Our weekly Heat Check was set back a day due to logistics (delayed-but-thankfully-not-canceled flight from Philadelphia on Sunday night), fatigue (mine) and breaking news (Dan Radakovich). But we’re up and running again. And we begin with:
GEORGIA: The Bulldogs won the game they had to win. (Some nut predicted as much, I do believe.) They’re exactly where I expected them to be, albeit not quite in the manner I expected. The question now becomes: Can they beat Alabama/LSU? Forecast: The same nut who liked Georgia to beat Florida sees no reason why the Bulldogs can’t give the West champ a run in the Dome come Dec. 1.
FALCONS: I put a 50 percent premium on road victories. (Even a lousy team, I figure, can luck out at home.) Sunday’s performance under ominous skies in a city that has never been kind to the Falcons was the most impressive regular-season road victory I’ve witnessed by this franchise since Nov. 8, 1998. Forecast: Those Falcons won at New England 41-10; they would finish 14-2 and reach the Super Bowl. Just sayin’.
HAWKS: They’re about to start playing for real, and consensus is … non-existent. ESPN The Magazine/Basketball Prospectus picks them to finish second (!!!!) in the Eastern Conference. Matt Dollinger of SI.com ranks them 15th in the NBA and seventh among Eastern teams. Forecast: There’s a chance all these shooters will hit a bunch of shots and this team will win 50 games; there’s also a chance nobody will guard anybody and this team will finish in the lottery. I’m know I’m hedging, but I honestly don’t know what to think. At least not yet.
BRAVES: They have to decide what to do about Brian McCann’s option. Forecast: I’m thinking they’ve already decided they’ll keep him for another year. But sometimes I’m wrong. (Though not, I say again, about Georgia-Florida.)
GEORGIA STATE: Lost again. Forecast: More losing.
GEORGIA TECH: Lost at home to BYU by 24 points on a day when the Jackets got touchdowns from special teams (stop the presses!) and the defense (miracle!). Which means Paul Johnson’s offense was the worst of the three units. Which means the whole operation was officially deficient. Which means nothing good. Forecast: Dan Radakovich, who hired Johnson, chose this happy moment to take a job as Clemson’s athletic director. This is getting serious, folks.
By Mark Bradley