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Mark Bradley

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

Live from Athens: Will UGA awake and vex the Vols?

Clad in their traditional, er, gray, the Vols gather between the hedges. (M. Bradley)

Athens -- Georgia should beat Tennessee. Let's be clear about that. Still, this is one of those games that terrifies the man who's coaching the favored team.

It's at home, which means there's a comfort factor (and not necessarily in a good way). Kickoff is early, which always makes for a late-arriving crowd and often a slow-starting home side. (The Bulldogs upset No. 6 Auburn in 2006 in a game that started before noon CST; Georgia lost here to Missouri last October in a noon game.)

And the Volunteers are talented enough to have played Oklahoma, which a lot of smart folks believe to be the nation's best squad, relatively close in Norman two weeks ago. Tennessee was driving to make it 27-17 in the fourth quarter, but a tipped passed became the 100-yard interception return that made the final score -- 34-10 -- appear more emphatic that it was.

Then again, if any team should be forewarned about the Vols' upset capabilities, it's Georgia. The Bulldogs needed a last-gasp touchdown to force overtime in Knoxville last season and a Vol fumble on the goal line to escape. A year later, Tennessee under Butch Jones still hasn't beaten anyone of consequence unless you count Utah State, but the belief here is that the Big Orange isn't far from being relevant again.

It probably won't happen this year. The Vols, as noted a time or two, have an awful schedule . But the Bulldogs shouldn't sleep -- or sleep in -- on this game.

And with that, the figurative floor is again open. I'll be here until the last round of "Rocky Top" is played. I welcome your comments and your company, and I thank you, as ever, in advance.

Further reading: Tennessee's going to upset somebody -- but not UGA.

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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.