What’s missing at Georgia? Absolutely nothing

 

 

The question was a sincere one from a young reporter who really wanted to know:

What’s missing at Georgia?

His point: The SEC has won four national championships since Mark Richt got to Georgia in 2001. None of them belonged to the Bulldogs. Florida has won two of the last three BCS titles. LSU won national championships in 2003 and 2007 and has won three SEC championships in the past eight years. Georgia was ranked No. 1 prior to the 2008 season and finished with a “disappointing” 10-3 record.

So he wanted to know what those programs have that Georgia doesn’t have.

I didn’t agree with the premise of the question but I wanted to give him an answer backed up with some facts. So I crunched a few numbers and came up with this answer: There is nothing missing at Georgia that a little perspective, and maybe an All-SEC defensive end or two, wouldn’t cure.

I do a weekly radio show out of Nashville (104.5 The Zone) and last Wednesday a caller asked me if Richt would be in trouble if he had another “disappointing” season. He was serious.

Now Mark Richt certainly doesn’t need me to make a case for him. But let’s all take a deep breath here and try to take some of the emotion of last season out of the process.

Here is what the top six football programs in the SEC have accomplished in the eight years that Mark Richt has been at Georgia:

Team————Wins—–SEC wins*—–SEC Champ—-BCS Bowls——-BCS titles

Georgia———-82———–46—————-2——————3——————-0

LSU—————-82———–45—————-3——————4——————-2

Florida————77———–46—————2——————-3——————-2

Auburn————71———–43————–1——————-1——————-0

Tennessee——–68———–42————–0——————-0——————-0

Alabama———-62————35————-0——————-1——————–0

*–Does not count SEC championship game appearances

Here is a look behind those numbers:

Nobody has won more games (82) and more conference games (46) in eight years than Richt. LSU is tied for total wins and Florida is tied for conference wins.

Only seven men in the history of Division I-A football have won 80 games in their first eight seasons as a head coach. Richt is one of those seven.

Only LSU, with three, has won more SEC championships in that span than Richt’s two. He has taken Georgia to the SEC championship game three times in eight seasons. Only LSU has been there more, with four appearances.

What about the national championships won by Florida and LSU while Georgia fans are still waiting for their first since 1980? Okay, that’s fair. But consider this: Winning a national championship is a function of being good but, in the BCS system, it is also a function of luck.

Auburn wasn’t lucky in 2004 despite being undefeated. Southern Cal and Oklahoma started the season ranked 1-2 and both went undefeated. They finished ahead of Auburn and the Tigers didn’t get the chance to play for the title.

In 2006 Florida was ranked No. 4 on championship Saturday but caught a break when No. 2 Southern Cal lost to UCLA. Florida jumped over No. 3 Michigan and into the championship game with Ohio State. If Southern Cal takes care of business, the Gators go to the Sugar Bowl and don’t win Urban Meyer’s first national championship.

In 2007 LSU began championship Saturday ranked No. 7. But losses by No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia opened the door and LSU vaulted to No. 2. LSU proved it was the best team in the country when it trounced Ohio State in the BCS championship game. But if either Missouri or West Virginia wins, LSU never gets that chance.

The point is that if a coach with all the resources he needs is not competing at the top of his conference, then he is fair game. Georgia fans should expect their program to play at the highest level and to compete for SEC championships on a regular basis. But if a coach is competing at the top of this conference, then championships become a function of injuries and breaks.

Now, should Georgia fans be concerned that Florida has won two of the last three national championships and will be just about everybody’s preseason No. 1 in 2009?

You bet. Based on what I saw in my two days last week in Gainesville, everybody in this league is going to have to step it up to keep pace with the Gators. And there is the challenge for Richt and every other coach in this league.

 Am I missing something here? If so, the floor is yours.

 

 

 

300 comments Add your comment

m

April 21st, 2009
8:46 am

Richt won’t be in trouble this year after TECH whips the dawgs for the second time in a row, but next year the 3rd in a row might be a the charm….just like donnan. The dawgs have lost 4 out of the last 5 to Tech when Tech’s coach was not named gailey. Thank God and Greyhound that Chan Gailey is gone forever…too bad you dawgies are really going to miss him.

LSWho?

April 21st, 2009
8:47 am

Auburn did in fact win the 2004 People’s Choice National Championship. That celebratory hayride through town is legendary.

Bull Gator

April 21st, 2009
8:48 am

It’s great to be a Florida Gator!

Corrine Brown (D) FL

April 21st, 2009
8:54 am

You sed it, gator take no jive!

