Missing piece for Richt

Why is it that Mark Richt doesn’t get more respect?

ESPN.com recently released the results of its latest SportsNation poll on the current state of SEC football, and one thing that caught my eye was the response to the question of who is the best coach in the conference. You’d expect Urban Meyer, coming off his second BCS national championship at Florida, to top that list and he did, taking 51 percent of the 17,655 votes.

But who was next? Alabama’s Nick Saban at 22 percent, followed by LSU’s Les Miles at 15 percent. Then came Richt and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier (whose best days are behind him), tied at 6 percent.

Looking just at the numbers, you’d think Richt might have done better. The guy has won two SEC championships in eight seasons at UGA, and with a won-loss record of 82-22, his winning percentage of .788 is fourth best in the country among active coaches. (Meyer’s  overall winning percentage is .830.) Richt is one of only seven coaches in Division 1-A history to get 80 wins in his first eight seasons. He’s also the dean of SEC coaches in terms of longevity at his current school.

Saban has a winning percentage of .683, well behind Richt’s, and so far at Bama he has only an SEC West division title. At LSU, Saban won two SEC titles, matching Richt. But he also won a BCS national championship.

Miles, who was head coach at Oklahoma State before moving to LSU, also lags behind Richt with an overall winning percentage of .693. And he has only one SEC championship. But, again, he also has a BCS national championship.  

And that, of course, is why Richt doesn’t get as much respect as you might expect from his won-loss record. He’s in a conference with coaches who have won three of the past six BCS titles, and he has none. It might not be fair, but until Richt brings one of those crystal footballs back to Athens, he’s always going to be considered not quite in the first rank of SEC coaches.

What do you think? Should winning a BCS title trump overall winning percentage? Are Saban and Miles really better coaches than Richt?

Elsewhere, it looks like the latest battleground for bragging rights among BCS schools is spring scrimmage attendance. Part of the Saban lore in Crimson Tide country has been the large crowds drawn to Alabama’s spring games since he landed in Tuscaloosa. Interestingly, though, Bama’s 84,050 for this year’s spring game was only good enough for second place behind Ohio State’s 95,722, an NCAA record according to SportsBusiness Daily. Third place went to Nebraska with 77,670, followed by Penn State (76,500), Florida (65,000), Tennessee (51,488), Michigan (50,000), Auburn (45,381), Texas (44,000) and UGA in 10th place with this year’s G-Day crowd of 42,458. 

In UGA’s defense, it’s been noted that the Dogs have a tougher time than some schools in terms of spring attendance because of all the other sporting events going on in the state at the same time, what with pro sports and a little event called the Masters. But, really, does attendance at a spring game mean anything? (Folks on North Avenue, where their game only drew 8,500, probably would say no.) Is it indicative of the strength and fervor of a school’s fan base or just proof there’s not much going on in some areas?  

Scheduling note: I’ll be gone on vacation for most of the next two weeks, but feel free to keep the discussion of all things Bulldog going in the comments.  

Go Dogs!

205 comments Add your comment

bill is a hack

May 18th, 2009
2:26 pm

whine whine whine whine. excuses excuses excuses.
win the big one and youll get some respect. getting blown out of the stadium in your two biggest hyped, nationally televised games probably isnt going to win you any national fan base. suck it up and quit the whining.

F.G.

May 18th, 2009
2:33 pm

I do not think it is winning the BCS. Richt has not produced with the talent he had through the years. Meyer, Saban, Miles and even the OBC would have more to show if they had all of uga’s talent. As far as the Spring attendance, those schools listed all have a great fan base and are always mentioned in the hunt for the BCS title.

Voice of Reason

May 18th, 2009
2:36 pm

I didn’t see any whining. Bill stated the obvious that Richt doesn’t get as much respect because he hasn’t won the MNC. I didn’t see anywhere that he said this was not fair. Can you see the difference between reasons and excuses moron.

Voice of Reason

May 18th, 2009
2:40 pm

Really? Alabama is ALWAYS mentioned in the hunt for the national title? Did you just start watching football last year? And I suppose Nebraska is ALWAYS mentioned in the hunt also? try thinking first and then commenting.

