Readings from the Book of Steele, SEC Chapter

Stop me if you’ve heard this before:

HC Mark Richt has never finished lower than 3rd in his division in his 14 years here and no other SEC team has done that.

Of course, here’s comes the “but”.

UGA has never won a National Title under Richt and many fans believe he has underachieved because he raised expectations so high.

Mark Richt has lost control of fans’ expectations, damn it.  But that’s not all he’s lost.

Georgia has been favored in all but 1 game (at Auburn 2013) the last 2 years but have been upset 7 times.

None of which is to say that Steele doesn’t pick Georgia to win the East this season.  He does, and, citing talent and a schedule with only three conference road games, goes on to call the Dawgs “a legitimate SEC and National Title contender”.

All in all, I’d say Steele has a pretty good handle on the state of things.  What about you?

74 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

74 responses to “Readings from the Book of Steele, SEC Chapter

  1. Macon Dawg

    The National Championship argument is a straw man created by the apologists. The real problem is that he hasn’t won the conference in 10 years and that his record over the last 6 seasons is worse than Jim Donnan’s record in 5 seasons (one of which was a total rebuild season after the dumpster fire that was the Ray Goff era…and we fired Donnan).

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    • Don’t pay attention to the fact that we had two top 10 finishes, 3 10-win seasons, and 2 SECCG appearances in that same time. That’s one more top 10 than Donnan and 2 more championship game appearances and 10-win seasons than Donnan had.

      If you don’t think the program is better now under Richt than it was in 2000 under Donnan, you’re proving exactly what Steele is saying.

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      • Macon Dawg

        I do think it’s better now than in 2000. I also think Richt is lucky he hasn’t had to deal with juggernaut Florida and Tennessee programs over the last 5 years. It’s a lot easier to win the division that way. It’s also easier to win 10 games when you play a 12 game regular season, instead of 11.

        My point was that the criticism of Richt is legitimate and the attempts to simplify it into “you’re just mad we haven’t won the national title” is a load of crap.

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        • My point was that the criticism of Richt is legitimate and the attempts to simplify it into “you’re just mad we haven’t won the national title” is a load of crap.

          Which is what I think Steele was pointing at with his observation about Georgia’s record the last two seasons.

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          • Freedawg10

            Could it be the reason the Dawgs are being picked to win this year is due to CJP? Georgia football was stuck in a rut until Pruitt and Richt had no idea how to get it out. And I am really a big Richt fan and glad things are working out the way they are.

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        • Do you think CMR had something to do with Tennessee’s failure to be a juggernaut especially on the recruiting front where he pretty much closed I-75 to the Hillbillies? What about Florida? We beat them in 2012 when they were #2 in the country.

          On the 10 win question, yes, you have more chances, but you still have to win them. Someone did the research last week that no Donnan team ever spent consecutive weeks in the top 10, and I don’t believe one of his teams was ever ranked in top 5 at any point his time at UGA. I believe 1998 after the LSU game was the highest one of his teams was ranked at #6 and they proceeded to faceplant on national TV the next week against Tennessee at home.

          Is some of the criticism legitimate? Yes. Should CMR get credit for the positives in the program? Also, a resounding yes.

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          • JCDAWG83

            Richt is a great recruiter, no doubt. The talent level is much better now than with Donnan. That said, Richt’s results should be much better than they are with the talent he has had. Don’t forget the 07 faceplant at Tennessee when we were sure we were going to the BCS game, or ’08 when Florida beat us like they owned us and we started the season ranked #1 before a lackluster game against Ga Southern to open the season and another failure to show up game against Bama. How about ’11 when we opened on national television against a mid major Boise team in what was effectively a home game for us and we looked like no one on the team knew there was a game that day.

            We were much better under Richt than Donnan from ’01 to ’06, since then, we’re about the same, results wise, but we do have better talent.

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            • It just seems to me that you think we’re the only team that doesn’t show up. When we beat somebody 34-0, 34-7 or 45-21, that doesn’t matter. To use the 4 games you mention:
              ’07 Tennessee – an embarrassment of epic proportion. If I remember correctly, that was UT’s last appearance in the SECCG.
              ’08 Florida – another embarrassing loss to a team that eventually won the national championship
              ’08 Bama – the 1st half was possibly one of the worst performances I’ve seen in Sanford – again to a team that played in a de facto national semifinal in the SECCG
              ’11 Boise – that Boise team could have won the Pac 10 that year and were an eyelash from being in the BCS championship game with LSU. At that point, I believed CMR was going to get fired at the end of the season. If USCe had come into Athens and smoked us, I thought it was all over.

