It’s been too long since Richt, Dogs have had signature win

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This isn't the last time Mark Richt celebrated, but it might be the last time a celebration really meant something in the big picture. The game? Two years ago against Florida. (AJC photo)

Two years ago, Georgia made news with a team-wide celebration in the end zone. In retrospect, maybe the team should’ve pitched a tent there. The program hasn’t had a signature win since.

“I’m trying to think,” Mark Richt said Wednesday night. “Did we win any big ones last year?” And then he laughed, that little oh-jeez, has-it-been-that-long,  kind of laugh.

It hasn’t been an easy season for Richt. The Bulldogs are 4-3. They’re given little chance of upsetting No. 1 ranked Florida. Bowl prospects include words like “Independence” and “Liberty,” which would be fine if this was something minor like a revolution,  not college football in the S0uth.

Georgia still has five games left in the regular season, but it’s fighting a perception problem. Teams are defined, to some degree, by “signature” wins. Within the SEC, the Dogs have come up dry since beating Florida in 2007. They are 9-4 in conference games since the start of last season, and  those nine wins have come over (in order): South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn, South Carolina (again), Arkansas and Vanderbilt (again).  The LSU win looked big at the time, but the Tigers went on to finish only 3-5 in the conference. In fact, every win came over a team that finished with a losing or .500 record in the SEC, save the current South Carolina team (which is 3-2).

Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer got their revenge against Georgia last season.

Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer got their revenge against Georgia last season (AJC photo)

Meanwhile, the four losses came to Florida (7-1), Alabama (8-1), LSU (4-1) and Tennessee (1-3).

Fans cling to hope, and perception feeds into that hope. But when the mind has to travel too far back to think of a high point, hope deteriorates. Beating Vanderbilt a week ago after getting whacked by Tennessee didn’t build hope. All that did was prevent Butts-Mehre from being turned into the Russian front.

Georgia needs a win over Florida because the program has done nothing to affirm it belongs with the conference elite since that day in Jacksonville two years ago. There is no opponent left on the schedule, Georgia Tech included, that could send out such a positive signal.

Asked if he believes in the “signature” win concept Richt said, “I don’t think you can talk about them prior to any game. I think you can look back and say, ‘That was a signature win.’ Usually a signature win is a win that propels you into something very meaningful as far as a championship, or maybe helps define your problem. When we beat Auburn and that got us into the SEC championship game [in 2002] for the first time ever, that was a signature victory. But I don’t know if you can say when you’re 4-3 and you get a win, it’s a signature win.”

When asked what he felt was Georgia’s last signature win, Richt said, “I’d have to think about that. What do you think?” Told Florida, he responded, “Yeah, that was a big game. That helped propel us into a streak where we ended up finishing No. 2 in the AP.”

He referenced a win at Alabama in 2007. He even referenced a last-second desperation win at Vanderbilt a few weeks later because it stopped the bleeding following a loss to Tennessee,  set up a seven-win finishing kick and the enabled the Bulldogs to end at 11-2.

Similarly, one huge upset Saturday changes a lot.  “It could erase a lot of negativity,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “We’re pretty much down in the hole.”

What was Georgia’s last big win? “To me, it’s Florida,” he said. “A lot of people would probably look at beating an undefeated Hawaii team in the Sugar Bowl. But to me, it’s Florida.”

Two years ago, they had a dog pile in the end zone. Some thought that was a problem. Turns out, that was the high point.

357 comments Add your comment

Cedrick (Arlington, TX)

October 29th, 2009
7:13 am

Of course coach Richt can’t really remember the last “signature” win by one of his teams. Thats because they have been playing medicore (or a no show) in those games. Last year we had all the pieces together to actually make a serious run but we got “THUMPED” by Florida which was horrible. The latest teams being prepared by coached Richt seam to be lost in translation with the game plan. There has been horrible play calling ( a draw on 3rd & forever, why?) on offense and the defense has been leaking like a sinking boat. Until Richt can secure these aspects of our team then UGA is going to be medicore for a few more years to come.

snellvillejacket

October 29th, 2009
7:13 am

Maybe that one act two years ago put the mind set of the program in such a state that it believes just because of who they are showing up they will win.

joe taxpayer

October 29th, 2009
7:20 am

win here and there is a good chance we go 8 and 4. That will be a mix blessing. That will be the excuse to bring Willie back. 7 and 5 and Willie will be back. This team is not prepare nor can they excute the game plan. Teabow will have his best SEC game this Sat. On 680 the fan the Belue and Kincaide show sports writer Pat Dooly said we have cooranditor problems and the show host quickly changed the subject. That subject is taboo on there show.