WalkerMuhDawg

May 18th, 2009
2:42 pm

Richt is never gonna get much love from ESPN types. That readership and viewership is overloaded with fans who actually think that the Big 10 is the preeminent conference in America. Both Saban and Miles, as you know, have Big 10 backgrounds and so are gods to these people. Richt is a better coach than either … and by FAR better than Miles who would rank below Nutt, Johnson and Brooks, IMO.

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2009
2:47 pm

FG, how is it that you list UGA talent as much better than FL, and LSU?

And while we are on it, somebody tell me how in his first 2 years at Alabama, Saban (who came in with LOTS more experience) accomplished anything more than Richt did in his 1st 2 years at UGA. He Didnt, so why is the perception that he did, even among some Dawgs fans?

ha

May 18th, 2009
2:47 pm

the espn types should be all over uga then, as their logo is stolen from the heart of big 10 country.

Herschel Talker

May 18th, 2009
2:54 pm

This guy, Bill King, is a joke. There is no reason he should have a UGA blog and representing us.

DanDawg

May 18th, 2009
2:55 pm

I’m one of the biggest Dawg fans alive, but I get it — all of the other coaches mentioned have won a national championship. Nobody is going to pay attention to the percentages and such — if you want respect, win a national championship. Just do it.

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2009
2:56 pm

Michigan and Tn were right there in that NC discussion.

Personally, I didn’t want to take a chance at missing the Easter Bunny.

Island Dawg

May 18th, 2009
2:57 pm

F.G., you are a moron. UGA was the2008 preseason #1. I would consider that “mentioned in the BCS hunt.” Nebraska, Auburn and UTK, not so much. Spring games are just stupid to travel to, especially on Easter/Master’s weekend. Thousands load up the R-V for Bama’s, straight laughable.

Coop

May 18th, 2009
2:58 pm

I am a huge Dawg’s fan and a season ticket holder. However, I don’t think the vote is that far off. I think Coach Richt is an outstanding coach, but but these other guys are more accomplished.
Saban absolutely gets everything from his players. He does not tolerate mistakes or underacheiving while Richt does.
I’m not sure about Les Miles. He won with Saban’s players and coaches with emotion. I’m not sure though that he is any better than Richt, but I can see the National Championship arguement.
Meyer, while a whiner and a low class coach, is a winner and has a record that cannot be disputed.
The SEC probably has 5 of the top 8 or 9 coaches in the country…bottom line.

uuugh.

May 18th, 2009
3:00 pm

I like coach Richt but we haven’t seen a team over-achieve in a while…couple that with great recruitung classes year after year and you really start to wonder. I think he is better than Les “Lucky” Miles. But Urban Meyer and Nick Saban seem to get more out of their players than Richt does. I think the list is right on the money except for Miles. I would rather have CMR than any of the other coaches…I just feel like he is about 3rd or 4th in getting the max out of his players. He may be #10 or #12 at player discipline.

Ken

May 18th, 2009
3:03 pm

To a point I agree with this article, but I think that Richt’s good guy mentality and do the right thing demeanor does not give him the attention and respect he deserves in the national media.

I personally hope CMR stays at UGA for the next 20 years or more and I do believe he will bring the NC to Athens.

Proud to be a BullDawg !!

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2009
3:07 pm

Dan, you are right about that. fair, unfair, it is what it is. Still, it irks the analytical types when somebody compares somebodies 1 or 2 loss season, with somebody elses. Truth be told, teams 2000 miles away opened the door for a couple of those. Not to take anything away from getting thier team into position, but a lot of it is out of thier control.

Just keep winning coach. One thing is for sure, you damn sure aren’t going to get one if you dont have the percentages.

However, if/when he does, we’ll just have to shut the blog down. Half the room won’t have thier standard line.

