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

Richard Hunter

June 8th, 2009
8:00 pm

GET US OUT OF GATOR LAND AT LEAST EVERY OTHER YEAR

Gator Growl

June 8th, 2009
8:00 pm

OMG…Went to the web site…It is a cult group and they worship elephants!!! Pretty cool rap song though (goes to Sweet Home Alabama).

ghost dawg

June 8th, 2009
9:42 pm

Ive felt all along that Ga. needed to keep the pink panties teams off the schedule, let fla have them, and play the best. Sooner or later the best recruits will see that if want to play real football againest the best teams and most tv coverage they will come toUGA. We might lose a few at first but we will win and win big.

PappyHappy

June 8th, 2009
9:50 pm

Does anyone else feel an ……….. excuse coming on?? If he is not ready to play with the Big BOys, then go to IIA!!

raheem

June 8th, 2009
10:36 pm

If the dogs win out , then they should be ahead of Florida in the BCS POLL AND GET A SHOT AT A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPE GAME THAT WHAT UP

Camden Mark

June 8th, 2009
10:47 pm

Playing the toughest schedule is somthing to be proud of.
In the long run playing the OK States of the world instead of Chaslston Southerns (UF) is a good thing and will only make the program stronger.
Besides, lets not forget we allresdy beat the crap outa both these teams and I expected we’ll do it again.As far as game prep that falls on the coachs who have consistantly done a poor job going back to the West Virginia suger bowl.Coach Richt has got to get a handle on that or we will have a slip up or two every year.This years prediction;this years team is in better shape than last year and will go 10-2 or 11-1,regular season,Win the SEC,and have a shot at it all.

Recruitnik

June 8th, 2009
11:19 pm

Bill king you are a complete moron.. how in the hell did you get this job idiot.

Paddy

June 8th, 2009
11:43 pm

It is the mighty SEC, we should play a mighty hard schedule once in a while. Go Dawgs, just play ‘em and win ‘em.

FinanceBuzz

June 8th, 2009
11:56 pm

BWWAAAAAAA!!!! Our schedule is too..*sniff*….hard….BWAAAAAA!!! We are used to starting with Podunk St. so we can get all of our offseason suspensions dones against a team that we cannot lose to….but now we have to start with a real team….and then another real team come to the Cesspool…then….*he starts visibly shaking here*…we have to play the…*gulp*….triple option and Paul Johnson AT Tech!”

Suck it up, UGAg! Y’all played so many ridiculous cupcakes over the years and ducked anyone of any strength OOC other than us and Clemson, you cannot complain if you OOC schedule was USC, Oklahoma, and Texas.

tyler

June 9th, 2009
12:25 am

Once a Dawg……Absolute moron. An embarrassment to the league? How about being the preseason NUMBER ONE and losing 3 games!!!My God you are delusional. Once the Tide was up 31 to NOTHING I think that it’s safe to say they lost their focus. Another 5 minutes and you would have won my ass. The result was a beatdown, not even close. Talk about losing to the Utes- Bama destroyed the dawgs- imagine what Utah would have done to you guys- Ga Tech kicked your ass.

macrotech

June 9th, 2009
1:02 am

CMR is a respectable man/coach. This is a stupid argument! The man answered questions that were asked him. He answered them honestly and without reservation. WHY does this come off as whining? ANYONE else in his shoes would have answered the same way! NOW, if he starts forteiting games because they are too far away OR he thinks they’re too tough….THEN he should be considered a whiner! I’m saying all of this and I’m a Tech fan!

[...] weather, that Mark Richt is sandbagging us about this year’s Florida game?  That all this focus on whining is just a [...]

Richt = Richard Simmons

June 9th, 2009
7:23 am

Pay attention leg humpers, Richt is letting you know 2009 excuse of choice is flying. Eveyone knows you folks just can’t handle Hartsford (the dog fan that shut down the airport, the dog fan that flew infected endangerign the lives of those on the plane),

Last year was injuries. 2009 the battle cry is FLYING!!!!!

Have a good flight to Jacksonville!

Jerry G

June 9th, 2009
7:24 am

Could it be UGA was unprepared against Bama because they were tired? Coaches utilize Sunday as a major prep day for the following week. Returning from Arizona early in the am took a big chunk of their “edge” from Sunday’s prep. Bottom line: Bama soundly beat UGA. However, Richt has a point. Would the outcome have been the same had UGA played the Citadel at home the week before? You can’t tell me a home game against the Citadel and a road game against Arizona are the same!

Nachos

June 9th, 2009
7:25 am

UGA will beat the Gators in Jacksonville this year! Well… maybe not. Sorry I’m drunk.

