This could be our year, took a long time to come.

Remember getting razzed by Tennessee and Florida fans about how Georgia’s success in the early part of the Richt era wasn’t predicated so much on Georgia’s excellence so much as the decline of the rest of the SEC East?  I didn’t buy it then, but Barrett Sallee makes the case for that rationale now and it doesn’t sound as if it’s as much of a stretch in 2011.

Considering the quarterback issues at South Carolina, the offensive ineptitude that Florida showed in its spring game, and the way Georgia’s schedule shapes up, the SEC East is there for Georgia’s taking. If the Bulldogs beat South Carolina the second week of the season, they absolutely have to get to Atlanta. They don’t play Arkansas, LSU and Alabama this season – the three primary contenders in the SEC West. Plus they get Auburn and Mississippi State, the next two in line on the other side of the division, at home. Sure, the Florida game in Jacksonville is always a tough matchup for the Bulldogs, but even if they lose that game, it’s hard to find two more losses on the schedule, provided that they get past the Gamecocks. September 10 vs. South Carolina will be the biggest game in Mark Richt’s Georgia coaching career, because it will dictate how the rest of the season – and Richt’s coaching future – will pan out. Win it, and Georgia is in the drivers seat for the East title. Lose it, and Richt will be looking for new employment in 2012.

Now I think his very last statement there doesn’t necessarily have to pan out.  The schedule favors Georgia enough that things could swing back in the Dawgs’ favor if they right the ship after a South Carolina loss, although admittedly, who knows if they’ll be resilient enough to do so?

But it’s hard for me to argue with the rest of his premise.  Georgia wins that second game and the chances of returning to Atlanta look pretty good, given the flaws in the rest of the East and, again, the scheduling advantage.  Between the two, there should be plenty of margin for error.  That’s why I don’t see the point in measuring Mark Richt’s success this season so much in terms of wins and losses.  If he can get his team to regroup, make Georgia a significant factor in the division race and close the deal on getting back to Atlanta, I don’t really care if that’s accompanied with three or four losses.  Your mileage may vary, of course, but that’s more than we’ve gotten in the past three seasons.

About these ads

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

27 responses to “This could be our year, took a long time to come.

  1. gatriguy

    Excellent Zombies reference Senator. As for the SEC being down early–that 02 Alabama team that UGA beat on the road was a very good team that would have won the West if eligible, and in 03, UGA played all 5 of the other Big 6 in the conference and still made it back to ATL. Seriously, I can see UF fans giving it to us, but UT?? Especially regarding the beginning of Richt’s tenure….that’s a stretch.

    • Yeah, but I heard it all the time.

      I always like it when you guys catch my music references.

      That’s from a great album, by the way, for those unfamiliar with the group.

      • DawgVegas

        I think we must have a very similar music library….and I love Care of Cell 44 and Brief Candles, fwiw.

        I think it’s obvious to point out, butfor all the weight as we are putting on the BSU game, it doesn’t help us win the East. It’s huge for prestige and momentum, and for getting our confidence back, but that’s it. That Carolina game is equally as big, and really is probaably much bigger, for the long term for Coach Richt.

      • dudetheplayer

        Odessey and Oracle is one of the best pop albums I’ve ever heard.

    • D.N. Nation

      Concerning UT, 41-14, in Neyland.

  2. BC

    So you are ok with Richt getting to Atlanta with 3-4 losses in the East which you argued was way down this season? To me that sounds like more of the same problems from the past few seasons – with a little more luck this year. Granted, it would be impossible to fire Richt if he gets to Atlanta.

    • Yeah, I think I am, because that scenario is likely to mean wins over SC and Florida. And the team showing enough grit to get over the finish line.

      It’s not everything I want or expect out of the program, but it’s a good start.

  3. Jim

    I don’t think the win loss record matters nearly as much as how we are winning and losing.

    If we win the east richt is back.

    Beyond that the measuring stick ought to be not our record, but whether or not we look and Play like a well coached team, which we haven’t done for an entire season in a long, long time (even in 07 we looked really bad getting beat twice by far inferior teams)

    • HK

      Thats the way I see it.

      W-L benchmarks are tricky; sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, injuries happen, other teams with once in a generation players happen, uncoachable mistakes at inopportune times happen…. and it can be the difference in a game. I just want to see a team that executes and puts itself in a position to compete. Beyond that, believe it or not, there is a strong element of luck in college football.

      Thats why the 6-6 regular season this year was still somehow less painful than the previous 2 years which resulted in better records. Aside from the bowl game, which was terrible, the team played pretty well. Georgia was “in” every single game (including against the eventual national champions) well into the fourth quarter.

      By contrast, the 10-3 team in 2008 had a very respectable record but looked awful getting there. The 3 losses were each absolutely pathetic, and several of the wins were completely undeserved (Auburn, Kentucky, and South Carolina to name a few).

      I think UGA’s on the right track in that regard. I mean, after that loss to UCF, Richt pretty badly needed this great recruiting class to shut the fans up. And he did it and it worked, and thats great.

      But imagine how you’d feel about this team if they had won that bowl game.

  4. Magnum T A

    10 on the “how” vs the # of w’s & l’s.

    CMR needs to marshall 100% effort all season. Too many games have been half-assed of late.

