Heat Check: Falcons and Bulldogs and Hawks, oh my!!!

Michael Turner is pumped after scoring on Big D. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Michael Turner, who can still play a bit, is pumped after scoring against Big D. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Our weekly Heat Check begins with the hottest team around. No, not Georgia State.

FALCONS: Made it to 8-0, disappointing Al Michaels and especially Cris Collinsworth in the process. Stacked 453 yards on Rob Ryan’s star-spangled Dallas defense. Next up is New Orleans in the Superdome, site of last December’s Drew Brees rub-it-in record-breaking. Barometer reading: Some in the national keep saying none of this matters if the Falcons don’t win a playoff game. When last I checked, there are no playoff games scheduled until January. Bradley’s Rule: Can’t win in January unless you qualify for the postseason, and being 8-0 makes qualification one less thing to sweat.

GEORGIA: That wobble at South Carolina aside, the Bulldogs are almost exactly where we figured they’d be. Picked to win the SEC East, they’re in position to do just that. Ranked No. 6 nationally in preseason, they’re No. 5 in the latest BCS standings. Barometer reading: Let’s say Georgia keeps winning and manages to topple No. 1 Alabama in the Dome. Could a 13-1 SEC champ that has beaten both the No. 2 and No. 1 teams (according to the BCS) possibly be left out of the BCS title game?

GEORGIA TECH: Believe it or not, the Jackets won a game. Believe it or not, they could still win the ACC Coastal Division. Believe it or not, they might even play for the ACC title without actually winning the Coastal Division, given that Miami is apparently mulling the option of again recusing itself from postseason play. Barometer reading: From two overtime losses to a 21-point thrashing by Middle Tennessee to the dismissal of defensive coordinator Al Groh to the departure of AD Dan Radakovich to … the Orange Bowl? Seriously?

HAWKS: Lost their opener despite limiting the Rockets’ starting guards to 66 points. Won two nights later at Oklahoma City, which played for the NBA title only five months ago. Barometer reading: Not to say I told you so, but I kind of did. This is going to be one wild team to watch.

BRAVES: Re-upped Brian McCann, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm. Re-acquired Jordan Schafer. Are said to be interested in Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton, who figure to be the priciest free agents on the board. Barometer reading: It was reported by John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus that Hamilton’s asking price is $25 million a year. (That’s twice what Chipper Jones was making.) Also according to Perrotto, Hamilton wants a seven-year deal. He ain’t gettin’ it here.

GEORGIA STATE: Panthers lost their ninth game of an 11-game season and their sixth of six home games. They also named their locker room after coach Bill Curry, who’s retiring after Saturday’s game at Maine. Barometer reading: Curry’s career record is 93-127-4. Not many coaches who have a career winning percentage of .424 get anything nice named after them. Most such coaches only get called nasty names.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: It starts in earnest this week, and it will, as you may know, end here. Barometer reading: April 6, 2013 — the Final Four tips off in the Georgia Dome.

Further reading: Regarding that question about Georgia and the BCS title game … here’s the answer. (For now, anyway).

By Mark Bradley

171 comments Add your comment

BigDawg

November 5th, 2012
9:15 am

BigDawg

November 5th, 2012
9:15 am

Should UGA win out, should they go to BCS Championship game over an undefeated team from a much weaker conference or independent?

Mark Bradley

November 5th, 2012
9:16 am

That’s the question, BigDawg.

BigDawg

November 5th, 2012
9:18 am

A good question at that, great post Mark, always enjoy reading your columns!

Mark Bradley

November 5th, 2012
9:19 am

Thanks, sir.

Patched Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

November 5th, 2012
9:20 am

GT beat a team with a LB at QB now thats what I call improvement Tech

LOL

:roll:

Ostrich Racer

November 5th, 2012
9:22 am

Hamilton and Heyward in the same outfield would certainly be interesting.

Rocking Ray

November 5th, 2012
9:22 am

The answer is, YES, they should go to the BCS championship game over ND (looked very weak against Pitt) and Oregon (no defense) and Alabama (if they defeat them in SEC). Or would UGA play Alabama in the Nat. Champ. game? That would make some folks mad.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
9:23 am

” should they go to BCS Championship game over an undefeated team from a much weaker conference or independent?”

