011
8:39 am

Last four years Florida has ranked, 11,8,3,12 in recruiting. Talent is not the issue. Meyer quit coaching once he lost his bromance with St. Tebow and then they hired the fraud Muschamp. Florida had there run in the SEC now it is time to pay up.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 31st, 2011
8:40 am

No doubt that defense was lights out. The special teams and offense kept trying to give the game away. That INT down near the 10 yard line by Murray could have been the nail in the coffin. The D manned up and back the Gators so far up that they missed the FG. Great job of coaching by Grantham. Great job by the kids on the defense by responding.

Put somebody on special teams that will make a tackle, stop flinging your arms out there. Get into position and wrap ‘em up.

Gary

October 31st, 2011
8:40 am

UF’s offense is atrocious. So to pound your chest for holding them makes me laugh. Duke coulda stopped them. Sc will too. You haven’t faced a good offense all season aside from boise. And you won’t until possibly gt at the end. So you start and end the season with the two best offenses.

BobDawg

October 31st, 2011
8:44 am

@Coach, you ought to hear Brando on Paul Finebaums show each week if you think that was bad… He is quite a character… I thought it was appropriate…. Franklin is getting Vandy noticed up there though…@HT… didn’t mean to equate you to OA…. BUT, we don’t need to start over with another staff. We can fix everything that is going wrong (hire Fabris back to fix Special Teams, etc) and if we peak at the right time, this could be a fun end of the year… We just now had our entire D back for the 2nd half of the UF game and look what happened.. Jones, Tree , Washington, S. Williams and our nose tackles are studs….

RambleOn84

October 31st, 2011
8:44 am

Gary,
Holding speed demons like Rainey and Demps is impressive, no matter how good you think their offense is.

It’s not like this was the first good performance from Georgie’s D anyway. They are a legit top-10 defense.

Destin Dawg

October 31st, 2011
8:44 am

Dawgs have won all their S,E.C. games… kicked S.C. all over the field… gave them the game … 45 to 42… even Spurrier said so…. good win for GT.. too .. Go Dawgs !!!

JB

October 31st, 2011
8:47 am

Dawg win was great. I’m happy for the team and the University……….But please McGarity, Don’t extend Richt to another 5 years at 15 mil +…….Vandy will beat this No RB No Qb horrible Florida team. Grantham has the D playing well, but Murray throws as many bad passes as good ones and special teams are scary, Richt’s words not mine. Bring him back if you wish, but leave us an out if this type of play continues. Reality, the wins have come against teams that are like 2-24. We’ve proved nothing yet. Good win, yes. Ready to beat a ranked team….far from it.

BobDawg

October 31st, 2011
8:47 am

@ Lowcountry..I thought UF had a #1 class in there most recently… Or maybe that is Jaime Newberg spouting off…. They do have talent… Bradley even bought into the perception that they don’t….

RambleOn84

October 31st, 2011
8:49 am

JB,
If they renew his contract, they’ll do something smart and only by 1-2 years with an option to add another year. He doesn’t really deserve a long-term contract at this point.

Destin Dawg

October 31st, 2011
8:49 am

we’ve beaten Alabama 2 out of last 3… hope we get there… Go Dawgs…beat Auburn 1st !!

BobDawg

October 31st, 2011
8:50 am

Frankly, I’m surprised Murray stayed in the game after that vicious hit…. I think it affected his throws…. Both QB’s got pounded in the game…
@RambleOn 84…. Great game and the triple option seemed to hit Clemson every play where they were in the wrong D called… almost like Johnson new what Dabo was thinking….

DIT

October 31st, 2011
8:51 am

Heck, I called it on a blog last Sunday after tech lost to Miami that they would beat Clemson by 17. OK, I was wrong, it was only 14. Clemson can NEVER stop a good running team. Congrats tech! VT will be more of a challenge. They have a much better defense. I hope that tech & UGA can win the rest of their games leading up to the 26th. I will make a great national televised game and hopefully start putting this rivalry back in the spotlight.

I’m concerned about my Dawgs on offense. Question: Did Samuel break his foot? I hope not, he ran the ball very well Saturday. If I were CMR, I would start Mason on Saturday and try not to play as many starters as possible. Of course I’m not a head coach it’s just an opinion.

BobDawg

October 31st, 2011
8:52 am

You have to extend Richt at least 4 years for the recruits sake… Every coach in the country will come in here and negative recruit if you don’t… I mean we already have a great start on the 2013 class. What does that tell them if you don’t extend out a long time???

DawgInaTruck

October 31st, 2011
8:52 am

This past Friday from Gatormeat-who will no doubt change his or her name now:

“Well, this is my last few moments to post before I head up to Jacksonville. You dumb dog fans are stupid to think you have a chance, the Mighty Gators are going to wipe the field with you. No wonder why we make so much fun of georgias stupid fans at the stadium every year. I’ll be back Sunday to mock you foolish people, I can’t wait to hear the crying and excuses you give every year after the game.”

First, it is obvious you don’t go to the game so you are fooling no one. Second, if you are going to call us “stupid” you should at least learn elementary education level punctuation.

Now about that post. Care to follow up genius?

Herschel Talker

October 31st, 2011
8:52 am

Lowcountry Bulldawg:

The Florida talent doesn’t fit their revamped system. They now have spread guys running in a pro-style offense. Will take a few years for them to get the right talent in place, which will be rough for them and should be a golden opportunity for us, if we had a real coach.

HT

JB

October 31st, 2011
8:53 am

Let’s hope THAT Tech team doesn’t show up for Dawgs. Very impressive.

RambleOn84

October 31st, 2011
8:53 am

Good point, BobDawg…

That’s how the offense is supposed to work. More than good playcalling (though I’ll agree Coach Johnson called a heck of a game), the difference was great blocking and good decision-making by Tevin.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

October 31st, 2011
8:53 am

Poor HT, his talking points rendered obsolete, his fire the coach mantra falling on deaf ears, there is no joy in his Mudville, the mighty boring has struck out.