Bobcat

May 18th, 2009
3:10 pm

Mark Richt is an excellent coach and his character is far above anyone else in the SEC. A good, strong character is greatly needed in high profile places today. It gives the rest of the world a much needed role model. I am sick of the pompous whining attitudes of guys like Meyers, Saban and that other ‘nameless one’ (former Falcons/now Arkansas coach). These guys are not loyal to their players, fans, or school. They base their careers on disloyalty, greed, and self-publicity. I quite watching ESPN because they praise this type of self-centered behavior and promote unsportsman like behavior. Guys like Richt are ignored because good play, excellent sportsmanship, and other good character qualities do not increase viewership. After all, for ESPN and other news organizations, its all about viewership and that makes money.

Jeff

May 18th, 2009
3:14 pm

Last season has left quite a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. I would say that 3rd best in the conference is accurate. Richt has missed on his chances at a national championship where Meyer, Saban, and Miles have cashed in the first time. The 02 team blew their chance in Jax. The 05 team couldn’t overcome Shockley’s injury. The 07 team didn’t show up against USC or UT. Until we can complete an entire season, we will never end up winning a national championship. That is definetly a function of coaching and luck (something we have not had).

That being said, I wouldn’t trade Richt for anyone else in the country. This season should be interesting. I think the OK ST game is going to set up our season. Win big and who knows what will happen. Lose and we have some serious work ahead of us the rest of the year.

dan

May 18th, 2009
3:16 pm

I’ll play devil’s advocate here: WHY DOES MARK RICHT NEED ANYONE’S RESPECT? I mean I realize BCS title is heavily influenced by the media and public perception, and I get that argument. But why does UGA need ESPN’s seal of approval? I say win the vast majority of your games, beat your rivals on a consistent basis, and win the games you’re supposed to win( all of which Richt had done) and let the cards fall where they may. Richt doesn’t owe the Lee Corso’s or Kirk Herbstreet’s of the world anything, and to be fair they don’t owe Richt anything. If Mark May want’s to talk about how great Pittsburgh is then let him do it, because those teams always crap out and he’ll eventually look like an idiot like he always does. The only thing Richt owe’s anyone is to owe to himself to make sure his team is adequetly prepared for every game they play in. If he does that, the other things will take care of themselves. If the media doesn’t respect what Mark Richt had done by now, then they never will. So I say the hell with ESPN, UGA doesn’t need them anyway. What are you really missing out on by not having ESPN suck up to your program anyway? College Gameday? That show blows!

Slow Freddie

May 18th, 2009
3:17 pm

Coop, you sound like a “whiner and a low class poster” but you may very well be a winner. Don’t be offended. That’s just my opinion.

Rob

May 18th, 2009
3:18 pm

I’m a UF fan but if I were an AD I’d hire Richt before Miles. He’d probably be my 2nd choice among SEC coaches. Houston Nutt would be on my short list as well. Saban is a great coach too but he’s shady as hell. It’s just a matter of time before Bama is back on probation. And I actually agree with Bill, which is scary, that Spurrier’s best days are way behind him.

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2009
3:26 pm

uuug, I dont know amny coaches that could have got as much as of his players as Richt did in 2002. I thought 2005 overachieved a bit. 2007, I think he was getting as much out of his player late as any coach in America, dont you? I dont know that ONE play in the SC game should really matter as far and who can coach and who can’t. In fact if Ky could kick a darn 30 yr FG, we might very well be on a different topic right now.

I know, shoulda coulda woulda. I’m just saying, one play here and there is too small of a sample to be making broad generalization between this coach and that. And that’s what I think it comes down to very often.

As far as Saban, what leads You to beleive his ALA teams have over achieved? Meyers team lost 4 game in 2007. So obviously it not just getting the most out of who you got.

I asked this question before and at the expence of a collective groan from the room: Who can you name to get that many wins out of a team that was that crippled as Mark Richt did last year? One example, ever?

I also guarantee, if you could systematically start plucking even a dozen (much less 2 dozen) players off that Al and Fl team last year, we wouldnt be even be talking about them now.

Huh?

May 18th, 2009
3:26 pm

College football fans are incredibly shortsighted and, lets face it, not that bright. They believe what the want to believe, facts be damned. Take this little gem for instance:

“I like coach Richt but we haven’t seen a team over-achieve in a while…”

Yeah man its been like forever. Us old foggies remember waaaaaaay back in 2007 when UGA took a preseason #13 ranking and finished #2 in the land. We rode our dinosaurs to the games back then. Holy beejeebus why do I even bother?

