Archive for the ‘Tech/ACC’ Category

If you’re looking for the Mark Bradley blog, it has moved

As of Friday, Jan. 11, this blog upped sticks (as they say in England) for a new locale. The new Web address is http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/mark-bradley/.

The new blog has, not surprisingly, some new features. Take it for a spin. If you like it, I’ll even throw in free undercoating.

And thanks, as ever, for your continued patronage.

Continue reading If you’re looking for the Mark Bradley blog, it has moved »

Alabama will begin 2013 as No. 1, duh. Who’ll give chase?

Will these two teams go at it again this December? Maybe. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Will we see these two teams go at it again this December? Maybe. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – On the morning after securing his fourth BCS championship ring, Nick Saban was asked what he does with his BCS championship rings. Does he wear them all at once? Rotate them by month, by week, by day?

Said Saban: “I just put ‘em on the coffee table for recruits to look at.”

This drew a huge laugh — such a kidder, that Nick! — but it does underscore the problem facing the rest of college football. Success on the field begets success in recruiting, which begets even bigger success on the field, which is how one team in a cutthroat conference has come to claim consecutive BCS titles and three of the past four.

And Alabama now has bigger fish to fry. Only three programs — Notre Dame in the late ’40s, Nebraska in the ’90s and Saban’s Alabama — have taken three (legitimate) national championships in four seasons. No school has ever won three in a row, or four in …

Continue reading Alabama will begin 2013 as No. 1, duh. Who’ll give chase? »

A classic game? Nope, just classic Alabama domination

Touchdown, Alabama! And there were a bunch of those Monday night. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

Touchdown, Alabama! And there were a bunch of those Monday night. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

UPDATED WITH NICK SABAN QUOTES

Miami Gardens, Fla. – For a minute, this felt like a real event. That was the minute before kickoff, when the stadium was alive and both sides lived in hope. Then the game began, and it got …

Ugly? If you’d hoped for a competitive BCS championship game, yes. But in another way, what came after was a kind of brutal beauty. A great football team played at the peak of its power, and how often are we privileged to witness such brilliance? If this wasn’t quite UCLA beating No. 1 Houston 101-69 in the 1968 Final Four, it was pretty darn close.

Alabama led by seven points after three minutes, by 21 four seconds into the second quarter. At that moment, the Crimson Tide had outgained No. 1 Notre Dame 203 yards to 23 and had scored more points than the vaunted Irish defense had allowed in four quarters this season. It’s easy to say now that Notre Dame stands …

Continue reading A classic game? Nope, just classic Alabama domination »

Live from the BCS title game, where the Irish have landed

The view from my seat. There are more folks here now. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The view from my seat. There are several more folks in the stands now. (Panoramic photo by M. Bradley)

Miami Gardens, Fla. – Maybe it was because this correspondent spent more time counting ocean waves than hanging out on South Beach, but it was hard to get a read on the fans. I saw far more Alabama folks walking around, and it wasn’t until Sunday that I saw more than a few Notre Dame shirts. (And I’d even gone to Mass, where there were actually more folks wearing crimson. Go figure.)

That changed today. When the first media bus rolled into the parking lot at Sun Life Stadium — that’s what this place, which has known many names, is now called — at 3:40 p.m., we saw Irish fans by the boatload. If I had to guess, I’d say the crowd will be 55-45 Bama, but I’m bad at estimating crowds.

I’m sometimes bad at predicting games, too, but the responsibility to offer a pick comes with the job. I’m on video record with Noah Coslov of CineSport as taking the Tide to win 17-10, but I’ve …

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Heat Check: Will the Falcons again feel the January chill?

Here's how it was when last the Falcons were the No. 1 seed. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Here's how it was when last the Falcons were the No. 1 seed. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Fort Lauderdale – Owing to the national championship game, our weekly Heat Check emanates from warm environs. We begin, however, with professional football.

FALCONS: It has already started. The No. 1 seed hasn’t yet stuck its toe in playoff waters, and again we’re hearing that it’s out of its depth. The local franchise sits behind five other teams on the odds-to-win-the-Super-Bowl tote board, and it’s even with Seattle, which has to play in the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Technically the Falcons are a two-point favorite over the Seahawks, which is the same tepid betting line the 13-3 Birds faced when playing host to Green Bay two years ago. And they lost that one 48-21. Atmospheric reading: I’ve been saying since August that these Falcons are different. Here’s where they prove me right.

GEORGIA: Won the Capital One Bowl, lost Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree to the NFL, kept Aaron Murray. That …

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History may favor the underdog Irish, but Bama is too good

Precedent? This guy eats precedent for breakfast. (AP photo)

Precedent? This guy eats precedent for breakfast! (AP photo)

Fort Lauderdale – The history of the BCS title game isn’t exactly exhaustive, dating as it does to that long-ago time of January 1999, but even in that small sampling a commonality winds through. Since this “system” was implemented, no school has repeated as BCS champ.

