It’s a miracle! Mr. Wrong actually got some things right in 2011

Yay, me! (AJC photo by Mr. Ben Gray; whiteboard stylings by Ms. Mandi Albright.)

Yay, me! (AJC photo by Ben Gray; whiteboard stylings by Ms. Mandi Albright.)

This year ends in a way few years have ended for this famously erring prognosticator. It ends with me getting to say, “Know what? I actually got some stuff right.”

For once, the annual Accountability Scoreboard isn’t a tale of woe. I picked Georgia to go 10-2 and win the SEC East, which it did. I picked Georgia Tech to finish its regular season 8-4, which it did. I picked LSU to win the SEC, which it did, and finish as the BCS titlist, which it well might. I picked Auburn, which won the last BCS title, to lose five games, and sure enough …

I picked the Hawks to beat the Magic in Round 1, which indeed occurred. Heck, I even picked VCU to crash the Final Four. (OK, now I’m embellishing.)

About the only thing I got close to right in 2010 was picking the Falcons to go 12-4 and win the NFC South. (They actually went 13-3.) This time I was right, sort of, in the grand scheme — I picked the 2011 team to grab a wild card — but had it going 12-4, and the best it can do is 10-6. I even managed to whiff on the outcome of the season’s first five games, which was pretty bad even by my tepid standards. So I’m thinking this probably isn’t the moment to note that I’ve also projected this team to win at least one playoff game.

I also tabbed the Braves as a wild-card team. (I know picking the local club as a wild card is kind of a waffle, but seriously … did anyone think the Braves could trump the Phillies over 162 games?) But I also guessed, way back when, that 91 wins would be the ceiling for the 2011 Braves, and lo and behold they got stuck on 89.

That said … did I see the epic collapse coming? Absolutely not. Even with three games to go, I thought the Braves would make the playoffs. Even with three outs to go in Game No. 162, I still thought they’d qualify. Sometimes I’m hard-headed. This was such a time.

I picked the Hawks over the Magic not because I loved the Hawks, but because I thought Orlando was running on fumes. After Kirk Hinrich was hurt in the Round 1 clincher, I suggested the Hawks would do well to take one game from Chicago in Round 2. They actually took the first game, and also the fourth.

I was 0-for-4 in picking the 2011 Final Four, having gone with Ohio State to win it all. (The Buckeyes were upset by Kentucky in the Sweet 16. Shouldn’t I have learned that the Big Ten can’t handle the SEC in postseason? Or is that just in football?) I also had Georgia toppling North Carolina in the Big Dance, which the Bulldogs might well have done — had they managed to beat Washington in their tournament opener. But I overrated UGA all season, even to the point of thinking it might win the SEC East.

I did, however, have Brian Gregory on my original short list of candidates to replace Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech. Though, in the sake of full disclosure, I must mention that I’d relegated BG to being “a fallback choice” by the time the search commenced. And I believed Tech’s Iman Shumpert had erred by staying in the NBA draft, thinking he might not get picked at all. (He wound going to the Knicks with the 17th pick of Round 1.)

Back to college football: I missed by saying that Nebraska would win the Big Ten, that Florida State would win the ACC, that Stanford would win the Pac-12 and that Andrew Luck would take the Heisman. I was pretty close on Tennessee going 6-6 (it went 5-7) and Florida going 7-5 (it went 6-6). I was right in saying South Carolina would finish 10-2, wrong in saying it would lose the SEC East to Georgia on a tiebreaker. (It lost straight-up.)

I was right in believing LSU would beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, wrong in believing the Tigers would lose to Mississippi State in Starkville, wrong in choosing Oklahoma as LSU’s BCS opponent. I did have Virginia Tech winning the ACC Coastal, but I also had Southern Cal going 7-5, and it went 10-2. (Lane Kiffin, genius boy!)

I was right about three of Tech’s four losses. (I had the Jackets losing at North Carolina State and winning at Virginia.) I was wrong on both of Georgia’s losses. (I had the Bulldogs beating Boise State and South Carolina, but losing to Mississippi State and Florida. Yes, I bought the Dan Mullen hype.) I was way wrong about Georgia State: I had the Panthers going 8-3, as opposed to 3-8.