BrunswickDawg

October 29th, 2009
7:27 am

Georgia recruits too well and puts too many players in the NFL to be 14 – 6 the last 2 seasons. It’s all due to coaching!!!!!!!!!

dawgsux

October 29th, 2009
7:27 am

Ga. went backwards when they charged the field two years ago. Now, they remember the timeouts?? You have got to be kidding me. Tebow breaks H. Walkers record on Sat. against Ga……now that is priceless. Florida has better coaches, players and discipline on thier team and everyone knows that. Go Gators!

SimpleDawg

October 29th, 2009
7:29 am

There haven’t been any “signature” wins lately…..even LSU last year was tarnished by Georgia’s stumbling finish to the season.

The Doggies have teams remaining on there schedule whose defeat could be instrumental in reversing this trend of mediocrity, but can they do it?

There’s always hope…

MiltonDawg

October 29th, 2009
7:30 am

There should be no excuse to bring WM back- even if we beat UF. 1 win over UF will not change what the D has done in the past 3 years- giving up on avg 30 pts or more. I know it’s a pipe dream, but i would love to see a NFL coach that’s not coaching right now (Shanahan, Holmgren, Dungy, Cowher, Gruden, etc) become a DC for UGA.

Sautee Dawg

October 29th, 2009
7:33 am

Jeff
Can’t say the 07 game was a signature win, if we win on saturday which will be hard to accomplish it would not be as much a signature win for us as it would be a signature loss for UF.
UF even though they have struggled on offense this season have only given up 2 rushing touchdowns and 2 passing touchdowns. Can’t get much stronger than that.
Our guys will play hard no doubt about that, and they do have a good chance of giving UF that signature loss.
We’ll see on saturday.

reebok

October 29th, 2009
7:34 am

Tech fan here. Good luck, Doggies. See you on The Flats in November!

John Hancock

October 29th, 2009
7:41 am

Everyone remembers my signature (King George didn’t need his spectacles to see mine) but you are right, 1980-???? is a long time to wait for a signature win.

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
7:43 am

How about a signature loss? 45-42.

chazzo

October 29th, 2009
7:51 am

Is anyone else completely sick of hearing about that stupid celebration? So what? Georgia received excessive penalties for it in the game. It’s not like it went unpunished. Urban, the weasel, whines about it being “a bad deal.” good for him for coming up with a motivator, but the bad deal for him was Georgia racking up over 400 yards of offense. that didn’t happen because his team got taunted.

UGA didn’t get beat because Urban called two time outs. They got beat because UF put a lot of points on the board quickly.

When Spurrier took over at UF, he dropped Miami from the schedule and added a school for the blind and an open week before Georgia. That was the key to the whole thing.

The other thing is all psychological. Georgia always winces in this game. One year, UGA was poised to whoop ‘em, and one of the Florida players said the dawgs would choke, and sure enough they did.

This year they are better than UGA. There is no reason to wince, psych out, freak out, second guess, voodoo, or hoodoo. It is not about Wlaker’s record, stats, history, time outs, or Lindsey Scott. It is a game. They need to play it. Nothing to lose for the dawgs on Saturday. I say the game plan is this: if we come out with a loss, Florida better know they played someone. Win or Lose, Florida had better know they played the best and most brutal team in the SEC.

The only way Georgia wins this game is to play flawless. Go dawgs!!!! Punch them right in the frickin’ head!!!!!!

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
7:52 am

How about a string of signature losses since being humorously ranked preseason number 1 just 13 short months ago?

