Reflections on a sieve

Lately, I’ve watched more than a few clips from Georgia’s 2010 and 2011 seasons and I find myself asking the same question afterwards:  what would Aaron Murray’s career have been like playing behind Sam Pittman’s 2017 and 2018 offensive lines?

I know it’s popular in some quarters to rag on Murray’s shortcomings, but, jeez, looking back, he was scrambling for his life more than he should have then.  2011 in particular is striking, as Bobo was changing the offense to go more uptempo but was stuck with Justin Anderson at right tackle, a road grader who didn’t have the quicks to pass protect at a consistent level.

Somehow, despite the o-line ranking seventh in sacks allowed in 2010 and eleventh in 2011, Murray finished a respectable fourth in the conference in passer rating both seasons.  You’d have to think that would have been better with a little more support.

Thoughts?  What’s your biggest “what if” from the Richt years?

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108 Comments

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108 responses to “Reflections on a sieve

  1. rjc

    What if mcgarity had actually opened up the checkbook and did what it took to keep bobo in place as the oc… his box of crayons was on fire when he left…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure it would have mattered. Bobo was ready for a head coaching job at that point.

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      • J-Dawg

        Disagree. Can’t win in a soft conference. Had Bauta and didn’t develop him. Time for Bobo to come home after Coley moves on.

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        • PTC DAWG

          IF Kirby takes that route, I’ll be shocked.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Otto

          Disagree, Bobo was always good for a head scratcher of a game, and didn’t adapt to the talent he had.

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        • I’m talking about when he took the CSU job. He wasn’t staying in Athens regardless of the money.

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          • Mayor

            A mistake for Bobo to take the CSU job and history proves it. If Bobo had stayed in Athens who knows how many more games the Dawgs would have won? And Bobo likely would have been in line, like Kirby was, for the HC job at a major college in a top conference like the SEC–UT for example.Bobo definitely should have stayed and IMHO if McCheap hadn’t acted like such an ass and offered him more money to stay Bobo likely would have stayed. I agree that CSU likely will fire him in a few more years. Maybe he will come back to Athens one day and if does I’ll welcome him back.

            Liked by 2 people

    • 3rdandGrantham

      That was absolutely trivial and would have only served to mask the systemic problems elsewhere. It basically would have been akin to giving a stage 4 cancer patient additional pain meds.

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      • 79Dawg

        This is nuts. The offense was humming from 2011-2014. Bobo’s offense and Pruitt’s defense would have been stout, particularly given their ace recruiting skills. Many forget that, had Pruitt been able to cobble together something in Columbia in 2014 or been able to stop Florida running right at us over and over again in Jacksonville, we would’ve been in the SEC Championship game again. (We almost made it anyway, but Mizzou scraped by Arkansas, and I strongly suspect that was on the team’s mind a day later when they couldn’t get it together for Tech; people forget but we were headed to the Orange Bowl until we fumbled twice on the 1 and couldn’t get it together…) I also think Bobo could have been a moderating influence on Pruitt, but he definitely wanted to be a HC, so c’est la vie….

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          What’s nuts is in your one paragraph, you made 5 separate excuses as to why we didn’t succeed more in ’14. if we stopped UF, if we didn’t fumble, if Mizzou didn’t beat Ark, etc….hell, let’s go ahead rewrite the history books so that every single bounce went our way – including division rivals we needed to lose – all while retaining the bounces that actually did go our way, and proclaim UGA as the ’14 champs with a 14-0 record.

          Oh, and that trouncing at home by Mizzou and little Vandy also beating us in Sanford to boot, surely we can come up with some lucky bounces/freak plays as to why we lost those games and rewrite them as victories accordingly.

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          • 79Dawg

            What’s even nuttier is you think the losses to Mizzou and Vandy were in 2014, when in fact it was 2013, after seemingly everyone got injured in Knoxville (but where we still gutted out the win)….
            2014 was the following year – Pruitt’s first – and had any number of breaks gone our way in Columbia, we would have been division champs, given that we annihilated Mizzou (the eventual division champ). Again, my point is that had Bobo and Pruitt stuck together for more than just 2014,they would’ve been quite a force!

