Heat Check: Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Tech, UGA – all HOT!

"Our team is red hot! Our team is red hot!" (AP photo by David Tulis)

"Our team is red hot! (Clap, clap.) Our team is red hot!" (AP photo by David Tulis)

Today we offer the (long-deferred if not necessarily long-awaited) return of the Monday Heat Check, in which we take the figurative temperature of our local sporting entities. And, in keeping with climatic conditions, I must note that every team is HOT!HOT!HOT!

BRAVES: They haven’t lost in a week, and the week ahead looks most inviting. They’re home for four games against the Marlins, who have given up, and three against the Astros, who snapped a 12-game losing slide Sunday and are the worst team in baseball by some distance.

And there’s every chance the Braves will make a trade by 4 p.m. Tuesday. Zack Greinke is gone to Anaheim, and the Braves claim to have moved on from their pursuit of reluctant Ryan Dempster, but I’m not convinced that ship has sailed. There’s no reason for the Cubs to keep Dempster — they’re not going to re-sign him — and the Dodgers’ offer hasn’t been convincing. (If it had, he’d be gone by now.) And if his preferred destination isn’t an option, mightn’t Dempster be tempted to say, “I could live out of a hotel in Buckhead for three months if it means pitching in the World Series”?

As noted earlier, the Braves can and should qualify for the playoffs as is. If they get Dempster — who’s the only starting pitcher good enough to make a difference who’s apt to be available at a non-Teixeira price — they’d be good enough to win a postseason series. Heat Index: Hot, with a real opportunity to get hotter still.

FALCONS: They haven’t lost since Jan. 8. They’re in training camp with new coordinators and a new O-line coach, and they’re making all the happy noises teams in training camp, be it with or without new coordinators, make.

The big news so far has been that Lofa Tatupu, imported as insurance at middle linebacker, got hurt and got cut without playing a down. Some have taken this development as cause for hand-wringing. Please. The Falcons’ Plan A was always to give young Akeem Dent every chance to seize the job, and that hasn’t changed. Save your real concern for something that really matters, like left tackle. Heat Index: The belief here is that Hotlanta’s NFL franchise is primed to have its hottest season since 1998.

HAWKS: They haven’t lost since May 10. They’ve excised two of the Core Four. They’re starting anew under general manager Danny Ferry, which isn’t to stay they’re starting over. You can make a little something of a roster that includes Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, DeShawn Stevenson, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris and John Jenkins. (You mightn’t be able to make the playoffs, but you shouldn’t stink on ice.)

Unless they trade for Dwight Howard, whatever the Hawks do over the next 11 months won’t much matter. Come July 2013, they’ll have money to spend and free agency to explore/exploit. Heat Index: The season ahead mightn’t be warm and fuzzy, but the future of this franchise looks rather toasty.

GEORGIA TECH: The Jackets haven’t lost since Dec. 31. They’re picked to finish second in the ACC Coastal Division. They play Virginia Tech, which is picked to finish first, on Labor Day night. If they win that game, they should take the Coastal. I like this team’s chances. Heat Index: Well, how hot would a division title be?

GEORGIA: The Bulldogs haven’t lost since Jan. 2. They’re picked to win the SEC East. They’ve lost Isaiah Crowell, but they should be able to fill out a backfield this season. Crowell or no Crowell, I like this team’s chances. Heat Index: Well, how hot would a BCS title game berth against the Men of Kiffin be?

By Mark Bradley

183 comments Add your comment

ChopAttack

July 30th, 2012
8:52 am

Just say no to Dempster. He’s overvalued and not worth burning prospects.

matt

July 30th, 2012
8:54 am

Huh?

July 30th, 2012
8:54 am

UGA in the Championship Game? I’d like some of what your smokin’, Mark.

matt

July 30th, 2012
8:55 am

Rats. “Missed it by this much!”

tjhook

July 30th, 2012
8:59 am

The Hawks are not hot – they are lukewarm with a chance for hot. If Josh Smith goes down, the team will struggle to put points on the board and we know the new people can’t play defense. The upside is higher because of what’s possible now that Joe Johnson is gone, but make no mistake: We lost a top 25 player in the league. That is not an immediate upgrade.