    • DawgWalker07

      Agreed on the effort. The encouraging bit for me is that he has owned his responsibility to make sure that effort happens. I guess my thought process is if the head man sees it and says its unacceptable something should happen.

      Of course I’ve become way too pessimistic to buy into that until we see some results this fall.

  5. Mike

    Florida plays, in order;

    Alabama
    @LSU
    @Auburn
    UGA

    That is a schedule no made for an SEC East Title.

    So your point is a good one.

    • Russ

      For as much as I (we) rag on Florida for playing Agnes Scott and SW Eastern State, every so often they have a stretch like this, which is insane. Of course, they had a killer schedule in ’08 and that worked out okay for them.

      Still, anything that’s hard for Florida is fine by me.

      • Mike

        When FSU was good, Florida had one of the toughest schedules in the nation, year in and year out.

        In fact, in the years that Florida won the National Title, every year the SOS was either #1 or #2

        • JaxDawg

          Mike,
          a question re florida’s talent levels: I’m well aware that Florida had very talented teams in the 70’s and 80’s, but were the Spurrier team’s more talented or just better coached?
          JD

  6. Scott W.

    Up, down or sideways the end result is the same. After last year I would be happy with over .500.

  7. The other Doug

    I need to see a team that plays with some heart.

  8. Meh, whatever. Nobody ever accused Steve Spurrier of being lucky that he was employed at Florida while Georgia was in the midst of its decade plus period in the dark between Ray Goff and Jim Donnan and South Carolina being a perpetual blackhole during the 90s.

  9. Wonderful-Ohio-on-the-Gulf Dog

    It’s not so much important how many wins and how many losses as it is how and who we beat and to whom we lose.

    An Oh and Two start would hurt a lot. Not so much because of the losses, but because of the precedent it establishes. Players and fans will likely become disheartened.

    Losing two early on will likely result in Georgia being out of the top 25 for the rest of the season unless we totally dominate Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech.

    Excepting, maybe, Vanderbilt, every SEC game will be fraught with danger. We’ll need to play every SEC game, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Auburn included, with the intensity as though we are underdogs playing Alabama in the SEC championship game. We should go into each of those games as the favorite, but any one of them could hand us our heads.

    We’ve got to beat Florida. End of sentence.

    The bottom line, though, is attitude. We need to be Junkyard Dogs, meaner, hungrier, and tougher than everybody else on the field. If that spirit is evident every game all game long, CMR will keep his job even if we are six and six.

    I just don’t see us going six and six or losing to Florida playing like Junkyard Dogs, though.

  10. Cojones

    Be careful of low-hanging fruit that the Senator gives us with the caveat of 3-4 losses as “OK”. To me : “…, make Georgia a significant factor in the division race and close the deal on getting back to Atlanta.” are similar observations, just differing perfumes. If “significant” means beating SC and FU, how could we not go to Atlanta ( lose to UT and UK and either team running the board or posting the only loss on SC’s and UT’s schedule? Not likely)?

    My point is this “weak” East Div vs the “strong” West Div. is fallacious thinking since we go on to play Ole Miss, State and Aub.. That’s like waiting to see which bubble will burst. Pome de Rue! This entire season affords no games to take for granted in the SEC. None. The sooner we begin our mentality of “One game at the time” the better we all will be. I’ve posted before that teams change as the season progresses. Fortuitousness of schedule comes into play beginning with game one. We play a tough team as an underdog to start the season while SC plays Emory. The liability from that game is player loss for UGA while not so much for Carolina prior to the second game of our schedule. The point is that we don’t know squat until after the 4th game.

    Instead of blowing “Hope” bubbles, I would like to suggest that we follow Boise St and our players all summer and follow a “one-game-at-the-time” mentality until it is finished. Rally the fans in parallel with rallying the team. Let them know that we are aware that it won’t be easy. Follow the players with “Grunt Reports” whereas we follow their workouts and progress toward accomplishment of summer goals toward this game. Can’t some of you with access get that info for the rest of us Uncleans? Do NCAA rules prohibit such scrutiny from fans? Can’t many fans who are acquainted with players who won’t be on campus this summer group together a Grunt Report on players and relay that to the Senator? Can’t we follow the activities and goals of those on campus for the summer through the R&B in bed with the Senator? Yes, we are aware of certain writers on the radar there, but the R&B could secure unparalleled info that we could read, let the team know that we are with them every move and rally them and us for the first game. That’s all superior to conjecture about the entire season every other week.

  11. uglydawg

    It’ really amazing….the way expectations can bounce. What goes up must come down, but not right away.. A lot of us are expecting a difference in team culture. Stop playing to the level of the opponent. That’s been the bottom line of the problem for years, going back to Donnan.Ibelieve the chances are better than even that UGA and coach have been enlightened…If so….Get to ATL with less than two losses and Georgia may very well be a win away from the National Championship Game…Amazing?

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    The article is correct. If we lose to BSU and/or SCU, CMR’s level of support will drop like a rock. Fans may focus wrath on CMB, CTG, or players, but a couple early losses will only confirm what many already felt after last season – that CMR has lost his mojo. A championship-level coach would have the Dawgs in the SECC game with this team and schedule. I hope CMR can find it within himself to make it happen. If he looses, he won’t get a chance like this again.

  13. dboy

    Please play better this year