Richt: Winner to whiner?

Some UGA fans appear to think Mark Richt’s latest incarnation, following the Iceman/Nice Guy of the early days and “Evil” Richt of the end zone stomp, is Mr. Whiner. First there were his recent comments about the annual game in Jacksonville (he’s right that it’s not a neutral site, but complaining about the weather there favoring the Gators was a bit of a stretch), and now he’s griping about his Dogs’ nonconference schedule this coming season.

“I’m not that thrilled about it,” Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald concerning facing what College Football News called “the toughest nonconference slate of any SEC team by far,” with games against Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Georgia Tech in 2009. 

As the ABH points out, of the 65 teams in the six Bowl Championship Series conferences, only two besides Georgia will play three nonconference games this season against teams from BCS conferences. And neither one of them has as tough a schedule as Georgia’s: Syracuse will go up against Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State while Georgia Tech faces Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Georgia.

“One would be plenty,” Richt said. “The plan was never to have Oklahoma State and Arizona State and Georgia Tech [in the same season]. That was never the plan.” Richt said the plan was supposed to be playing one other BCS team plus Tech in a season … and he’s not in love with even that idea. 

The upgrading of the nonconference schedule was “for the fans and to get out of the Southeast region” for recruiting purposes, he said. But Richt believes traveling 1,900 miles each way to Arizona last season impacted the Dawgs adversely the next week when Alabama jumped out to a big halftime lead in Athens. 

Again, with the whining: “That’s a tough trip,” Richt said. “It’s a tough trip to go all the way over there and then come back, fly back through the night and then just get ready to keep grinding, because it is a grind. You need rest. Not only your players, but your coaches need rest, too.”

Richt’s boss, athletics director Damon Evans, doesn’t sound convinced by the head coach’s arguments about the detrimental effect of traveling out west. Said Evans: “That’s his opinion and I’ll listen to his opinion, and I’m sure he has some valid points. … I do know this: That there are teams around the country that do it week in and week out. Sometimes you’ve got to get up and go. … This year we’ll probably be playing a night game at Arkansas. We’ll probably get in later from Arkansas than we will from Oklahoma State.”

Examining Richt’s stance on this, he has a point and he doesn’t. Yes, playing three BCS nonconference teams in one season on top of an SEC schedule is excessive. It’s certainly not the norm. Tennessee has the reputation for scheduling big-name nonconference opponents, but generally only one per year (California, UCLA in recent years), with the rest less than imposing. This year, they face Western Kentucky, UCLA, Ohio and Memphis. LSU’s nonconference schedule is Washington, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane and Louisiana Tech. Alabama does open with Virginia Tech, but its other nonconference games are against Florida International, North Texas and Chattanooga. 

Ole Miss has Memphis, Southeast Louisiana, Alabama-Birmingham and Northern Arizona.

And then there’s Florida’s embarrassingly light nonconference schedule, which has Charleston Southern, Troy, Florida International and not-what-it-used-to-be Florida State.

Evans gives Florida a pass on that schedule. “Certain schools have built up reputations because of what they’ve accomplished,” he told the ABH. “Florida gets a lot of credit. They’ve won two national championships. Let’s not forget that. You’ve got to work your way up and Florida has done that.”

Well, yes. But during their 2006 national championship season, the Gators’ nonconference oppoents were Southern Mississippi, UCF, Western Carolina and FSU. Last year’s nonconference schedule was slightly more respectable, with Miami and Hawaii joining FSU and the Citadel.  

So Richt does face a tougher schedule this year than the rest of the conference. But Evans says three nonconference BCS opponents in one season is not going to be the rule. More often, Georgia will play one BCS nonconference game besides Tech in a season. And that’s something fans, tired of all those yawner home games against schools with directional names, have wanted. There’s also the advantage of a tough schedule impressing the folks who vote in the human polls and bolstering the Dogs in the computer polls.