The Mighty Quinn

July 30th, 2012
9:00 am

Welcome back, Mark!

Remarkable

July 30th, 2012
9:02 am

It’s about time for a Heat Check. Just not sure that you are right about the Hawks and Falcon’s yet. Time will tell. I think the Hawks are going in the right direction, but it’s a long trip to make the needed improvements.

Mark Bradley

July 30th, 2012
9:03 am

Kudos to everybody today.

Richard

July 30th, 2012
9:04 am

Optimism! I like it!

Vel Crow

July 30th, 2012
9:05 am

Heat Check, Its Monday and the Braves dont like Mondays.

Deacon Blues

July 30th, 2012
9:15 am

Tough for the dawgs to play USC if they go 9-3 unless it’s in the Holiday Bowl

DC

July 30th, 2012
9:18 am

They should outlaw 1-1:35 start times in atl in the summer…that was brutal!

jonthan

July 30th, 2012
9:23 am

Mark, do you see the Braves adding some bench help?

GStateBen

July 30th, 2012
9:25 am

Mark… Why no Georgia State? The THIRD FBS team in this State.

Taylor Wooten

July 30th, 2012
9:25 am

No way UGA wins with the current QB.
Saw him up close and personal at the Braves game this Sat. The dude aint very big at all. Doesnt even look like a decent HS QB. Was underwhelmed by him, his presence. No way he can see over the OL and DL of his own team and opponents. It will bite him yet again in big games. Go ahead and prepare urself Dawg fans.

GStateBen

July 30th, 2012
9:25 am

#STATEOFSHOCK

GoVawls

July 30th, 2012
9:28 am

Dawgs need a couple more good recruiting classes. Bwahahahaha

Joey

July 30th, 2012
9:29 am

Welcome back MB.

Batteries recharged?

Grantland Rice

July 30th, 2012
9:30 am

Good write-up MB, it’s always sweet sweeping the Phillies. Special shout out to Ben Sheets, really love the guy. Persevered, worked hard & never gave up. Really proud that he’s a Brave!

Saint Dawg>>>

July 30th, 2012
9:33 am

Braves break the monday blues…Today is the day we win our first monday game..GO BRAVES

UGADawg83

July 30th, 2012
9:34 am

@Taylor-Glad to know you are such an evaluator of talent after seeing Murray at the Braves game. I suppose next you will evaluate Matt Ryan’s ability to throw the deep ball after seeing him in the men’s room at Waffle House.

D man

July 30th, 2012
9:36 am

Bring on the football season…

Jamaaliver

July 30th, 2012
9:50 am

AH! At long last…another Heat Check.

Welcome back and keep ‘em coming.

SSIgator

July 30th, 2012
9:51 am

“The Bulldogs haven’t lost since Jan. 2″

That is why this year, as well as all other years, they are always Pre-Season National Champions. Does Richt have those UGA fans trained or what?

lowcountrylem

July 30th, 2012
9:56 am

Ironic the Braves best starting pitcher of late has been one they picked for the change between sofa cushions…..Ben Sheets is a marvel and we’re extremely lucky to have gotten him. BTW, whether or not Dempster winds up in a Braves uniform, still should have sent Delgado to the Cubs…..they’re used to that sort of misery.

DawginLex

July 30th, 2012
10:04 am

Welcome back Mark!

Nothing much has changed on these blogs.

The haters/TROLLS still post their usual stuff to bash UGA

I’m here every now and then to put them in their place.

Like Taylor Wooten who knows more by looking at Aaron Murray at a Braves game than Peyton and Eli Manning do at their QB camp where they raved about Murray.

steve brown

July 30th, 2012
10:05 am

I’ve been negative towards Chipper the past few years based on his salary versus games played. However, he has become the best part time player ever. I say we start a movement that says bring him back at half his salary for 82 games!

HUH?????????????

July 30th, 2012
10:05 am

“Well, how hot would a BCS title game berth against the Men of Kiffin be?”

UGA will not play in a BCS game. USC will not play for the BCS title.

HUH?????????????

