Is there a case for ten wins in 2016?, a continuing series

Georgia, some of you may recall, won 10 wins last year (seems like an eternity now, I know).  We’ve had a fairly lively on-and-off discussion in the comments about what the expectations for the win total in Kirby Smart’s maiden voyage might be.  I thought it might be useful to explore that topic in a series of posts over the offseason.

Today, I thought I’d start with the schedule.  According to Sagarin, Georgia wound up playing the 55th-most difficult schedule in the country last season, which was the second-easiest in the SEC.  No doubt that helped a little in getting to the ten-win mark.

How does 2016 shape up in that department?  Well, first, click here to review the schedule.  In comparison with what was lined up last season, Georgia plays the East, swaps Alabama at home for Ole Miss on the road and drops one non-P5 opponent for North Carolina.  Overall, it appears fairly similar, or maybe slightly tougher.  Is there much data to back that up?

At this point, not much.  One place to start is with Phil Steele’s compilation of what he refers to as “the NCAA method for strength of schedule”, which is simply to add last season’s won-loss totals of a school’s opponents together for a grand total.  Obviously, this doesn’t take into account the relative strength of schedule for each of those teams and thus is limited in value.

Anyway, based on that, Georgia’s 2015 strength of schedule was 10th.  This year, in significant part because of the collapse of Georgia Tech’s, South Carolina’s and Missouri’s records last season, that SOS ranking has dropped all the way to 84th.  Will all those schools perform as poorly again this season?  If so, that would be a reason for optimism about Georgia’s win total.

The other place to go, with an allegedly more robust approach to analyzing this, is ESPN’s preseason SOS rankings based on its proprietary FPI formula (I know, I know).  Before you judge me too harshly here, it’s hard to argue with this:

There are many ways to evaluate schedule strength; the traditional method sums opponents’ records from the previous season to determine the toughest schedules heading into the following year.

Although this measure of SOS is a decent starting point, it has some major flaws. First, opponents’ records in the previous season are not predictive of how strong teams will be going forward. For example, Michigan went 5-7 and missed a bowl in 2014, but many expected the Wolverines to improve under Jim Harbaugh in 2015. ESPN’s FPI expected Michigan to be the second-most improved Power 5 school entering 2015, and it doubled its win total from the previous season.

Another flaw of the traditional method is that not all teams with the same records are created equal. Would you rather play Appalachian State or Oklahoma next season? Both were 11-2 in 2015, but an average FBS team would have a 51 percent chance to beat the Mountaineers at a neutral site in 2016, and a 6 percent chance to beat the Sooners, according to ESPN’s FPI.

Finally, the traditional method fails to account for other factors such as game site, distance traveled and rest. For example, beating the 35th-ranked team (or Penn State, according to preseason FPI) on the road is about as difficult as beating the 15th-ranked team (Notre Dame) at home.

Further, playing a game after a cross-country flight or facing a team that is coming off a bye only adds to the difficulty.

FPI’s projected SOS ranks are designed to account for all of these factors to produce the truest measure of schedule strength entering the 2016 season. Opponent strength is measured with preseason FPI, which incorporates past efficiencies, returning starters, talent on the roster (with recruiting ranks) and coaching tenure.

Is the result accurate?  Me, you’re asking?  All I can do is paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld here and observe that you go to war with the stats you have, not the stats you might want or wish to have at a later time.  That being said, where does Georgia’s 2016 strength of schedule shake out in the vast scheme of things?  FPI sez 16th.  Before you gulp, that is only the eighth-most difficult ranking in the SEC.  (Before you smile, Tennessee’s is 35th and Florida’s is 49th.)

All in all, ESPN projects Georgia to finish with a 9-3 mark in the regular season.  I haven’t made my final projection yet – and won’t until we get much closer to the season’s start – but I don’t think nine wins is at all unreasonable.  It’s also not unreasonable to think that the schedule itself won’t be an insurmountable barrier to Smart notching that tenth win in his first season.

96 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

96 responses to “Is there a case for ten wins in 2016?, a continuing series

  1. Russ

    UNC and at Ole Miss will be tough. Tennessee at home will be tough but winnable.

    I could see 10 wins (or more, if we catch lightning in a bottle). But I could also see a new coach learning on the job and we lose 4 games.

    Bowl game is a toss up and not included in the above.

  2. Russ

    I’ll also add that transitions are hard and wouldn’t be surprised to see us struggle. Though I think the future is bright with Kirby, it might take a season or two.