Alabama
Florida
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Oklahoma State
LSU
Tennessee
Florida

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
7:53 am

The last signature win?

When was the last time they played in the Music City or Weedwacker Bowl?

bad brad

October 29th, 2009
7:54 am

For once I agree w/Yellow Fuzz; beginning to look like the loss to Tech last year can be considered a signature loss; the Dawgs haven’t found a way to tackle since the second half of that game.

Also note to dawgsux, thanks to your distinguished congresswoman, it will forevermore be “go gator”. Get used to dropping that s.

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
7:56 am

Seriously, I would say that georgia’s last signature win would have to be beating Vanderbilt on their home coming. They got their swagger back in that game. lol.

Integrity

October 29th, 2009
7:58 am

Now uga has an o-lineman (Vance) that gets arrested for running a red light and having a suspended drivers license. Articles say he was cited earlier this year for driving on a suspended license. He was suspended for the first offense but he’s not going to be suspended now that he receives yet a second one?

Think the game with UF this week has anything at all to do with this non-suspension?

For years all we hear is how Richt is the fine Christian and highly moral guy. Not suspending Vance for proper discipline and the good of the program is some kind of signature. I guess he learned well from the years with Bobby at F$U to become yet another righteous Christian hypocrite. And I just finished looking at him flipping the bird at UF last year during Urb’s first timeout. It’s on SportSouth and YouTube.

Richt has no integrity – he’s a tool.

[...] Jeff Schultz of the AJC says it has been too long since Mark Richt and Georgia had a signature win. [...]

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
8:00 am

I would say that the last signature win could have been during the Hershal years.

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
8:01 am

I would say that the last signature win was that game where Lindale Scott scored that long touchdown. The one where Harry Munson was saying “run Lindale”

now that's funny

October 29th, 2009
8:04 am

Mark Richts’ defense has gotten worse every year for the last 4-5 years. His offense has no imagination, and does not utlize talent very well. Richt is a great recruiter, and with good-great coordinators his teams can be very good. However his poor choices at all major positions in the program have ushered in a steady decline in the type of product that is put on the field. CMR also has a very low level of discipline on each years team. I believe he confuses confidence with lack of discipline. His special teams have become progressivly worse, we our LAST in our conference in team defense. If our head coach does not recognize and make changes to the existing problems this program currently has, then he needs to be fired.

Fleabag

October 29th, 2009
8:07 am

Nobody gets suspended before a game that means anything. “Murder One” would only be grounds for a one game suspension before the La Tech game.

Liz

October 29th, 2009
8:12 am

“unlicensed Dogs”…make sure they get their vaccinations, too, Richt!

BAMA STAN

October 29th, 2009
8:13 am

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Aticle is right on the money – UGA is not a member of the SEC ELITE – and has not been for some time.

This is a what have you done for me lately business.

UGA peaked in 2005 – and has been sliding since. Stafford and Moreno covered up a lot of the issues – and while 2007 was a feel good year – UGA still got beat by SC and blown out by TN. The Florida team was in transistion and lost to Michigan in their bowl.

UGA is not in the top half of the conference – this staff squandered their opportunity and momemtum to dominate the league. The facts and statistics speak for themselves.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!!

plainville dawg

October 29th, 2009
8:15 am

The last game where we were the clear underdawg and we came out and won was the 1997 Georgia/Florida game (37-17). The sad part is that if I am correct the last time we beat Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Tech in the same year was 1980, that is truly unacceptable.

How can a team like Florida with no history of winning SEC and National Championships explode on to the scene in the 1990’s and clearly dominate the East and the conference? As fans are we expecting to much or should we settle for mediocrity?

By the way, one of Richt’s two Florida victories should have an asterik since it was the week that Ron Zook was fired (2004:31-24) . The dawgs barely won that game. Richt’s florida record (2*-7), Tennessee Record (5-5).

Destin Sports

October 29th, 2009
8:15 am

There is a reason top programs like Florida and Alabama are losing coaches left and right to other programs while the phones in the Georgia coaches offices are not exactly ringing off the hook.

