Baby, even the losers…

Since we’ve had a little underachievers chatter on one of the comment threads this morning, you might find this Phil Steele blog post timely.

Only five teams were favored in every one of their games this year: Oregon (15), Alabama (14), Marshall (14), Georgia (13) and Oklahoma (13).  [Emphasis added.]

Let’s give thanks to Big Game Bob.

The biggest underachievers were (lost more games than they were favored to win) were: Oklahoma (favored to win 13 games, won 8) Pittsburgh (favored to win 10 games, won 6) and Akron (favored to win 9 games, won 5)

89 Comments

Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

89 responses to “Baby, even the losers…

  1. I think the “underachiever” mentality is due to failure of the “eye test” in 3 games. Highly documented here, I know. We remember well the implosion against Florida, the handfull of dud plays against SC and the shit taste of the Tech game. I prefer the memories of the Mizzou beat down, the revenge against Auburn, the battle with Clemson, taking Vandy to the woodshed and so on. Arky? Tenn? LOUISVILLE? We won those, right? We passed the eye test 10 times out of 13. Good by me…

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    • Chillout

      I agree, not only was our .800 record vs top 25 teams terrific, so we had some impressive wins, but look at the losses, 2 of the 3 losses were less than a td, one in OT, and the other by a field goal. The GT loss we had 2 fumbles on the 1 yardline and they clubbed a 53 yard field goal as time expired, and in the SC game, we missed 2 field goals. Very close to 11-1, 2 or 3 plays away. We overlooked UF and got clubbed.

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      • Macallanlover

        Good post. Those who follow the Dawgs know that while we could have been perfect by changing a handful of plays, this was a damned good performance given all we faced going into the season, and a couple of things we did not expect. You have to look at the whole picture and be objective, too many feel if their wildest dreams don’t come true life has screwed them. UGA did well, can do better next year, and it would help if some would get behind the team and staff (and that includes both fans and administrators). Things do look promising.

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        • Chillout

          I’m not sure who is to blame, but the @400 yards rush allowed vs GT & UF has to be fixed. I don’t know if it was a) scheme–afraid of getting beat on a long pass play by UF(?) to stack 8 in the box b) weight loss in off season made dline easier to push around c) Joe T’s S & C program for dlineman d) lack of talent on the dline e) poor technique (doubt it with Rocker) f) poor ILB technique (possible–don’t know if ILB Coach is considered a great one or not but got pushed around for 800+ rush yards allowed in those 2 games, and SC torched his ILB’s through the air with speedy mismatches)

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          • Macallanlover

            I agree, the run defense against power rushing teams has to be fixed if we are to win the SEC next year. I am cautiously optimistic that the secondary and perimeter defense/rush ends will be pretty solid but we will get tested up the middle. That is a combination of ILBs and the middle two DL positions. It wasn’t there this year and FU, SC, and Tech exploited it. Add Bama and Ga Southern next year and we have to improve up the gut. The only reason Arky in’t hurt us more was we got them so far own in the first half they had to go to the air early.

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          • .Dash

            You’re never gonna fix getting run over by Tech, since it’s literally their entire offense. Even when we beat the shit out of them they run for a gazillion yards. But yes, it would be nice to not seem so incompetent.

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    • Chi-town Dawg

      While disappointed with the losses, I try to balance it with the fact that we re-tooled our entire defensive staff/scheme, played with a bunch of expected key suspensions/transfers, started a lot of true FR in the secondary and lost our star player for much of the season. The frustrating thing for me wasn’t the let down losses, but the fact that when they showed up ready to play, this team could dominate opponents like I haven’t seen UGA team do in several years. When UGA was on its game, I believe they could beat anyone in the country not once, but several times. However, there just wasn’t the consistency needed to do it on a regular basis and win those games when they weren’t ready to play like the better teams do. It was tough seeing the final result once the season unfolded, but going into the season if you’d told me 10-3 and top 10 with all of the challenges, I’d take it and be happy despite losing to 3 of our biggest rivals. The dominating wins over Auburn and Louisville helped take away some of the pain.