    • Silver Britches

      I agree. We’re going to lose at least one game this year that will be on Kirby. That’s not a knock, I just think there’s a learning curve. Richt butchered the end of the 2001 Auburn game, but he learned from it and went 13-1 the next season.

  3. PTC DAWG

    No way our schedule ends up as weak as last year, anyone who thinks that is smoking some good stuff…

    • dawgtired

      PTC, the only ‘No Way’ there is…is, there is ‘No way’ you’ll know exactly HOW tough the season is/was, until it’s over. It is VERY possible this year is just as weak. How many times are we surprised by how good or how bad a team ends up being, contrary to our pre-season expectations? If you’re wanting to ‘sand-bag’ a little to protect the perception of the new coach, I’m all for it and will even play along. If it will help the ‘new-coach-cause’, I’ll start talking about how much tougher this season will be than last on the next series of post about the schedule. I’m all in on Kirby too, but if you want honesty, we’ll have to look more objectively. NC would qualify as a tougher OOC. We EXPECT UT to be better but not really sure about UF. USC and Mizzu are EXPECTED to be down. GT would HAVE to be better. I can’t imagine Ole Miss being as touch as BAMA. UK and Vandy are, well, UK and Vandy. I don’t understand the confidence to say NO WAY it will be as weak…seems close to similar to me.

      • PTC DAWG

        You wait….you will see. We played 4 teams with a pulse last year regular season, damn nearly lost all 4. There is a reason our 10-3 team was barely mentioned in the season ending polls.

    • lakedawg

      Not smoking nothing and this year is much weaker than last. We will be favored in every game with exception of Ole Miss on the road, we get tenn, auburn, NC at home. Gators could be a toss up. Any one says different might be the smoker

  4. old dog

    I look for 9-3 (+/-) which has a Richtable familiarity about it…I’m looking for other things as the season moves along…penalties, 12 men on the field several times per game…3rd and short conversions to name just a few…

    Kirby comes from a world where the minutiae of the game gets a lot of attention (along with little tolerance for error)…

    • Gaskilldawg

      “12 men on the field several times per game… ” Gosh, I forgot about those 91 illegal participation penalties called on us last year. You get an A+ in exaggeration.

    • Otto

      9-3 (+/-)1 is spot on, fewer procedure type penalties, never seeing 3rd and 40+

  5. AusDawg85

    Old guy, new guy or guy to be named later, SECE or bust is our minimum benchmark. You can’t complain about “excuses” in one era and then spew them about for the next when all the fundamentals are still in place.

    Wait, what’s that? It’s tough to win in the SEC? Who knew?!

    • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

      ^ Absolutely.

      All I read was “blah, blah, blah”. We are not 2012 Tennessee. At least not yet. Sounds like the excuses have begun. It’s 10 wins minimum, SECe or bust.

      • Jaxdawg

        Amen. To read that it’s not unreasonable to think that Kirby could get to 10 wins this year… Jeebus. He inherited a team that just won 10 games. Win and win now. Fair or not, those are the expectations coming into this type of a situation and Kirby knows that. As a fan I hope he meets those expectations, and I think he will. Hopefully 10 wins gets us in the SECC game. I just don’t want to already hear excuses about coming up short again.

    • 3rdandGrantham

      I would tend to agree with that — after this year. Smart is a rookie head coach with potentially starting a freshman QB, whereas CMR was a seasoned HC with a many years of experience running the same program. Not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

      After this year I would tend to mostly agree with you. However, CMR enjoyed the benefit of both UT and UF being utter dumpster fires for most of the last 5-6 years, yet he rarely took advantage of it. Hence, freakin’ Mizzou ended up in the SECC game several years of late. Our record against ranked teams has been truly abysmal over the past 8-9 years as well — this is another area which, IMO, we have nowhere to go but up.

      • dawgtired

        “whereas CMR was a seasoned HC with a many years of experience running the same program”

        Yeah, but he was an idiot, or had become complacent, or was too nice, or should have been a missionary…and Kirby is the 2nd coming of Saban…so, 9/10 wins is a given. Just saying.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          I for one never called him an idiot or any other absurd names. He did, IMO, become complacent, hence his winning % drop-off over the years, in which his last 9-10 years pretty much mirrored Donnan’s.

          CMR averaged 9.1 wins per year over his last 7 at UGA. If Smart doesn’t better that by, say, year 3 at UGA, yea, that’s a huge cause for concern.

          • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

            “his last 9-10 years pretty much mirrored Donnan’s.”

