ATHENS — Good morning, and welcome back to Victory Lane.
I’m typing this a couple of hours before kickoff, but I don’t think assuming a victory is too presumptuous. Big schools like Georgia schedule little schools like Coastal Carolina for mental and physical therapy, not because it’s going to launch them into BCS bowl contention.
And if there’s one thing the Bulldogs need, it’s therapy. They’ve lost two games. One was ugly (Boise State) and one was competitive (South Carolina), but 0-2 is 0-2 and the Bulldogs do not want to get to the point of ranking their losses this season.
That’s why this game is well timed. Coastal Carolina is an FCS (1-AA) team. It plays in the Big South Conference with the likes of Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian. Despite Georgia coach Mark Richt’s early week contention, the school is here for the paycheck ($475,000), even if the players want to win. The team is called the Chanticleers, which is a fierce rooster, so this affords the Dogs a chance to break their losing streak against poultry.
OK, a few items before I turn you loose:
• The Dogs have lost three straight going back to the Liberty Bowl last season, meaning their last victory was over Georgia Tech on Nov. 27. So in case you’ve forgotten about that winning feeling, that’s why.
• As much as he is criticized, I thought Georgia president Michael Adams touched on the right themes on at a UGA cabinet meeting on Thursday when he called for support of the program and Richt, while at the same time remaining non-committal to the coach’s future. An excerpt: “There’s nobody here who likes to win more than I do. But it’s time for us as a community to get behind ths team, support them from now ’til the end of the season. And once the whole body of work is in, we’ll do what we do every year. We’ll see where we are.”
• On Richt: I wrote earlier in the week that I believe Richt needs to go 9-1 the rest of the season to keep his job. That’s based in part on his contract situation, which will have two years remaining after this season. To earn an extension — which is necessary to send a message to potential recruits — Georgia must be very impressive in the next 10 games, and that starts today.
• I don’t know how many empty seats there will be today. But I can report there was very little traffic driving to Athens and around the stadium today.
• I would imagine Richt will keep things fairly vanilla in this game. You should be able to beat Coastal Carolina without trick plays. Besides, the Dogs are still committing enough errors on both sides of the ball that they need this game just to work those problems out before conference play resumes next week at Ole Miss.
Alright. That’s it for now. I know turn it over to you. Chip Towers and I will secretly set the over/under on the first “Fire Bobo” or “First Grantham” and “Fire Richt” comments.
By Jeff Schultz