GO GATOR!

Mad Dog

April 21st, 2009
8:56 am

Tony, please include the number of player arrests, graduation rate, and penalties in your analysis. I guess you can’t do graduation rate since Adams won’t release those figures under Richt. When a team goes from #1 to unranked during the regular season, that does not support the assertion that nothing is wrong.

2N4YEARS

April 21st, 2009
8:57 am

Every Rose has it’s Thorn bullgator. Nice run…..what goes around comes around.

MiltonDawg

April 21st, 2009
9:00 am

Richt is not going anywhere. Those #’s are very impressive, but we still short SEC champion and NC.

Georgia News - 4/21/09 | MrSEC.com

April 21st, 2009
9:00 am

[...] run of success… missing out only on the dual national titles that LSU and Florida have won.  Take a look at the numbers here.Georgia basketball fans remember Tony Cole as one of the players who brought down Jim Harrick and [...]

Jack

April 21st, 2009
9:05 am

This negative talk about Richt makes me sick. THESE ARE THE GLORY YEARS for GA football – the most consistent high quality football they have ever played over an extended period of time. And Richt is one of the most respected men in his field. Without Walker Vince Dooley would have had HALF the conference championships he won. Richt is on pace to far out distance Dooley. And need anyone be reminded of the dark abyss following Dooley? Ray Goff? Jim Donnan? Please.

2009 PT CFB

April 21st, 2009
9:06 am

Great analysis. Can we discuss the reasons Notre Dame will never win a BCS championship?

Supes

April 21st, 2009
9:08 am

If there is another “disappointing” season at UGA, some changes on the coaching staff will be in order, esp. if the defense doesn’t step up after last year’s fiasco. I think CMR’s job is safe, but Free Willie will be on the hot seat, should be on the hot seat, and CMR’s loyalty will have to give.

richtfan

April 21st, 2009
9:08 am

it’s more luck than anything Tony. The right teams from the Big East and Pac 10 MUST lose late in the season in order for a 1 loss SEC team to make it in. Florida and LSU were not undefeated, so this had to happen in order to let them in. Gayters and Tekkimites, just keep talking. We’ll keep working. You’ll see what happens.

bigdawg01

April 21st, 2009
9:10 am

Tony,
For Dawg fans, 2 things truly matter. 1st: beat FL, and beat them on a regular basis. 2nd: Beat GT, which has been a success this decade.

My question is how can Richt bridge that gap with FL? We did not do that great against them when Zook was the head coach. Both schools pull from the same talent base in FL, GA, AL, but it seems that Meyer just gets more from his guys. Is there a disconnect in the coaching staffs or just motivation? I dont think 10-3 is disappointing, but in those losses there were complete breakdowns. Meyer said that after the loss to Ole Miss he had his players practicing until 11 pm that following night. Richt would never do that.

Mikey

April 21st, 2009
9:12 am

I agree that nothing is missing.
I will take Coach Richt over anyone.

Hondo

April 21st, 2009
9:17 am

Under CMR the Dawgs have finished 2nd and 3rd…In both cases they had the best team in the US at the end of the year…Fla and LSU both got lucky breaks to end up in BCS Championship…Which ever SEC team makes it into the BCS Championship game will win…They have championship game experience that comes from every saturday in the SEC…Just another game…

Jax Dawg

April 21st, 2009
9:20 am

Techsters, enjoy your one in a row over the Dawgs. The spread worked once, but it won’t work again. You guys didn’t give out rings to your players for nothing. It was to commemorate the unbelievable and improbable victory over UGA. Heck all the students and alumni should have received rings too. Good win, enjoy the next seven months. It will go by fast. Go Dawgs. Coach Richt, God bless you!

Old Dawg

April 21st, 2009
9:22 am

Some fans are simply crazy. Look how long it took Paterno to win a national championship, and Tom Osborne struggled to get past Barry Switzer and Oklahoma. After the bootlegger’s son left the Sooners in disgrace, then the Huskers started winning titles.

Arrests etc? Check out any school in the country and the all have their fair share of problems with players getting in trouble. Penalties? Sure, they hurt but the UGA coaches have made correcting penalties and overall team behavior a major goal this year (no arrests so far this year, and academic standings are good).

As for not living up to the hype of being ranked No. 1, check out the history and you’ll see more times than not the team ranked at the top at the beginning of the season doesn’t win the title.

