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

Gators!!!

April 21st, 2009
10:11 am

In 1980, not only did Georgia not play the best available opponent in the Sugar Bowl (Pitt or Oklahoma, not ND), there was no SEC Championship Game yet and it also didn’t play the other three SEC schools with the best records that year — including Alabama and LSU. Prior to the Sugar Bowl, Georgia’s “best” wins in 1980 were over South Carolina and Florida, who both finished 8-4.

Otto

April 21st, 2009
10:12 am

Smokey, Berry can’t do it all and that is who you have. Monte is not that great and may turn out to be the defensive version of Charlie Weis. We’ll see how the fan base is after Urban hangs 50 on you and is calling time outs. Fulmer had passed his prime but with a decent OC such as Cutcliff he fielded a solid team. Lane Kiffin will come and go. He is the next Callahan or Weis.

Tony thank you for sticking up for CMR. AS a few of us have said CMR’s SEC title teams and the ‘07 team could play with anyone in the country. The team has not had the lucky breaks to win the title. How many of those SEC championship teams won the title with one or more losses?

Huh? you are dead on. CMR has slept in at least 1 game each season. CMR isn’t perfect but I will take him. A little shake up in the coaching staff wouldn’t hurt.

Tide rising

April 21st, 2009
10:15 am

Good article. I don’t think anyone can argue with Richt’s consistency and the fact that he is indeed a good coach who will continue to be successful.

But what the article doesn’t reveal that numbers and stats can’t tell you is what’s happened at other programs outside of Richt’s good 8 year run of success. What I can sense from some some of my UGA friends is that Richt missed his window of opportunity. During the last 8 years there was a window of opportunity while Zook was at Florida and UGA wasn’t able to take command of the series when UF was down. Now that Zook is gone and Florida is back on top it seems as though the dawgs are now just an afterthought in the east and will live in Florida’s shadow for as long as Meyer is at Florida. UGA certainly won’t beat UF this year and if they lose next year also as they likely will then Richt will be something like 1-9 or 2-8 against UF. I’m not sure if he has 1 or 2 wins against UF in 8 tries. At that point the seat gets very hot. Don’t think it can happen? Just ask Tubberville or Fulmer who were each 1 year removed from successful seasons.

And its not just Florida. The fact that Tech is back on the rise is a problem for UGA. Will Tech now dominate the series? No way. But rather than Dawg fans looking at Tech on the schedule and automatically circling a win they now know that this game will be just another mine in the minefield It will not be a game the dawgs can take for granted. Tech’s talent level will continue to rise and going forward this will now be a game that just makes things that much harder for the dawgs.

2 other things to consider are that UT and Auburn, 2 of the traditionally tougher games for UGA, can only get better. It remains to be seen how Chizik and Kiffin will fare but the bottom line is that these 2 programs are historically to good to be kept down for long.

And while UGA doesn’t have Bama as a regular rival Bama is another program that is back on the rise after the probation of the early 2000s. As Richt found out last year playing an Alabama team at full strength is a lot different than playing the probation and 21 scholarship reduced Alabama teams from 2002-07. Given the historical dominance of the Tide over UGA this will just be another mine in the minefield 4 of the next 8 years.

Bottom line is that Richt has missed his window of opportunity. He is a good coach but the sec is just going to get tougher and tougher and as long as Meyer is at UF UGA will be in Florida’s shadow. UGA fans need to ponder and ask 1 question of themselves. If Richt continues to lose to UF for another 2-3 years at what point does the record against the gators get so bad that Richt is gone? Will it be 2-8, 2-9,2-10. That’s the question you have to ask yourselves.

Okefenokee Dawg

April 21st, 2009
10:16 am

Richt will be a great coach when Florida quits owning us!

Ken

April 21st, 2009
10:16 am

UGA is the only team that has had one coach for eight years. The thing that is alarming is why doesn’t all those wins = BCS Title? There has to be something missing????