            Bullcrap. Donnan never had CMR’s winning % against rivals. CKS has to win now. He’s inheriting a much better program than CMR inherited from Donnan. Get it done sooner rather than later or this whole mess will have been an abysmal failure orchestrated by Fran Tarkenton & his lap dog, ADGM.

            • 3rdandGrantham

              CMR’s winning % the last 8-9 years as HC at UGA was just slightly better than Donnan’s last 4 years at UGA. But don’t just believe me and go look it up for yourself. Also, Donnan was competing against UF and UT at their absolute zenith, with both winning MNC’s during his tenure while racking up SEC championships. GT also was a far, far better program then under O’leary than it has been in recent years under Johnson.

              • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

                You’re going to denigrate CMR & his legacy forever aren’t you? 2nd Winningest Coach in our history. Highest %. But there will always be a reason or asterisk for people like you. Our personal little collection of “Bama-types”

                • PTC DAWG

                  Some of you guys let a few facts get you riled up.

                • 3rdandGrantham

                  Beautiful retort of my argument. You destroyed me like Dream Team vs. Angola in the ’92 olympics.

                  • rchris

                    When you set up the argument that way, Donnan was better. 72.917 % over Donnan’s last 4 years, good for 9th among p6 programs. Richt was only 71.429% over his last 9 years (good for 10th among p5 programs), and that’s giving him the final bowl game, which McClendon actually coached. Comparing apples to apples though, UGA over the last 4 years has a 75.472% record. As regards the quality of the competition, UF was under Meyer a lot of those 9 years and won NSMNC. Tennessee was not as good but was 10-4 the first year and 9-4 the last year of the 9 season stretch. UT was definitely tougher during Donnan’s last 4 but Auburn was almost the mirror image, good bookend seasons but lousy in the middle against Donnan, winning a NSMNC and playing for another during the last 9 years. GT was weaker true, but South Carolina was much better during that span. Vandy was also a little better. For what it’s worth, I thought Donnan was a fine coach and was against firing him at the time.

                    • rchris

                      In fairness though, Florida was in the aggregate about 8 1/2% points better during Donnan’s 4 years, thanks to Muschamp.

          • 81Dog

            so why does he get 3 years to better the unsatisfactory mark of CMR if he’s a better coach/more fired up/better recruiter, when he’s inherting a boatload of pretty good players? I see no reason to give anyone a pass in May, although the season may (and often does) pan out differently due to injuries, flukes, predicted weak opponents who are better than expected, predicted good opponents (2015 AU, anyone?) who are worse, or much worse than expected. If Chubb comes back healthy (still a big if), I expect UGA to be really good, partly because of what I’ve been told since Kirby got hired about what an upgrade he is.

            UNC lost to a horrible S Carolina team last year. Ole Miss lost their 3 best players, and isn’t exactly the 85 Bears. Florida took Muschamp’s guys and won the East with McIlwaine last year. I don’t see anyone we shouldn’t be able to beat (looking at it this far out). Odds are we don’t win them all, of course, but I don’t see anyone in the East we aren’t as good as right now this minute, or who I don’t think we should beat. AU is a train wreck still, ditto Tech. I think we should win 10 games, win the East, and after that, who knows? I’m not ready to start making excuses for anyone right now. You can’t judge anyone on what might happen in 4 months, or 7 months without letting it play out. If we play up to our talent level, we’re in good shape. If the wheels come off the cart due to things no one can control (injuries, for example), then we re-assess what is reasonable. Right now, winning the East seems like what I expect. Not that anyone at Butts Mehre cares what I think, I’m just saying.

  6. UGA85

    I think our offense will be better than last year’s. I also think our special teams play will be improved, though placekicking is a question mark. If the defense just holds steady and doesn’t regress, we should be better than we were in 2015. Does that translate to 10 wins and the East title? It means that I think our 2016 team would likely have won the 2015 East title. How we do in 2016, to me, depends on how good UT really is this year.

  7. DawgPhan

    Curious how people will balance attention to detail being Smart’s main selling point over Richt, with the idea that a first year HC is bound to cost his team a game, probably from not paying attention to some minor detail.

    Most likely if we dont win 10 games, Smart will have missed some details along the way.

    If he is actually capable of the attention to detail that many claim he is, then we shouldnt be losing close games to teams we are better than. We should be close to even money in every game save the trip to Ole Miss.

    • 3rdandGrantham

      You can be detail oriented and everything else, but until you actually experience various game situations as HC, its akin to reading how to sales books in preparation for your first big sales call/meeting.