As for the trip to Arizona being a factor in last year’s showing against the Tide, Georgia didn’t look tired in the first half of the Bama game; they looked unprepared. As the game went on, the Dogs actually played better. Maybe it was the players getting too caught up in the whole “Blackout” thing or just the coaches not getting them ready or a combination, but tired from the previous week’s travel? I don’t buy it.

So what do you think? Is Richt justified in complaining about the schedule? Or does he need to quit with the whining and concentrate on winning?

287 comments Add your comment

DawgForLife

June 8th, 2009
1:30 pm

Richt is simply protecting his job. He knows that he’ll likely lose four to five games this year and that with the Martinez fall out from last year he will be on the hotseat after this year. He knows that a loss to ASU or OSU coupled with a loss to Yech…Florida, LSU and potentially another SEC loss or two and his security at UGA becomes doubtful. Amazing how the optimism has changed after last years debacle.

CharlotteDawg

June 8th, 2009
1:31 pm

Big non-conference games are great for college football.

This Dawg is looking forward to the schedule…

Socal Dawg

June 8th, 2009
1:33 pm

I wonder what kind of confidence CMR is giving his players. We can’t beat FL in Jax and this year our schedule is to hard. I know it’s been said already but MAN UP! The trojans do it all the time and half the country wants to play ball there. Once again be a man!

UGA88

June 8th, 2009
1:34 pm

I agree, a real fan has to love this schedule. Tough, yes, but it’s going to be exciting. How much fun is playing Northeast polytech state?

Go Dogs!!!

Ferndolin

June 8th, 2009
1:34 pm

FL’s none-conference is pathetic. It’s a weak schedule but they’re smart in getting it. This is a way of keeping their best talent off the field and away from injury so they can kick some SEC butt later in the season and be ready to compete for a nat’l champshp. I’m a big DAWG fan but FL has the edge here.

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
1:39 pm

BAMA STAIN, I want my $500 bucks at the end of the year b!tch.

uuugh.

June 8th, 2009
1:40 pm

Why do people seem to thing the USC Trojans have a difficult schedule!? If UGA plays in the Pac 10 they would play in the Rose Bowl every year too. If USC plays in the SEC they are Ole Miss at best.

Their recruiting classes are great because all these kids want to be stars and playing in LA helps that. Carroll is a good ex-Pro coach which also helps. Of course an agent renting a mansion for your family to live in while you go to school there doesn’t hurt either.

Enough already with the USC gushing on the dawgs blog.

Braindawg

June 8th, 2009
1:42 pm

I love it Bama Stan is the joke of this blog. What he says can be written off as a dumb ass Ala. fan, and we all know with the inbreeding in bama, has effected their brains. Ga. being passed by ole miss, get real. What a laughing matter his blogs are. He belongs in a comedy club, not on a blog. HAHAHAHA, what a dumb azz. Keep posting Stan, we all need a laugh!!! Go Dawgs!!!

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2009
1:42 pm

Ah, those “some fans”. Like I said….

Jimmy the c

June 8th, 2009
1:42 pm

I want more of them. Where is the Kick-Off at the Dome with USC or UCLA. If we say we want o be considered in the top of the nation, lets prove it. Richt came from the program that grew in prominence by the mantra of: “Anyone, anywhere, anytime” Lets do the same.

southgadawg88

June 8th, 2009
1:44 pm

The whiner label is off base.The real problem with the schedule is that it is full of teams that have quality talent.That does not mean they are all championship caliber teams… however these are teams from BCS conferences that do a decent job recruiting good players.It’s kinda like a prize fighter,you would rather not fight a bunch of top prospects back to back,even if they are not on the same level talent wise the cumulative effect of consecutive solid competition will wear you down over the long haul.There is a reason a lot of the all time great fighters fought more than their fair share of bums.As for football look around there simply is not a lot of NC teams that have played top ranked schedules the year they won the title.Ask any coach they would prefer to play 1-2 tough games and as many cupcakes as they can get away with.Miami lived on beating FSU and maybe 1 good BigEast team and they were in the NC hunt year in and out.USC plays at the MOST 2 good teams a year the last 10 years and they stay in the hunt,OKLA and Texas only play the other weak teams in their conference,You know why you just cant get away from Ohio State?They have 1-2 good teams on their sched and the rest cupcakes and mid level comp.I think their fans will settle for that as long as they are a threat to make to the MNC.As a fan I like the schedule….great games to watch.As a coach though depth and injuries is what you worry about.Beating UGA would be a big win for every team we play and I would expect them to bring their “A” game.We got a lot of young talent and they will be thrown to the fire right out the gate.