            Liked by 1 person

            • 3rdandGrantham

              Regardless of year, you still are making excuses. IF we won have beaten SCU, if Mizzou would have lost, etc…..perhaps Bobo and Pruitt would have been a force. Of course, this fails to recognize the slew of other problems at hand within the program, with weak CEO leadership in place. After all, Pruitt has always been a headcase, and Bobo was destined to get a hc job and money that he simply wouldn’t have turned down. Yet you think somehow all of that would have magically worked out anyway.

              Oh, let’s not forget the 800 lb gorilla in the room…the 2013 recruiting class, which did tremendous damage to the team/roster soon after. the coaches knew at fall camp that year that most of the class would end up being a bust and would harm them soon after.

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  2. My biggest “what ifs” about the Richt years are:

    1) What if Terrence Edwards catches that pass in the Florida game 2002?
    2) What if Michael Johnson doesn’t catch that pass in the Auburn game a couple of weeks later?
    3) What if GMcG stands up for A.J. and TG3II against the NCAA?
    4) What if the pass doesn’t get tipped directly to Chris Conley?
    5) What if Kneeland 2013 never happens?
    6) My biggest one … What if Richt never promotes Two Thumbs and stands beside him after the West Virginia debacle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bat City Dawg

      In regards to your #1, IMO the bigger regret from that game is not running Fred Gibson deep as a decoy. If you recall, there was mystery around an injured thumb, “will he or won’t he play”. IMO at least just run him deep, and even just one or two overthrows to keep UF honest would have opened up the entire offense that day. Instead we played it safe and were completely contained with no deep threat

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      • The decision to bring in DJ and have him throw a terrible pick 6 when Greene has the offense humming early … ugh.

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        • BMan

          To me, there are too many “what ifs” to be able to consider. And not the what if situations in individual games, like bringing in Shockley against Florida when Green was moving the team. But there were too many program-level what ifs. What if he didn’t promote Willie and keep him well beyond the sell-by date? What if Richt/Bobo/whoever didn’t treat the offensive line as an afterthought? What if Rodney Garner didn’t have Athens under his spell for so long? What if S&C improved consistently after the shine of mat drills wore off? What if the team didn’t lay at least one egg every year? What if we figured a way to combat the administration and Jimmy Williams seemingly actively looking to hamstring the program over minor incidents? Sigh.

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    • Mayor

      1) Georgia likely plays for and probably wins the BCSNCG. 2) We have another year like Donnan had in ’97 winning a lot of games but no title. 3) Likely both play and Georgia gets no penalties–just like Auburn and the Cam Newton situation. 4) We line up again and Murray throws a TD on the next play–Georgia is SEC Champion and beats ND for the BCSNC. 5) Georgia wins the East and possibly the SECCG–beyond that it is too difficult to say. 6) Depends on who CMR would have hired as DC–If somebody good the sky would have been the limit.

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  3. Biggus Rickus

    What if they’d played up to even 80% of their potential the first half of the 2007 season?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Russ

    Obviously we could have used Pittman’s coaching in 2011 when we had the largest line in all of organized football, yet lost to the mighty mights from Boise. Still, the offense hummed along okay once the season got going. I always thought the problem with those teams was defense.

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  5. TN Dawg

    What if there wasn’t a “You can’t play for the National Champinship if you don’t win your division” unofficial rule that was in place for one year only because ESPN c*cksuckers said it was so?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mayor

      That was created out of thin air only to keep Georgia from playing for a national championship by ESPN talking heads who had a conflict of interest because they played for or coached rival teams or teams that Georgia had horribly waxed in the past. Granny Holtz (HC at USCe who Georgia repeatedly beat like a drum); Jesse Palmer (GayTurd QB); Kirk Herbstreit (who Georgia completely manhandled in the Citrus Bowl ); Mark May (I don’t get his disaffection for Georgia since he was on a Pitt team that beat the Dawgs and won a nattie but it’s there); Charles Davis (former UT DB) and I think Tom Luginbill was saying that too (former GT QB). All of those lobbied on the air INTENSELY to have the voters in the last poll of the year not allow Georgia into the BCSNCG because the Dawgs “hadn’t even won their division.” And it worked. UGA dropped in the final polls so the Dawgs didn’t get to play. Only time that has ever happened and several of them have openly advocated for other teams (usually Bama) that “haven’t even won their division” to be in the BCSNCG or 4 team playoff either before or since.