At any rate, the national championship argument is admittedly a fair one. He’s been at UGA eight seasons. We had a shot in 2002 but that was really our only legitimate shot since he’s been here. Its perfectly reasonable to expect him to do it again and to date he hasn’t. We all know he’s a great coach but he won’t get the respect from outsiders until they see us in the BCSCG. Just the way it is.

As for other coaches, Meyer is hands down the best at the moment. People seem to forget all the 8 and 9 win duds that Saban had at LSU and even his 6-6 mark in 2007 at Alabama. Is that “getting the best out of his players” geniuses? Like I said, shortsighted. And I don’t think Miles has any business even being mentioned among the SEC’s best. I don’t care about his fluke national title. The guy is a total dolt. If you really want to talk about the SEC’s best coaches you need to talk about guys like Bobby Johnson and Rich Brooks. Very few do more with less than those guys.

There is no National Championship in College Football

May 18th, 2009
3:27 pm

I don’t give a dang about a trophy that isn’t legitimate. The NCAA doesn’t award the thing so it’s irrelevant. The SEC is what matters. That being said, until UGA stops having multiple brainfarts every year and Richt holds his staff accountable and fires incompetant coaches….he’ll get the grief he deserves. I really don’t care how he ranks among SEC coaches, I care that Georgia comes prepared to whip teams they should whip and compete with teams with which they are evenly matched.

AltamahaDawg

May 18th, 2009
3:30 pm

Bobby Johnson would the best if that were the standard to be sure.

jason

May 18th, 2009
3:31 pm

It’s all about the rings/ championships. Nothing else matters. Meyer, Miles and Saban all cashed in on their first oppurtunity. CMR has missed on at least three.Through bad luck or whatever. UGA has to show up for 14 games. That’s all there is to it. Luck is what you make it. If they show up and play 110% every game then the lucky bounces will fall their way.

PeligroPero

May 18th, 2009
3:35 pm

Come on, guys. ESPN is in the entertainment business and our beloved Coach Richt isn’t exactly scintillating, bombastic or controversial, like say some of those other guys. Richt is competent, a true gentleman and will be successful for long time. Anyone who’d take Satan or Urby Crier over Richt is welcome to them. And anyway, ESPN’s got us all talking about them.
And, Dan, I hate to admit it but I liked seeing Game Day in Athens.

Huh?

May 18th, 2009
3:43 pm

For the record, I also think 2005 and 2007 had national title potential, but as the critics say Richt couldn’t “put it all together.” Obviously the Shockley injury in ‘05 was just bad luck, but where was that great defense that stiffled LSU in the Auburn and WVU games? And Georgia was playing as good as anyone at the end of 2007. What the hell happened at the beginning of 2007? There’s just a lot of head scratchers and “no show” moments like that. Its becoming rather routine to be quite honest.

Mac

May 18th, 2009
3:47 pm

Saban and Miles really are not better coaches than Richt. Saban has had one really good year in his career and almost followed it up with another one last year. Other than that, he hasn’t been a world-beater. Same with Miles until he proves otherwise. Richt has build a consistently stronger program than those two … so far. Could change.

dan

May 18th, 2009
3:49 pm

PeligroPero

UGA is 0-2 when Gameday is in town. If that is how the team performs when the Gameday crew is in town then perfectly okay with them never coming to Athens. Plus the show itself is just not that entertaining to me. Basically the only reason to watch Gameday is to know where to place your bets in Vegas based on the media perception.

Todd

May 18th, 2009
3:55 pm

Bill, CMR has yet and how many times does it have to be said, not beaten UF and Tenn in the same yr. He has yet to win the East straight up. He’s backed in to the title games and has won a total of one more game against the Gators than Jim Donnan.

CMR is a great man, not a great football coach. He continuues to make a great mistake in whinning about playing in Jax. when he brings 40,000 of his best friends and plays a game that last for 3 1/2 hrs.

