“Elite, but not elite. Successful, but underachieving.”

That’s how Bill Connelly summarizes Georgia’s history as a football program in his post today at Rock M Nation.  I think this part about Mark Richt is pretty fair:

Richt’s tenure is an interesting case study in luck. If his 2002 squad had gone 13-1 in a different season (perhaps 2001 or 2003), they very well may have earned a shot at the national title, perhaps even winning it. Instead, Richt timed his best season in a year that produced two undefeated BCS-conference teams (Miami and Ohio State). Years later, one of the critiques of Richt’s tenure is that he hasn’t won a title, hasn’t won “the big one.” As I’ve said many times, when it comes to true, elite levels of success, you have to simply hope to put a great product on the field as many times as possible and hope that the breaks eventually go your way. Georgia has taken a relative step backwards in recent years — they finished in the Top 10 in five of six seasons from 2002-07 but haven’t since — but are expected to challenge for elite status again in 2012.

One thing, though.  The jury is still out on some of this:

Suspensions will prevent Georgia’s defense from being full-strength versus Mizzou — corner Sanders Commings is gone for two games, safety Bacarri Rambo for four, linebacker Alec Ogletree for two, and corner Branden Smith might be suspended, too — but this is a stout team regardless.

Anyway, lots of good stuff packed in there.  Make sure you take a look.


Filed under Georgia Football

47 responses to ““Elite, but not elite. Successful, but underachieving.”

  1. X-Dawg

    Have the suspensions been formally addressed or is this just speculation on his part?

  2. X-Dawg

    Had me worried for a bit. Thanks!

  3. Bulldawg165

    I don’t think the suspensions WILL be announced, either. Didn’t Greg McGarity say awhile back that they weren’t going to release that information anymore because it makes us look bad compared to the schools who don’t release the info?

    Connelly is dead on about things taking a bit of luck. Ask a Florida or LSU fan how many undefeated seasons they have in the past twenty years and you’ll get the same answer as us.

  4. HobnailedBoots

    I’m beginning to wonder if the proliferation of misinformation in regards to the indefinite nature of our “suspensions” is taking a toll on pre-season expectations for our team. So much that I wonder if our pre-season ranking will be affected by the oft-referenced (yet never confirmed) rumor, that keeps getting passed around as fact, that Rambo and Ogletree will be suspended against Mizzou and Rambo out four games.

    • DawgPhan

      Who cares what happens to the preseason rankings. If we win ballgames we will be ranked appropriately. We are not going to be a top 5 team without some solid wins in both Columbias.

      • HobnailedBoots

        Well, I care, considering that Alabama’s lofty pre-season ranking last year is what kept them at the top of the rankings even after their loss to LSU, allowing them to be right back in it a few weeks later. If you start out top five and lose a game early, you may only drop to the bottom half of the top 10 or at least stay in the top 15. If you start outside of the top 10 and lose early, you could drop out of the top 15 and that’s a harder hill to climb when nobody is paying attention to you anymore.

      • charlottedawg

        Our preseason rank does not matter at all. If we take care of business and beat and LSU or Bama in the dome, we will be playing for a NC, preseason rank be damned. If we can avoid beat ourselves it’s going to be a 12 win season minimum.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          HB has a legitimate point. In 2004 Auburn went undefeated but got locked out of the BCSNCG because they started out ranked too low. Face it. There is a bias right now against the SEC winning another BCSNC (not to mention the bias against UGA specifically at ESPN) and if we win all out games but start out too low or worse, lose a game, teams from the PAC 12 (USC and Oregon) and from the Big 10 (Michigan and Wisconsin) will get the favored treatment and WE will get locked out this time. Anybody who doesn’t think that this is a reality based fear needs to remember 2007 and what happened then.

          • sniffer

            What specifically can you point to showing a bias at ESPN towards UGa? I would love to hear it.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Where the hell have you been? In 2007 after the final season was over but before the SECCG was played UGA was ranked 2nd in the BCS standings. The ESPN nattering nabobs led by Lou Holtz and Jesse Palmer but followed by then ESPN talking head Charles Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and others went on a badmouthing rampage against the Dawgs the like of which has never been seen before or since in a blatant effort to get voters to change their minds and not allow UGA to play in the BCSNCG. Most of those guys had connections to UGA hated rivals. Palmer played QB (well, sort of) for Florida. Holtz was, of course, HC at USCe (and got dusted by UGA regularly) and Davis had been a DB for UT (I may be wrong but I think Davis was on the UT team where Herschel ran over Bates). Their big argument: “Georgia didn’t win its own conference championship.” This was in spite of the fact that twice before teams that hadn’t won their conference titles had played in the BCSNCG (Oklahoma and Nebraska). The worst was Herbstreit, though. In 2006 he had argued that Ohio State and Michigan should play again in the BCSNCG in spite of the fact that OSU had beaten the Wolverines a scant 2 weeks before and, obviously, Michigan was not the Big 10 Champ because OSU was. Holtz was absolutely unable to contain himself every time UGA came up, tearing the Georgia team down. LSU played in and won the SECCG that weekend and when the next (and final before the bowl pairings were made) BCS standings came out LSU had replaced UGA at # 2 and the Tigers got to play in and win the BCSNCG instead of UGA. There are others, too at ESPN who routinely talk dismissively about the Dawgs. It’s like an orchestrated thing, too much of it to be just by accident. I’m hoping the addition of David Pollack to the ESPN announcer crew will put an end to that crap.

