Our weekly Heat Check appears a day late but, one hopes, not quite a dollar short.
FALCONS: Lost for the first time this season against the rival that has become an abject nemesis and, in losing, saw their biggest weaknesses – can’t run the ball, can’t stop the run — exposed. And what were the two things Mike Smith, after taking this job in January 2008, said a good team had to do? Run the ball and stop the run. Barometric reading: Barely 24 hours later, the Falcons cut defensive end Ray Edwards, who had little to do with Sunday’s loss but who did little after signing as a big-ticket free agent. Students of Falcons history will note that, after the first loss of the 1998 season, Dan Reeves cut cornerback Juran Bolden for messing up a coverage in San Francisco. Those Falcons would go 14-2 and make the Super Bowl.
(Please see my video chat with Brian Clark of CineSport, included below, for more on Edwards.)
GEORGIA: Beat Auburn the way a good team should beat Auburn. Will play Alabama — presuming Alabama beats Auburn — for the SEC title. Barometric reading: A week ago, almost nobody thought Georgia would have a chance against the Tide. That tide, so to speak, is turning. Brad Edwards of ESPN now projects Georgia over Alabama, and Mr. Edwards isn’t known for flights of fancy. And there’s still a real chance the SEC champ will play for the BCS title.
GEORGIA TECH: Played in Chapel Hill. Gave up 50 points. Won by 18. That’s Georgia Tech football. Barometric reading: The Jackets could well play for the ACC championship. When was the last time Georgia and Tech won divisions in the same year? Why, never.
HAWKS: They’re 3-3. Given that they’re in major flux and that they’ve had a frightful early schedule, that’s quite good. Barometric reading: Because this team was so structurally different from its predecessors, it was hard to know if it would fall into the lottery or make the playoffs. We’ve seen enough already to know that this is a playoff-caliber team.
GEORGIA STATE: Lost Bill Curry’s final game by 44 points to finish 1-10. Barometric reading: The next coach, whoever he is, won’t exactly have a tough act to follow.
GEORGIA TECH HOOPS: Opened the new McCamish Pavilion and won big. Barometric reading: The Jackets seem to have twice as many real players as they did last season, and they’re set to get one more when Stacey Poole, a Kentucky transfer, becomes eligible next month.
GEORGIA HOOPS: Scored three first-half baskets in losing to Youngstown State, which is known mostly for its nickname (Penguins) and being the place Jim Tressel coached before he landed at Ohio State. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 27 of the Bulldogs’ 56 points, which means his teammates managed 29. Barometric pressure: A program working in its fourth year under a demonstrably skilled coach shouldn’t be losing anywhere to Youngstown State, let alone at home.
GEORGIA STATE HOOPS: Lost its opener at Duke. Big upset there, huh? Barometric reading: In his first collegiate game, freshman R.J. Hunter scored 14 points and took 10 rebounds. Ron Hunter, who coaches the Panthers, has always said his son could really play.
KENNESAW STATE HOOPS: Markeith Cummings hit with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to lift the Owls past South Carolina State last night. This marked KSU’s first victory of calendar 2012. The Owls had last won by beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 23, 2011. They’d since lost 20 in row. Barometric reading: KSU isn’t apt to go 3-28 again. Its competitive opening loss at Tennessee was a good sign, and winning three nights later on the road is an even better one.
BRAVES: Lost backup catcher David Ross to the Boston Red Sox, who can, as we know, outspend anyone save the Yankees. Barometric reading: Given that he’s the best No. 2 catcher in the game, and given that the Braves aren’t sure when the surgically repaired Brian McCann will be ready, Ross is a major loss.
By Mark Bradley