After a miserable October, his team rallied. The Dawgs didn’t finish playing top-10-caliber ball, but they won four in a row. That means they’re a bowl win away from a fourth 10-win season in five years (and a 10th in 14). In an obvious down year. Most programs would pay millions for this type of disappointment.
After falling out of the F/+ top 40, the Bulldogs are back up to 34th. Yes, that’s a bad performance for a program with Georgia’s potential, even one that loses its offensive coordinator and starting quarterback in the offseason and one of the best players in the country (Nick Chubb) to injury midway.
But this poor performances comes on the heels of four consecutive F/+ top-15 finishes (13th in 2011, seventh in 2012, 14th in 2013, fourth in 2014).
5. Here are the other programs that pulled that off in that same span: Alabama.
That’s it. Florida State didn’t do it. Oregon didn’t. Ohio State didn’t. But Richt even pulled it off in 2013, with a brutally young defense and receivers exploding like Spinal Tap drummers.
This reminds you of how randomness plays a role in this sport. Rage against randomness or pretend there’s no such thing at your own peril. And while we can say Georgia is a sleeping giant, and that the program should expect better results, here’s a dirty little secret: almost no team gets to constantly win at the level we think it should achieve.
Everybody has setbacks and down years and disappointments and random losses and frustration against rivals. But Saban does it far less frequently than anybody else, and that makes people — especially SEC rivals — lose their damn minds.
Again, I’m not saying you can’t make a case that Richt didn’t deserve to lose his job. But let’s be real about what has to come next. As Bill succinctly puts it, “Dumping Richt was an impatient, emotional move. But it doesn’t matter if McGarity nails the replacement hire.”
The story of Georgia football under Richt is a series of ifs. We’re opening up the next chapter of if.