Is the Florida series Richt’s ultimate test?

Asked to name Georgia’s biggest SEC rivals, most fans quickly will say Florida first and Auburn second. Then maybe Tennessee, followed by South Carolina. Or should LSU rank above those two? What about Alabama? 

As rivalries go, the usual weak sisters of the SEC East (Kentucky and Vandy) and the SEC West teams we don’t play that often (Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State) probably wouldn’t be anyone’s pick.

But the fact is that as tight as the battle for the SEC East title is most years, every conference game is important. Not equally important, because if, say, Georgia and Florida wind up with the same record in the East but Florida beats Georgia head to head, they take the division. Still, it’s safe to say that even games against Vandy and Mississippi State are more important in terms of the Dogs’ SEC goals than the annual nonconference game against Georgia Tech. 

Does Mark Richt have to have a winning record against Florida to be considered UGA's greatest coach?

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So considering that, the fact that Mark Richt has a winning record in his eight years against every SEC team except the Gators is pretty impressive. He’s undefeated against Arkansas (4-0), Ole Miss (4-0) and Mississippi State (2-0). He’s 7-1 against Vandy and Kentucky, with the only losses coming during that 2006 midseason slump. Richt is 6-2 against South Carolina, 3-1 against Alabama, 5-3 against Tennessee and Auburn and 3-2 against LSU (with both losses to the Bengal Tigers coming during the 2003 season, the second being in the SEC Championship game). Only with the 2-6 record against Florida is the dean of SEC coaches on the negative side. And two of those losses came to national championship teams. 

Overall, Richt is 48-19 in SEC games, with a 27-13 record against SEC East teams and 21-6 against the SEC West. (His nonconference record, of course, is a superlative 34-3).

So here’s today’s question: If Richt were to stay at UGA for many years and continue to have a winning record against every SEC team except Florida, would you rank him as the Dogs’ greatest coach? Or is a winning record against the Gators a prerequisite for achieving that distinction? Feel free to comment, vote in the poll or both.

143 comments Add your comment

chazzo

July 27th, 2009
11:14 am

Dooley was a great coach, but he coached some pretty lackluster teams following his success in the early 80s. I was there. Things kind of started unraveling. Then he left a new, inexperienced pawn I mean coach with the fallout from the remediary class debacle and some other violations, costing scholarships. I am not trying to run the man in the ground. He was awesome, but he wasn’t perfect. He beat the great Bear Bryant, and he won an NC and several SEC titles. The game changed, as everything does, and he didn’t keep up. The comparison between Richt and Dooley is senseless. Richt puts UGA in the top ten just about every year, in the top five several. I am just saying. It is only a matter of time.

chazzo

July 27th, 2009
11:28 am

Something I experienced being at UGA right after the Walker years, being in Tallahassee through the Rise and Fall, and growing up around a local college that one the basketball Div II NC, once a team wins a national title, that all most fans will think about. The enjoyment of watching a team build toward that, finding the right chemistry, schedule, and a little luck is lost. We so quickly forget that it took Vince twenty years and an other-worldly tailback to finally get the NC. We just wanted one every year after that. High expectations is not a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong. That is actually something Richt brought to UGA. Before Richt, 8 wins had become okay. My point is that if a fan wagers all of a team’s success on whether or not they win a national championship, that fan is missing out on a lot of great games and a lot of great people. In every case, that my team has won an NC, the fan base part of the equation has been full support and enjoyment of the game and the people involved. Bragging rights, personal opinions, and expectations came second in every case (that is until after the taste of the NC). The players have obviously made some solid, mature choices about their dedication, commitment and personal conduct. I highly recommend that we do the same.

dawgfanatic24-7

July 27th, 2009
11:40 am

Next year will be the end of the winning era for Fla. Every team rebuilds and next year is Fla’s turn. Richt is a good coach. The next time UGA wins the conf we will be playing for the NC.

Huh?

July 27th, 2009
12:08 pm

I would only add that this notion that Richt lacks a “killer instinct” and is simply too nice of a guy to ever take Georgia to the promised land is one of the more primitively idiotic things I have ever heard on any subject in my entire life. If this is your opinion, you should be pointed at in public and laughed at without mercy. You are hopelessly clueless. Maybe Richt will never win a national title, but do you honestly think its because something like this will be going through his head: “You know, those poor ole *insert Georgia opponent here*. I didn’t mean to beat them this bad. Lets pull back the reigns a bit or they’ll get their feelings hurt.” I mean my god people, think about what you’re saying.

gbal

July 27th, 2009
12:13 pm

I think it is a very safe bet that whever wins the SEC for the next several years is a lock to be pplaying for the national championship game.