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  2. Spike

    Misery, indeed, love company.:)

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  3. Bulldawg165

    Instead of arguing about whether or not we underachieve on a consistent basis, can someone tell me a season in the past 10 years where they felt like we OVERachieved for the season as a whole? Not just one specific game here or there, but a season where we finished way ahead of where we should have.

    2007 when we got curb stomped by Tennessee and lost to a 6-6 South Carolina team and couldn’t even win the east?

    2012 where we got curb stomped by South Carolina but backdoored our way into the SEC championship game and finished #5 overall? (Keep in mind that we played Bama close and they eventually curb stomped Notre Dame because Ohio State was on probation)

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    • So, did Missouri backdoor their way into the SEC CG this year after they got curb stomped at home by UGA? The 2012 team exceeded my expectations to finish 11-1, win the East, lost a game with Alabama in epic fashion, and finished in the top 5. The 2012 team won the East fair and square by having a better record than any other team.

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      • Bulldawg165

        So you concede that the state of this program is such that “coming close to winning the SEC” constitutes overachieving? Gee whiz.

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        • Your comment indicates you may be in the “championship or bust” crowd. Do you even think we met expectations in 2012? We didn’t know before the season that Gurley and Marshall were going to run roughshod over people as they did.

          Overachieving/underachieving has to be looked at without hindsight. What did you think the team would do before the season and what did they accomplish?

          I thought the team would be about 10-2 and, with a little luck, end up in Atlanta. They went 11-1, played in a virtual national championship game in Atlanta against Alabama, and finished as one of the best 5 teams in the country. That’s pretty damn good in my book.

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          • Bulldawg165

            “Your comment indicates you may be in the “championship or bust” crowd”

            Ummm, no. Nothing in my comment indicated that. You just can’t handle the fact that people may think our program underachieves for incredibly valid reasons and thus you get butthurt and call them names so you won’t have to accept reality.

            We don’t have to win the SEC every year. Heck, if we won the SEC every five years I’d think we were doing great. I do, however, think it’s pitiful that “almost winning the SEC” is the most overachieving season we’ve had in a long, long time and that people are actually proud of that. I mean, this is the worst the SEC has been in 5-6 years and we couldn’t even manage to win the weaker division. Think about that.

            Tennessee and Florida have been horrendously bad the past 5 years (with the exception of 2012 Florida), and they will probably never be that bad again, at least not at the same time. What do we have to show for it? Two SEC east titles. Two. Not three or four. Two. How do you think things will be once they turn things around? I mean heck, we’ve barely beat Tennessee the last 4 years when they’ve been a dumpster fire.

            I see the same old same old over the next few years. Win a few really fun games, lose a few head scratchers, and hope for a bit of luck to make it to Atlanta. I’m amazed anyone can look at our program and expect anything different, even though our division isn’t even that hard(!). But go ahead, lump me in with the “championship or bust” crowd because that way you can pretend that what I say isn’t true.

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            • D.N. Nation

              “I mean heck, we’ve barely beat Tennessee the last 4 years when they’ve been a dumpster fire.”

              Yeah, sure, we’ve beaten them every game the last half-decade, but sometimes closely!

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              • Bulldawg165

                We don’t beat them in 2013 without that fumble in overtime, and we might not have even beat them this year if Worley didn’t miss the entire 3rd quarter.

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                • Nice of you to gloss over all the Georgia players MIA in the 2013 game. Only Richt gets lucky with injuries, I guess.

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                • Bulldawg165

                  Fair enough. Not sure how that slipped my mind considering that seemingly half of our injuries from the season happened in that single game.

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                • Mayor

                  Because UT plays dirty and tries to hurt opposing players. I wish Richt would do something about that.

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                • D.N. Nation

                  Worley missed the third quarter because Georiga’s pass rush demolished him.

                  Half the Georgia players tore ACLs in Neyland Stadium because their turf is garbage.

                  Slight difference.

                  Also, there’s no way to say for sure whether or not UT would’ve won if they didn’t fumble. Georgia got the ball second in OT.

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                • D.N. Nation

                  Also: “Defensive stomping.”

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                • Bulldawg165

                  Yeah, I said above that I forgot about the ridiculous amount of injuries we suffered that game.