Gen Neyland

June 8th, 2009
1:44 pm

NewnanDawg : After reading your post, there appears to be a fine line between ‘knowing what a coach is thinking’ and knowing what a ‘coach may be saying’. The difference is..?

Cuz : Taking my afternoon break. Painting is going swell. Back at it now…Keep an eye peeled over to the East for those Stampede’n Gamechickens…

Kendawg

June 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

Perhaps playing some tough OOC teams is not attractive to CMR, but it is attractive to some of us fans. We’ve had more than enough home games against the Tennessee Techs of college football. I don’t think the game against Okla State will be all that difficult, although I’ve seen a lot of bloggers(other teams’ fans) already count that as aloss for UGA. I’ve got a hunch that they’re going to be sadly disappointed.

ChefChuck

June 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

Damon Evans actually played the game. He knows what he is talking about. Richt sat on the bench for four years. Who do you believe?

spider

June 8th, 2009
1:48 pm

i thought ga tech was inferior to you guys, what gives???

Otto

June 8th, 2009
1:48 pm

Bama Stan why is it a down year for UGA? The lines are healthier than ever, the QB is more accurate. AJ at WR and I’m sure one of the top recruit RBs will step up and the WRs will be fine.

T-Dawg Bama’s QB play will most likely be better. The OL is a question mark but I’m sure Saban will have some of his OL recruits ready to play.

I do have to ask what message is CMR sending the team with comments about Jax and now the schedule. Is it classic Vince or Bowden sytle poor mouthing or is downing the team? We will find out this fall.

GreatDawg

June 8th, 2009
1:49 pm

Come on St. Mark, go ahead and say it…you don’t want to play in Jax against the gators, you don’t want to go west to play anybody, what you want is to play the SEC East schedule and then lay Clarke Central and Athens Academy down like you were executing them. No guts, whine all the time, but, I guess if I had to coach a bunch of thugs I’d be kinda ornery too.

Otto

June 8th, 2009
1:51 pm

Spider, They are but if you’re playing 2nd and 3rd string after a tough SEC schedule along with top 25 teams in your OOC, injuries add up. GT plays in the powder puff ACC and does not take the pounding.

Athens..

June 8th, 2009
1:53 pm

I believe playing quality teams only makes you better. Take Ohio Sate for example. You may coast in to the NC game, but then, at some point, the embarrassment begins.

If we stay focused, play smart, and with emotion, we should be fine…

GO Dawgs!

Jethro Tull

June 8th, 2009
1:56 pm

Poor huh? Poor georgie was injury depleted. Funny all the fans I talked to before Bama and Fla games said “We’re better at every position”. “We’ve got so much depth it doesn’t matter”.

Question: How many ranked teams did georgie beat in ‘08?
Answer: #18 Mich St

Yes, the SEC is a tougher conf than the ACC but not near as much as some of you want everyone to believe. Regular season record 3 and 6 I believe. The ACC stunk up the bowl games to even it at 6-6.

Jake

June 8th, 2009
1:58 pm

Tech fans love to call UGA whiners because of Richt’s comments on non-conference scheduling? I can see their point. If anyone has the right to complain its them because year in and year out their non-conference schedule is always tougher than their conference schedule. For Christ’s sakes they’re in the ACC

Hawaii

June 8th, 2009
2:05 pm

Rev. Crybaby Richt needs to coach at Hawaii for a season and see their what their travel schedule looks like for EVERY SINGLE ROAD GAME…

david2

June 8th, 2009
2:06 pm

george who do you girls play in 2009

Duh?