July 30th, 2012
10:07 am

UGA plays one ranked team this year. One.

ONE.

UGA, IF they make it to teh SEC title game, will get smashed again by either LSU, Bama or Arky.

USC plays a cupcake schedule as well and will get smashed by whomever they play in a bowl game.

Bobo, Bobo, a Pirate's Life for Me

July 30th, 2012
10:08 am

@ Taylor Wooten,

Thanks for clearing that up for me bro! I wish I had as keen an eye as you, Lord what I’d give to have Taylor’s scouting abilities!

Murray is shorter than the average QB, but that doesn’t doom him to mediocrity, or as you put it complete and utter failure. Ever heard of a man named Drew Brees? He’s not to tall either…

Murray steps up to the plate this year and shatters the TD record at UGA and takes UGA to another SEC championship game, and hopefully leaves with a W.

gbal

July 30th, 2012
10:08 am

As much as I want to see it happen, press is asking WAY to much of our dawgs this year, especially this early. Gotta see two games before any talk of SEC or National Championship. This talk is rediculous at this point.

1) Nothing that would tell me our OL is going to be stronger than last year and I would say less experienced.

2) We dont have what I would consider a proven runniing back. Same as last year.

3) We go to Mossouri with 2-3…???? 4???? DB’s out.

4) I just am not a fan of Murray in a big tight game… and I am not a fan of how Richt and Bobo are handling that situation. …Like he is the man and entitiled as opposed to competing like every other position on the field. I think the team see’s this as well.

5) We dont have a kicker that we can say will come thru in the clutch.

6) Our receiver group… I think has potential, but I wouldnt say at this point it is a top SEC group.

7) USC, AU, FLA, MO, UT, maybe Vandy….. with all the issues above, these are good teams folks and to win out is going to be dam near impossible.

IF we can get my Mo. and have 3 more wins to develop… I might be able to start thinking about championships. But too many questions at this point. Id call it a big suprise at this point if UGA makes it to the SECCG.

Bobo, Bobo, a Pirate's Life for Me

July 30th, 2012
10:10 am

Still@theKool-aidBAR

July 30th, 2012
10:10 am

UGa isn’t going to make the BCS CG.

Dawgsfan1990

July 30th, 2012
10:12 am

Welcome back Mark! Missed ya!

Sonny Clusters

July 30th, 2012
10:13 am

Welcome back, Mark! We was longing for some prose on here and you got back just in time. “I could live out of a hotel in Buckhead for three months if it means pitching in the World Series” Well, that’s just beautiful sentiment and we was hoping maybe Dempster could take the light hitting Dan Uggla to Buckhead with him and see if it would make any difference changing his surroundings some. At least he did raise his average yesterday from .209 to .210. Did you see where Frenchy has been benched because he is in a similar (but not so terrible) slump?

gbal

July 30th, 2012
10:14 am

Columbus Dawg

July 30th, 2012
10:18 am

Yeah right, Taylor, it does not take long for a moron to show up on a blog does it. I am not going to sit here and say the Dawgs are in Miami, but much improved they will be. It takes luck and opinions from idiots, (pundits), to get to the BCS game, but the Dawgs WILL have a big say in the Southeastern Conference. I read Scout.com’s copied and pasted UGA preview earlier, that read like every article written over the last six months. Oh how lucky Georgia will be to beat Mizzou, blah,blah. The Missouri folks will be so glad to see the Bulldog Nation leave their little stadium it won’t be funny. I don’t care what story or blog post you read from a writer, or a fan from another team, (mostly Bama morons), Georgia does not have a chance. Problem with this is Georgia will not be the same team as last few years. They are basing 2012 results on previous three or four years of play, and they will all be very surprised at the improvements they see in 2012. Georgia will again run the ball with authority, and yes the special teams will be greatly improved. Grantham’s D will be for real, and yes, even Aaron Murray has made great strides and has earned great praise from the likes of Peyton Manning and others this summer. This is the year of the Dawg, whether the Gamecocks, the Tiders, the Gators, or the Tigers,(any of the three UGA plays), like it or not!

Passing TD record at UGA?