Like Jack said, never in the history of Georgia football have the Bulldogs had such a string of regular season and bowl game success. Chill, people, the Dawgs will have their National Championship day if we all accept the bounces and Good Old Lady Luck that is college football!

Moe Lester

April 21st, 2009
9:23 am

“THESE ARE THE GLORY YEARS for GA football”…. are you kidding me? UGA fans are the most delusional fans in the country. Fear the blackout, 2008 Pre-season national champs baby! woof woof

DC Braves Fan

April 21st, 2009
9:24 am

Tech whipped the Dawgs last year? 45-42? What then, would one call a 51-7 score?

You won. Celebrate. But do not revise history. You do yourself no service when you describe a three-point game in which your defense gives up 42 points a “whipping.”

bo

April 21st, 2009
9:25 am

You have to love the Tech fans on here. They’re like the little brother who never shuts up, and you can’t believe a word he says. Go Dawgs!!!

Frank Arnold

April 21st, 2009
9:25 am

If a late Vandy field goal attempt against Tenneessee is good instead of hitting the upright, Georgia goes to the SEC C’Ship game and very likely plays for the ‘07 BCS title. And the Dawgs were on a roll! Game of inches, indeed! Old Lady Luck has got to smile your way.

Otto

April 21st, 2009
9:28 am

UGA needs to put more recruiting into lineman. ‘08 was not disappointing other than the GT loss (yes gloat while you can) The lines oon both sides of the ball were thin and UGA paid the price. It was expected going into the season. ‘07 was disapppointing with the loss to S Car keeping UGA from playing for a national title.

The other thing UGA needs is a better receivers coach. Looking into the new year DE is thin hopefully UGA gets some people healed up. Why does UGA need 4 elite 11 QBs when they are constantly putting together the lines? JPW was a mediocre QB but a great Bama OL put them in the SECCG.

MoDawg

April 21st, 2009
9:28 am

Coach Richt is safe for as long as he wants to stay at UGA and as long as he keeps up his winning percentage. I think what UGA is needing is a little bit of a shakeup in its assistant coaching staff. I’m not a Martinez “hater”, but if his defense is no better this year than last, he needs to either go or be demoted. The facts are that his defenses have progressively gotten worse since he took over the D-Coordinator position,
the kickoffs that go out of bounds or are returned to the 35-40 yard line, not withstanding.

GeoffDawg

April 21st, 2009
9:29 am

Point of order Tony – you can argue both ways regarding who deserved to be in the title game in 2007 but I believe you said yourself that Georgia was the best team in the country at the end of the season.

Joey

April 21st, 2009
9:32 am

Mikey, I am also a Richt fan – he’s a great coach and even greater man. But would I trade him for Myer or Saban? Absolutely.

DawgGirl32

April 21st, 2009
9:36 am

Tony, I’m so glad you wrote this article. This is exactly what I’ve been saying for months. The numbers don’t lie. Sure, Florida and LSU have worked as hard as anybody but in the end, most of it comes down to luck. The numbers don’t lie. Until we have a playoff system, we’re never really going to know who the best team in the nation is.

Mad Dog- At what point were we unranked this year? I’m pretty sure we were ranked all year long and finished in the top 10 but don’t let facts get in your way.

dawg68

April 21st, 2009
9:36 am

I get a kick out of the “trade school” people like M, they win once in 8 years and now they think they have a trend, it is just funny. I wonder if they are still shouting about the beatdown they received from LSU? Be advised “dirt daubers” the dawgs defense will be well prepared for your offense this November. Payback is coming. When we win maybe we’ll put the score on our seniors rings, I am still laughing at you clowns.

Mikey

April 21st, 2009
9:37 am

M- What was that score at the chicken bowl again ?
Please refresh me on that. Was it 38-3 or something like that? Oh yeah, now I recall. THAT was a whipping.
45-42 is not a whipping, unless you are on the defensive side of the ball for both teams.
Please go back and pull the fries out before they burn…thanks.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 21st, 2009
9:38 am

I agree Tony, luck has a lot to do with it.

UGAg was very lucky Jan Kemp didn’t say anything back in 1980.

hop

April 21st, 2009
9:38 am

Jack is right on taget! georgia football has NEVER been better even vince was 6-5 before walker showed up and saved dooley’s job.

everything runs in cycles and mark right will win a national championship.
tech fans need not worry about the dawgs, you better worry about when coach johnson will go to a bigger and better program.
even with all of the wins last year, the support by tech fans was pathetic.

jerry

April 21st, 2009
9:40 am

Mr. Barnhart: I have another “if”. IF Richt were not 2-6 vs. FLA………….what then?