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      • UnderDog68

        May wasn’t on that 1981 team that beat UGA in the Sugar. May’s reasons for hating on UGA come from the previous season when he believes, and perhaps rightly, that Pitt should have played UGA in the Sugar Bowl for the championship. Pitt had only one loss, to an FSU team that played Oklahoma in the Orange. ND had one loss to USC (the real one) and one tie….to a GT team that finished 1-9-1. May further believes that Pitt would have won, due to UGA’s schedule….which wasn’t all that tough, to be honest.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          I think he is referring to the 1976 Pitt team that beat us in the Sugar Bowl and won a MNC. The 1981 Pitt team did not win the MNC. Clemson won it in 1981.

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          • UnderDog68

            Nah. May’s playing days at Pitt were from 1977-1980. He was a senior in high school during the 1976 football season. He has stated his reasons for his UGA dislike before….and it’s all about the 1980 season.

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  6. Greg

    They criticize cause they do not know why the “fly fock” they are talking about. Good question though, the same could be asked with some of the great RB we had…..but getting back to Aaron Murray, the last I looked he holds the all- time SEC passing record.

    He gets NO criticism from me, we were lucky to have him.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aladawg

    Alabama 2012. What if?

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    • Greg

      Bama got luck, as usual. By Saban’s own admission, the fellow who tipped that pass should have been playing pass coverage.

      But what the hell….rather be lucky than good??
      Got to catch up with them at some point.

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    • Greg

      Bama got luck on that play. By Saban’s on admission, the fellow who tipped the pass should have been playing pass coverage rather than coming in.

      But what the hell…”rather be lucky than good”??

      Gotta catch up with them at some point.

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      • Biggus Rickus

        They got lucky on that play, sure, but they also ran for 350 yards. My what-if for that team would be something along the lines of, “What if Georgia had some defensive line depth in 2012?”

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        • Greg

          Some say you make your own luck…but I agree, we had our chances.

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        • BA Baracus

          Exactly. We had 3 game-changing plays go in our favor in that game: a successful fake punt that led to our first TD, a scoop/score off a blocked FG, and an interception in our endzone to prevent a Bama score. Those 3 plays alone were essentially a 24 point swing in our favor, it it still wasn’t enough because Bama just had their way with us on the LOS.

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          • Got Cowdog

            I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw that game that way.

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            • RandallPinkFloyd

              If we played Bama 10 times that year, we MIGHT have beaten them twice. We had a lot of things go our way that day. What really pisses me off is that the refs (shocker) let Dial get away with that hit on Murray.

              Also, remember Jarvis Jones disappearing in that game? I remember Wolfson saying he was sick that day or something.

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              • Got Cowdog

                I do remember that. He had the flu and had practiced very little that week. I don’t think he would have made the difference had he been healthy.
                That’s what I will remember most about CMR’s teams. They were touted and talented, but you put them up against a good, disciplined football team that came to play and they would shit the bed every time, it seemed. I like to think Kirby is fixing it. The unsettling thing is the flashback I experienced with UT in the Sugar Bowl.

                Liked by 1 person

              • Biggus Rickus

                Jones had three tackles for loss (two sacks) in the game. If he disappeared, it was because Alabama stopped throwing once they realized they didn’t have to.

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                • RandallPinkFloyd

                  My mistake.

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                  • Got Cowdog

                    I could swear he was sick before that game. Maybe I’m thinking about another one.

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                    • Biggus Rickus

                      He may have been sick, but if so, he made plays in spite of it. The only reason Georgia stopped Alabama at all is because they kept killing drives by dropping back. Jones and co. lived in backfield on passing plays.

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                    • RandallPinkFloyd

                      He was sick, I was just wrong about him disappearing. Jarvis had 3 TFLs (2 sacks) and evidently had a forced fumble, too. Has Biggus alluded to, my guess is once they learned they could tear off 8 yards a play via Yeldon and Lacy, Jarvis couldn’t do what he did best.

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              • Well, Jarvis was sick for five years with the Steelers too, so…

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  8. Bright Idea

    What if Richt had practiced good on good? Even GDay was a joke. 1s versus 2s with a running clock.

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  9. 3rdandGrantham

    This may sound like I’m generalizing things without honing in on any specifics, but if Richt simply was better at running the program overall with a proactive approach instead of a reactive one – combined with a sense of urgency to boot – he would probably still be coach. Instead, the atmosphere was one that was generally laid back, and there were constant fires popping up that Richt was attempting to put out.