July 30th, 2012
10:18 am

For awhile, UGA’s David Green surpassed Peyton Manning as the all time winning QB in our division. THAT is a worthy stat.That is something to alk about over the ages.

Johnny Rauch at TD passing records at UGA when I was in Athens back in the 60s and early 70s but to us it really meant nothing. Murray passing for TDs and setting records BUT not winning anything of merit means not much to the UGA faithful. We want to see another SEC EC AND a SEC CG victory. Fro that point on, let the chips fall where they may.

This year is the year for UGA to win big because next year, our D and most key positions will be terribly depleted.

GO Dogs.
Class of 71 & 73

Mark Bradley

July 30th, 2012
10:18 am

Thanks for the sentiments, y’all. I hate taking time off, but sometimes I need it

gbal

July 30th, 2012
10:19 am

No proven OL.

No proven RB.

3-4 DB’s out for first few games…. Mo. game 2….. and missing ccakes to jell as a unit.

Receiver group…potential…. but not really proven as a top group IMO.

Handling of AM by CMR and Bo… entitled to the spot and not competing like ever other position. I just dont have the confidence in AM in the big tight game with a new OL…

Mo. SC, AU, UT, UF…. on the schedule and winning out with the above questions???? I dont think so.

1eyedJack

July 30th, 2012
10:20 am

The only thing “hot” about Tech is the concrete and asphalt surrounding their campus.

Reebok

July 30th, 2012
10:20 am

I like G-Tech’s chance to beat Va-Tech and go to the ACC Championship. I think UGA will go undefeated in the regular season but lose in the SEC Championship to Bama or LSU. Happy Monday to all!

Mark Bradley

July 30th, 2012
10:20 am

And there’s actually a logistical reason the Heat Check went away, but I won’t trouble you with that.

reckingball

July 30th, 2012
10:21 am

Braves need to scale and gut the Marlins this week.
Hold on a minute………oh yeah, their owner Jeff Loria, has already gutted the Fish.
Nevermind. haha.

gbal

July 30th, 2012
10:21 am

Me says MB anad the media in general is really crawling out on a limb predicting championships for UGA at this point. I’d have to put the chance of winning the SECE at 40% or so.

saing dawg what a nic

July 30th, 2012
10:22 am

kinda like an oximoron.

if you can post on a blog and you a dawg you must be a saint ’cause you aint in jail!

hey dawgs thanks for all the entertainment in what has been a boring summer.

how many dawgs are going to be on the team this year? 68?

Jacket Fan

July 30th, 2012
10:23 am

If Barnes can hold down the middle (6′ 7″, 340 RS Sr. – supposed to be able to), the defense should be division-worthy, and perhaps more. There is talent, depth, and size everywhere else. This also assumes some pass rush develops.
Will Johnson utilize a 2 QB system? With talk of Days at A-back, I assume this means Lee has basically beat him out, and is likely our best passer by far. When you have to pass, you have to pass – might as well use the best passer. Get him ready for next year with J. Thomas. Biggest question here – can the WRs catch? Who knows? Greene and Waller are big targets; might as well try to use them.

GO JACKETS!

Sad Richards

July 30th, 2012
10:24 am

I expect Richt will have his ususal blunder or hiccup game to a Vandy or somebody then get blown out by a top 10 team. 9 – 3 best for UGA.

bricklayer

July 30th, 2012
10:27 am

I firmly believe I could take Duke and go .500 with the UGA schedule.

Big Crimson 75

July 30th, 2012
10:30 am

Enough of the USC in the title Game!!
Kiffen has 1 above average year in an average Conference & everyone crowns them!!
USC will lose to Oregon, ND & either Cal/Stanford this Year.
Might as well get ready for Bama-LSU III & IV.
———————————————————————-
As for the locals :
The Braves, barring another collapse, should be in the Playoffs with this current Team.
The Hawks will make the Playoff, as an 8 seed.
The Falcons should win the South & finally get some Playoff wins.
UGA will be right there with Fla, SC & UT for the East. Ga has the most over-all talent of the 4 Teams.
GT should win the ACC. Beat VT & it’s a clear path to wherever the ACC CG is.