Truth in advertising: This week’s Heat Check isn’t the most scintillating, given that the bulk of our local teams didn’t actually play. But we press on nonetheless.
FALCONS: They’re the only NFL unbeaten remaining, and here I offer the boldest prediction of my so-called career — they won’t lose next Sunday, either. Forecast: They’ve got a bye, and they could use one to refocus and recalibrate. When you’re 6-0, there’s obviously nothing grievously amiss. But the past three games weren’t nearly as emphatic as the first three.
GEORGIA STATE: The Panthers won a game! And won it big! Thank goodness for Rhode Island! Thank goodness Bill Curry won’t ride off into the sunset on an 0-11 nag of a season! Forecast: OK, back to reality. They play 5-2 Villanova in the Georgia Dome on Saturday.
GEORGIA: The Bulldogs got what they wanted even as they weren’t playing. South Carolina lost to LSU. If South Carolina loses to Florida this week, that clears the deck for the Georgia-Florida winner to take the SEC East. And Georgia, as we know, hasn’t lost to Florida since … oh, way back in 2010. Forecast: Georgia plays at Kentucky, which lost to Arkansas 49-7 in a game shortened by a merciful thunderstorm. The Bulldogs are favored by four touchdowns in an SEC road game. Holy mackerel.
GEORGIA TECH: The Jackets were also off, and they furloughed defensive coordinator Al Groh for the rest of the season, which was probably best for everyone concerned. Even though Tech is 2-4, a slew of winnable games remain. It would take some doing for this team to finish under .500. Forecast: Tech plays Boston College, which just lost to Florida State 51-7 and has beaten only Maine. Say what you will about the state of Atlanta college football, but our teams look better than New England’s.
BRAVES: Didn’t lose all week. Didn’t play, either. Now they get to sit back and watch the Cardinals, who finished six games behind them, go win another World Series. Forecast: It’s silly to try and predict the outcome of anything involving the baseball postseason, but I offer this bit of ex post facto prognostication — had the Braves beaten St. Louis in the play-in game, they’d have also beaten Washington in the Division Series. Moot point, alas.
HAWKS: They’re playing exhibition games. They’re 1-2. The victory came against Miami. The losses came against Rhode Island and Maine. Forecast: The regular season opens Nov. 2 against Houston. Tune in then.
Further reading: The Falcons are 6-0, but certain other numbers don’t add up.
By Mark Bradley