I certainly didn’t enjoy it at the time, and Bill Connelly’s return to that season doesn’t make me feel any better about it.
It’s not particularly unusual for a team with a mediocre record to rank pretty highly in S&P+, just as it’s not unusual for a team with a great record to grade out as a mediocre team.
That said, Georgia and Miami went a combined 13-13 … and ranked 12th and 13th, respectively. That’s a bit much. So let’s walk through their seasons and try to understand why they ended up where they ended up.
Georgia (6-7, 12th)
(Opponents’ rankings below are their S&P+ rankings, in case it wasn’t clear.)
- Sept. 4: beat No. 118 UL-Lafayette, 55-7 (post-game win expectancy: 98%)
- Sept. 11: lost to No. 16 South Carolina, 17-6 (4%)
- Sept. 18: lost to No. 5 Arkansas, 31-24 (32%)
- Sept. 25: lost to No. 35 Mississippi State, 24-12 (35%)
- Oct. 2: lost to No. 67 Colorado, 29-27 (89%)
- Oct. 9: beat No. 43 Tennessee, 41-14 (100%)
- Oct. 16: beat No. 88 Vanderbilt, 43-0 (100%)
- Oct. 23: beat No. 50 Kentucky, 44-31 (94%)
- Oct. 30: lost to No. 26 Florida, 34-31 (57%)
- Nov. 6: beat FCS Idaho State, 55-7 (100%)
- Nov. 13: lost to No. 6 Auburn, 49-31 (32%)
- Nov. 27: beat No. 61 Georgia Tech, 42-34 (86%)
- Dec. 31: lost to No. 53 UCF, 10-6 (33%)
So they went 0-5 against top-40 teams, which certainly doesn’t belie top-15 status. And to be sure, the fact that I keep priors in the ratings all the way through the end of the season now (a recent change) props the Dawgs up a bit, since they were awesome for most of the run-up to 2010.
That said, a) when the Dawgs won, they dominated (average winning margin: 31.2 points), and b) postgame win expectancy says they were really unlucky to lose to Colorado and probably should have gone at least 1-4 or 2-3 against Arkansas, MSU, Florida, Auburn, and UCF.
Their second-order win total (which simply adds up the post-game win probabilities) was 8.6, which suggests they were closer to a 9-4 team than 6-7. And obviously a 9-4 Georgia team with a top-30 strength of schedule is going to be right at home in the S&P+ top 15. So it’s semi-justifiable, at least.
So many bad memories… awful loss at Colorado capping an ugly four-game losing streak, embarrassing no show in the bowl game, etc. There was also the painful loss in Jacksonville when it looked like Georgia might beat Corch, only to blow it in overtime.
But, yeah, this shouldn’t have been anywhere close to a seven-loss team and when you combine that with the lack of a single thrilling win over a quality opponent, that’s how you wind up at the low point of Georgia football during Richt’s term in Athens.