Underachieving in 2021

One last thought about Georgia, the Great Underachiever:  when this season is over, how will be characterize the program’s results?

Well, if you share Adam Rittenberg’s perception, it’s a binary choice.  Natty or bust, in other words.  If you want a little more nuance, though, keep reading.  I’ve got three scenarios for you to consider.

Georgia doesn’t play in the SECCG

Yeah, given the state of the division and Georgia’s conference schedule, falling short of a trip to Atlanta would be a fairly massive underachieve.  A no-brainer of a take.

Georgia plays in the SECCG, finishes the regular season 11-2 with losses to Clemson and Alabama and plays in a bowl game

Disappointing?  To be sure.  But do you characterize losing to two of the teams that pretty much every poll, major pundit and advanced stat guru show as higher ranked programs as underachieving, especially if the losses are close ones?  If you do, you don’t think that word means what I think it means.

Georgia plays in the SECCG, finishes the season no worse than 12-1 and qualifies for the CFP

This is where the nuance starts to get fun.  Yes, the regular season schedule is soft after the opener, but consider what Georgia has to do to win a natty this season.  If the Dawgs show up for the national semis, it’s more likely than not they’ll be seeing Alabama and/or Clemson again.  (Remember, in seven seasons of the playoffs, those two programs have only missed the field one time each.)  And if the football gods really want to stack the odds, it’s possible for Georgia to have to play both of them a second time to win a national championship.  That’s got to be an unprecedented gauntlet.  If the Dawgs don’t make it through, does that mean they underachieved?


UPDATE:  The preseason Coaches Poll is out.

All Georgia has to do to win a natty is run through nos. 1 and 2.  More than once.  Easy peasy!


Filed under Georgia Football

67 responses to “Underachieving in 2021

  1. Bulldawg Bill



  2. akascuba

    Win the SEC championship hopefully by beating Bama with no more than a single loss. Anything less if injuries are not the reason would be disappointing this season.
    On paper Bama still has a slight edge in talent. That has me asking Kirby to do what no Saban assistant has ever done. My guess Kirby expects the same of himself.

    Underachieving 2021 is losing to anyone not named Dabo or Saban.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    Yeah, how do you rate it if we win 3 out of 4 against Clemson and Bama, and the loss is in the last game?
    Chicago Cubs/Greg Norman city?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gaskilldawg

      Win 75% of our games against Alabama and Clemson in 2021? Shit no, that is not “underachieving” even if the only loss is the last one.

      Liked by 2 people

    • dawg100

      The Cubbies were never really great, and certainly never in a sustained stretch, and Greg Norman, despite avg to above avg. talent (not elite talent; his success came from above avg work ethic) manged to CHOKE.

      We may have lost leads, but I don’t think you could say we choked away 2012, 2017, 2018 Alabama games.

      The 2018 Alabama team at the time was considered one of best 2-3 teams possibly ever. Many think the SECCG took so much out of them that Clemson was able to ambush them. I agree that is true.

      I am OK that those losses, although painful, were against better teams and not choke jobs, IMO.


  4. munsonlarryfkajim

    Let’s run the gauntlet, beat them both twice, and put an end to this narrative. And beat Florida back into the 80s while we are at it

    Liked by 14 people

  5. JaxDawg

    Having to play two of the best teams twice in the same season, and win all of them except maybe the season opener…what an unprecedented gauntlet. If that happens and we make it, we’ve got a case for the best team in college football history.

    I’m not a “natty or bust” person, but I can empathize with those who are. But that gauntlet is ridiculous and illustrates how the “natty or bust” mindset can rob the joy from an otherwise enjoyable season.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. Teacher Martin

    Yes,yes,and yes.


  7. Atlanta in December – no excuses. Miss the SECCG (1-star – do not recommend)

    I frankly never expect a national championship (do I want one? Hell, yes.). Win it all – overachieve.

    Make the playoff/win the SEC – achieve

    Make the SECCG, lose a close one and win a NY6 bowl game – achieve

    Make the SECCG, get run out of MBS – not achieve

    Give me the circumstances under which some of these happen, and my expectations change. For example, JT goes down and we still make it to Atlanta and play well but lose. I would consider that overachieving.

    I guess I summarize my expectations as “Get to Atlanta in a de facto quarterfinal, play well and let the chips fall where they may.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • miltondawg

      Kind of sums up the way that I feel. No excuses in not getting to Atlanta and that would be a massive underachievement regardless of injuries.