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      • JCDAWG83

        The program is better now than under Donnan, but the East is a much easier place to play than it was in the late 90s. What was Richt’s record against Florida before Muschamp arrived? Tennessee has been down for some time now, but it looks like that might be about to change. No Georgia coach had ever lost 3 in a row to SC before Richt and now he is 1-4 against them the last 5 seasons. Richt is 5-5 vs SC since Spurrier arrived and a case could easily be made that SC has never had as talented a team as Georgia. Richt managed to lose to Vandy and UK in the same season for the first time since 1973, something Donnan never did. The 12th game, generally another cupcake, has made 8 wins pretty much a given every season. 10 win seasons, usually with a mediocre bowl game win, aren’t the great accomplishment they were in the 11 game schedule era.

        Richt is a coach who wins with superior talent. When the talent is equal or near equal and the opposing coach is decent, Richt struggles. The program is better than under Donnan, but just barely.

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        • We’ll just agree to disagree. I think the program is better because of CMR not in spite of CMR like so many believe.

          What was the record against Auburn before CMR showed up? How many had we lost in a row to tech before CMR showed up?

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          • Otto

            In some ways Donnan was better than Richt.

            http://patrickgarbin.blogspot.com/2014/10/when-les-is-more.html

            Just the very fact we’re debating this shows that Richt has not turned out to be the step forward we hoped for and thought we had a decade ago.

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            • What’s the definition of a step forward beyond Donnan?
              SEC championships? CMR
              Top 10 finishes? CMR
              SECCG appearances? CMR
              BCS bowl appearances? CMR
              Double-digit wins? CMR
              Record against rivals? CMR
              Overall winning percentage? CMR

              I would say Richt has been more than a step forward from Donnan.

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              • Greg

                And Donnan was a step up from Goff. Who is debating whether or not Richt is better than Donnan? That’s a pretty low bar if that’s the primary goal – doing better than the previously coach who was fired.. At this point, Richt is resting on the laurels of his first 4 or 5 years. No conference titles since 2005 and no BCS bowls since 2008. Over the past six years, our bowl destinations for four of those years have been Independence, Liberty, Gator and Belk. With all of the talent that has passed through Athens in recent years, going to those crap bowls 2/3 of the times is not getting it done. Period.

                I hope things change because I like Richt and what he stands for, but I don’t understand the people who endlessly make excuses for him.

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                • I haven’t made excuses for him. Someone earlier today was making the point that Richt hasn’t been a step forward over Donnan. If he were resting on his laurels, do you think he is able to hire Jeremy Pruitt without a substantial raise? Do you think Brian Schottenheimer leaves an NFL offensive coordinator job if he thought Richt is resting on his laurels? Do you think Richt would have allowed Pruitt to raise the brouhaha about facilities and recruiting staff? Do you think high school coaches would be trusting their blue-chip talent to Richt if they thought he was resting on his laurels?

                  By the way, I agree with you. Donnan was multiple steps up over Goff as an in-game coach.

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              • Otto

                Is that due to improvement in the program or the decline of the East?

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                • I think it’s probably both to be honest. The program has improved under Richt, but UT hasn’t been relevant since ’07. UF was just as good under Corch as they were under SOS. I could make the case that Corch was better than SOS. The Gators struggled under Zook and Agent Boom.

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            • JCDAWG83

              Damn those facts!

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    • Dawgoholic

      You’re wrong on that. CMR’s record the last 5 years is better than Donnan’s. He’s also won the East twice and came damn close to a 3rd. He’s lost to Tech less times in 14 years than Donnan did in his last 3 alone. Plus there’s a little different culture around the team.

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      • Macon Dawg

        I said the last 6 years.

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        • Macallanlover

          Pick whatever time parameter meets your agenda, that is what FU fans do when discussing the UGA/FU rivalry…not the more recent, nor the whole, just what they need to provide a partial picture. The 15%ers have to other way to make waves. We don’t have a coaching problem at UGA, it is a plus but some must find something to criticize. Stay with the “you need to change the leadership at the top occasionally” argument; it has occasional validity regardless of who is in charge of any organization and cannot be ridiculed so easily.