EX GEORGIA FAN

October 29th, 2009
8:15 am

Myers

October 29th, 2009
8:16 am

It’s been too long since schultz bashed and trashed another conservative. He’ll never trash a lib. Cause he is one! Nice party you have Jeffy. Ruining this country. Loser.

dawes

October 29th, 2009
8:19 am

Football or gymnastics?

Red

October 29th, 2009
8:19 am

Milton
Are you stupid? You think a ex nfl coach would be a coord in college? ROFL! Yeah I;m sure they would love that kind of pay cut along with the demotion. Give us a break.

Bubba

October 29th, 2009
8:19 am

Go Chazzo, good comment.

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
8:25 am

bad brad,

For the record, most of the dog nation agrees with what I say here. They just don’t like hearing it.

Myers is the Loser

October 29th, 2009
8:27 am

When did this become a wing-nut issue, Myers ? Good news for you, though; you only have 3 1/2 hours until you can have your “Rush – fix”. Loser.

NY Dawg

October 29th, 2009
8:31 am

I just don’t see us beating florida. I just would love for Kirby Smart to be the new DC…or what about the DC from TCU? Here is what we need to do to beat Fla. Yes I know more than the coaches.
1. Blitz relentlessly…go all out show no mercy. be aggressive against tebow…don’t sit and let them run on us.
2. the only time Samuel and B Evans should see the field is on special teams.
3. AJ Green must touch the ball 10 times
4. Do not kick to Brandon James
5. Run the ball!!

uga121

October 29th, 2009
8:32 am

integrity you idiot vance cuff and vince vance are two differant players!

Yellow Fuzz

October 29th, 2009
8:36 am

For the record, I’ve never had an orgasm that wasn’t self-inflicted.

Fire Truck

October 29th, 2009
8:37 am

The best that Georgia can wish for is playing spoiler against its two biggest rivals Florida and Tech. Not much of a chance of either.

Bubba

October 29th, 2009
8:38 am

LOL. Integrity — Vince Vance, Vance Cuff. they both sound the same to your teeny mind don’t they?

PDawg

October 29th, 2009
8:38 am

What we need is a signature loss! UF48-UGA0 would pretty well cement the changes we need. I’m not feeling any good vibes about this weekend.

TEBOW TOSSES SALAD

October 29th, 2009
8:39 am

when did bama get back on the scene? hmmm last year?after watching ut game i wouldnt be calling myself elite just yet. i would bet lsu fla rematch in the dome. and by the way utah just spanked the crap out of you less than a year ago. i admit we have been sliding since 07 but to go back to 05 is absurd. if the tenn 07 game is what u based it on then bama just showed up this year so far da.

Paul Johnson

October 29th, 2009
8:39 am

Integrity, please stop embarrassing the Institute with your posts. Vince Vance and Vance Cuff are not the same player.

Ed

October 29th, 2009
8:39 am

BamaStan, I was at the 73 game in New Orleans. You so called 12 National Championships is garbage. The Facts below:
12 National Championships? … The Real Story

I just wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about Alabama’s claim to 12 national championships based on fact rather than bias. Credit is given where credit is due.

To clear up confusion, the word retroactive means they went back in time to award the championship.

‘TWELVE’ national championships is fraudulent, nothing but pure bunk ginned up by the SID Department. Here’s a rundown:

1925 National Championship- Alabama claims they share this one with Dartmouth. Who awarded the NC? Houlgate and Helms. Houlgate started his system in 1927. So Bama won their 1925 NC using a formula that didn’t exist until 1927? Helms Athletic Foundation started in 1941. Another incredible retroactive NC.

The Associated Press Poll has been active since 1936. The AP took their final poll prior to bowl games from 1936 – 1964 and in 1966 and 1967. They took their final poll after the bowl games in 1965 and from 1968 – Current.

1926 National Championship- Alabama claims they share this one with 3 other teams with equal or better records! Once again it is the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1941 that awards it!

1930 National Championship- The Davis poll says that Bama tied Notre Dame for NC this year. This was the only one to award it to Bama. Notre Dame was named NC in 6 polls! Parke Davis is another retroactive system! He (an individual, not an organization) did his in 1933!