      Just curious, for some of you it seems like you’re harboring an attitude that you want Smart to fail, so that you can come back later and boast that Smart wasn’t all that (and we should have never fired CMR in the first place). The basic tenor among quite a few UGA fans seems to be, “Smart better win 10+ games or else…”

      • Gaskilldawg

        The gate swings the other way, as well. A lot of people dawggraded every win the past few years (I recall one guy on here last fall said that any youth coach in Decatur could have won more than 10 games last year) but figure that ithe would be fine if Smart wins fewer than any youth coach in Decatur would have this year. They engage in the subtle prejudice of low expectations of Smart 2016 to continue the Richt battle.

        Richt is gone. Richt is not coming back. Let’s put the tendency to evaluate everything UGA football under the old Richt debate lens behind us.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Well the guy you alluded to (saying a youth coach could have won 10) is an idiot. But fact is, last year’s schedule was, in the end, a total joke — we had zero meaninful wins, as we beat exactly zero P5 conference teams who simply had a winning record. The chances of us winning 10 games in the future without beating a team with a winning record is pretty much slim to none. More so, in our three biggest games of the season, we lost all three, with two of them being embarrassing blowouts with a combined score of 65-10. Oh yea, little Ga Southern took us to OT at our place.

          • Uglydawg

            3rd, you are stating reality. The reality of last years “success'” is
            the biggest reason that some of us gave up on defending CMR’s chances of remaining at UGA. I’m a huge admiirer of CMR, but it was time for a change and I believe we’ve got the right guy in CKS.

          • Gaskilldawg

            Thank you for acknowledging the guy who said any youth coach could win more than 10 is an idiot.

            You then went on a tangent. Whether last year’s schedule was difficult or weak is irrelevant. This year’s SEC schedule is exactly the same other than trading Alabama at home for UM on the road. We play Tech again, but in Athens. We play 2 cupcakes, as last year. We trade GA Southern at home for UNC in Athens. The difficulty of UM on the road is no worse than the National Champs in Athens. I argue UNC in Athens is more difficult than GA Southern in Athens, but some would argue otherwise.

            No matter if last year’s schedule was a “total joke” Smart is facing a similar Joke in 2016.

            It is perfectly reasonable for anyone to say that if poor coaching last year caused us to win no more than 10 games, and we changed coaches, we should not win fewer games with better coaches in 2016, without it being a stealth renewal of the “keep Richt/fire Richt” argument. That is my point.

            • 3rdandGrantham

              We won’t know if this year’s schedule will be as easy as last year until we actually play the season out. That was one of my points as well. I will predict this, however — if we win 10 games in ’16, I’ll bet my 401k that we will have at least beaten a Div1/BCS team with a winning record.

              By the way, if you don’t think UNC is a more difficult opponent in Atlanta than GSU in Athens, well, I really don’t know what to tell you.

              • Gaskilldawg

                I said I thought UNC is tougher than GSU.

                You still miss my point. A person can expect Smart to win 10 games without it being a referendum about Richt.

            • PTC DAWG

              We played 3 non power 5 teams last year, unless my memory is failing me. That is the definition of 3 cupcakes. GT was way off, as was Mizzou, SC had their Coach quit they sucked so bad…KY was KY in football….

              I expect GT and either SC or Mizzou to be better this year than last…in other words, I predict 10-3 will have us squarely in the top 20 at years end.

              • Debby Balcer

                Why would SC be better no coach with a bare cupboard? Muschamp is not as good as Spurrier. GT did not have a great recruiting class why would they get better? Mizzou also has a new coach first time coach. It seems some of you expected perfection last year and have excuses ready this year. I think Kirby will be ready to shine.

                • 92 grad

                  I agree with you with one point to throw back though. I think it wise to consider the coordinators at SC and mizz. I agree that chump isn’t great but his staff could make some noise.

          • lakedawg

            Last year schedule was a joke and this year is a killer. Come on man you got to do better than that.

      • Derek

        There is a fine line between “wanting Kirby to fail” and “I told you that switching coaches wouldn’t be the answer.” If you’re excited about saying “I told you so” that ain’t a very good attitude. There is some distance between those two thoughts though, although it does seems difficult to discern on occasion.

        Another questionable attitude is: I’m tired of only winning 10!! Fire Richt!! and then those same people act like expecting 10 wins in 2016 is unreasonable. That’s pretty inconsistent.

        Personally, I wanted to keep the coach we had but I fully on board with where we are. If there’s an “I told you so” out there for me it’s if Kirby tries to play the same defense he played at Alabama without the no. 1 class every year. I hope he’s more flexible than that but it’s to be seen. I’d rather see a little more of Jeremy Pruitt’s maximizing what you’ve got approach than the saban approach of establishing an unbending identity and then counting on stocking the cupboard full of 6’6″ 320lb dancing bears.

