Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ESPN's Haney isn't all that high on Richt and UGA

The thrill of victory; the agony of the squib kick. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Last season left me wondering about Georgia, and more specifically about Mark Richt, in a way I hadn't wondered since September 2011. The no-show in Jacksonville was inexcusable. The squib kick against Georgia Tech was inexplicable. On the one hand, the Bulldogs won 10 games with Todd Gurley missing half the season; on the other, they were the best team in the SEC East and didn't win it.

I've mentioned my growing reservations about Richt as a tactician a time or two, and I'm fairly certain I will again. But today I'll yield the floor to Travis Haney, who writes for ESPN Insider and is among the most plugged-in writers covering college football. In his latest post, Haney identifies teams he considers good and bad bets to win the national title. His bad bets include Alabama, Clemson, Oregon, TCU -- and Georgia.

Haney on the Bulldogs:

On the surface, 25-1 (quoting the Vegas odds) is pretty strong for a team that figures to be a favorite in a weak division -- and perhaps even a heavy division favorite. But encounters with grumpy Georgia fans suggest to me there is no discernible reason to believe Mark Richt will ever break through to the CFP pantheon. If SEC supremacy hasn't happened by now -- and especially if it didn't happen when the Bulldogs needed a mere five yards in 2012 -- it ain't happening at all.

To be fair, Richt and Georgia did achieve conference supremacy -- in 2002 and 2005. Nine seasons have passed without an SEC championship, which isn't half as long as the gap from 1982 (Vince Dooley's last league title) to 2002 (Georgia's next and Richt's first). But Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU have taken the SEC at least twice each since the Bulldogs last won, and all four won BCS titles, for which Georgia never played.

But you know all this already. What you didn't know until now is that our annual long-range college football predictions will be unveiled this weekend, and -- spoiler alert -- The Guy Who Always Picks Georgia To Win The National Championship (or so the slightly inaccurate label has it) will not be picking Georgia to win the national championship.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.