Mark Bradley

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

ESPN's power index has UGA No. 12, Tech No. 47


Todd Gurley scores the winner in double OT versus Tech. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Yesterday we examined Football Outsiders' early evaluation of the 2014 Atlanta Falcons . Today we check a different set of numbers -- ESPN's preseason football power index .

As you might know, the Worldwide Leader has been counting down its imagined 16-team college football playoff , and some among you will have noted that Georgia made the field. But not for long. The Bulldogs were eliminated at the first cut. The "playoff" is now down to its final four: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Oregon. Not coincidentally, those teams top ESPN's power index.

Georgia starts the season -- or at least the preseason -- at No. 12, just behind South Carolina, Texas A&M and Baylor but just ahead of Southern Cal, LSU and Clemson. The Bulldogs are the fifth highest-rated team in the SEC. But the rankings don't stop there. Nosiree.

ESPN's index places Georgia Tech 47th nationally, or eighth in the ACC behind FSU, Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Duke. (But ahead of Louisville, which is No. 50.)

Oh, and if you're wondering about Georgia State: The Panthers are ranked 127th, or next-to-last in FBS behind New Mexico State. Georgia Southern, making its jump up from FCS, is rated 125th.

Here let me say that, as much as I enjoy reading almost any form of advanced analytics, I wonder about the validity of such numbers regarding college sports, which by definition see greater turnover year over year than the pros do. (There's also a smaller body of work for the holdover players.) I'm pretty sure I wouldn't put Texas A&M, which just lost three Round 1 NFL draftees, ahead of Georgia. But I'm neither especially analytic or advanced.

Which brings us to this: Memorial Day is almost here, which means the annual long-range college football predictions will be forthcoming this weekend. Last year I picked Georgia to go 11-1 and overshot badly; I picked Tech to go 8-4 and missed by a game. I will endeavor to do better this time.

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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.