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          • Macon Dawg

            His win % over the last 5 years is .686. It’s .675 if you include 2009. Donnan’s was .678 and he got fired.

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            • Dawgoholic

              And at the end of Donnan’s 5th year, it was clear a change needed to be made. I thought Donnan needed to go after 98. Anyone that thinks a change needs to be made based on where the program is today is a lunatic.

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            • Macallanlover

              Five years, six years, 10 years, 14 years, you pick whatever makes you feel good. We are 0-1 to FU and GT in the last 9 months, why don’t you roll that out as a cause for alarm? No doubt anyone can play with numbers and make them support whatever they wish, everyone knows that. In the overall picture, which is how we should judge a coach, employee, friend, etc., one must look at all the factors or they end up with an erroneous conclusion.

              Bottom line, we have much bigger issues at UGA than our HC, like trash n North Campus, lousy potty rooms, boring concessions, poor in-stadium wifi, having our name associated with a cocktail party, etc. Things are going good, real good in Athens, enjoy

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              • PTC DAWG

                Have you had a bad day?

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                • Macallanlover

                  Not at all, I am not the one missing the good things happening every fall. You must have meant it for those who are miserable and worried about what is coming this fall. I say “bring it on”.

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  2. PTC DAWG

    I tend to give the 13 team a pass due to the rash of injuries…

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    • And yet nobody seems to take that into account. 2013 is one that was just mindboggling in the amount of injuries. Cost us at least 2 games, maybe 3.

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  3. Grathams replacement

    How many games in the last 6 years have been lost due to total coaching meltdowns? Auburn 13 – no one discussed knocking the ball down on 4th down, Tech 14 – squibb kick, Vandy -13 – special teams/offensive going into a shell, LSU 11 – up 10 zip, haven’t allowed a 1st down and punt to the all American punt returner, twice, Carolina 14 – 1st and goal at the 4, Clemson 13 – can’t snap an kick attempt, UF 14, Carolina 12, Boise St. 11 – don’t show up. Richt is the Bobby Cox of college football, can’t close the deal with top shelf talent.

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    • Macallanlover

      LOL. That is classic stuff: don’t punt, don’t kick off, don’t snap it, don’t throw it when they may be expecting a run, don’t schedule a team with more returning starters and experience than you early in he year, don’t play freshmen, don’t fumble, and on, and on. Oh, and don’t ever lose a game to anyone. Great analysis, thanks for the wisdom and hindsight revelations. Maybe we don’t overpay coaches for what they have to tolerate in call-in shows and internet message boards these days.

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      • Granthams replacement

        So Richt has fully utilized the talent at UGA while he has been there?

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        • Macallanlover

          Depends on how you look at it I suppose, not that anyone ever fully utilizes their talent, but what are we basing it on: recruiting rankings, coming in? number of players who stayed 3-4 years? how many players were injured, and for which games? how many were drafted and went on to be Pro Bowlers? I don’t know how to do the metrics for that analysis.

          I know we get very good players, not the #1 class in the country or even the SEC, but damned good. And we do well with that talent because I know we finish high in the rankings almost every year. And I know I haven’t looked at a schedule in years and thought we couldn’t compete with anyone on it, knew we could give as good as we were going to take. There haven’t been a lot of years I could say that before. Doesn’t mean we have won all of those but I know we are going to put a good product on the field and run our program in a way that allows me to hold my head high. If Saban has the top 1-3 classes every year, does he achieve that level of finish every year? We both know the answer is “no”, but do you read about all the Bama fans that want to run him out of Tusky? I don’t, never have even seem him placed on a hot seat. All depends on where you start counting “falling short”.

          Do I want an SEC title this year and maybe next? Absolutely, and I think we get a shot at it, maybe both years. Have to win the East first, but when/if we do, I want them capable of playing someone hard for the top title in CFB. That is what we have gotten from UGA four of the five years we have been to that game in Richt’s era (and I just don’t think we had the OL in 2003 to compete with LSU’s defense.)

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    • “Auburn 13 – no one discussed knocking the ball down on 4th down” was a total coaching meltdown? Jesus, do players ever have any responsibility when a play flops?