        In short, I don’t want to go 7-6 in 2016 while Kirby burns the barn down to kill the rats. I don’t think we’re near as bad a shape as what was in Tuscaloosa in 2007. I also don’t want to watch a Manziel or a Watson roll up 600 yards of offense because his ego won’t allow him to play some cover 2 or cover 3 even against special talents.

        Say what you want about Saban’s coaching. For me he’s the best program builder ever. As far as game planning or in game management, I’m not nearly as impressed. I’m hoping that from January to August that Kirby runs things like Nick. From September to game 15, I’d rather he take some pages from urban Meyer and SOS on offense and John Chavis, bill Oliver and Jeremy on defense.

        Sometimes you’ve gotta be Joe Kines. I remember watching UT roll into Athens with Peyton manning and going into halftime down 9-0. Bend don’t break can work. If we could have scored some points we could have won the game, but that wasn’t joes fault. He was trying to keep the score manageable. You take those same matchups and play man on the outside and Manning would have track meeted us.

        Point being, almost every coach plays week to week. Alabama says: we’ve got the best players, this is who we are, deal with it. Most can’t. But if your personnel is close and you have a QB you can give them all they want. On the other hand, you show up with lesser talent and run the defense saban runs, you’re in deep trouble.

        Therefore, if Luke del rio keeps throwing 9 patterns vs. man coverage and we don’t ever back off. You heard it here first: I told you so. My preference is that it never comes up.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          “Another questionable attitude is: I’m tired of only winning 10!! Fire Richt!! and then those same people act like expecting 10 wins in 2016 is unreasonable. That’s pretty inconsistent.”

          You’re preaching to the converted here — no arguments from me whatsoever. With that said, first off, we were not a 10 win program in recent years, and I don’t know why people keep harping on this. Next, the majority of the frustration comes from continual problems within the program due to obvious lack of oversight. From roster management, recruiting, hires, overall structure, etc., it was obvious that things weren’t be running nearly as well as they should have been. Also, CMR’s record in big games or simply against ranked opponents was borderline pathetic over the past 7-8 years, with something like a 13-28 record. His winning percentage since ’09 pretty much mirrored Donnan’s last 4 years at UGA as well.

          Either way, IMO we couldn’t keep doing what we were doing and a change was needed. Sure, perhaps Kirby falls flat on his face, but I’d rather at least take a chance on improving the program rather than just sitting back and continuing to go through year after year of stagnation if not slow decline. It’s like staying in a mediocre at best relationship just because you’re afraid of bad dating experiences that are inevitably to come.

          • Derek

            I don’t think that CMR was mediocre. The comparison to Donnan is weak. CMR wasn’t collapsing with the second round pick of the Dallas Cowboys. He was struggling with qbs that nobody would draft if the NFL had 72 teams. Compare jims record vs. ut, tech, auburn to CMRs. It’s not really close. We’ve appeared in five seccg games. All not with donnan or anybody else for that matter.

            I’d says it’s more akin to kicking your faithful wife to the curb after 15 years because her ass ain’t what it once was and you need some brand new young tatas to play with. It may work out but 1) it’s a risk and 2) just stop being an ungrateful, unappreciative jackass.

            • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

              +100

            • 3rdandGrantham

              Here comes the name calling. Well done.

              • Derek

                Feel free to substitute “jackass” with whatever you’d like. When you compare CMR’s career at UGA to a mediocre spouse, what’s the appropriate designation? I mean you can be both for a change and be respectful and thankful, right? Or can’t you?

                • 3rdandGrantham

                  CMR’s record at UGA over his last, say, 7,8, or 10 years was mediocre. Just look at his overall winning %, his record against ranked teams, and so on.

                  • Derek

                    11-13

                    22-24

                    The first is Dooley’s record vs. ranked opponents in the 70’s. The second is CMR’s record vs. ranked opponents over the last 10 seasons.

                    For those thinking that Dooley fared better in the 1980’s, he did. He was an even 12-12-1 vs. ranked opponents in the 1980’s.

                    It seems that despite what some people want to say, things were not easier for CMR. He faced more than twice the number of ranked opponents pre season than Dooley did.

                    Mediocre? Maybe. But then mediocre is our high water mark.

                    • I would suggest that being .500 vs. ranked opponents is a pretty good record. You shouldn’t expect to beat the best 24 other programs at the same clip you beat everyone else.

                      Of course, this ship has been put out to sea for five months now, so there’s no reason to revisit the decision.