June 8th, 2009
2:07 pm

Does a tough schedule mean a rebuilding year (again)???

uuugh.

June 8th, 2009
2:08 pm

Hey Jethro…how did Alabama do in the bowl game with their Stud OL suspended?

Missing because of Injury or Suspension, a single Offensive lineman can make a big difference on Offense…especially when the team runs behind that particular O Lineman 60 or 70% of the time like the Tide did. And hats off to Saban for explaining to that idiot that the NFL combine is a job interview!

RealDawg

June 8th, 2009
2:11 pm

Telling the truth isn’t whining. He probably would like a bit different scheduled since he is the first one judged on performance. CMR asnwers questions when asked.

Sure is funny how everybody writes UGA off, and we keep winning games.

We are not where we want to be (yet), but at least our coach isn’t an azz, we aren’t on probabation, and we don’t have to outsource our ticket sales. Cheer up guys.

DawginLex

June 8th, 2009
2:16 pm

Hey General Neyland,

I don’t see it with USC east. In fact, I see the ol ball coach heading for the greens permanently. NCSU will whip them on opening day and it will be downhill from there.

Good points made earlier on the blog about how Bama actually didn’t have a quality win except for beating the worst UGA team since 2006. a team that was injury riddled. They squeaked by KY and Ole Miss and LSU and lost to Florida and then got embarrassed by Utah.

Nothing to gloat about that’s for sure. Bama stan can’t admit that we have won 2 SEC titles since Bama won their last one.

big dawg

June 8th, 2009
2:16 pm

it is what it is. the fans love it, the alumni love it, and lets face it, that’s who’s paying their salary. i say we add notre dame,michigan,texas, and usc to the mix. put clemson back on too. that’s what will get me to the games..not ut-chatt. or the citadel.

BAMA STAN

June 8th, 2009
2:17 pm

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Reality Check – you may be correct about Bama next year – we have areas that we need to address as well:

QB – similar situation as UGA
OL – actually – we are deep here – but lost some big names – may need a few weeks to gel.
Defense, WR, RB – good shape!

However – and kind of to Richt’s point – our schedule is very favorable:
– SEC EAST opponents: at KY, SC at home, TN at home.
– SEC West: ARK home, at Ole Miss, LSU HOME with an open date before!!, at Miss State, at Auburn with Chattanooga before.
– Out of Conference:
VA Tech in the Dome – followed by Florida Int’l, North Texas – and Chattanooga.

Tough games for BAMA:
– VA Tech is a tough opener – we need a QB in a hurry.
– At Ole Miss – With respect to Jim Donnan – I think Ole Miss will be like the UGA teams under Donnan – good teams that have the capability to beat you – but lack consistency for whatever reason. Ole Miss could win this game – but I think this game is Bama’s to lose.
– LSU – we have them at HOME and an open week prior – this is huge. Will be a tough game and LSU will be ready to play.

UPSETS? – yes they could happen:
– South Carolina at HOME – they suck after the 5th / 6th week into the season – they play lights out early – then realize they are a mediocre program at best. We play them week 7.
– Tennessee at HOME – Defense will be tough – as usual – not sure new offense will be staffed and ready to challange in 2009 – but keep an eye on this team in 2010. Predict will have passed UGA by 2010. Kiffin is making noise – which is drawing national recruits to visit.
– Auburn – same as TN – I think they have a good staff in place – and Defense will be sound – will offense gel in 2009???. Bama’s game to lose – but Auburn will put up a fight.

Speaking of Auburn – If I am UGA – this game makes me nervous – UGA barely beat Auburn last year – and they should be better Offensively and Defensively. Game is at UGA – which gives Auburn the edge as the visiting team wins this game for some strange reason.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? – BAMA could lose 1 or 3 games – could go undefeated. Not sure what to expect.