BULLDAWG FEMALE GRAD

April 21st, 2009
10:16 am

I AM A FEMALE THAT GRADUATED FROM UGA WITH A DEGREE IN SPORTS BUSINESS, THE PROBLEM IS NOT MARK RICHT. THE PROBLEM IS THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, MIKE B O B O. HE SUX. NOW CHEW ON THAT. I GUARANTEE THAT ANYONE WHO IS READING OR PARTICIPATING IN THIS BLOG THAT ATTENDED UGA AGREES, THE PROBLEM IS MIKE BOBO & IT WILL SOON CAUSE COACH RICHT HIS GREAT JOB BETWEEN THE HEDGES. FOR REAL

[...] Richt, but to bury Georgia. Jump to Comments Tony Barnhart spends most of his effort in this post telling anyone who will listen that Mark Richt is a stellar coach, but then ends with this punch [...]

Huh?

April 21st, 2009
10:22 am

“I’m not sure if he has 1 or 2 wins against UF in 8 tries.”

Translation: I haven’t the slightest clue what the hell I am talking about. Ignore me.

Jeff

April 21st, 2009
10:22 am

Funny you mention if we (UGA) should be concerned that gaytors won the title last year….Tony, go check your stats, each year UF has won the NC, who has beat them the following year????? Yep- UGA

The Truth About the AJC

April 21st, 2009
10:23 am

ANYONE WONDERING WHERE CHIP TOWERS HAS BEEN?

HERE IS AN ARTICLE ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON AT THE AJC. PLEASE JOIN ME IN BACKING CHIP TOWERS AND LET EDITOR JULIA WALLACE HEAR YOUR OPINIONS!!! SHE CAN BE REACHED AT JWALLACE@AJC.COM.

http://sportsontheair.blogspot.com/2009/04/atlanta-journal-constitution-sports.html

Old Retired Army Officer

April 21st, 2009
10:24 am

Maybe what Georgia lacks is a head coach with guts enough to fire incompetent coordinators( I don’t really need to name them, do I?) and kick somebody in the ass, to include players, who don’t measure up to their inflated salaries or scholarships. Too bad he doesn’t have a staff of Stacey Searles’ types. Then maybe he would win an SEC title even with Meyer and Saban hanging around….and maybe even a NC one day.

ATLCT

April 21st, 2009
10:24 am

wrote “The dawgs have lost 4 out of the last 5 to Tech when Tech’s coach was not named gailey.”

Oh yea, well, the dawgs have won 10 out of the last 10 night games in September on an odd-numbered date when we were playing on grass in the rain and had a quarterback that was not named quincy carter.

Ok, mine’s not true, but what a dumb stat, I thought the techies were supposed to be the smart ones.

Liebs

April 21st, 2009
10:25 am

Hey Mr. College Football, I have a question. I understand the readership of the Atlanta area is primarily fans of Georgia and the SEC in general, but should you do at least one article on the D1A school actually based in Atlanta before august? I mean there have been a few but they haven’t in any way involved what the football program is doing ( 1 was the coach at a charity event and the other was actually only a section of an article talking about what Paul Johnson said about defenses getting used to his offense, something that has been written about by everyone since January). It is just kind of annoying when the school has its Spring game and the college football expert of the home town newspaper completely ignores it.

Jeff

April 21st, 2009
10:25 am

Who do you idiots say UF “OWNS” us, whats the record in the last few games….it has been back and forth…yes the gators won in the 90’s and early 2000 but UGA was 19-6 against them before that. Nuff said, if gators “OWNED” us, we would not have a 11 game lead in the series.

Mike Bobo

April 21st, 2009
10:25 am

Dear Female Bulldawg, it’s a shame that your stellar UGa edumacation did not impart to you the wisdom of not typing in all caps. So with that excellent degree, which are you managing, the Braves or the Hawks?

The Truth About the AJC

April 21st, 2009
10:25 am

SORRY, MS. WALLACE CAN BE REACHED AT…

JDWALLACE@AJC.COM.

