The Heat Check returns a day late after a two-week hiatus, but hey … a return’s a return! And we begin with those who’ll be involved in a game of some interest come Saturday noon.
Georgia: Champion of the SEC East, the winner of nine in a row, the author of a rebound season. Think back to August: Would Georgia fans have taken all that and been happy? Sure they would. Heat Index: Mark Richt has gone from sitting atop the ol’ Hot Seat to sharing a warm moment with Mrs. Richt in front of 90,000 friends and neighbors.
Georgia Tech: Ranked in the Top 25, the winner of eight games after getting stuck on six last season, the author of a rebound season. Think back to August: Would Tech fans have taken all that and been happy? Yes, with a caveat. Heat Index: No Tech season can ever be ruled a complete success if the Jackets lose to Georgia.
Atlanta Falcons: They went to the no-huddle against Tennessee and looked great for three quarters. They wound up winning by six points. They’re 6-4, which isn’t bad. But there’s a caveat here as well. Heat Index: When was the last time we could say, “The Falcons really played a great game today?” When last did a postgame Mike Smith briefing not include a line about “things we need to fix”? When might those things get … well, fixed?
Atlanta Braves: Frank Wren hasn’t made a trade in a while. This isn’t like Frank Wren. Heat Index: “Nurse, could we take Mr. Wren’s temperature? He doesn’t seem himself.”
Atlanta Hawks: They’re not playing, which means attendance might actually go up. Heat Index: I have to confess I stole that line from occasional colleague Jeff Haws.
The team formerly known as the Thrashers: The Winnipeg Jets are fourth in the five-team NHL Southeast Division and 13th in the 15-team Eastern Conference. Heat Index: You can take the team out of the country, but making it win is another matter.
Local college basketball: The four area men’s teams — Tech, Georgia, Georgia State and Kennesaw State — are a collective 8-8, and the Bulldogs (3-1) lost their first real test Monday night to California by 24 points. (Georgia was outscored 48-21 over the final 25 minutes.) Of the four, the best win belongs to Tech, which beat 2011 Final Four participant VCU on Friday. Then the Jackets turned around and lost to LSU, which had lost to Coastal Carolina. Heat Index: I say again — this figures to be a chilly winter, hoops-wise.
By Mark Bradley