Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mark Richt's Biggest Game

During his tenure as coach at UGA, Richt has had some bad stretches. These lulls have occurred more frequently from 2006-present. This year however, is a little different -- think back to the last couple of seasons -- what were fans saying? Here's what I remember: "We have GOT to fire Willie" or "Well, when we get a new QB things will be different". The "Willie" excuse is out for this year, and quite frankly, I think blaming the players has grown stale. But what Richt has always been able to do is find a way to "climb out" of these holes. Here are the worst stretches during his tenure and how we bounced back:

1. 2006 -- lost 4 out of 5 games during SEC play (included an embarrassing home loss to Vandy). Most blamed the new freshman QB but this kind of losing was new the UGA under Richt.

Turning Point: Crushed #5 Auburn 37-15 at their place. After we beat Tech at home and VA Tech in Bowl game, all was well again.

2. 2007 -- Got blown out at Tennessee and barely beat Vandy on the road. This is where I (and a lot of Dawg fans) really started questioning Willie's abilities.

Turning Point: Shocked UF in Jacksonville 42-30, didn't lose another game, and crushed Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. All was well and we were preseason number 1 the next year.

3. 2008 -- Got embarrassed by Alabama at home as a #3 ranked team.

Turning Point: Beat LSU at their place, scoring 52 points.

4. 2008 -- Got embarrassed by UF in Jax....then blew a 16 point halftime lead against Tech at home.

The problem with this UF/Tech loss is there WAS NO turning point. We beat a so-so Michigan State team in the bowl game and still won ten games but most of us had a sour taste in our mouths after starting the season ranked #1. The only real "turning point" for Richt was that fans were blaming Willie first, the players second, and Richt third.

5. 2009 -- Looked horrible in the opener against Okie State.

Turning Point -- Beat S. Carolina at home and Arkansas on the road, still 2-0 in SEC play.

6. 2009 -- After losing expectantly to UF, we were shocked at home by Kentucky.

Turning Point -- Fired Willie then beat Tech.

7. 2010 -- Lost to South Carolina.

Turning Point: ???

Richt has never started 0-2 in SEC play, and quite frankly, I think it could spell doom for CMR if we lose. Don't forget, we actually have an AD now that has some power. He comes from a winning team (UF) and if you think Richt can get by winning 8 or 9 games a year at UGA, ask Jim Donnan. You can't blame a possible loss Saturday on A.J.'s absence either. We have superior athletes at every position (sans wide receiver and QB), we're desperate, and we're playing at home. There is no Willie to blame, Arkansas is 1-8 in its last 9 road games, and Ryan Mallet was pretty bad on the road last year (39% completion percentage). I think CMR is out of excuses.

I really don't feel like rebuilding the team with a new coach so I hope Richt figures it gut says he better do it by this Saturday.

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