              • DawgPhan

                tldr. but hey great point about Auburn 2004. I bet everyone had forgotten about that…

                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  Thanks for the Auburn props. However, in the future when you don’t/can’t read something because of your short attention span problem, it is not necessary to announce that you didn’t read it. Just don’t read it. Just sayin.’

              • sniffer

                Mayor, you answered my question. I asked the wrong one. Should have asked, ” what specifically can you point to as proof that espn influences the polls”. By your own admission, Herbstreit was unsuccessful in his “attempt” at getting a tOSU-Mich. rematch. I agree with you concerning a bias regarding the SEC and to an extent, UGa at ESPN. If the WWL were truly that influential, LSU-UA rematch would not have happened.

                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  It was closer than you remember. Okie State came so close to being #2 in the final pre-bowl BCS ranking that if 1 more guy had voted Okie State ahead of Bama in the coaches poll Okie State would have finished ahead of Bama. In fact, Saban got a lot of heat as he voted Okie State further down the ballot and if he had put them higher that would have been enough for them to pass Bama as I recall.

          • charlottedawg

            Auburn started out ranked 17 in the AP, I don’t think we’ll start lower than 10. Auburn also never got a shot at anyone that finished in the top 5, we will IF we win the SEC. I’m not saying preseason rankings don’t matter, I’m just saying I’ll worry when the time comes and we have less to worry about than that Auburn team.

        • HobnailedBoots

          Let me pose a hypothetical question to you – what if Georgia goes 11-1, losing to South Carolina, and LSU goes 12-0, Alabama 11-1, their one loss to #1 LSU, as they did last year. Georgia beats LSU in the dome to win the SEC championship, but because the Dawgs were only ranked #12 going into that game (their loss to UF, coupled with the perception that they had a soft schedule and a low pre-season ranking is the culprit for this), the SECCG win only propels them to #5 the following week, while Alabama, the beneficiary of LSU’s loss, moves up to #1.

          What happens then? And you can’t say it’s not realistic because we’ve seen it happen before.

          • Dawgfan Will


          • charlottedawg

            Not saying it can’t happen but I’ll start complaining when we’re a 12-1 or 13-0 SEC champ being left out in the cold. In the meantime, I’m more concerned with getting there, especially given our penchant for shooting ourselves in the foot. I’m also of the school of thought that us going 13-0, which is completely in our control, not a pollster’s, will send us to Miami. drop a game and yes then you let other’s decide your fate. But there are a lot worse potential outcomes to the 2012 season than lobbying for our SEC champ team to get a shot at a Natty.

          • DawgPhan

            If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we would all have a merry christmas. Is this how you spend your free time? thinking of obscure scenario where the national media is out to get UGA? Do you use the regular foil, or the heavy duty to make your hats?

  5. Dog in Fla

    Bill Connelly brings an excellent intelligence gathering operation to the SEC. The geospatial shot of the Sanford arena is a nice touch as he looks ahead to 2013. And no one ever gets tired of seeing Bill Bates trying to walk point against Herschel.

  6. Bevo

    That is a fair recap of Richt’s tenure. I think you can divide Richt’s tenure so far into two general periods: the elite one (2001-2005) and the mediocre (2006-2010) one.

    By no means were we elite last year, but we saw flickers of elite. I hope that we’re on the verge of an upward trend and a third chapter (2011-?) with an elite second wind.

    • AusDawg85

      I’d prefer to label them the “elite” years and the “I blame Bobo” years.

      Just saying…

      • Castleberry

        Well played

      • Bevo

        I respectfully disagree.

        The mediocre period includes two eras of blame: It was “I blame Willie” before it was “I blame Bobo”.

        You don’t remember the couple of seasons before WM was fired? Man, it was nonstop.

        I blame Willie was in full effect for a 2-3 seasons, and then the blame shifted to Bobo.

    • Dawgaholic

      Interesting that our highest end of year ranking occurred in a “non-elite” year. The reality is we’ve won at least ten in years where the QB had significant meaningful game experience before the season started and we’ve struggled with inexperienced QBs.

      • Bevo

        Hence the wording “general periods.” Labels like that usually apply to a tendency or an average during any such period — not to every single moment or point in the series of events during that time. Don’t you think there were a few tough moments during any given Golden Age?

        Sorry if that was confusing.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      That’s not really a fair assessment. In 2007 UGA finished the season #2 in the nation. That was a funny year where everybody beat everybody else and LSU won the BCSNC with 2 losses just like UGA had 2 losses. @008 was a 10-3 season, too although everybody was disappointed because expectations were so high coming off the ’07 season. Both of those teams were great offensive teams and the defense had not yet gotten totally “Willified” yet, as happened in ’09.