                  As far as OT goes, they had been driving the ball at will the whole latter part of the game. We’d have had to match them TD for TD most likely and I don’t know if we could’ve done that with our depleted offense.

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              • Bulldawg165

                But I guess if that’s the only thing you can strongly disagree with in my post then that says a lot

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                • .Dash

                  It’s just the most obvious thing that basically discredits the rest of your ridiculous troll post.

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                • Bulldawg165

                  lol, ok dude. Do you usually log on at almost midnight so you can get the last word in an internet argument 😉

                  Sorry if you legitimately think we’ll win the SEC anytime soon. We won’t. We haven’t in nearly a decade. Does stating that fact make me a troll? I guess if it causes you enough butthurt it does

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            • Alkaline

              I got as far as “Ummm, no” and realized your reply wouldn’t be worth reading. Your previous comment most certainly did imply you would only be happy with championship seasons.

              Either you are a poor communicator or a troll. In either case, I hope that you care enough about yourself to get that fixed.

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            • Dawgfan Will

              And it just so happens that at the same time that TN and FL suck, SC has the most talented and best coached team they’ve ever had and Missouri turns out to be the better of the two teams added to the conference. You act as though we were the thoroughbred amidst a bunch of nags the last few seasons, and that’s just not so. Hell, Franklin even made Vandy respectable before he left. Should we have been more successful? Maybe. But our defense suuuucked most of the last few years and that has hopefully been fixed now.

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          • Bulldawg165

            “Overachieving/underachieving has to be looked at without hindsight.”

            Lol, what?

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            • You have to compare what you thought before the season to how the season turned out. Did the team meet your preseason expectations or not? If you thought before the season the team would go 15-0 and win the national championship, you would say the team underachieved badly. If you thought the team would replicate last year’s 8-5, you would have to say the team overachieved. You can’t look back and make a statement about under or overachieving without having a benchmark in mind.

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              • Bulldawg165

                I know what you mean, I just don’t think it’s a fair point. At the beginning of the season we didn’t know the SEC was going to be as weak as it was and we didn’t know how good Chubb was going to be.

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                • BrightOwl

                  We also didn’t know we’d only have Gurley for 6 games and that we’d still win 5 of the 7 games we played without him. There were a lot of things we didn’t know.

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            • A10Penny

              Yeah, you should look at it with foresight AND hindsight.

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    • D.N. Nation

      Georgia backdoored its way into winning the East by beating the #2 team in the nation.

      Also, that Ohio State team wasn’t that good. Undefeated, yes, but in the “2014 Florida State” sense. And their schedule was eeeeeeasy.

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      • Bulldawg165

        So do you feel like we overachieved either of those years?

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        • D.N. Nation

          On the whole, I think both teams finished where they should’ve, with the note that 2012 overachieved in the Dome.

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          • Bulldawg165

            Yeah, it’s easy to overachieve for a game or two here and there, (especially when you get lucky with a fluke blocked field goal returned for TD type play that causes a ten point swing). That’s why I asked about an entire season. Since you acknowledge we didn’t overachieve in 2012, I’m assuming your answer to my original question is “No, we haven’t overachieved during the past ten years,” correct?

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            • D.N. Nation

              2011 overachieved, IMO.

              This is a silly argument, IMO.

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              • D.N. Nation

                Calling an exceptional athletic play to block Bama’s FG is silly, IMO.

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              • Bulldawg165

                Then why comment in the thread at all? It’s no more silly or subjective than underachieving.

                2011 was quite the surprise, I’ll admit, especially after starting out 0-2. I’d feel a lot better about the season had we won the bowl game and/or our receivers not forgotten how to catch during the first half against LSU in the SECCG. We probably still wouldn’t have won that game, but we’d have done a lot better than 42-10.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Either you win the East or not….the Dome only has front doors….

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  4. Bright Idea

    Georgia will never be perceived as an OVERachiever. Already picked as a Top 10 for 2015 even with a new QB, only 1 proven receiver who struggles to play a whole season, huge questions at ILB, DLine and corner. Only thing that should put Georgia in a preseason Top 10 is the schedule. Unrealistic expectations will never allow Georgia to overachieve.