1934 National Championship- Alabama says they share this with two other teams. The awarders are Dunkel, Williamson, and Football Thesaurus. Dunkel was an individual who came up with his own system. Williamson was a geologist who came up with his own system. Football Thesaurus first appeared in 1946!

1941 National Championship- This is a complete joke. The AP ranked Alabama 20th in the nation with 14 teams with better records in the top 20. Once again it is the Football Thesaurus that retroactively awards it. Alabama finished 3rd in the SEC that year. Mississippi State won the SEC title..yet Bama claims a National title!

1961 National Championship- Finally a legitimate NC. .

1964 National Championship- While the AP did award the NC to Bama (10-1-0), Arkansas had the better record, 11-0. Alabama played Texas in their bowl and LOST. The AP final poll was before the bowl.

1965 National Championship- The AP gave this to Bama. That year there were three teams with better records than Bama. Bama 9-1-1, Michigan St 10-1-0, Arkansas 10-1-0, Nebraska 10-1-0.

1973 National Championship- AP puts Bama 4th after their bowl game loss. Bama claims a NC from the UPI poll that was taken before they met Notre Dame in the bowl game and lost. There were 3 teams with better records than Bama that year. The embarrassment of naming Alabama number one caused the UPI to name champions after bowl games. Yet Bammer has no shame in claiming it of course.

1978 National Championship- AP gives this to Alabama(11-1-0) even though USC (12-1-0) had the better record Guess who Alabama lost to that year? USC!!!!!!!!!. UPI gave the NC to USC.

1979 National Championship- Their second legitimate NC. Their first Unanimous NC.

1992 National Championship- Their third legitimate NC. Their second Unanimous NC.

You can see why people ridicule Bama fans when they talk about 12 NCs. The early ones were awarded by individuals years after the games were played. These weren’t consensus polls but NCs awarded by people that had their own formula for determining champions. Some NCs were given before bowl games that Bama lost. Using Alabama logic, Auburn could claim four national championships. But when Bammers brag they like to say they have twelve and Auburn has one. How silly. The NCAA recognizes 6 NCs for Bama and there are only two NCs that Bama has unanimously. You can’t find an Auburn site claiming four national championships but there are plenty Bama sites claiming twelve.
Debunking the Alabama National Championship myths.

Bama…legends in their own minds!

truth hurts

October 29th, 2009
8:41 am

Truth is, as long as we average 12 penalties a game, we’re not having any ’signature wins’. The discipline that keeps us from false starts on 3rd and 1 and lining up in the neutral zone or jumping offsides when the other team has 3rd and 1 is the same discipline we need when facing option based offenses like Florida’s and Tech’s.

Michael Stipe

October 29th, 2009
8:41 am

snellville jacket, yellowfuzz, you are delusional fughedz and I fart on your sensibilities.

Yellow Whiz

October 29th, 2009
8:41 am

Who is this Vince Vance Vance Cuff guy? He must be stopped before somebody gets hurt.

LizDawg

October 29th, 2009
8:42 am

I have faith that CMR can turn things around, but Willard Martini has to go! Dawgs can’t continue to give up 30+ points on defense and expect to have signature wins otherwise!

Tech82

October 29th, 2009
8:43 am

bad brad – Don’t forget the reference to “Percy Harvey”

lefty fielder

October 29th, 2009
8:43 am

yeah, wonder why mrs. cuff named her son vince vance vance.

Hey yellow fuzz NERD

October 29th, 2009
8:46 am

For a guy who follows a team who has played a bowl game in Boise, IDAHO, in recent years has no room to talk. Stick to the Star Wars blogs you nerd.

Willie Martinez

October 29th, 2009
8:46 am

Let me straighten this out. Vince Vance and Vance Cuff are identical twins with different names. Vince was fed much better by his family than Vance and grew to be 6-7 300 pounds. Vance didn’t eat as much as Vince and only grew to about 5-11 190. That’s why it’s so easy to confuse the two.