Dean

April 21st, 2009
10:26 am

I take Richt over anyone else. Go ahead and talk trash but I stand behind our coach. I’m not worried about Tech( they are bound to win once in a while), I’d like to get the breaks that Florida and LSU have recieved. UGA has a great program that consistently performs very well under Richt. Anyone that denies that is just a hater who can’t look at the facts without bias.

Erk

April 21st, 2009
10:30 am

Real OLD GOLD, Richt HAS produced. Look at the numbers. Two SEC championships (3 SEC championship games) when we had not won a conference championship for 20 years. A national championship will come as long as we continue to compete at this level each year provided we get better defensive end play than in 08. It will take some luck as many bloggers have pointed out. Fl & LSU will admit they had some luck in those championship years. Auburn was great in ‘04 but just didn’t have the luck. It will be imperative that we get more production from defensive end or the perception will be that Martinez is weak, as our whole defensive scheme depends on defensive end pressure.

Bill

April 21st, 2009
10:31 am

Good article Tony.Is there a website I can access to kisten to your weekly radio show in Nashville?

The stat checker

April 21st, 2009
10:31 am

Jeff,

Hard to believe you’re calling other people idiots with your nonsensical rant about stats. Quit living in the past. You sound like a Bammer fan and even they don’t live in the past anymore. No one cares about UGAs record back in the day. All that’s fresh in people’s minds is watching beatdown after beatdown 16 out of the past 19. People remember those games, not stuff that happened 30 or 40 years ago when a lot of people on this blog either weren’t even born yet or were just children and don’t remember those days.

Otto

April 21st, 2009
10:32 am

Tubby was constantly at odds with certain Auburn alumni (Jetgate?). IMO after Franklin did not work out he wanted to get fired and collect his check. Borges was let go because of the outside pressure. Tubby will be back in coaching at some point. Fulmer was on a downward slide and Cutcliff saved his job a few years ago. After he went to Duke the press ran Fulmer out of Tenn.

Female grad has a point. IMO if a coordinator needs to be let go it is Bobo and it may cost the entire staff. The red zone offense was bad again in the spring game. UGA is getting big plays off of talent and can not finish the drive. CMR’s glory days were also with him calling the plays. CWM can not take all the blame with the kick offs giving bad field position and the offense killing drives early by going for the long pass.

dawg68

April 21st, 2009
10:33 am

Hey ramble-on, I guess you can laugh once every 8 years. As a matter of fact, I’m still laughing at your performance in the Chicken Bowl. As a dawg fan I felt sorry for all you “trade schooler’s” that night, my sorrow lasted 2 seconds and then I began my laughter. I predict you will lose 4 games next year, other schools will be ready for your D-II offense including and especially UGA.

See you in Nov, UGA will begin another long run of “trade school” beatdowns.

Alphare

April 21st, 2009
10:33 am

Just keep it close year after year, luck eventually will come to your way. If Georgia can repeat in the future 8 years what they did in the the past 8 years, Georgia will be national Champ exaxtly twice. That’s because 3 SEC champs will generate 2 national Champs for you.

Just keep it close my friends.

BULLDAWG FEMALE GRAD

April 21st, 2009
10:36 am

FOR ALL WHO IS CAUGHT UP IN THE ALL CAPS MEANS SCREEAMING/YELLING. THAT IS WHAT MIKE BOBO NEEDS, TO BE SCREAMED & YELLED AT BY THE HEAD COACH TELLING HIM TO GO TO STARKVILLE WITH CROOM’S KIDS, WINNING 10 GAMES AT MSU IS ACCEPTABLE, WINNING 10 AT UGA IS NOT ACCEPTABLE WITHOUT THE BIG ONE.

bama12titles

April 21st, 2009
10:36 am

Mikey,

You’re just like JB. I see you’re still hoping that Saban bolts Bama for Notre Dame. Seems people like you and JB have been saying for 3 years now that Saban will be gone any day now. I saw where Saban committed to giving 1 million to the scholarship fund at Bama over the next 10 years. Doesn’t sound like someone who is leaving anytime soon does it? Keep hoping buddy. Very sad that people like you just have to sit there and hope for a rival coach to eventually leave or retire. I can’t imagine how many of you probably are just writing off beating UF until Tebow leaves or until Meyer leaves, etc. Sad indeed.