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    • Macallanlover

      You think our schedule next year looks favorable when compared to other Top 10 teams? Not saying it is the toughest, although I haven’t really looked through them all, but I think TN, AU, and Tech away, plus Bama, and Mizzou at home, then add Florida at Jax deserves some respect.

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      • Bright Idea

        They all indeed deserve respect but the first 2 games give us a chance to break in the new QB plus we are already ranked higher than all of them except Bama who we play at home. We could even be favored over Bama by game time. That’s why we will never be perceived as an overachiever.

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        • Macallanlover

          I think you already know how much I value a bunch of drunk sportswriters’ ability to rate teams. each of those games I mentioned are risky games and will be hard fought. Not many Top 10 teams will face a gauntlet like that.

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  5. Chillout

    I’d say we OVERachieved.

    We faced 5 teams that finished in the top 25, and beat 4 of them. Yes, lost 1 to the Techies, but beat 2 time SEC East Champ Missouri, Clemson, Auburn, and Louisville.

    Not many teams won 80% vs teams who finished in the top 25.

    Georgia won 80% vs top 25.
    GT won 75% vs top 25.
    Oregon won 71% vs top 25.
    Ole Miss won 67% vs top 25.
    TCU won 67% vs top 25.
    Baylor won 67% vs top 25.
    Bama won 60% vs top 25.
    LSU won 40% vs top 25.
    Auburn won 33% vs top 25.
    Miss St won 25% vs top 25.

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    • A10Penny

      We were better than every team we played, and we lost 3 games. You quote a nice statistic, but you need to look at the whole picture. Florida and South Carolina were clearly worse than UGA. GT was impressive at the end of the year, but clearly not the team UGA was all year.

      The only teams you could argue was better was Clemson (and I think you’d lose that argument easily). And we scored on three straight offensive plays in the 4Q (if I’m not mistaken, they were the SAME play…Gurley just cut back on the first one),

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      • Chillout

        Your point is we should gauge our season from how we did vs non top 25 teams, but record vs top 25 teams is a better gauge of achievement.

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        • A10Penny

          How can you read my post and deduce that is my point??

          My point is if you lose three games you should win, you under-achieve. We were favored in ALL those games, AND better than all those teams…it doesn’t matter if they’re top 25 or not.

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          • Chillout

            “it doesn’t matter if they’re top 25 or not.”

            Most see a win/loss over top 25 ranked team as bigger than a win/loss to non top 25 ranked team, you’re in the minority there.

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            • A10Penny

              I agree it is more impressive to beat a top 25 team than a non-top 25 team. That’s not where we disagree.

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            • Bulldawg165

              Wait, so are you also saying that a loss to a top 25 team is bigger (i.e. “worse”) than a loss to a non top 25 team? I don’t think he’s in the minority when he disagrees with that.

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            • Cosmic Dawg

              I think beating a top 25 team you’re “supposed” to beat and losing to a non-top 25 team you’re “supposed” to beat is not a great outcome, especially when it happens several times in a season.

              We can talk about expectations, etc, but we’re not faulting a sub-par or untalented team for its mistakes. This team showed flashes of greatness against Auburn, Arkansas, Clemson, and Missouri – they set their own bar for measuring their success, not us.

              It was a pretty good year, but losing to 3 of your 4 biggest rivals, when you’ve proven you’re capable of better, makes it only a pretty good year.

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          • Hackerdog

            Bama lost two games they should have won. Did they under-achieve? Or is three the magic number?

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            • A10Penny

              Good point Hackerdog, and I don’t think there is any right number. You could say a net of zero = right amount of achievement and positive & negative deltas correspond to over and under-achieving, but I think we should allow for some slop due to luck of the bounce, etc. I think -3 is clearly an underachievement, but that’s just me.

              Oh, and did you see OSU in their last 3 games? They were clearly better than ‘Bama at the end of the year.

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      • Exactly–the whole picture…not just what is happening during the game.

        I think the Tech game was just lucky for them. Dawgs played a bad game…but did enough to win. It just came together at the end for them. Plus–MO didn’t lose the night before.