There is no way UGA would jump an undefeated Oregon, Notre Dame or K State.

Bill

November 5th, 2012
9:23 am

UGA beating Bama? Not likely. The Tide just had their struggle game. They prevailed against an inspired top 5 defense playing at night in one of the most intimidating places to play in the country.They also won despite LSU’s qb playing like we have never seen him play.

UGA would have to play a mistake free almost perfect game to beat Alabama. I just don’t see that happening. And I’m not a Crimson Tide fan.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
9:24 am

” YES, they should go to the BCS championship game over ND (looked very weak against Pitt) and Oregon (no defense) and Alabama (if they defeat them in SEC). Or would UGA play Alabama in the Nat. Champ. game? That would make some folks mad.”

There is no way in hell UGA jumps any of those teams. ALl three of those teams are undefeated and K State, Oregon and Notre Dame have all beaten top ranked teams.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
9:25 am

“Could a 13-1 SEC champ that has beaten both the No. 2 and No. 1 teams (according to the BCS) possibly be left out of the BCS title game?”

UGA hasn’t beaten a number 1 team and will not beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game. You guys are the most delusional fans in the entire SEC.

True Falcon Fan

November 5th, 2012
9:26 am

Well you are half way there, great article extremely good points to remember for the haters out there.

Great win last night, I knew DeMarcus Ware was a force to be weary of he smacked MR2 a couple times.

Go Falcons — Ain’ts in Nawlins

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
9:26 am

The Falcons are 8-0 but they struggled against crappy teams like Oakland and Dallas.

The Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl.

Patched Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

November 5th, 2012
9:26 am

a one loss UGA team will never jump an undefeated ND team

TheOnlyBravesFan

November 5th, 2012
9:27 am

(Braves) Are said to be interested in Zack Greinke

Where’d you find that? I haven’t… I really want them to sign him though. I thought Frank wouldn’t be targeting pitching

Ostrich Racer

November 5th, 2012
9:27 am

Dogs-wise, I’m thinking worst-case scenario is UGA-Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. I could live with that.

Patched Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

November 5th, 2012
9:28 am

I will have to admit that the UGA fanbase is almost as delusional as the Tech fanbase

Ostrich Racer

November 5th, 2012
9:29 am

Donnan — The Bears need to figure out how to handle the Packers before they start crowing about the Super Bowl.

Ryder

November 5th, 2012
9:30 am

Mark, I agree with your analysis regarding UGA, which is also why as fans we have to keep rooting for Florida and Alabama to win out until the SEC title game. I think that K-State not playing in a Championship Game will hurt them even more. Also, I don’t see Notre Dame beating USC in Los Angeles, so that opens the door for Georgia if they win out. No way ESPN wants UGA in the NC game unless they have no other choice.

Patched Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

November 5th, 2012
9:31 am

I would like to see UGA vs ND in the Sugar Bowl but if FL wins out and we lose against bammer this wont happen; the Sugar will pass over a 2 loss UGA for a one loss FL team

gary32

November 5th, 2012
9:33 am

Falcons are 8-0…who cares?? they have not won a playoff game under Ryan and Smith…the regular season does not matter…don’t even know why we watch regular season games…we are the worst 8-0 team in NFL history…we have not played anyone….(sarcasm off)…all you naysayers…here is the difference this year….(Nolan/Koetter)…(Mularkey/Van Gorder)…any questions???

Patched Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

November 5th, 2012
9:34 am

I dont see Oregon or K-state losing out

I surely cant see UGA having a chance at even coming close to winning against those 2 teams

ND yes but not K-state and Oregon; our Defense would be lost as usual against a team that can mix it up

DILLIGAF

November 5th, 2012
9:41 am

“The Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl.”

Hahahaha…..

It’s a little early to be drinking, don’t you think?

GATA!
UGA85′

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
9:41 am

The Braves don’t need Zack Greinke. I’ll take Hamilton though and he is not going to get 7 years from anyone so who knows.