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      • JCDAWG83

        Agree on that one, coaches shouldn’t have to tell players the fundamentals on every play. These are college players, not middle school, they should have well developed situational awareness.

        Can’t argue too much on the others though.

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        • Mayor

          Both those guys were going after a meaningless game-ending interception so they could get on ESPN and allowed the Auburn receiver to catch the ball for a TD. All they had to do was knock the ball down. You don’t have to have a coach tell you to do that. It’s your job to do that. It was 4th down and long. Why intercept? Note both are no longer on the team. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Getting rid of those 2 (one way or the other) was a good thing.

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      • Granthams replacement

        Maybe the players don’t need coaches to remind them of fundamentals. Just call the plays and see what happens

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        • Or maybe the coaches should hold up signs on every play that say “BLOCK” “TACKLE” “BAT DOWN BALL” “DON’T DROP THE BALL (except you, Conley)”, so the players don’t forget.

          Seriously, if the players are that stupid, Georgia needs to rethink its recruiting strategy.

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          • Granthams replacement

            If any of the coaches told the DBS to knock it down on 4th down would it have helped? Richt has the full support of the president and BM building now. Hopefully that will result in SEC championships but for the talent that has come thru Athens in the last 15 years the results are underachieving.

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            • How do you know what the coaches told or didn’t tell the players before that play?

              Maybe you should explain what you mean by a “total coaching meltdown”.

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              • Granthams replacement

                Richt was asked if any coach told the players to knock the ball down and no one did. I can’t get the link to post but look at the ajc 11/19/13 UGA blog. coaching meltdown = when a bad decision results in a loss that is totally under the coaches control. Another example would be the clock management at the end of the 01 auburn game. The end of the SECC game was not a meltdown, there was logic behind pressing bama while they were on their heels from UGA flying down the field. A lot of people killed Richt for not spiking, I was disappointed in Grathams Defensive calls.

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  4. I’D say he does! It is Time! Go Dawgs SIC’EM , woof woof, woof.🏈

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  5. TMC dawg

    My opinion is that if, we get beat this year by the BETTER football team, then so be it. No crying here. BUT when the coach makes a stupid mistake coaching wise, then it is time for a change. This has happened way way, too much the last few years.

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  6. JCDAWG83

    The thing that stands out most to me is the stat that we have been favored in every game but one in the past two years, but have lost 7 times.

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    • Yep. That’s the one that strikes me as a legit coaching criticism.

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      • JCDAWG83

        I guess my hammer has some validity then? I’d say, go back and look at results for the past 10 years and you will find even more examples of failures to win favored games. If it’s happened 7 times in 2 seasons, and that’s legit coaching criticism, how about the times in the past 10 seasons?

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        • I guess my hammer has some validity then?

          Never said it didn’t. You just see a lot more nails to whack than I do. 😉

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          • JCDAWG83

            Quite a few posters on here create a target rich environment.

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            • PTC DAWG

              Things are never as good nor as bad as we think.

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              • JCDAWG83

                Things aren’t “bad”, they are unfulfilling and disappointing. If we were a program with mediocre talent, our results would be great. If SC had Richt and his record with their talent level, they would rename the university for him.

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                • Mayor

                  Like you it bothers me that the Dawgs lose games they are favored to win. But more than that, when was the last time the Dawgs upset somebody? When was the last time the Dawgs won a game when the Dawgs were the underdogs? I think that goes all the way back to the 2005 SECCG. The Dawgs beat teams they are supposed to beat–most of the time. But it seems like they never win a game they aren’t supposed to win.

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                  • Mayor

                    P.S. I guess I’m an insufferable ass, too.

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                  • So, after the Clemson loss, you were sure Georgia was going to beat SC and LSU back-to-back in 2013?

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                  • Florida 2012 is one that comes to mind. When you aren’t an underdog in the eyes of Vegas very often, you don’t get many chances. We were favored against LSU in 2013 (-3, I think – essentially home field), but most of the talking heads were picking the Tigers. Last year, no one was giving us a chance against Arkansas in Little Rock (except the guys in Vegas).

                    LSU 2008 on the Bayou comes to mind as well, but I don’t know what the point spread was.

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            • Rocket Dawg

              Or your just an insufferable ass. I am leaning toward the latter.