On Monday night, Alabama is favored to annex a second consecutive national title (and a third in four seasons, and the 115th in Tide annals if we go by Bama’s ever-escalating count). The worst thing we can say about this Tide team is that it’s superb, but other superb defending champs have arrived at this juncture only to trip over the final hurdle.

Three times a program has sought to stack BCS titles end to end. Three times it has failed, and each failure came as a shock. Favored by 10 ½ points, Florida State was beaten 13-2 in January 2001 by Oklahoma – the Seminoles’ offense was overseen that night by a distracted Mark Richt, who …

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2013 could be big for Tech, which could stand a big year

A day in the Sun brought much happiness. (AP photo)

One day in the Sun brought much joy to the Yellow Jackets. (AP photo)

For Georgia Tech, many things happened en route to 7-7. The Yellow Jackets barely got bowl-eligible, and then they got bowl-ineligible by losing the ACC Championship game, and then the NCAA granted a waiver that allowed Tech to be invited back to the Sun Bowl, which is where it became the only team ever to beat the preseason No. 1 after losing at home to Middle Tennessee.

When you lose seven games, you can’t say you’ve had a good season. (Unless you’re Duke, which in football nobody aspires to be.) When you win seven games after starting 2-4, neither can you say the whole thing was a total loss. The Jackets took a season going wrong and wrestled it into something that seemed better than mediocrity, even though .500 is the definition of mediocrity.

The sense now is that better days are ahead, but that sensation is largely the result of beating USC in El Paso, and bowl results aren’t always indicative of …

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Clemson notches ‘a landmark win’ for itself and the ACC

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Clemson depicts the thrill of victory, LSU the agony of defeat. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Not to sound like the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, but the 45th Chick-fil-A Bowl featured the third-best matchup on this year’s cluttered postseason board. (Behind only Oregon-Kansas State in the Fiesta and Notre Dame-Alabama in the BCS title game.) You had LSU, which this time last year was preparing to play for a national championship, and Clemson, which at the dawn of 2012 was, er, readying to yield 70 points in the Orange Bowl.

And that recent history, divergent as it was, is what made the Chick-fil-A so enticing. LSU is a big-time program from The Only Conference That Matters, while Clemson remains a wild card from that basketball league. Clemson entered 10-2, same as LSU, but the orange Tigers closed their regular season by losing at home to a South Carolina team without both Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw.

This happened on the same day Florida State lost at home to Florida …

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UGA, Tech and the Falcons as division champs? I called it

In 2012, there was much cause for local football celebration. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

In 2012, there was much cause for football celebration in these environs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

For a while there, I had to ask myself, “Old son, did you really change your first name to ‘Homer’?” Because that’s what I was getting called by many of y’all. Prompting this charge was my stated belief that Georgia, Georgia Tech and the Falcons would all win divisions. But with 2013 near at hand, this Homer must confess that he considers his prognosticating work of 2012 a triumphant odyssey.

Because Georgia won its division. And so did Georgia Tech. And so did the Falcons. And who called it way back when?

The jinx of all jinxing. The archduke of addled thinking. Dumb ol’ MB.

Usually the annual Accountability Scoreboard serves a three-course dinner of Crow Soup, Crow Mignon and Humble Pie. Not this time. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are.

I predicted every Georgia regular-season game correctly. I did miss on the bigger part of my UGA prediction: The Bulldogs will not …

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Could Tech end its bowl skid against the preseason No. 1?

Give this genius a month to prepare and ... he'll probably lose. (AP photo)

Give this tactical genius a month to prepare and … he'll probably lose by two touchdowns. (AP photo)

If, on Labor Day morning, you’d have known Georgia Tech would be facing USC in a bowl, you’d have guessed that everything would have broken right for the Jackets. As it happened, Tech had a rough season, which is why it’s again headed to El Paso and not, say, Miami. But spare a thought for the Trojans, who have been the greatest flop in almost half a century.

Ranked No. 1 in preseason, USC finished its regular season 7-5. Not since Ole Miss in 1964 has a preseason No. 1 wound up unranked, and back then the Associated Press poll included only 10 teams. Today it has 25, and you still won’t still find the Trojans until you sift through the “also receiving votes” category. They’re 12th on that not-exactly-stellar list — behind the likes of Vanderbilt, San Diego State and Arkansas State.

So there’s your Sun Bowl matchup: A team that has gone from No. 1 to No. 37 in the time it …

Continue reading Could Tech end its bowl skid against the preseason No. 1? »