ATHENS — Welcome to Hangover Week. Most of us just lie on the couch. Georgia plays Idaho State.
Seriously, this was intended to be Relax and Rejoice Week. When the schedule was made, the Bulldogs’ hope was that they would be coming off a victory over Florida and would use this Division 1-AA (FCS) opponent as a relative bye week before having to go to Auburn, as it looked to secure a spot in the SEC title game.
The only thing that held form was that this game still should be a walkover. Idaho State isn’t even a good Division 1-AA team. The Bengals won their season opener over Montana-Western (an NAIA school with an enrollment of 1,290). But they’ve lost seven straight since. They’re 3-32 since October of 2007. They’re 1-14 against Division 1 (FBS) opponents since 2000.
In other words, don’t expect any drama today. Georgia not only should win but should be able to flood the field with backups by the second quarter. It would be surprising if No. 2 quarterback Hutson Mason didn’t play half the game.
The bigger question about the Dogs is the mindset from this game forward. They played poorly at the outset last week against Florida, then fought back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to tie it in the fourth quarter, only to lose in overtime, 34-31.
That leaves them 3-4 in the SEC and 4-5 overall, which means hopes for an SEC East title or an upper-tier bowl game are cooked. They would have to win their final three games (Idaho State, at Auburn, Georgia Tech) to have any shot at a good bowl like the Chick-fil-A.
More likely, they are headed for the Birmingham or Liberty bowl (the last two in the SEC pecking order). That’s assuming they go anywhere. They need two more wins just to qualify but that seems more likely now that Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt is out after suffering a broken arm Thursday night at Virginia Tech.
Back to the mindset thing: How the Dogs play these last few weeks could indicate more about next season than this one. If they play hard, smart and show some resolve, it’s a positive sign. If not, it leads to more questions about the program’s direction going into the offseason.
Finally, a word about coach Mark Richt. As much as his future has been debated in blogs and on message boards, I still don’t believe he’s on the firing line. Now, that could change in the next few games. But my sense of the situation right now is the same as it was before the season — that if the Dogs had a bad season (and this is a bad season), Richt would be on the so-called “hot seat” next year.
The only way I see that changing is there’s a complete implosion in the last three games. Again, that’s just my opinion. As always, I welcome yours.
I’ll be back shortly to start live blogging. Meanwhile, about that hangover: Has anybody ever run into Mike Tyson after too many beers?
“This is my favorite part”