Big Dog

June 8th, 2009
2:18 pm

UGA plays VANDY&KENTUCKY&SOUTH CAROLINA MAYBE OLE MISS OR MISS ST WHAT A BRUTAL SEC GROUP GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

AltamahaDawg

June 8th, 2009
2:20 pm

Wow, jethrow, all the dawg fans you talked to said we are so deep, no amount of injuries would matter, huh? surrrrre they did…….

Crank dat Soulja Boy Richt

June 8th, 2009
2:21 pm

Reality Check II – we’ll see how “overrated” Alabama is this year. BUT.. I guess you are an expert on being “overrated”. Your beloved bulldawgs are the DEFINITION of the word. Bye bye

Anthony Tigerio

June 8th, 2009
2:21 pm

Cry baby. Wah Wah Wah. 12 games in the schedule, maybe a rare 1 more (SEC champ game). Need 6 wins to go to a bowl. All the SEC schools want to schedule 3 cupcakes and go 3-6 against the rest to cash in the bowl$. Kentucky, Vandy, SC and OleMiss are better competition, but not consistent every year. Keep it up and the 13-0 Auburn year will not be the last time you’re shut out. If you want to anoint yourself the ‘best conference in the country’, every SEC team should schedule at least 3 BCS schools as the out of conference opponents EVERY year. Talk is cheap, walk the walk.

gatorman770

June 8th, 2009
2:23 pm

Richt is a whiner, but not near as bad whiner as Vince “Whiner” Dooley. Vince’s whiney voice was as irritating as fingernails scraping a chalkboard.

Reality Check...

June 8th, 2009
2:26 pm

george needs to go to UGA for reading comprehension coarses…I made a joke about tech and he thinks I don’t know anything about football… As usual Tech fans are a sad bunch of haters….Can’t get by the hate to even see the joke in the blog… and yes georgie we do play a harder out of conference schedule than other SEC teams becaause we play tech….I tried to give you some respect but you were to busy hating to see that…Tech fans are such easy targets….

Athens..

June 8th, 2009
2:27 pm

Anthony, my boy

take a look at who has won the NC as of late. I think that’s walking the talk. You can walk the walk all you want.

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
2:28 pm

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-tah……

WTF???

June 8th, 2009
2:29 pm

Otto

June 8th, 2009
2:30 pm

Stan, You did bring out some good points. S. Car does play lights out early and then they don’t have the depth of talent to keep it up like the SEC powers. Why because S. car does not have the in state talent and the SEC conf schedule is tougher than their in state rival.

Aubuurn does bother me as they have enough talent to win and the staff and team should really begin to gel by midseason. I think Auburn upsets some people the question is how soon. The coaching staff is much more united as I have been posting in Tony’s blog for months. Tony Franklin venting is another interesting read.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20090606/SPORTS0402/906060343/1179/sports0402/Tony+Franklin++Former+offensive+coordinator+airs+Auburn+s+dirty+laundry

Dorsey Hill

June 8th, 2009
2:30 pm

Jethro,

Pretty sure that LSU was ranked when we played them and at the end of the season. ASU was ranked when we beat them as was USC. I’d have to look back, but Vandy may have also been ranked at the time of the game.

Bill,

That we came back in the second half doesn’t mean that we weren’t tired. Bama let up. When it got time for them to score again to put the game away, they went right down and scored. I said it after the game and I’ll say it now: Had they come out and re-set the score at 0-0 in the second half, I’m not sure we’d have done a whole lot better than we did in the first. Had we played La. Lafayette the week before, we’d have at least given them a game.

Our 2008 and 2009 schedules are ridiculous and CMR is right to complain, because it simply isn’t necessary to voluntarily put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage and obscure what is our real goal. OOC games may be important at some level, but winning the SEC East is what we need to focus on and that is difficult enough, especially in years that you have to play both LSU and Bama from the West. We need to be very careful when deciding what games to play and when they fall on our schedule. This fall we open against a top-10 team on the road and will play a USC team that will have 2 more days rest after playing NC State (at Columbia?). That’s one helluva a challenge for a team with as many question marks as we have.