Please, please Bill stay focused.

Ferndolin

May 18th, 2009
3:57 pm

At this level, there is a tremedous amount of luck involved in winning the BCS Championship. A near miss here and there and a key victory by another team and your in the championship game. The player and coaching talent is there at UGA but ‘ole lady luck’ has not been on our side. Besides, we have to play in Jacksonville every year. Give me a break! If they want a neutral location, move it around. Spread the love.
GO DAWGS!!!

Hunker Down

May 18th, 2009
4:00 pm

Coach Richt gets all of my respect. I would not take another coach in or out of the SEC or any other conference over Coach Richt. I do not care if he wins a BCS championship or not. He will be a stable influence in a world of crazy college athletics long after the others have had a meltdown, put their teams on probation, or embarressed their schools.

He is the only coach in the SEC who has averaged over 10 wins a season during his career and also declared “I would rather lose than cheat” and “I consider my job as not only coaching them in football but as a ministry to help my players become successful in their lives.”

Nope, I do not care about championships. I do care about winning and I love UGA, my Alma Mater. And Coach Richt is the best coach in America as far as I am concerned and I am happy that we are blessed with him.

Mike

May 18th, 2009
4:02 pm

MORE respect is what you are wanting?? They were preseason #1 last year, that’s plenty of respect there and what did they do with it…

Jeff

May 18th, 2009
4:03 pm

I agree that College Football fans are very short sighted. However, blowing 16 point leads at home to Tech, losing 49-10 against your biggest rival, and being blown out 31-0 at half of an ESPN gameday game will drop you a couple of points in a popularity poll.

Overall, it really doesn’t matter what some ESPN poll says about Richt. It matters what his players and assistant coaches think. I would say our program has grown every year under Richt. This off-season’s loyalty with Richt’s assistants speaks volumes about what the people inside the program feel about Richt.

uuugh.

May 18th, 2009
4:04 pm

I would say they over-achieved the majority of 2002…and then against Auburn in 2007 but only 1 game maybe 2. As many coaches have lost their jobs since 2002…I would consider that to be a long time. Other than Auburn and a hurt Tebow a couple years ago, when would the wise posters in here say that the dawgs have gotten up and beat someone there weren’t supposed to? I would say it has been a while…

Conversely, how many times have the dawgs just not “shown up” for a game? Consistently once or twice a season…or more frequently than the overachieving has.

Jake

May 18th, 2009
4:06 pm

One of the only flaws with Richt, is his loyalty to friends. One bad first half against Bama and one terrible second half against Tech. It all falls with the defense. Never one to offer excuses, only solutions. And this solution would be a new DC. Got to give it to Miles for picking up one of the best DC’s in the country. But the best coach in the SEC is Bobby Johnson. Give him Kentucky’s talent and he would bring a SEC Championship

TS

May 18th, 2009
4:10 pm

Hunker Down- “I would rather lose then cheat”- like in the endzone dance against UF in ‘07? Look, I like Richt. You are lucky to have him but don’t put him on some moral high ground above all the other coaches.

OZZFEST

May 18th, 2009
4:11 pm

When both #1 Mizzou and #2 West Va lost that Saturday night in December 2007, you could tell that when Richt went on ESPN around Midnight to make his case about getting UGA in the championship game …HE WAS UNPREPARED! (He sounded like Ray Goff.) Les Miles campaigned and got his team into the 2007 National Championship. Sometimes it is not about wins and losses, it is about MARKETING and making your point.

George G.

May 18th, 2009
4:12 pm

CFN had a similar column last week. Richt was fourth ahead of Spurrier and Miles.

Gator Growl

May 18th, 2009
4:13 pm

You UGA (and others as well) fans that label Urban Meyer as a whiner and low class just amaze me! I’ll bet you if he had an average record you would just think the guy was dandy, but since he’s at the top winning championships everyone wants to take their CHEAP shots. Bottom line, whether you like it or not, he has run a clean and extremely successful program. Yes, players have screwed up, just like they have at so many programs, but I DARE ANY OF YOU to cast the first stone!!! UGA, TENN, ALABAMA, LSU, SOUTH CAROLINA, FSU, MIAMI, etc etc etc etc…have all had their own problems. Unfortunately, it is all usually more indicative of our society than our football coaches.

uuugh.