Yes, I know. That’s a lot of being wrong for what I’m claiming as a pretty good year. But viewed alongside my bleak 2010, I feel entitled to strut a bit. And to offer this one long-range prediction:

In 2012 Georgia will go 11-1 in the regular season and will win the SEC championship.

By Mark Bradley

208 comments Add your comment

Benjamin

December 30th, 2011
11:17 am

Geaux Dawgs!

First?

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
11:22 am

Kudos again, Benjamin.

chalkdawg4

December 30th, 2011
11:24 am

All together – Not too bad. Welcome back

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
11:25 am

Thanks, chalkdawg4.

Bill

December 30th, 2011
11:27 am

Welcome back….thats not bad!

rduck

December 30th, 2011
11:29 am

bowl predictions for the home yeams?

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
11:30 am

By my standards, it’s lights-out stuff, Bill. Thanks much.

Jim

December 30th, 2011
11:31 am

Of course UGA will win the SEC East….considering they have the easiest schedule, they will enter the SECCG thinking they are world beaters and then again get beat by 35 points to a far superior team.
Maybe UGA should stop using Ga Tech as an excuse and start playing some real strong out of conference teams to GET BETTER as a football team instead of beating Tennessee and Vanderbilt by less than a TD and thinking they should be national title contenders.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
11:31 am

I don’t want to mess up my bounceback year by being wrong now, rduck.

I’ll take a pass on Tech’s bowl just for that reason. Consider it my version of resting the starters.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
11:32 am

But I’m headed to Tampa for the Outback, and I’d imagine I’ll make a pick sometime before kickoff.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
11:35 am

What the heck.

Georgia 27, Michigan State 16.

Heath

December 30th, 2011
11:36 am

If SC beats Georgia again but loses the East by going 10-2 that would be pretty funny.

Welcome back, and is this year two of your ‘Falcons will win the Super Bowl within 3 years’ prognostication (little Leonard’s Losers lingo there)? Hope you got that one right, but we need a running back that can break free.

Marvin Mangrum

December 30th, 2011
11:36 am

I will tell you this, along with Furman Bisher, right or wrong, been reading you both a long time, and I do so enjoy it. Thank you so much, it has been a great year for you.

DILLIGAF

December 30th, 2011
11:39 am

Good job Mark Bradley!

Happy New Year and I look forward to next year’s predictions.

BAMA dude

December 30th, 2011
11:39 am

LSU returns just about everybody in 2012. If the juco corners work out, Bama might be able to hang with them next year. Nobody else will.

J Clay

December 30th, 2011
11:39 am

MB – with that schedule who do you have Dawgs losing to? Assume one of the 2 Columbia games, likely SC one over Mizzou one?

Joe

December 30th, 2011
11:46 am

All in all a good year of predictions Mark.

When you write UGA wins the 2012 SEC, do you mean the conference championship or just the East? Even I, as a Georgia grad, am not ready to believe they will win it all next year.

BSC crapped the bed this year...lol

December 30th, 2011
11:54 am

UGA finishes 13-1 next year, and still plays for NC! Mark it down!!

george

December 30th, 2011
11:58 am

4 sec west teams could go 11-1 next year with UGA’s pansy schedule. I think the SEC office felt sorry for the pitiful East when they came up with the 2012 schedules. The pups will NOT go 11-1 because once again they will choke and lose at least one game (prob 2) they shouldnt for a 9-3 or 10-2 record.

george

December 30th, 2011
11:59 am

it must be nice to have a boise st like schedule playing 2 ranked teams the entire year (south carolina and auburn)

how2fish

December 30th, 2011
12:00 pm

Mark good overall job and a great year, I’m still a little in awe of your piece on Larry Munson by the way great article ! Anyway Happy New Year and lets hope 2012 is better than 2011 which unless the Mayans are right it should be!

DC

December 30th, 2011
12:00 pm

UGA’s schedule will hurt them if they go 13-1..don’t think they will get in the dance…just a hunch based on this years years strength of teams…

@george

December 30th, 2011
12:01 pm

R U Mizzou, or the other new SEC team…lol

DC

December 30th, 2011
12:01 pm

rather…12-1..

Heath

December 30th, 2011
12:02 pm

@george…u mad bro?