    From recruiting gross mismanagement, to weak assistant coaches, to constant discipline issues, horrid S&C program, a passive CEO (CMR), and all the rest…no real one fix or solution would have solved the myriad problems at hand. Sure, a better OL would have helped, but recall that Bobo favored smaller/quicker OL, and neither of them put anywhere near the emphasis in OL recruiting than they did the skill positions, and they also weren’t as concerned from a S&C perspective either.

    So yea…proactive instead of reactive might have done the trick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim

      Exactly. All the talk about BM not opening the checkbook is a joke. Richt hadn’t proven he was capable of managing a program. There are head coaches and there are people who have the title head coach but in reality are running a program. Very few fall into the latter category – but they are easy to identify – it’s the ones in realistic playoff contention year in and year out. What’s that, maybe 8-10 programs? Richt was not capable of doing that if he had all the money in the world

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        Correct; additional money would not have solved the laissez faire atmosphere or overall approach. A bigger/better weight room, for example, wouldn’t have solved the lax S&C program, and besides it was CMR’s job to push back hard against the admins as to what he needed. Instead, he not only went along with everything, he took it a step further and agreed to spend an ever-increasing portion of his time focusing on fundraising instead of actually running the program. Hell, even he admitted during his exit PC that he made a big mistake letting the admins persuade him to focus more of his time with fundraising.

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  10. Derek

    What if 11 throws left to TK instead of to the short side?

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    • Jim

      What if we’d had some quality D Line depth to prevent alabama’s Strategy in the 2nd half of the ‘12 game of lining up and running it down our throat? Whether 11 threw to the boundary or field, whether the tip went right to Conley or not, whether their OLB was rushing when he should have been in coverage wouldn’t have mattered because we would have won the game

      The “Alabama got lucky” narrative has some truth but i also believe you can make your own luck by having as many good players as possible and putting them in position to make plays.

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  11. DavetheDawg

    Aaron is having some PTSD-type flashbacks as we speak because of the craptacular offensive line he currently plays with in Atlanta. Yet, he’s still producing. I hope someone in the NFL is paying attention.

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  12. Go Dawgs!

    1) What if Terrence Edwards catches that ball against Florida?
    2) What if Chris Conley doesn’t catch that ball against Alabama?
    3) What if Richt doesn’t hire Schottenheimer?
    4) What if Richt doesn’t promote Willie?

    1 and 2 still sting to this day, though I really don’t blame Conley for the play, I just really wish he’d dropped or batted down the ball. 3 and 4 hurt less these days because we’ve got Kirby and if Richt were still here we’d be playing against Kirby’s Gamecocks every year and that makes me want to puke.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Thank God for #2, otherwise we may still be stuck with him as HC, while Kirby would be tearing it up at SCU, AU, or VT.

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      • Jeff Sanchez

        Yeah, “stuck” with a SEC and NC winning coach. The horror!

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          NC winning coach? When? SEC? – Yea, that happened 10 years prior. Fact is CMR was running a dysfunctional program and had a horrid record against ranked opponents the last 8-9 years of his tenure – going something like 16-31 overall. 2015 is a perfect example of this – we won 10 games but beat exactly zero P5 opponents with a winning record, all while going 0-3 against ranked teams. Yet after his dismissal the whole “we fired a 10 win coach!’ was the common phrase of the day.

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          • Jeff Sanchez

            Ummmm….YOU brought up #2, hoss.

            Presuming CC doesn’t catch that ball, we get another pass and win the SEC in 2012 (giving him three in 10 seasons) and then trounce Notre Dame for the NC.

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        • PTC DAWG

          I’m not sure a Richt coached team would have beaten ND. YMMV

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          • Yeah, the team that took Bama to the wire couldn’t have beaten ND. We know you hate saying anything positive about Richt, but there is no one who doesn’t believe the de facto 2012 national championship game was played in Atlanta.

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      • PTC DAWG

        Correct…

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  13. That’s easy… If he had let Murray (A Coach on the Field by then) line the team up on the four and call the play at the line, based on how Bama set up. To this day, I think that instant decision cost Richt his Job.

    Honorable Mention – if Shockley doesn’t get hurt, Georgia beats Florida and likely ends up in the National Championship Game, where they would have whipped OSU or Miami. They were faster and more physical than both of those teams.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jack Burton

      We wouldn’t have been in the title game that year over Texas or USC.