May 18th, 2009
4:14 pm

And I see every one saying that there is a certain amount of luck needed to win the big game. You know what you need more than luck? Great performances against good teams on national TV. There are a whole bunch of voters that get a say in who gets to play for all the marbles that don’t reside in the Southeast. Until UGA and Coach Richt prove that they can beat the good teams on their schedule consistently, we don’t stand a chance of winning another one. Playing South Carolina in prime time on ESPN to a 3 pt victory every year doesn’t help much…

Denver Dog

May 18th, 2009
4:16 pm

As much as I like Tim Tebow as the great leader that he is. I wish ESPN would quit saying that he led UF twice to the BCS championship. Chris Leake led the first one. Perhaps Tim will do it again this year.

ESPN doesn’t want to give Richt credit for whatever reason. So it doesn’t surprise me that the poll that they do turns up like it does. I’m surprised that they dont’ show Kiffin as the top coach.

DawgGirl32

May 18th, 2009
4:16 pm

I can definitely understand Meyer as the best coach and Saban to a degree but I could NEVER understand while Miles is even in that talk. If winning a NC really meant that you could lose 2 regular season games then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. I do agree with PeligroPero that Richt just not as obnoxious and flashy as some of these other guys that are media favorites and I prefer that. Sometimes I feel like football is more of a circus and less of a sport and I’m glad that Mark Richt isn’t involved in that. Obviously luck has A LOT to do with winning a BCS Championship and with his record luck is bound to swing his way.

Gator Growl

May 18th, 2009
4:17 pm

And I’ll bet that if/when Richt wins that first “MNC” you guys will be the first to remove that “M”!!!

jakesdad

May 18th, 2009
4:18 pm

cfb is totally a “what have you done for me lately?” job. Richt’s stock is down because a preseason #1 team laid three eggs last year (admittidly bad) but (as several others have pointed out) the 02, 05 & 07 teams did overachieve even though they didn’t bring home the mnc. my prediction: they’ll beat expectations this yr (though still no hardware), finish in the top-10 & his halo will be back in full shine in Jan. oh, & I’m 2nd generation Tech/10+ yr season tix holder (hope I’m wrong about our game)…

Denver Dog

May 18th, 2009
4:20 pm

So the question will be will MEYER be like Donavan, or Spurrier? Spurrier kept on winning big and went for a big challenge. What will Meyer do? He is a great coach and no reasonable person can fault his record or history. Even a loyal dog fan like me.

Mikey

May 18th, 2009
4:20 pm

Coach Mark Richt in 8 seasons at UGA:

6 10 win seasons
5 times finished in the top 10
2 times finished in the top 3
3 SEC Championship Appearances
2 SEC Titles
3 BCS Bowls
2 Sugar Bowl wins
27-4 on the road in the SEC over 8 seasons
82-22 record over 8 seasons – 79% winning percentage
No Probations

He has my respect. Period.

Denver Dog

May 18th, 2009
4:22 pm

What is this Gator growls problem. His team wins the championship. Who is questioning that. You don’t need to defend anything, you won!

TX DAWG

May 18th, 2009
4:24 pm

“Sometimes it is not about wins and losses, it is about MARKETING and making your point.”

OZZFEST:

If College Football has turned into an election rather than a game I think I need to find a new favorite sport. Your comment is probably accurate, but really sad. I don’t know why we are obsessed with the BCS national championship. It isn’t real. Congress has basically told the BCS if they keep calling their game a national championship they will be prosecuted because it will be an anti-trust violation. The teams and players don’t decide who the champion is. Journalists do!

I think fans should focus on Conference Championships where the players actually decide who wins and not sports writers from the West Coast and the North East. The reason we care so much about the national championship is because of ESPN. And, I love football because it is a game and not a political campaign. If I want to watch politics I will turn on CSPAN.

Dawg Fud

May 18th, 2009
4:24 pm

ditto on what Jeff said at 3:14 pm