Dean

April 21st, 2009
10:38 am

I would agree with Alphare. I think the SEC has grown it’s stature to where the SEC champion is going to play for the NC probably 80% of the time. Just win the SEC on a regular basis and we are bound to get into a NC game and hopefully win it. It took Dooley about 18 years to get to the top echelon. Richt will get us there if people would just let him run his program.

murfdawg

April 21st, 2009
10:40 am

After 60 years of football futility, the gators finally got it going in the 90s.They had teams in the 60s and 80s that were good, ranked #1 before the Georgia game, but lost and did not compete for the MNC. Unfortunately, on this blog there are not any gators who acknowledge that fla played football before SOS. These things run in cycles and I know it will be hard to believe, but things will change at fla. Just look at the history of Bama, OKLA, Texas, ND. Enjoy while you can gators.

ps. There was a time when the University of the South had more SEC championships than the mighty gators!

Lee Dawg

April 21st, 2009
10:42 am

The Dawgs have the same talent as LSU and Florida. If the Dawgs just keep on getting after it and win consistently then eventually everything will go their way. They have to put themselves in position for that by winning the conference then the rest is up to who else wins or loses their conference. Even as a Dawg fan I think Auburn got screwed! Undefeated in the SEC?? We all know how hard that is to do.

Dean

April 21st, 2009
10:42 am

Saban is not going anywhere and I really don’t get why UGA fans worry about Saban. Saban did not rule Georgia when he was the coach at LSU. He runs a solid program that competes at the top of the heep, jsut like Richt does. I wish him and the Bamers luck except when playing UGA.

Buz

April 21st, 2009
10:42 am

Talk to Coach Richt’s players and their parents…he develops great players…more immportantly, he develops great men. I hope he retires in Athens many years down the road.

Otto

April 21st, 2009
10:43 am

Dean if you knew your history Vince came very close to being fired as well. I agree some great coaches took a while to win it all Bobby Bowden, JoePa, Tom Osborne etc but times have changed. CMR is very close to winning a title if he can just make a few adjustments.

SSI gator

April 21st, 2009
10:45 am

bama12 -

What else can they do but hope that other coaches and players leave? They have a coach that is not willing to fix what is broken with his staff. You are correct – sad indeed.

Stats Lie

April 21st, 2009
10:45 am

Richt padded his stats in the first few years of being at UGA. FL was down (the Zooker), BAMA was down, LSU was down, even Tenn was down then. Aub, please, Tech beat them twice and they weren’t any good either.The first 2 or 3 years for Richt were a cake walk. Now these teams have good coaches again and Richt is getting beat. He’s trying to run his team like Saint Bobby, but he’s never been the coach Bobby was.

Nachos

April 21st, 2009
10:47 am

Saban aint going nowhere… where would he go? Get over the blackout, its ancient history !

Gen Neyland

April 21st, 2009
10:50 am

Nothing is forever. I remember 9 straight came to an end because of CMR…Yeah, nothing is forever and nothing looks so good as the here and now to some programs. Shoot, even the Braves won their division 100 times but only got one World Series ring to show for it all…

Otto

April 21st, 2009
10:52 am

LSU was down didn’t Saban win a national title? Auburn was as competitive as anyone

DawginLex

April 21st, 2009
10:52 am

The league is loaded with talent and great coaching. 80+ wins in 8 years is a great accomplishment. It takes breaks to get in the BCS title game since no one goes undefeated in college FB anymore because of the scholarship reduction. To maintain any level of consistency takes great players and coaching.

To say Richt hasn’t done that is just a complete lie. Plus he has character and won’t point to the opponent stands after a win.

crs

April 21st, 2009
10:54 am

Some of you are a trip, trying to judge the red zone offense in a spring game, you can’t be serious, but you probably are, and that makes you an idiot!