        Dawgs were flat against Florida. They played inspired ball during what (I imagine) they were told would be Gurley’s suspension the previous 2 games. Then they (we all) got nut punched before the game as the suspension turned out longer. A close game would have been a miracle as deflating as that news was (I think Richt was as deflated as anyone). Couple that with the fact that Florida players were playing hard to save Boom–That is a tall order right there.

        Then we have South Carolina. Which nationally always looks like an embarrassing loss–and it irks me. I think Spurrier alone is worth 8-10 points against Clemson…and 12-14 against Georgia. Those cocks play that many points better than they really are against UGA and Clemson…then ‘they are who we thought they were’ (punches desk) against the rest of their schedule. This happens every year. That loss is a double whammy because they beat us and then spend the rest of the season making that loss look worse and worse. I bet even when he retires, Spurrier will just show up to UF and SC practices the week before they play us to help beat us.

        I’m not making excuses–Emotion is what makes college football so much better than the NFL…but it cuts both ways. You blank MO with it one week then shit the bed against Florida with it the next.

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        • BrightOwl

          This is very close to how I feel.

          Regarding the Tech game, that was one of the best teams they’ve had in years. They outplayed us and they deserved the win. And we still almost beat them. It took the longest field goal of their kicker’s career to get to overtime and an uncharacteristic mistake by our QB to give them the win. (We had blocked their PAT and would have won with a TD.)

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        • playmakers in space

          “I’m not making excuses”

          “Dawgs were flat against Florida. They played inspired ball during what (I imagine) they were told would be Gurley’s suspension the previous 2 games. Then they (we all) got nut punched before the game as the suspension turned out longer.”

          This is nonsense. This narrative needs to end. It is pure speculation that our team played like shit in Jacksonville because of the Gurley ruling. Correlation, causation, blah blah blah…

          What we CAN confirm is we did indeed play like absolute shit against Florida, and it is unacceptable, Gurley suspension or not.

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          • .Dash

            I don’t think it’s unacceptable. I’ve accepted it. And the championship or die commenters should probably do the same because it’s just a football game.

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      • Bulldawg165

        “We were better than every team we played, and we lost 3 games.”

        Yep.

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  6. Chillout

    I think what happened this year, is we got up for the wrong games. We should have been the most up for the SEC East games vs UF, SC. UF & SC played dead the game before we played them and caught us with our guard down. East games need to be the priority, no matter how those teams are perceived from their recent past. In 2015, we have to time it up better, and get up for those East matchups like it’s a playoff game, because in a way, SC & UF & Missouri & Tenn were our playoff games. If we come out like we did in the Missouri or Auburn game 2014, the team has a chance to do some things in 2015.

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    • A10Penny

      I think the team was hyped for USCe. But the defense was still figuring itself out and we were hurt by a couple missed field goals, a bad call on 1st and Goal (not to mention great execution by their D), and a questionable spot.

      Some people are going to say we need to get up for Auburn, GT, and UF (and maybe even Clemson if they’re old enough) rather than East games.

      Others here are going to say we need to be “up” for all the games.

      I don’t believe you can get up for all of them (see: Charleston Southern, and other cupcakes), but we will continue to under-achieve if the team doesn’t get up for all SEC teams and GT.

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      • Chillout

        I don’t think we got up enough for the SC game, Spurrier really puts a lot of time into his ‘beat UGA’ plan, and we underestimated just how much the UGA game means to him, since he never wins Championships, it’s like a BCS game to him. I understand Aub & GT are rivalry game, so won’t have any problem getting up for those, but win the East, you play for the Conference championship, win that, you’re in the playoff. When I say be “up”, it’s about the emotional edge yes, and it’s about players health, no suspensions, and so on, timing it right so you’re at 100% in those key division battles.

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        • Bulldawg165

          “since he never wins Championships, it’s like a BCS game to him.”

          Am I the only one who thinks our coaching staff feels this way about Auburn? Even during their best and our worst year (2010) they still didn’t lay a whooping on us that even comes close to what we’ve done to them multiple times

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          • Dawgfan Will

            Auburn seems to play us like we play Florida: barely scraping by when they beat and receiving solid asskickings about half the time.

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        • Debby Balcer

          Yet we would have beat USCe except for a phantom holding call.