                    • Derek

                      I’m way past the decision. I just don’t appreciate the needless malice towards the guy nor the disconnect from reality about his tenure here. He did a very, very good job here. Was he saban or Meyer? No, but that doesn’t necessarily mean mediocrity.

                    • ugafish

                      Donnan won 37% vs ranked teams from 97-00.
                      Richt won 36% vs ranked teams from 06-15.

                      Sadly, your point isnt supported by facts, thus 3rdandgrantham is correct.

              • PTC DAWG

                It is all some know after a post or two on the same subject…

            • Tim In Sav

              Who recruited those QB’s Derek?

          • There is a fine line between “wanting Kirby to fail” and “I told you that switching coaches wouldn’t be the answer.” If you’re excited about saying “I told you so” that ain’t a very good attitude. There is some distance between those two thoughts though, although it does seems difficult to discern on occasion.
            ^ Well phrased.
            Changing Coaches was NOT the answer changing athletic directors was. On a total tangent Phil Fulmer is still available. Give CMR the tools that Kirby is getting and we definitely play in the SECCG this year.
            This schedule is full of nobodies. UNC without their QB(their best player) is nothing, UT at home with no NFLer anywhere should easily render a different result, substitute Ole Miss (without 3 first rounders’) for Bama that is a no-brainer much easier, actually play UF with someone other than your 3rd sting QB and we just got rid of all last year’s loses. There was no reason to fire Richt(I choose to blame UF on Schotty) but there is no excuse in the schedule for expecting less of Kirby than we would have CMR. As stated above any Decatur rec league coach should be able to go undefeated with this team with this schedule. Damn being a total negatron is sooo… easy.

            • PTC DAWG

              CMR had his chances the last 4 years…Let upstart Mizzou in the door twice and a new Uf Coach have some limelight last year. CMR was a damn good coach, especially in the beginning…the 2nd half of his career he showed he couldn’t make a BCS Bowl. I wish him well in Miami, steal some Gator recruits I say.

  8. birddawg91

    While 10 wins is attainable, it will be a much tougher path with UT, UF, AU, and GT all being improved this year. NC to start the season is a tough non conference opponent and swapping ole miss for bama is a wash. Kirby gets 10 wins look out, the future is bright.

  9. Macallanlover

    There is no way to make a serious prediction at this point so I am with the Senator here, wait until mid to late August when we will know a lot more about how healthy this team is, and what players we can count on to perform. But based on available talent for UGA, and assuming they will be at full strength, and eligible, nine or ten wins looks pretty doable in a speculative call in early May

    We have returning talent as good, or better, than both TN and FU and I would be disappointed at anything less than a split with those two. I see the Miss game on the road as a loss, but hey, who knows how they will come through the grind of summer practice and the opening weeks? UNC is a tough call because of the uncertainty at QB and Chubb’s timetable (or even if we even see the pre-injury Chubb again in a UGA uniform.) I would think a W over GT at home should be a certainty (until you look at the lack of DL depth going into the summer.) I am more confident about the offense than I am the defense at this point, regardless of who plays QB. As for coaching’s role in the pick, the only loss I could ever pin on Richt’s game day calls was the fiasco on the goal line against Auburn in 2001. That just sucked and was inexcusable, even for a 1st year coaching staff. I don’t expect a coach’s son to make that mistake so I don’t see calls of a rookie coach being a likely factor in 2016. Pretty narrow range of 8-10 regular season Ws would be my prediction for our floor or ceiling. And that includes the usual one to two games where you don’t win every game you should that 98% of all teams seem to have.

    • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

      “I don’t expect a coach’s son to make that mistake”

      Do you remember the mental farts Derek Dooley made at UT?

      • Macallanlover

        Oops! Although I must say I never would put DD in the class of Smart as a football player, or coach; but he is, technically, a coach’s son. Honestly, I think he is more Barbara’s son.

        • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

          The jury is still out on what kind of HC CKS is. But it does appear he’s better than SoD.

        • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

          And has anyone really liked Barbara? I mean, besides Vince.

  10. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I may not be satisfied with 10 wins. I may not be disappointed with as few as 8 wins. BUT if we have a lot of silly mistakes and bad decision making during the season 10 or even 11 wins won’t be satisfying. If we lose a game or two on a fluke like that Auburn game which will not be named, but otherwise play well, I can live with that fairly easily.

  11. DawgPhan

    if only there was someone who could remind me every day of how many games CMR won over the last, say 7 years…on average…if only someone like that would post those pieces of information every single day…man what a guy could do with that type of information.