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          • Cosmic Dawg

            Agree. JCDawg raises some legit arguments, they just don’t add up to the same unfulfilling conclusions for me as they do for him. But he gets grief at times just for raising the questions.

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    • Being favored by the odds makers in Vegas means absolutely nothing regarding who should win the game. It only serves to even out the betting from the public. Last time I checked, and its been a couple of weeks, UGA was favored or even in every game this season per the Vegas odds. Using that as your determining factor of success vs coaches failure would mean anything less than 12-0 and a title game berth would be failure. If you believe that to be true feel free to bet your house on it happening. Vegas will be more than happy to take your bet.

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      • JCDAWG83

        The lines absolutely do mean something about who should win the game. If not, there would be no need for the line and every game would be a pick em. The line is not based on popularity, if it were, Notre Dame would never be an underdog in a betting line.

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        • Clearly you don’t understand how or why bookies set the odds. It is completely based on how many points they need to give in order to get 50% of the betting public to bet on each team. Nothing more and nothing less.

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          • JCDAWG83

            I know exactly why they set the odds. However, does it seem odd to you that the team with more talent and theoretically, better coaches, are always the favorite? Again, if it were completely independent of expected on field results, Notre Dame would be a favorite in every game because they have, by far, the largest fan base of any college team. The oddsmakers don’t have a “favorite” team, they are totally objective. If the line they set does not match up with what the majority of the betting public knows or, at least, is willing to accept, they could not get their 50/50 balance.

            Not covering the spread is not what the upset talk is about, it’s about losing the game. If Georgia is a 7 point favorite and wins by 3, it’s still a win by the favorite. If they lose by 4, it’s an upset. That’s what the 1-7 stat is all about. It’s not that Georgia didn’t cover in those 7 games, they LOST THE GAME.

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          • Macallanlover

            It is clear he doesn’t get your point even after you made it. Have we lost games we should have won because we were better? Sure, who hasn’t. And sometimes you don’t get beat when you lose, and vise versa. Those three point games count as Ws or Ls but honestly most any game decided by less than one score is subject to a goof bit of luck, for and against. Steele has a good explanation of how he counts “close games” in his magazine. I worry more about those games where we get dominated, and am thankful that is a rarity these days.

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  7. Derpovonburpo

    It’s hard to deny that we have a lot of high profile flops, and that something weird always seems to happen to ruin our chances at The Big Enchilada, but an old Dawg I used to work with when I was in Athens told me “To win it all EVERYTHING has to go your way. Look at the Florida game in 1980. Total fluke win, but without it, we don’t even have 1980 to point to,” and that has always rung in my ears.

    I also dream of the collective ASSGASM that will engulf the entire state from Dalton to Waycross and Helen to Hahira when CJP and CBS carry CMR to the promised land on their giant genius brains.

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  8. PTC DAWG

    Bama has 4 such upset losses over the last 2 years, obviously upsets happen….when you are always favored, there is no way around it.

    GT loss, glad it was last year, and not a year that really could have hurt…

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  9. Hey is me or has anyone else noticed that Georgia is tied with the Barners and Hillbillies even at number of wins? I think I saw that. BLuto?

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  10. W Cobb Dawg

    “HC Mark Richt has never finished lower than 3rd in his division in his 14 years here and no other SEC team has done that.”

    No doubt that’s the sign of an ‘above average coach’. But a ‘championship coach’ would have championships listed. And it’s a dubious honor when one considers how many perpetual losing programs we have in the division. For most of their history, vandy, kentuck and scu have truly sucked. Yet CMR has had his share of losses and squeakers against those programs.

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    • HillDawg

      So did Vince.

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    • Macallanlover

      Could have sworn we have won championships under CMR, guess the brown water has me confused. Let’s not count them, because he can’t be a championship coach.

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    • South Carolina from 2010-13 was a completely different animal than any Gamecock teams of the prior 100 years. The 2010 team beat Bama when the Tide was #1. The 2011 team did something very few Gamecock teams have done – beat us in Sanford. We know about the 2012 team – probably the best Gamecock team of the previous 50 years. The 2013 team also was pretty damn good.

      The early date on the schedule, SOS and Georgia as their most important SEC rival have combined to make life miserable for us the last few years.

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