Ted M

December 30th, 2011
12:02 pm

Unfortunately you’re wrong about Matt Ryan being good enough.

how2fish

December 30th, 2011
12:03 pm

@george you want some chesse with that whine ? Blame the SEC if you want but have you checked Vandy’s schedule or if you want to go who got blasted check out A&M’s welcome to the SEC. Really 4 West teams ?? Please tell me your not driving until the drugs wear off .

Heath

December 30th, 2011
12:05 pm

He seems mad.

@Ted M

December 30th, 2011
12:06 pm

The OL is the problem not Matt Ryan. Any LONG time Falcon fan is happy to have Matt.

Dawg in Milton

December 30th, 2011
12:07 pm

our schedule is about as easy as you can get it compared to the other SEC teams…10-2 at a minimum….schedules mean everything…no lsu, no bama, no arkansas..all top 10 team teams…we get a bad AU and Ole Miss teams from the west and UF and UT are down….lets run the table Dawgs….

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:07 pm

I mean the conference, Joe.

george

December 30th, 2011
12:09 pm

how2fish. Alabama,lsu,arkansas, and Auburn would have gone 10-2 min with UGA’s schedule. If you try to argue that you need to go follow another sport.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:09 pm

Thanks, Mr. Mangrum.

george

December 30th, 2011
12:10 pm

not mad at all just think its funny how all you idiots think UGA is the greatest thing since sliced bread when they have not had a significant victory in 5 years. But hey “we are a year or two away” has been the favorite saying from delusional dawgs since 1980.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:13 pm

Thanks to how2fish for mentioning the Larry Munson article. The response to that was hugely gratifying, and I thank you all again.

T-Bone

December 30th, 2011
12:15 pm

C’mon, Mark. You’ve at least got to give Tech’s Bowl game a shot. I promise that we won’t let it change our opinion of your 2011 predictions.

durrtydogg

December 30th, 2011
12:16 pm

Welcome back Mark! I hope you and the fam had a nice holiday. Oh yeah, the Dawgs will win the SEC. Its our time!

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:18 pm

Thanks, Durrtydawg. I’m glad to be back. And typing these responses on my iPad. (Christmas present.)

UGA 11

December 30th, 2011
12:19 pm

Happy New Year Mark! Love reading your stuff, and your success in prognosticating wasn’t lost on me this year! See you in 2012!

how2fish

December 30th, 2011
12:22 pm

@george you lost all credibility at Auburn..bitter much george?

Troll Power Ratings

December 30th, 2011
12:22 pm

@george: Your team? Let me guess….Hmmm…another other state team that Georgia owns?

Driver 8

December 30th, 2011
12:26 pm

Mark,

Hope you’ve had a good rest. Wishing you and your family a healthy, prosperous and happy 2012. I’ve really enjoyed your columns for the last 30 years. I know you get a lot of abuse on this forum but I suspect the vast majority look forward to your observations, opinions and prognostications. I also appreciate the frequency of your installments and updates.

In the coming year, go easier on yourself. No need for so much self-flagellation. You do great work.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:27 pm

Thanks, UGA 11.

Nom Nom Nom Chucks....Taylor or Norris

December 30th, 2011
12:27 pm

Aren’t Ipads awesome MB?

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:28 pm

Wow. I’m honored, Driver 8.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2011
12:29 pm

I have to admit they are, Nom Nom.

RedandBlackDAWG

December 30th, 2011
12:31 pm

George, are you a big tech. fan by any chance? If so, I would wonder why you even have to be on a blog, cutting down the team that has owned you for so long. I guess it is that calculus thing. It doesn’t give you anytime to have a rational thought.

T-Bone

December 30th, 2011
12:36 pm

I do enjoy reading your stuff, Mark–good observations, good commentary. 2012 should be just as exciting.

Now, if you won’t predict the Sun Bowl, I will. Ga Tech 27, Utah 23

Heath

December 30th, 2011
12:41 pm

Yep. george is mad.

Will

December 30th, 2011
12:44 pm

Mark:

Some pretty good picks BUT……..how could anyone…anyone miss a baseball playoff prediction WITH ONLY THREE games remaining in a season? It’s pretty difficult to correctly picks teams at the beginning of a 162 game season but, come n, still not able to do so after the team had played 159 of a 162 game schedule?