    • 3rdandGrantham

      In the overwhelming number of cases (such as above), I’m simply responding to someone else who continues to spout the same, tired lines “Kirby better win 10+,” SECC or bust,” etc. Very rarely if ever do I reply to some entry with such stats…its always someone else who initiates some argument basically implying CMR shouldn’t have been fired and/or Kirby better be a clone of Saban.

      • DawgPhan

        meh. no one is forcing you to keep repeating yourself.

        Expectations for the 2016 season have nothing to do with CMR. You are making it about CMR. My expectation for every season is to win them all.

        This is a you thing.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Not true. I’ve simply replied to those who want to compare CMR and CKS, i.e. ‘CMR won 10 games in ’15 so Smart better win 10+ in ’16.” I’m not the one making it about Richt, others are.

  12. Hopefully not 2012 Derek

    This is hysterical. All the Richtophobes harped forever about his inability here and there. And the lack of a NC. Now. Here they are busting our balls to not dare say a word or expect anything from his replacement. What a bunch of spoiled brats y’all must have been growing up. Probably the cowardly kings of sucker punches. I hope CKS surprises me. I hope he really is the second coming of coaching greatness. I would be glad to be wrong. But Saban has never lost to a former assistant. And none of his proteges have been a quality HC in the SEC. SoD? Muschump? And don’t say McElwain. 4 losses last year? Please. And the 2 brightest pieces of Smart’s coaching staff are holdover’s from SoD’s debacle in Knoxville.

    • PTC DAWG

      I had an issue with 10 years and no SEC Title or even a BCS Bowl to show for our efforts…I will have the same issues with Smart if he does the same…or any other Coach at UGA with such a gap.

  13. SouthernYank

    What’s everyone think of this?

    UNC – W
    Nicholls – W
    Mizzou – W
    Ole Miss – W
    Tenn – L
    SC – W
    Vandy – W
    UF – W
    Kent – W
    Aub – W
    ULL – W
    Tech – W

    • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

      I would trade that Tenn L for a Miss L & Tenn W.

      • SouthernYank

        Going over the schedule, I think, realistically, UGA is superior to every team on the schedule except for UT.

        • SouthernYank

          That game is still winnable.

        • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

          Agreed

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Ole Miss? I’m not being rhetorical…I’m genuinely asking.

        • 81Dog

          what do you think makes UT superior, or so superior they can beat us in Athens? Didn’t they lose a few OL? Is Butch that good of a coach? If we’re even in talent, shouldn’t the better coach and a home field advantage make a difference?

          • SouthernYank

            I think they lost 1 OL. No unit of theirs will be worse than last year, except maybe safeties. But one of their “starters” from last year was only a starter because of an injury early to the real starter. They won’t do too badly back there. But I don’t think you can say most if not all of UGA’s units will be better. Sure, the teams have comparable talent, but UT has more guys coming back. That’s my assessment.

    • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

      Honestly, I don’t see how 10 wins shouldn’t be a certainty.
      UNC is a ?
      Nicholls, Mizzou, SC, Vandy, Kent, ULL & Tech are absolute certain W’s with no excuse for a loss.

      Tenn is in the midst of their rape scandal. The fallout in that isn’t near over and after living here for 13 years, they are always hype until September. Booch hasn’t proven anything yet.

      Ole Miss is cheating their way to the top, but the jury’s out on them.

      ^ Same with FU

      ^ Same with Auburn. In fact, they seem to get worse each year under GusBus.

    • PTC DAWG

      Would be hard to ask for much better…

  14. SouthernYank

    Lets start out with understanding that the only losses that can really happen are UNC, Ole Miss, Tenn, UF, Aub, or Tech.

    Lets throw out Tech immediately. That’s a W for UGA.

    UNC has 14 starters coming back, but not their QB – that kills them. UGA win.

    Ole Miss lost more starters than anyone in the conference. Auburn lost the second most (with Bama). UGA should take advantage of that.

    UF sold its soul last year – they had no business winning like they did. They know it. Everyone knows it. And they lost a bunch of key guys. The D will still be good, but not as good as last year. New QB, new skill guys = UGA W.

    UT is tied for the most returning starters with LSU – 17. They beat UGA last year. They should be better than last year. I think that is the most likely, and likely, loss.

    • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

      Agreed again. I’m very concerned with CKS’ ability to stop a mobile QB or an option attack. GASO put up over 400 yards against his D in Tuscaloosa. And last year’s NC game was a joke of a defense.