I-DOG

November 5th, 2012
9:42 am

I certainly hope that the Dawgs beat Auburn and make it to the SECCG. I have said all along that UGA is the second most talented team in the SEC this year and that would give them a punchers chance against Bama.

However, the chances of UGA beating Bama don’t look all that good to me. Georgia is 8-1, but that record has come against teams with a combined 31-41 record and that includes the one big win against 8-1 Florida. Even compensating for the fact that UGA beat each of these teams (giving them an extra loss) the record is 31-33 when you take out the Georgia wins.

Take out the one big win and the record is 23-40 for Georgia’s opponents.

I believe Georgia is 1-10 against ranked teams over the past four years. That one win coming when UGA forced 6 turnovers. Since Alabama will be ranked if we play them in the SECCG, the odds are not in our favor. I don’t think we can count on forcing a lot of turnovers on BAMA.

That being said, Bama has some flaws. They never throw the ball over the middle so you don’t have to defend that. They don’t have a particuarly mobile QB which always gives Georgia fits and they are seem a little vulnerable to a good passing game which Georgia has.

Bama is a very solid team that seems to show up in all three phases of the game for 60 minutes. Georgia puts it together every now and then and if they put in together in the dome, then an upset is possible. As Bill King and Mark Bradley and others have written, which Georgia team will show up?

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
9:42 am

I think the Falcons are gonna start using Rodgers a lot more. He is exciting.

sidslid

November 5th, 2012
9:44 am

That could be a big miss by Pitt’s kicker. I am a neutral college football fan, but I think Georgia could and should leap over video game Oregon (West Virginia of the West). Computers still love Notre Dame. Programmers must be from Chicago. If Georgia beats Bama, they should, but won’t , leap Notre Dame. Kansas State would be a legit BCS contender if they win out.

Nola Dawg Fan

November 5th, 2012
9:45 am

So MB – what say you on the question regarding UGA jumping an undefeated team if they win out? Or do you want to punt that question to a later blog post (my money is you taking this strategy…)

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
9:46 am

Mark,

Why would Miami opt out of the ACC Champ game?

Mark Bradley

November 5th, 2012
9:47 am

Good guess, Nola.

Mark Bradley

November 5th, 2012
9:49 am

To lessen the coming NCAA sanctions

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
9:50 am

oh the link hahaha got it

Nola Dawg Fan

November 5th, 2012
9:53 am

thanks Mark – looking forward to the dissertation of the case. I am most worried about the Mr. Herbsreet’s has on the national discourse, and he has never been pro-UGA, even since he lost his last college game to the dawgs in the 92 citrus bowl

Bulldogs for Muschamp Lifetime Contract

November 5th, 2012
9:55 am

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
9:25 am
“Could a 13-1 SEC champ that has beaten both the No. 2 and No. 1 teams (according to the BCS) possibly be left out of the BCS title game?”

UGA hasn’t beaten a number 1 team and will not beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game. You guys are the most delusional fans in the entire SEC.

*********************

He didn’t say they were going to beat Bama. He said what if. We at least get to play them if we beat Auburn. You have to get there first. If you are in the game, you have a chance to win it.

I’m glad to see you are SOOOOOO smart that you can predict the future. i love how you call our fanbase delusional based on something a sportswriter wrote.

Not too bright on the uptick are you?

Mike S.

November 5th, 2012
9:57 am

I wonder what Mark Richt’s press conference would be like if he got up there after beating Bama and realized he might get passed over again for the national title. He was pretty quiet in 07 when they got voted down for not winning the conference when an Ohio St. team that literally beat nobody ranked was pushed into a blowout. Now that Bama was passed in last year under the same circumstances, I’m not sure he would have the patience to be quiet now.

Mike S.

November 5th, 2012
10:04 am

As for the Braves, I’m getting fast to the point of frustration with this ownership. The more this team competes for playoff spots, the more ownership will use them as an ATM. I have no doubt getting Schafer means we are not likely to sign Bourn in the offseason. Hamilton? haha would be great of course, but they’d actually have to spend money for him too. This ownership is not concerned with making the Braves a true championship contender again. Its a shame, because they dont have to spend like the Yankees, Phillies, or Red Sox with the talent coming out of the Braves minor leagues system. Get Bourn and Hamilton, and this team is set for far less money.

