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