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          • Macallanlover

            Not enough discussion about that call, or the phantom “ineligible downfield” invented call against GT. Both of those ended up being the difference in the games. I am not advocating whining about every close play in every loss but these were not “bad calls” like the won at Vandy in 2013, you can see how that could have been missed at full speed, but when an official throws a flag when nothing was happening you have to wonder, ” why did he feel the need to invent a penalty”? You have to look at the film of those two to believe the refs wanted to become a part of the outcome. Those two guys should have been called to Birmingham and fired on the spot. This can not be tolerated and should be investigated by the SEC office. A letter or admission of a bad call isn’t enough in these two cases. And while you are at it, call Steve Shaw in and fire for not handling it; as a former official he knows something stunk there. (That may not be true on the GT call because that could have been ACC officials on that one.)

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  7. Chillout

    Florida was a far above average team, ESPN had them #22 so how bad of a loss was that? SC was #33, GT was #19, they were all far above average teams.
    http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/teamratings

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  8. Before the season, I thought we would have 2-4 loses. So I guess we finished about wear I thought. Still in light of the beat downs of Missouri and Auburn, the 3 loses seem disappointing. Also I think the thought process of “if we change a handful of plays we would have beaten SC and GT” is pointless and silly. It’s like saying “if I could go back and change 3 of the numbers on my Powerball ticket last week, I would have won 200 million dollars.” My statement would be true, but it is pointless. We lost those 3 games and I don’t have 200 million and all the rationalization in the world won’t change that.

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    • Chillout

      We’re not talking an 80 yard hailmary to be “1 play away”, we were on the 1 yardline, 2x vs GT, and lost fumbles both times. And in the SC game, were on the 4 yardline and couldn’t score a td for the win. We were 5 yards ,180 inches, 15 feet, from 11-1, a couple of 1-4 yard plays away, that’s very close to getting a shot at Bama.

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      • What you say is true. So where the hell is my 200 million dollars!

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        • Chillout

          We’re talking probability, we had a 99% chance of beating Tech according to ESPN after our go ahead td with 18 seconds. Those are much better odds than winning the lottery. Gurley ramming it 4 times from the 4 yard line, pretty good odds, considering his average rush is 4 yards in the red zone, pretty good odds to get 4 yards on 4 runs.
          http://www.cfbstats.com/2014/player/257/1047250/rushing/situational.html

          In the ESPN research notes:
          After Georgia scored the go-ahead touchdown and extra point with 18 seconds remaining, Georgia had a 99.8% chance to win the game. That’s the highest win probability this season by a team that ended up losing the game. [+]
          http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/preview?gameId=400547779

          You can’t see how 99.8 chance is different from playing the lottery?

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          • Cosmic Dawg

            There is no such thing as “such and such was supposed to happen”. Every team in CFB has those games, those stories. The probabilities are 100% that we got beat in those three games.

            You want to say we played everybody tough this year (except perhaps Fla) and could hang with and on the right day beat any team, I will agree with you.

            But we are #9 because in the reality that actually happened, we did not do certain things that eight other teams in the country did.

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            • Right Cos, that’s what I’m say’n. Thank you. And Chill, I really wasn’t comparing the odds of UGA winning the tech game with 18 sec left to the odds of winning the lottery. I was just trying to show how pointless it is to say “if only such and such had happened we would have won” I get it that we came so close and that is what sucks. Maybe next year. And Cosmic, that song is pretty cool.

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          • Cosmic Dawg

            And another thing!

            🙂

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  9. Dog in Fla

    “Let’s give thanks to Big Game Bob.”

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  10. PatinDC

    Every year CMR states his goal is to win the SEC. To met that goal requires winning, the East first. By that standard we did not meet the staff’s goals at the beginning of the season. We had the talent to do so and the chances were there, but UGA couldn’t make it happen. IMHO, by that standard, we underachieved.

    When Gurley went out, I thought we would be lucky to be bowl eligible after that. By that standard we overachieved.

    It is frustrating to be so close to winning the East and being that much closer to the SEC Championship, but in the end, IMHO. it was a good season.

    Nothing is as black and white as people want it to be.

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