      If you are referring to 2002, that is solely on Terrance Edwards. He cost us the Florida game all by himself.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. stoopnagle

    What if Aaron had clocked it with :15 on the clock?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thatguy

    What if Knowshon doesn’t redshirt in 2006?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ricky McDurden

    What if Cordarrelle Patterson came to UGA instead of UT in 2012?
    What if UGA had pursued Ronnie Brown out of Cartersville and featured him at RB 01-04?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Jack Burton

    What if Terrance Edwards catches the goddamn ball in Jacksonville. That’s it.

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  18. MDDawg

    In general, “what if the offense and defense had both been good at the same time?” Seems like there were at least a few years where one side was humming along great and the other side was struggling. Maybe that goes back to the roster management issues that have been discussed and dissected here before.

    Others that haven’t been mentioned yet:
    What if we don’t let Auburn come roaring back to win in 2010? It would have been sweet to knock them off their national title run.
    What if the Prayer at Jordan-Hare doesn’t happen? Murray led the team to take the lead late in the game, and that would have cemented his place (even more so) in Bulldog lore if not for the miracle catch. Hell, even after Auburn’s miracle catch he still marched the team back down the field and almost made it happen. What if a targeting penalty gets called on the last hit Murray took in that game?
    What if we don’t squib kick against Georgia Tech in 2014? Make them drive the length of the field with almost no time left.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. artful codger

    What if we could have more often had a great offense paired with a great defense in the same season. We always seemed to have one, but not the other. 2002 being a notable exception.

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  20. Navin Johnson

    This thread is the most Georgia fan thread ever. I love all y’all and our shared PTSD. Go Dawgs!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. FlyingPeakDawg

    What if both Corch and Saban aren’t in the conference with unlimited support to do whatever it took to win championships?

    Liked by 4 people

    • siskey

      I like the above list but I think my “what if” would be: What if, we knew what was coming when Meyer took over in 2005 and Saban took over in 2008?

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hobnail_Boot

    1) What if David Greene and Billy Bennett don’t have their worst ever games on the same day? (@ LSU, 2003). We’d have played Ole Miss in Atlanta and Oklahoma for the title.

    2) What if Bobo runs Knowshon in the red zone vs. SCU in 2007?

    3) What if Gurley hadn’t signed those jerseys?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. AJ

    David Greene and Matt stafford. Our lines were average t above average

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  24. PTC DAWG

    What if a frog had pockets? He’d carry pistols and shoot snakes.

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  25. Otis Day

    What if CMR had been fired after the loss to UCF in the Liberty Bowl

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got Cowdog

      Not a Richt era boo-boo but had something to do with him: What if Donnan hadn’t lost three in a row to tech?

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  26. ugafidelis

    What if we could have just beat the damn gators?

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  27. J.G.

    What if Richt and Bobo had landed Deshaun Watson? Sadly, I think I know the answer: they’d have turned him into a slot receiver. I can hear Scott Howard now: “Lambert to Watson for seven!” This is a real downer of an alternate universe I’ve entered.

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  28. Tony Barnfart

    What if the September 11th attacks never happen ? D.J. Shockley plays that week vs. Houston and exhausts his eligibility before the 2005 season.

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  29. WNash

    My biggest what if is….What if the current CFP format was operating from 2001.

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  30. W Cobb Dawg

    I always thought AM shoulda run it more anyway. I thought he was quicker and more athletic than Conner Shaw, and Shaw sure did RPOs effectively. But we were slavish about drop back passers never, ever tucking it in.

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  31. CB

    What if Richt had ever had more than a couple of seasons with two competent coordinators.

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  32. Mark

    Nick Saban certainly though so. He said as much after the national championship game against ND that season.

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  33. What if March Richt had taken the University of Virginia job and we had hired Jerry Sandusky instead?

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  34. Or Mark Richt even

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  35. illinidawg

    What if the NVA had poisoned the creek running through Khe Sanh?

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  36. What if Bruce Jenner never became a gurl?

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  37. it’s a true mess I’ve made of affairs…. And I’m not nearly a decathalon fan.

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  38. Former Fan

    2 what ifs.

    What if Terrance Edwards catches that pass?
    What if Chris Conley doesn’t catch that pass?

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