Tony Barnhart

April 21st, 2009
10:54 am

Bill,

The link to the Nashville station is http://www.1045thezone.com. I’m on with former Tennessee assistant coach Doug Mathews on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. for an hour and Saturday’s at 10:10 a.m. for about 50 minutes.

Thanks for asking.

TB

DawginLex

April 21st, 2009
10:55 am

M’s UGA obsession continues as evidenced by being the first person to comment on a blog about Coach Richt.

FloridaDawg

April 21st, 2009
10:56 am

Tony your research is accurate but as far a saying Richt is one of the 7 coaches that has won over 80 games in his first 8 years of coaching is using statistics to “fit” your point.
There are “more” games being played in recent history than years ago, so if might be more appropriate to say “in recent history” or a least placing an asterisk on that fact.
We must beat Florida…Must.
If we do, everything else will fall in to place.

Erk

April 21st, 2009
10:59 am

Stats Lie, LSU was down Richt’s first few years? Really? Did LSU not win a national championship in ‘03? You’re right, your stats do lie. Also, Richt has had much more success at this early point in his head coaching career than Bobby Bowden. Do at least a little research.

GeoffDawg

April 21st, 2009
10:59 am

The Truth About the AJC – thanks for the link. I just sent an email to Ms. Wallace giving my thoughts on the value of keeping contributors like Chip and Tony posting regularly on this site. I prefer to get my “hard” news from other venues and stated that if it weren’t for the quality coverage of college athletics that I receive here, I would likely taper off my visits significantly.

bama12titles

April 21st, 2009
11:00 am

SSI gator,

Agreed. For anyone who is just waiting for Tebow to leave I saw Brantley play. Very impressive but then again this kid was a top caliber talent coming out of high school to begin with so no one should be surprised. Rather than hoping and waiting for someone’s coach to leave I think most people should just concentrate on what their program can do to get better rather than just whining about someone else’s program. BTW, my Florida friend tells me that Tebow will be gone before the season. He said Tim is scheduled to ascend into heaven sometime in the next couple months.

Atlanta Gator

April 21st, 2009
11:00 am

murfdawg—-We acknowledge that the Gators played football before 1990, but, more often than not it was an exercise in frustration. In the Gators’ best seasons before 1990, they could not beat Auburn, UGA and LSU in the same year, and often those games were played back to back.

Otto

April 21st, 2009
11:01 am

CRS one bad showing for the red zone offense in the spring game does not make a case but the last time the red zone offense ws good CMR was calling the shots.

Moses

April 21st, 2009
11:03 am

It’s not where you have been but where you are going. UGA is going DOWN.
LSU is back, Florida is there already, Tennessee is coming back as well as Alabama. Arkansas is coming back. Tech is coming back 45-42. UGA has no where to go but down. Richt has no ability to motivate without gimmicks and gimmicks backfired (Blackout).

Mikey

April 21st, 2009
11:03 am

I don’t really care if Satan leaves or not. Just letting the other blogger know I wouldnt trade Richt for him or urban cryer.
Having said that, he will leave within a couple more years..it’s his Standard Operating Procedure..
And I dont hate him- I think he is a great Head Coach.

Alphare

April 21st, 2009
11:03 am

But it will be harder for Georgia to keep it close in the SEC in the future 8 years. I don’t see Florida going anywhere but being on top for the near future. Even if you pass Florida, you have to beat Bama/LSU to reach the national Champ. Talent wide, FL/GA/Bama/LSU are on the same level, so you are 1 of 4. Then you add Auburn/Tenn in the mix, you become 1 of 5. 1 of 5 in 8 years give you 1.8 chances to be a SEC champ. But Georgia is a weaker of the 4. So Georgia has only 1 chance to be a SEC champ, which leads to 0.8 chance of national Champ in the next 8 years. Let’s see if Georgia can turn that 0.8 to a whole ONE.

Otto

April 21st, 2009
11:09 am

Mikey, where will Saban go? He will not be in the NFL. Bama can write as big of a check as anyone. The Bammers will love him and build up his ego as long as he wins. I cheer for Auburn against Bama but Bama will be a great team in the coming years and Saban will be their coach.