      • Dawgaholic

        We’ve won ten when we’ve had experienced QBs. When we’ve also had a decent defense, we’ve made it to Atlanta. (Considering its effort the few times we actually needed a stop, the 07 defense was pretty suspect.)

  7. Rebar

    Seems like a fair assessment of the Dawgs, hope we write a new chapter this year.

  8. Macallanlover

    Pre-season ranking are crap, only serve to sell magazines and stir up fans about something that doesn’t really matter unless they have insecurity issues. Al Davis had it right, just win baby. So long as we win we can be denied the highest title that can be earned in CFB. I will take 12-0, 11-1, or 10-2, just get to Atlanta……where the elite meet!

  9. Skeptic Dawg

    Mayor…You and I have danced this dance before. Needless to say we have differing opinions of the 2007 season. However, I believe that LSU simply out sold /out marketed the Dawgs. ESPN and their talking heads did not screw the Dawgs out of anything. If you recall, LSU and Miles began screaming to any and everyone that they were “undefeated in regulation”. What did UGA have to sell? A crappy loss to USC? Or a loss to a crappy UT team? If they had won either of those games there would have been not question who belonged in the national title game. Just win ’em all and there is nothing to worry about.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Rewriting history to suit your personal agenda SD? Plenty of people remember what really happened. It was only 5 years ago. Your BS only can go so far. And since when is a team supposed to “sell” itself to pollsters? UGA was #2 at the end of the regular season, played no games (and consequently lost none) but got jumped by LSU after a full court press by the ESPN announcers. I saw it and so did a lot of other people who post on this blog. Plenty of others have said exactly what I said above in posts in the past.

      • Joe in Alpharetta

        2007 LSU regular season > 2007 UGA regular season. If Vandy or Kentucky, or (I think) South Carolina makes a field goal we get to play them in SECCG and I feel we beat them, but that didn’t happen. The SEC champion was deserving of that spot vs. Ohio State.

      • That’s not exactly right, Mayor. UGA was fourth in the BCS standings before WVU lost and fell one spot to fifth afterwards. You are correct that LSU jumped the Dawgs, though. But LSU won the SECCG and had a better record than Georgia at that point.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          OK, let’s get this exactly right. Mizzou was 1, West VA was 2, Ohio State was 3 and UGA was 4. LSU was 7. Mizzou and West VA both lost in the final week of the regular season. The following week Ohio State moved up to 1 and UGA went from 4 to….5! LSU went from 7 to….2! What happened? An orchestrated full court press by the ESPN announcers to manipulate the BCS standings the like of which has never been seen before or since. You say, Senator, that LSU had a better record? They had 1 more win because they had played 1 more game is all. The number of losses was the same for both UGA and LSU with each having 2 losses.

          • I find it hard to be bitter about not getting into the title game after getting pantsed in Knoxville by the worst division winner in SEC history like Georgia did that year. Whatever you think of LSU’s two losses, they weren’t embarassed in either game and lost both in OT. I honestly have no problem with the way ’07 played out even though I do think Georgia would have steamrolled anybody at that end of the season.

            I’d put ’07 up there as both my favorite season ever as a college football fan, but also the year that you could make a solid argument that nobody deserved to be the national champion.

    • Governor Milledge

      That 16-12 loss to SC under the lights in 2007 still chaps me to do this day

      • Joe in Alpharetta

        It took a lot of effort for me to clean the wall of my living room after I threw an almost full cup of bourbon and coke against it as the game concluded.

      • Macallanlover

        Hurts us all, Gov. I don’t regard that a “crappy” loss, as it was called above. It was eerily similar, as I recall, to the win we had against SC at home in 2005…..the difference I think was a missed 3rd down conversion that we had two years earlier. So many of our games against SC have been close and come down to who made “the” play. Most of the time it has been the Dawgs so we dominate the series but if you don’t enjoy that type game you don’t like SEC style football. Hard to claim the SEC is the best and not appreciate that you can lose to teams you feel you should beat.

        I believe it was the difference between 2007 and 2005 was having Shock at QB. The unexplainable loss that season was to the TN game. Still it kept three weird, miracle endings in TN’s games against SC, Vandy, and Kentucky to keep us from drilling a battered LSU team in the SECCG. We had to the team to win the SEC in 2007, getting screwed by voters playing politics is something you just have to expect with. No question, ESPN’s pitiful campaign to influence voters to a position 180 degrees from the one they spouted a year earlier was very annoying, but we controlled our chance to claim the SEC title and fell just short. After watching those 3 TN games intently, you had to feel fate was just against the Dawgs that season.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Fate and Holtz, Palmer, Davis and Herbstreit.

        • Cojones

          Don’t forget that the Senator “never” thinks any team ranked above us is undeserving. He “never” sees anyone above us that he thinks we can beat , no matter the poll or those doing the ranking.

  10. OKDawg

    After Connelly’s refresher on our Dawg history, I was struck by the success of Richt in context. It can be easy to demand more from our team in this era of media blitzkrieg and blog bloviation (not to mention the recent success of our conference brethren). I was humbly reminded of my gratitude for Richt, particularly post-Dooley.