BullDogMike

November 5th, 2012
10:04 am

If UGA cannot find a way to win SEC ( that is provided they can get there ) they will be destined to be back in Outback once again. If Carolina wins out, beating a good Clemson team at the end, and Florida wins out by beating a good FSU team, you know they both jump over GA in polls if Dawgs lose to Tide . It sux but that’s how it will be..Sugar bowl will take highest ranked team in SEC that is not in NC game….I say if you can’t win at dome it’s a better chance for Sugar bowl by not going to start with.

dawgsfan1990

November 5th, 2012
10:05 am

Mark, I agree…when did Collinsworth become such a huge Cowboys fan? I like his color analysis generally but last night he was ridiculous with his blatant cheer-leading. He was so sad that they couldn’t pull it out. Glad we don’t have any more SNF games. Sure hope we don’t get a NBC playoff game.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
10:05 am

“The Bears need to figure out how to handle the Packers before they start crowing about the Super Bowl.”

Right now they are in the division lead by 2-3 games. Next time they play it will be in Chicago and I’d give the edge to Chicago.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
10:07 am

“I think Georgia could and should leap over video game Oregon ”

Oregon would destroy UGA.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
10:08 am

“Not too bright on the uptick are you?”

Considering UGA hasn’t won any significant game in decades says otherwise, ma’am. I’ll take Bama by 20 over UGA any day of the week.

Dawglasville

November 5th, 2012
10:09 am

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA – Don’t like the Dawgs, fine. Who is your team? Don’t like the Birds, well, maybe you live in the wrong city. You do know that I-20, I-85, I-75, and Hartsfield are open 24 hours, 365 days a week.

DONNAN OF A NEW ERA

November 5th, 2012
10:11 am

Dawglasville

Not liking the dawgs has nothing to do with my pics for who wins the SEC. Bama is light years ahead of almost every SEC football program. It matters not who I like. I call em like I see em.

“Don’t like the Birds, well, maybe you live in the wrong city.”

The Falcons have one of the smallest fan bases in all of the NFL.

GO BEARS!

barneyfife

November 5th, 2012
10:12 am

As a UGA grad, I have said the past 5 years that Richt isn’t that all good. I still maintain that. 8-1 with a creampuff schedule and mostly sloppy play. Record aside, they are generally unimpressive, sorry.

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
10:18 am

UGA beat FL when Murray had a terrible game (yes, he usually does in big games). What if he has a great game against ‘Bama…Just a hunch but I think we will…he’s due!

JB

November 5th, 2012
10:19 am

Realville here. The Falcons won’t beat GreenBay in the playoffs, and I don’t see the Dawgs beating Bama. Do I want them to win. Yes. If you look at the teams, it doesn’t look possible. Hope I’m wrong

DP

November 5th, 2012
10:20 am

“Could a 13-1 SEC champ that has beaten both the No. 2 and No. 1 teams (according to the BCS) possibly be left out of the BCS title game?”

Uh yes, when they lost a game 35-7 and there are still 3 major undefeated teams who are all worthy of the BCS championship game.

The same Mark Bradley who was apoplectic about Alabama getting into the BCS championship game over another 1 loss team last year, with their loss to the #1 team in the country by 3 in OT, thinks a Georgia team with one loss should be elevated, not over other one loss teams but over undefeated teams? What a pathetic homer.

Put this one in your “moderation” file Mark. You’re an embarrassment to the AJC.

based in reality dawg fan

November 5th, 2012
10:22 am

35-7 trumps 13-1…have fun in Florida New Years Day and bring me back a t-shirt…

JB

November 5th, 2012
10:22 am

I think We all would love to see the Dawgs beat Bama, but it just doesn’t match up.
BAMA:
Near perfect QB with few 3 and outs
Great special teams
Maybe best OL in the country
Defense plays lights out against everyone
Game game plans from staff and game time adjustments
Physically superior to most teams they play

And the Dawgs are Bi polar……It’s just the facts.