    • My two fears about the opener are depth on the defensive line because of the suspensions and a lingering issue at QB if the coaches can’t settle on a starter in fall practice.

      Ole Miss may be down a little on defense, but the offense should be good and they’ve got the best QB Georgia will see this season.

      • SouthernYank

        That is the other most likely other loss. I think UNC is more of a fear than UF re another.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          I too have a bad feeling about the UNC game. They took Clemson to the wire and frankly had a chance to win it, if not for an absolutely horrific offsides call on their onside kickoff attempt near the end of the game. And we all know how close Clemson played Bama in the champ. game.

          • DawgPhan

            Didnt they also almost get beat by tech?

            • DawgPhan

              http://espn.go.com/college-football/recap?gameId=400756942

              yep that happened.

              mighty UNC rallied to beat one of the worst tech teams in recent history.

              • 3rdandGrantham

                So what…it was early in the season as well. UNC was a far better team at seasons end and came very close to knocking off a damn good Clemson team.

                • DawgPhan

                  point being that there is no transitive property of football.

                  UNC nearly beating Clemson who nearly beat Bama isnt a thing.

                • Bob

                  Yeah, it was early. They also got obliterated…not beat, not beat down, but utterly and totally obliterated by Baylor in their bowl game. And yeah, Baylor is a very good football team…but UNC was destroyed in every phase of the game.

                  • PTC DAWG

                    I Still say they are a quality opponent…and an interesting opener, I am glad we scheduled the game.

                    • Bob

                      I don’t disagree. I think they are a very good test. I like the scheduling. Agree with Kirby…two non conference power 5 teams is the right answer.

          • Uglydawg

            I’d forgotten about that. Talk about getting screwed…NC did. They may have played for all the marlbles had the phantom flag not flown. I thought they got cheated, pure and simple.

      • 81Dog

        whaaaaat? Swag Kelly is good????? I haven’t checked the other rosters, but we are looking a run of bad QBs if Swag is the early leader in the clubhouse. I wouldn’t trade Eason’s mouthpiece for that dude.

  15. Comin' Down The Track

    All I can say after slogging through this thread is the 2016-2017 UGA football campaign cannot get here soon enough for me.

    • PTC DAWG

      Nah…was a decent discussion…I am not rushing things, I have much pool/garden/beach time to enjoy.

  16. 69Dawg

    Well see we are still beating a dead horse. Lets forget the past as far as UGA is concerned. I’m with the guys that think you can look at CKS’s time at Bama and hope that he has learned from it. We have always had some great players but not great depth. Kirby wants that to change and I believe it will based on his ability to recruit. We won’t have that depth in 2016, so we had better face the fact that we’re not Bama. We have to play with what we have. If Kirby tries to play Bama’s D against NC, UT and Ole Piss we will get killed. The only game Bama lost was to Ole Miss, the last two years by the way. Kirby has got to get the defense to out play the opponent not out talent them. If he doesn’t then we will need more than just one year to become Bama deep and Bama talented. CJP recognized that and I hope Kirby does too.

  17. W Cobb Dawg

    Some of the things I saw on G-Day gave me hope. Short passes to the TEs or RBs could keep our QB (whomever it is) out of trouble. And sending the WRs further downfield can stretch the field. Maybe this is the year we make opponents pay dearly for loading the box.

    Not so sure we’re in such bad shape on the DL either. With Thompson, Atkins, Hawkins, Barnett, Ledbetter, & Young, we have a 2 deep DL. Newbees Rochester, Carter, Clark, Manac & Marshall provide 5 more bodies of DL depth. And Rivers will be back. So we have good numbers. We just need some of that talented group to step up.

    I like the way the schedule sets up for us. We get ut, aubie & gtu at home. Other than a tough game at Ole Miss, our road schedule looks almost easy. UNC in the dome and fu in Jax are huge, but we get extra time to prepare.

    Kirby’s been full of pleasant surprises so far. I think we’re going to see a more balanced team than what we’re used to. Not sure how many wins we get, but the division title is ours to lose.

  18. MLB2

    The Cocktail Party in 08 was when I started ramping down my expectations. When Spikes buried Knowshon on the first play the team seemed to lay down. The toughness came back some during the Murray era but never to the point that it was from 01-05. That’s what I expect from Kirby. Bring back that attitude and relentlessness. That’s what was missing over the last few years. I think CMR was loyal to a fault and I was always waiting for him to empty the bench during blowouts to find someone who wanted to fight when the starters weren’t competing. Kirby gets a 2 year pass from me. I don’t care about the record as long as the toughness returns. Own the LOS and the wins will come.