Prison league is the answer

June 9th, 2009
7:32 am

If Richt get’s his way: no Jacksonville, no FLYING, no Tech game.

Maybe Richt would just be happier coaching the prison league. That way he still gets to coach UGA players, but does not have to put up with all the tough games and FLYING.

Maddog

June 9th, 2009
8:06 am

Typical “hit piece” by the media. Build somebody up just so you can tear them down. Happens all the time.

Just imagine the reaction from the media if CMR started banning some of them from press conferences.

richtfan

June 9th, 2009
8:16 am

Mark Richt is very much Dooley-esque, and this just proves it even more. He is poor mouthing with the best of them because he knows what kind of team he’s got under all of the cloak and secrecy. He knows we’ve got talent all over even though he’ll have a new starter at qb and rb. Our lines of scrimmage, especially offensively, look very good and very deep. If his name weren’t Mark, I’d think it was either Vince or Larry.

big dawg, little dawg

June 9th, 2009
10:50 am

Bottom Line: the great programs usually meet their stiffest competition in practice! USC has guys on the second (and even third) team who would start anywhere else. Look at Matt Cassel! (DJ is almost like that, but Joe Cox is not…). But up front, you have to expect injuries and tired players, and be able to sub often without a huge drop off. This is my expectation for the Dawgs…and we are not quite there yet. Lord almighty, get out of the region and recruit nationwide. Build the brand and the program. Do NOT shirnk away from “the toughest schedule in the nation”…embrace it as a blessing – and yes, welcome the challenge. (”I’m not thrilled about it” however you spin it is a loser statement. Try, “Bring ‘em on! We will be ready! We like playing the best because we are the best!”)

Go Dawgs!

Mobile Dawg

June 9th, 2009
11:25 am

This one just won’t die will it? Bottom line is I don’t care who you play, if you have a top tier program you shouldn’t get blown out, or show up not ready to play, “consistently” being the key word, and not become a target.

Getting blown out, or being unprepared for two or three big games a year has become this teams reputation for several years now. Who’s to blame? Who’s whinning? Like it or not the answer is pretty obvious.

Kendawg

June 9th, 2009
11:29 am

Playing such a difficult OOC schedule can make us look more attracive to the voters in the polls if we win those games. For instance, if the Dawgs beat Okla State in the opener, won’t we be likely to jump into the Top 10? Every poll I’ve seen so far has Okla State at around 8 – 10 in the poll. I wonder if the pollsters have taken a good look at their defense? We were ranked #1 in preseason polls last year but no one expected that we would have a lousy defense.

Jealous of UGA ?

June 9th, 2009
1:25 pm

Tyler,

Sponge Bob is on downstairs……

I think “Crank dat soulja Boy” moron has passed Ramble On and Bama Stan as dumbest poster on the UGA blog. Congrats CDSB ! You are an absolute douch bag.

There is too much talk about this, supposed whining. Everyone on this blog who believes this to be true needs to wake up and smell the damn coffee. There has not been one complaint or whine about the scheduling- just factual answers. Anyone can make something out of nothing when statements are taken out of context.

Bama Stan, still don’t understand your reasoning of UGA having plateaued. The numbers speak for themselves my friend.

Jacket since 1997

June 9th, 2009
1:29 pm

COACH RICHT WASNT COMPLAINING WHEN HE WAS IN TALLAHASSEE, WINNING ALL THOSE ACC TITLES???? SOUNDS A LITTLE CRY BABYISH TO ME!!!! BUT I DONT CARE, THE MORE UGAG LOSES THE BETTER!!!!!!!!! GO TECH!!!! JACKETS ACC CHAMPS IN 2010!!!

Oledawg

June 9th, 2009
1:52 pm

Bill and Bloggers- Read Scout: CollegeFootballNews.com, article by B E Coleman. Your “article” is an abomination to all fans of UGA. I suspect that some of our rivals are embarrassed to write on here. What the hell were you thinking?

Oledawg

June 9th, 2009
1:56 pm

Jealous of UGA?- you are right on the mark. Now read today’s article on CollegeFootballNews by B E Coleman. Bill’s article makes us look like jerks along with him!

thedu

June 9th, 2009
2:39 pm

About the 2006 Florida schedule: even with the non-conference schedule being what it was, the Gators still had the toughest strength-of-schedule rating in the country. Just a reminder.

Chris W

June 9th, 2009
2:48 pm

You don’t have to have 3 BCS teams to have a tough OOC schedule. Oregon plays Boise St, Utah, and Purdue. And they have a ninth conference game instead of Tennessee Tech.