Otto

June 8th, 2009
2:37 pm

Anthony the SEC scheduling is no worse than most of CFB. It could be argued Bama, Tenn. and UGA are scheduling more high profile OOC games than most BCS conf title contenders.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=4239858&sportCat=ncf

Besides the SEC has ties to more bowl, wins more bowls often playing to a team that placed higher in their conf than the SEC team. The SEC plays the top team not selected by a BCS bowl from the BigTen, Big 12, and ACC. Finally the SEC has never lost a BCS title game. As a result the SEC has more BCS titles and a bigger TV ayout than anyone else. I’d say they walk the walk.

Josh M

June 8th, 2009
2:38 pm

“Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime is the credo of any well performing program.”

Have you watched ANY college football in the last 30 years?

bull-gator

June 8th, 2009
2:40 pm

I wish the Gator’s non SEC schedule was tougher. I don’t like watching them play the likes of Troy, UCF, The Citadel, etc. I would like to see them play USC, UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Texas, Ga Tech, Miami, BC, Va Tech, North Carolina, etc., and I think most Gator fans would also. I understand the money thing, the travel thing, and whatever other lame ass excuses the AD’s come up with. The bottom line is the fans want to see good football and beating up on an inferior team is not a good test of a football team and certainly not fun to watch. I wish the Gator’s were playing UGA’s schedule, believe it or not.

DoveDawg

June 8th, 2009
2:40 pm

Mark Richt is a great coach who consistently turns out winning teams. He has shown he can motivate young men, and that he can adjust to difficult situations. I am sure that he would prefer to be able to concentrate on the SEC games on the schedule…since we are, by all accounts , in the toughest conference in the land…so why is that whining? He simply made a statement of fact…so let’s just quit making it more than it is. I am a little surprised at Bill King writing a piece like this. He usually is very supportive of the Dawgs and the coaching staff. I feel like this article was simply inappropriate and unnecessary. Let’s see if we can’t be more positive and support our Dawgs, who I believe will have a very fine season.

fishtales

June 8th, 2009
2:40 pm

I love it when teams like UGA and Auburn get it handed to them harder than Harry Reems gave it to Linda Lovelace…so they become cheerleaders of OTHER teams! Suddenly the mighty Bulldawgs and Aubarn Tiggers have become Ute supporters! Listen…either your team gets it done or they don’t, but you don’t get to become sidewalk alumni of any other team you choose unless you admit to being a bandwagon fan…that is uless of course you are already a sidewalk alum/bandwagon fan for your chosen SEC school. Absolutely pathetic.

[...] Oh, and if you want to continue to talk about Richt’s complaints about the schedule, you can do so here. [...]

Otto

June 8th, 2009
2:42 pm

“Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime is the credo of any well performing program.”

Only Fresno St lives by that motto and they have not won the WAC since ‘99 despite having one of best teams year in, year out in that conf.

Independent thinker

June 8th, 2009
2:44 pm

It’s Vince Dooley reincarnated!! Except he has zero national championships.

Independent thinker

June 8th, 2009
2:46 pm

Hey brilliant Reality Check…it’s “courses,”

BILLY JACK

June 8th, 2009
2:47 pm

Bama Stan is a joke he has never made a prediction that has come true.He told everyone on this blog during recruiting season that UGA could not sign Marlon Brown-Orson Charles-Geathers and on and on.He is the most ignorant person on this blog and that includes Ramble-On and other tech douchbags.Bama Stans last big prediction was a Bama victory in the Sugar Bowl and we all know how that turned out.Bama Stan you need to worry about Bama and stay off of Georgias blog.If you had any brains Bama Stan you would keep your toothless mouth shut after your embarrasing bowl game.Alabama not only disgraced themselves but the whole south.It is the most humiliating loss in SEC history.