      If we get to Atlanta and have the good fortune to beat Bama, I hope that Clemson, OU, and tOSU are the other three teams in the playoff and that Bama isn’t there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Down Island Way

      Glad you’re not my margarita maker, lotta’ stuff there that can’t be swallowed…kinda’ got three scripts/chapters…season/seccg/cfp, they’re all together but all separate entities…first two (season/seccg) UGA football needs to have success (zero losses), cfp, you can see UGA football playing klempzen/bammers again…


  8. Holiday Inn Bagman

    Scenario 3 is not a disappointment. It’s hard to win the CFP – Bama has 3 titles in six tries, Clemson 2 titles in six tries, Ohio State 1 title in four tries, Oklahoma none in four tries. Let’s get there and see what happens.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. Gaskilldawg

    Saban and John Wooden and a lot of great coaches preach this gospel. Focus on the next play, then the next possession. Wooden wouldn’t even show film of opponents to his team or give his players scouting reports, because he wanted them to focus on doing everything they were supposed to do correctly.
    Today, August 10th, if we play our best every game we will have achieved regardless of the scores. If we play our best and the other team scores more, it doesn’t mean we underachieved it means the other guy achieved, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Failing to play for the SEC title would be a massive face plant.

    I think 11-2 with losses to Clemson and Bama would be a disappointment because that would mean UGA would go 0-2 against teams it fashions itself after.

    The real pain in the ass would be my nightmare scenario of UGA going 12-0 with a tight win over Clemson. The Tiger follow it up with 12 straight wins to win the ACC title and UGA loses by 7-10 to Bama in the Benz and it gets left out of the playoff and Clemson gets in. While we would all scream holy hell, I think that scenario isn’t as far off as it might sound in early August.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think your scenario is a real one. The SECCG loser hasn’t gotten in the playoff, and given the environment regarding the SEC right now, I don’t think the committee puts the loser in. The championship game is a quarterfinal this year especially if Notre Dame is undefeated or only has 1 loss. Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re out.


    • akascuba

      Georgia is required to win the SEC championship to get into the playoffs. You won’t find that in writing anywhere. None the less it’s still factual until proven wrong.

      Only Bama, tOSU and of course Notre Dame have a chance to win the ESPN spin of approval to not win a conference championship and still get in.


  11. W Cobb Dawg

    Maybe getting away from the discussion, but if a team doesn’t show for a game, a la Vandy, and it deprived us of a win, is that considered underachieving when looking at Kirby’s overall won-loss record?


  12. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2024)

    CFB Playoffs or Bust.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Derek

    Natty or bust.

    There’s no reason to discuss any other scenarios.

    Just win them all (and have an insurmountable lead at the half so we don’t have to worry.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. PTC DAWG

    Get to ATL is the playoffs…IMHO…has the winner of that game ever been left out?


  15. sirjackshea1980

    My God, will August never end? Whaddaya got?

    Liked by 5 people

  16. You either make the Playoff or you don’t. Thems the rules. Us fans aren’t the ones who set that bar, the schools did when they created the damn thing. Of course, that is why they now want to expand it,

    SEC Championship is worthless now. We all learned that the hard way in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      Beating Auburn for a SEC Championship is worthless?


      Liked by 4 people

      • mddawg

        I don’t agree that it’s worthless, but let’s say we somehow win the SECCG but miss out on the playoffs. I know it’s unlikely, but just entertain the idea for a moment. Would you consider it an underachieving season? There are probably quite a few people who would be disappointed, reinforcing the idea that conference championships don’t matter anymore.


        • Derek


          Those people are morons.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Beating Auburn for the SEC Champ is worthless to people who want the liberal media to quit saying mean things about our Dawgs. Thats how. The talk will continue and is valid until the whole damn thing is won.

            Again – thats not our choice as fans, its just the setup the schools decided was best when they started the playoff.


            • Derek

              People need to grow the fuck up. Will i be any happier because national sports media suckles kirbys left nut like its nick saban’s? Not a bit. Why should I?


      • stoopnagle

        I think ryan means it is perceived as worthless.

        I certainly value it, and I bet most if not all commenters on this website value it, but if you stretch out to the unwashed masses then it’s value is much less. Otherwise we wouldn’t hear how UGA underachieves and never plays in meaningful games and all this other bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Derek

          I care about the opinions of people I don’t care about even less than the people I don’t care about. I’d suggest folks would be more content if they did likewise.