Gatorrob

June 9th, 2009
3:19 pm

I’m so sick of hearing about Florida’s sos, In both 06 and 08 we had the toughest schedule in the country. That’s just a fact. Go look it up. FSU is always a quality oppenent and we normally play other good teams from florida. we regularly play miami, central florida, and we are about to start a series with USF. If Georgia has a problem with playing their out of conference don’t schedule those teams. I don’t know why he’s complaining until they learn to beat Florida consistently their not going anywhere anyways.

Gatorrob

June 9th, 2009
3:22 pm

If the dogs win out , then they should be ahead of Florida in the BCS POLL AND GET A SHOT AT A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPE GAME THAT WHAT UP

No crap….any sec team that wins out deserves to play for the national title. Don’t hold your breath though.

Jim T.

June 9th, 2009
3:56 pm

You have a coach who has averaged over 10 wins a year during his tenure at UGA and you have the audacity to call him a whinner? Give me a break! I suppose then that Steve Spurrier and Uban Meyer are whinners too. Bear Bryant used to complain about his tough schedule … every friggin’ year! Hey boys, what Mark is doing is called poor mouthing … you ignorants fools!

Mike

June 9th, 2009
10:44 pm

Oh you silly little puppies, You just can’t give Florida any kind of credit. Florida has won three national titles. In the years they have won a national title, they have played the toughest schedule in the nation…twice and the second toughest the other time.

You boys should hire a coach that stops whining and starts winning. As long as UGA has Richt as the head coach, he will always have a losing record against Florida (2-6 and counting)

Maddog

June 9th, 2009
11:47 pm

Bill King

Would Coach Paul Johnson’s comments about the kickoff classic playing in the georgia dome be considered “whining”?

ugadawgrbian

June 10th, 2009
1:50 am

First off to the bumblebees, congrats on playing a real schedule. You finally get to play a real schedule three SEC teams. Two of which you should beat. But that’s not saying much considering one of the is the bottom dweller of the conference and until last year the other team was the bottom dweller. It’s one thing coming to Athens every other year but quite another to go on two road trips in the SEC.

Secondly why do the Gators get a free pass on their schedule? They play noone out of conference and no one in the mainstream media calls them out on it.

Third, no excuses about the Bama game. We got beat, plain and simple. Could it be becasue of the travel, possibly, but I’m not buying it. Looks at the game it was totally a lack of focus. A turnover inside the redzone overturned by a penalty on the opening drive, dropped passes, no blocking for Knowshon, the Dawgs were simply not ready to play that night.

To me the most dissapointing thing about last season was not the fact we lost games, as fans we all know we are going to lose some, but the way we lost the games. There is no way with the talent on our team we should have got blown out the way we did against Bama and the Gators. And that brings us to the game against the bee’s. Make no mistake we lost the game, you did not win. And don’t sit here now and tell me that at halftime you thought you would win that game. We gave it to you. Ellerbe not wrapping Dwyer up in hole led to a long td run, and Reshad Jones trying to shoulder block Roddy Jones out of bounds let you score another td. We lost the game, you didn’t beat us.

Crow

June 10th, 2009
12:20 pm

I don’t know enough to talk about UF’s schedule, but how can you say that Tech’s is full of cupcakes? With the exception of Jacksonville State they are all from the MIGHTY SEC! And to say that Tech can’t beat anyone of substance is asinine. 2 out of 3 SEC teams last season ain’t bad. And don’t claim that they were horrible teams “the arm pit of the SEC”… you were one of them. Only scared weak teams complain about their NonCom schedule being too hard – Wahh Wahh Wahh. Good ol’ St Rickt is straight up neutering your program. THWG!!!!

cdawg

June 10th, 2009
12:36 pm

Typical Atlanta ban-wagon writer/fan, when things are great, Richt is the best thing since slice bread, when things aren’t, Richt is a whiner.

Towaliga

June 10th, 2009
5:44 pm

Let me get this straight….MR is complaining because UGAy is one of only 3 teams that play 3 BCS out of conference teams, and GA’s opponents are tougher than the other 2 teams’ opponents. However, GT is one of the 2, and their opponents are GA and 2 other SEC teams. In other words, MR is saying that playing UGAy and other SEC teams is easier than playing the non-SEC teams. There you have it, in paraphrasing MR’s own words–the SEC is over-rated.

[...] of the opinion that him and Richt were never bosom buddies anyway. Richt didn’t like his scheduling policies and Evans didn’t care for Richt’s gimmicky uniforms or underachieving in 2009. And [...]