Atlanta Gator

April 21st, 2009
9:41 am

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, with all due humility . . . to win a BCS championship, your team must be talented, well coached, and at least a little bit lucky.

There 120 universities that currently field a Division I (a.k.a. Football Bowl Subdivision) team, only 30 have earned at least a share of a consensus national title. Of those 30, only 18 have won more than one title. Of those 18, only 7 have won at least a share of five or more national titles. The last first-time title winner was Florida in 1996; there have been no other first-time winners in the last twelve seasons. In the last 25 seasons, there have been only 4 first-time title winners (including Florida). The other 21 championship teams were repeat winners.

What this tells us is that most national title football teams are the product of programs that are long-term contenders. In order to get your “lucky” shot at the brass ring, your team needs to be consistently competitive with the top 10 or 15 teams in the country, with the occasional break-through year. Florida has won the SEC eight times in the last nineteen seasons, but they have only made it to a BCS/BC/BA title game four times, and only won it three times.

If you want it, you’ve got be at the top of the pile more often than not.

Mikey

April 21st, 2009
9:41 am

Joey- no way.
Meyer or Saban?
No way.
I will take Coach Richt as long as he wants to be here. Saban will bolt for more money as soon as he hits a rough patch and Meyer will go to Notre Dame as soon as Weis leaves which puts the Tide and the Gator back to square one.
Meanwhile we will keep right on plugging along. Success is a journey- not a destination.

Go Dawgs!

gdawginkalamazoo

April 21st, 2009
9:42 am

bull gator, you are correct. If you are a Florida Gator you should be one happy reptile.

Tony, I like the chart. Maybe some of the folks who are unhappy with Richt will calm down. We are blessed to have him as our Coach. Winning and doing it the right way. It proves the point that the man knows how to win. As some above have mentioned it can take time to get that NC. Shorter for some longer for others. As long as Richt is running the program the right way and continues winning, this fan is okay with that.

joe

April 21st, 2009
9:46 am

Frank,

If UGA had taken care of its business and beat TN that year, they wouldn’t have had to rely on Vandy. If if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas…

Cuz

April 21st, 2009
9:47 am

Nothing is missing. Go team, go coach.

Huh?

April 21st, 2009
9:48 am

Richt has produced an unprecedented number of crybaby wet the bed UGA haters. There are more now than there have ever been from my perspective. I’ve been a Georgia fan for around 15 years now. He must be doing something right.

I am a staunch defender of Richt but he is not perfect. No coach is. Not even the Gainesville Golden Boy Urban Meyer has got it all figured out. I have been troubled in recent years by how our team simply fails to show up during certain stretches of certain games. It all started with the first half of the Sugar Bowl against WVU. In every year since there has been at least one game where our team is absolutely lifeless and gets its doors blown off. The most frustrating part is that its never for the entire game. We play like deadbeats for a half (or even a quarter in the case of 2008 Georgia Tech) and then light the world on fire in the other half. That tells me that we’re not playing up to our potential for 4 quarters of football. Its inexcusable and Richt has got to fix this problem. During the 2002-2005 era we rarely ever got whipped like we have in the past few years. It just didn’t happen.

With that said, Richt will get his national title soon enough. Its going to happen haters. You best come to terms with it beforehand to avoid the shock and lessen the misery that awaits you. True story.

the real OLD GOLD

April 21st, 2009
9:49 am

A year and two months before I was even born UGA football won its last national title and that was done with players that could barely read. Now say what you will, but this is a fact that does matter to those fans, students, alumni etc. I’m a Tech season ticket holder, so I’m not one of them, but living in Georgia all my life I can tell you that the ones I know well are getting tired of the waiting game, and last season just about did them in. Championship frustration can get a lot of good coaches canned, even if they, themselves, weren’t responsible for the entire period of frustration. For example: Tommy Bowden, Tommy Tubberville, and even Phil Fulmer, and he even won a title in the last 12 years. Richt better produce soon, or he’s out.

mcdawg

April 21st, 2009
9:49 am

Notre Dame will not win a National Championship again b/c the institutions as a whole does give a rats about winning Nat Championships-UGA does and will-2002 there was no doubt that UGA was as good or better than the two teams that played for the championship that year-the polls still determine the outcomes-outcomes don’t determine the polls

gatorman770

April 21st, 2009
9:52 am

Gators would rather be lucky ….and good, i.e. in each National Championship/BCS game (1996, 2006, 2008) the Gators dominated their opponent and left no doubt who the winner was!
Until there is a playoff system comparable to March Madness…luck will continue to have some bearing on who plays for the National Championship just as it was in 1980 when Notre Dame lost and allowed the Ugays to play and win the National Championship.