    • PTC DAWG

      SEC Championship will never be worthless to me. YMMV.

      Liked by 3 people

  17. gurkhadawg

    Alabama and Clemson have it much tougher than we do. They may have to play and beat US twice!

    Liked by 6 people

  18. debbybalcer

    Play each game with everything we have and I am not disappointed.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Godawg

    It’s simple, we just have to be able to beat Bama. Nuff said.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    In the world of the CFP everybody is equal except some are more equal than others…If we beat Clemson in the opener Clemson still gets in. If we beat Bama in the SECCG Bama still gets in. If we beat them both we still have to play ‘em in the playoff. Lose to them and we’re out. In 2017 Bama didn’t even win its Division but the committee put the Tide in the playoff anyway. Explain to me again how this process is supposed to be fair.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. stoopnagle

    If we don’t win the East and play in Atlanta, we should fire everybody and start all over. We were winning before we hired Kirby. He’s here to do one thing: put trophies in the case (and I don’t mean another NY6 Bowl). If he can’t manage to get to Atlanta with this team and this schedule… then maybe he ain’t the guy.

    To me, achieving is making the playoff. If we do that without winning in ATL, fine; but I’m skeptical.


  22. DawgFlan

    Is UGA the current king of the “close but no cigar” programs? Yep.

    But give me a break on the most underachieving. Aside from the Herschel years, and until about 2005-2007, we were a definite 2nd tier program in the SEC, much less nationally. Bama, UT, and LSU were all better programs and more prestigious jobs, and more recently UF also. Before 2003, we never even finished higher then second in the Eastern division. We have historically treaded water with Auburn.

    Several things changed to make UGA a better destination for coaches, and a better program overall:

    1) Richt elevated the program
    2) Post-Olympic growth and demographic changes to Atlanta region
    3) Evolution of GA High School Football – GA was way behind other “hotbed” states to move to pro/passing offenses
    4) The decline/struggles of the monster programs that traditionally recruited GA/nationally – FSU, UTenn, UTex, USC, UM, ND, Nebraska
    5) Recent recruiting struggles by peers UF and AU
    6) UGA was dragged, kicking and screaming, into facilities improvements

    To say we were the same program 20, even 15 years ago that we are today is revisionist history. No excuses why we can’t win it all now or in the near future, but as some like to say – context matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DawgFlan

      dangit meant to put this in the “other” underachievement post.


    • Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2024)

      I don’t understand why this is so difficult to understand.

      What you are listing there? THAT IS THE UNDERACHIEVEMENT. 🤦🏻‍♂️


  23. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    Since 2008 the Great Underachiever is really Florida not Georgia. A team that won 2 natties in a 3 year period then fell off a cliff. No more natties. Not even a conference championship. FU did win division titles only to get totally whacked by the West team every time. This from a team that is the flagship university in the third most populated state in the nation and a hotbed for HS football. Narratives are created by sportscasters and they all LUV FU so they’ll never say it, but it’s the truth.


  24. dawgphan34

    So much has to go right for UGA to win a title this season or any other season. It’s hard to judge based on that.

    But I think that we would really need to show a lot of progress of being a more dynamic offense and that means putting up big numbers.

    So if we get to the end of this season and the Off YPP isnt up, if we dont have a 1000yard skill player, if JT throws for 2600 yards, or Gilbert has 26 catches on the season.

    Those are the things that I would view as underachieving. Those would be negative indicators if I was evaluating at the end of the year.


  25. miltondawg

    With regards to the preseason poll, I think that preseason polls are rather meaningless. Win and the rankings take care of themselves. That being said, since you hear from multiple reporting services that Georgia has as much talent as anyone in the nation maybe short of Bama (and some think Ohio State), So what does a number five ranking in light of all that accumulated talent say? Can’t be an overly difficult gauntlet in weeks 2 through 13. Is that about who is at the helm of the ship?


    • sirjackshea1980

      Uncle Milty…pretty much everything except practice reports written before, and sometimes after kickoff is meaningless swill. The only thing that matters is when the wins and losses are tallied at the end, will you be there.


  26. Doggoned

    Play your asses off all season, and we’ll be proud and happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. uga97

    Beating both helps the odds of not facing them again. Put that in the locker room.