Mark Bradley

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

Sans Gurley, is all UGA hope lost? Not just yet


Todd Gurley was a difference-maker against Georgia Tech last year. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

Let's look on the bright side. If Georgia wanted to prove it's not a one-man team, here's the chance.

OK, enough cheer. When a one-man team is without its one man, it's not a good thing. When a one-man team is without its one man going into the biggest game on its remaining schedule, it's not a good thing. If Georgia loses Saturday at Missouri -- and Georgia is, or at least was, favored -- it won't be a good thing.

But if Georgia can ride Nick Chubb and Hutson Mason (or Brice Ramsey, maybe) to a one-point victory in Columbia West, things could change. Gurley is suspended indefinitely, which means what it says. Nobody knows how long this will last. It could be for the rest of the season. It could be for one game while the NCAA sorts things out.

At the moment, it's only an "alleged" violation. (Early reports indicate this investigation concerns memorabilia, the same transgression for which Johnny Manziel wound up being docked a whole half against Rice.) At the moment, the suspension is Georgia's, not the NCAA's. That's always the correct course. Nothing ticks off the NCAA like a team that has reason to believe a player might have compromised his eligibility but lets him play anyway. Ask Georgia Tech about Demaryius Thomas.

To say the season is over because Gurley can't play against Missouri is an overreaction. (Understandable, but still an overreaction.) Chubb is a good player. Georgia was supposed to have a lot of good players, though the other Bulldogs have spent the first five games in the shadow of their shining star.

I remember a night at Auburn in 1986. James Jackson, Georgia's No. 1 quarterback, didn't show, having been delayed at a funeral, and the Bulldogs weren't supposed to beat Auburn in the first place. They upset the Tigers on the field, and not just on the field: Auburn officials were so ticked at the Georgia celebration that they turned water cannon on Georgia fans to make them leave. (The famous "Between The Hoses" game.)

Granted, Todd Gurley means more to Georgia in 2014 than James Jackson did in 1986. Todd Gurley is the best collegiate player in the land. But he's one player, albeit a splendid one, and it's time for the other guys on scholarship to show they can play a little, too.


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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.