Bo Williams

April 21st, 2009
9:53 am

What was ND’s record and their ranking when UGA beat them in the Walker era for the NC. Did UGA play the best available opponent. If not, did they really deserve the NC, since they did not play the best available opponent?

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 21st, 2009
9:53 am

I really don’t believe dawg68 is laughing, but I’m LMAO!!!

45-42 LAUGH ON BROTHER!!!

PTC DAWG

April 21st, 2009
9:57 am

IF you don’t understand that some amount of LUCK is usually involved with the current MNC shot, then you just don’t understand.

Good Day.

Frank

April 21st, 2009
9:57 am

Joe,

You are right about that.

DirtyDawg

April 21st, 2009
9:59 am

My Tech buddies are really something. I couldn’t find one in five that thought Paul Johnson was gonna’ be able to cut it in the ‘bigs’ this time last year. All they were glad about was that Chan Gailey was gone. Now the trade-schoolers can’t build the trailers fast enough to hook onto the bandwagon. Now they want to pretend that Chan Gailey was never there in the counting of the W/L record with us (it ain’t the same thing as the WWII argument) but guess what, it does count…and you can’t go back and pretend that Reggie Ball never QB’d there either, cause if you do then we’ve got a couple of lousy official’s calls that cost Jim Donnan at least two losses. So the point is what goes around comes around. A little tougher tackling by the DBs on the edge – you know, like LSU did to you poor YallerJackets last New Year’s Eve – and the the Josten folks, or whoever you had make those commemorative rings (for a three-point victory?) wouldn’t have had to heat up the forges.

We’ll show up at, ‘fabled’, Grant Field this November (fabled because it’s the only college campus stadium that tore down a third of it’s stadium so it wouldn’t look so empty on Saturdays) and by the time this game’s over, you’ll be negotiating with MARTA to take some of these wagons off your hands.

SmokeyRules

April 21st, 2009
9:59 am

Don’t forget about my Vols. We will start whuppin y’all just like we normally do. Kiffin has energized the fanbase and is recruiting lights out. Thank God and Greyhound Fulmer is finally gone. Gators and Dawgs…your time is coming. Monte Kiffin will make sure that Eric Berry stops Tebow cold. Crompton is one of the most underrated quartebacks int he SEC. Go Big Orange

Kiffinisatosser

April 21st, 2009
10:05 am

Smokey…Crompton underrated? Are you serious? You guys are a total joke. Kiffin is going to have more deer in the headlight reactions than any coach int he SEC. And as for Kiffin’s recruiting, loading up on RBs doesn’t help that much because only one can carry the ball at a time. Enjoy your 5 win season. I’ll check in on your message board to see how much love you guys have for Kiffin then…bwahh

Todd

April 21st, 2009
10:06 am

Tony, I’ve said time and time again, GA. has not beaten UF and Tenn. in the same yr. yet, and I’m still waiting. As a UGA grad and loyal bulldog, I’m a big M. Richt guy, but I hate to say he has blown opportunities in his 8 yrs. What comes to mind are a few of those awful , miserable 13-10 games against Ron Zuke. Tenn at home, I think it was 2006. Ironically, I was just talking this subject yesterday and the other thing added about MR were these mystery blow out games that pop up, Tenn. up there a few yrs. back for example. The other issue discussed was loyalty with players sometimes backfiring, the Joe T. experiment for example. Do you realize if Joe T. had not been hurt in the So. Car. game, most likely would’ve lost. I’m afraid we may get in to this scenario if Coxy doesn’t pan out and then they turn to Logan Gray (why was he returning punts last yr. and the guy who ran the one back against the Tide returned 2 the whole yr.?).

I don’t know what the answer is to getting MR over the hump, I’m not ready to have a jack—ss like Saban screaming at kids at the top of his lungs, however short of taking his last breath the guy will get it done at Alabama at some point.

alsim

April 21st, 2009
10:06 am

It’ll never happen in Athens as long as Richt is the head coach. I have nothing against him. He is a fine man and a good coach. But he cannot put a whole season together.
If you are happy with 10 wins seasons & BCS bowls, he is your man. If you want a National Championship at UGA, then start looking for a new coach.

.

JB

April 21st, 2009
10:10 am

To hell with the Haters on this blog……….We win just about every time we take the field…..and they know it.