Statesbor Gator

July 27th, 2009
12:17 pm

As a die hard Gator fan what are all the UGA folks moaning about? If you lose him who would you want? Richt is an excellent coach and Dooley was a class act even when he was pounding (no pun intended) us when I was in G’ville back in 70’s and 80. Gators have just been on the kind of roll that you guys were on back in 70’s and 80’s. UGA may have to wait another year for a transitional gator team but this year we should be up for the task if we can stay healthy. Both of us will be different with new starting QB’s next year. What you dog fans need to hope for is that someone gives Charlie Strong an HC job as he has been to us what you got from Erk. Oh yah thanks for sending him to Statesboro as he made the Eagles into a real power for many year national titles (R.I.P.). I guess it has been hard for you all esp. with UF recient NC in both FB and BB. You may have to wish/hope that UM leaves UF like you all were doing when SOS was having his way in the SEC. Looking forward to FB season!!

JDawg

July 27th, 2009
12:19 pm

Bill, here’s a little sanity and common sense for you. I have read some decent posts on this topic, and some real idiots! But here goes;

The winningest coach title is a matter of longevity and winning %. Any coach that gets there at your school, (in this case, UGA) deserves to be called the winningest ever! Because that’s what he is; and that’s what CMR will be before he leaves! He is way ahed of the win curve vs Dooley already, and if we will just be patient he will get thigs turned around vs FLA too. Everything goes in cycles. Florida’s dominance will too, and if we have CMR at the helm, we will be prepared to replace them at the top of the SEC heap! (sorry, Saban and Miles) The toughest conference ib the land, year in and year out, might I remind you all!

However, I must add if CMR does not turn it around against the “mighty gators”, then he will be forever remembered as the winningest coach ever…but he just could seem to beat Fla. Ask Mack Brown about how that works…all he did was average 10 wins a year. But until he started beating OK,and got that MNC, he was thought of much the same. Lastly, I will say I do believe CMR turns the series around eventually, and he will get our coveted MNC when the chips fall our way in the postseason! Just give him time…he is the best we’ve ever had!

GO Dawgs!

Cincinatti Bowtie

July 27th, 2009
12:36 pm

All analysis aside; beat florida this year and it makes the season.

1eyedJack

July 27th, 2009
12:51 pm

You know you have arrived when the booger eatin’ mouth breathin’ nerd herders start to post using your name.

To win the SEC you gotta beat Florida. We may lose this year but with an extra week to prepare it won’t be a beatdown.

Tech is still irrelavant. Last year the earth wobbled a bit but all is right now. Revenge is sweet and with that Pop Warner stadium full of DAWG fans partying it may just come tumbling down.

Jay

July 27th, 2009
12:54 pm

Good blawg Another Dawg. I still don’t agree with taking anything away from coach Dooley’s success because he recruited great players and knew how to employ them.

Jack

July 27th, 2009
1:19 pm

Georgia may have as good a team as they’ve ever had, and maybe better. It’s just that Florida has come light years from where it had been and Tim Tebow is an all time phenomena. Therefore, Richt is probably the best coach that Georgia has ever had.

PR Gator

July 27th, 2009
1:27 pm

Didn’t Paul Finebaum already fire Richt last week?

dan

July 27th, 2009
1:30 pm

I think being able to beat Florida AND Tennessee in the same season is crucial. If it’s not the Gators ruining it for the Dawgs then it’s the Vols. Right now Tennessee is kind of down, but we’re only one two years removed from a whipping at the hands of the Vols that cost UGA a shot at the SEC Championship and maybe a National Title. UGA has not beaten Tennessee and Florida in the same season since 1988! That’s unacceptable, especially given the success of the current staff.

dan

July 27th, 2009
1:46 pm

As for Coach Dooley I have to agree that he was a little overrated. I think Richt is as good of a coach as Dooley ever was. The difference though is that Dooley’s great teams would be playing for National Titles, while Richt’s great teams play for SEC Titles. But see, it’s tough to compare the two because times have changed. The SEC is without question a much tougher conference than it was when Dooley coached. And there wasn’t an SEC Championship game or BCS when Dooley coached either.

And finally, on a personal level I have to say that I like Richt better as well. Dooley had a little too much of that “Old School Southern Politician” feel to me, like Bobby Bowden. Richt is much more genuine, what you see is what you get.

And Dooley isn’t particularly a nice guy. I met him at a rotary function and I found him to be a little too smug for my liking. Former players respected Dooley, but most liked Erk or John Casay better personally. None of this is to take away from what Coach Dooley has accomplished, and he’s given much to UGA. But personally, I’d take Mark Richt over him anyday.

Ed

July 27th, 2009
1:59 pm

Beating the Gators is definitely a prereq. Losing to them during both SEC Championship seasons left a bittersweet taste. Beating them in ‘04 and ‘07 made those really good seasons even without an SEC title.

However, turning the tide against Auburn and Tennessee definitely sets Richt heads and shoulders above his last two predecessors. For that matter, his 7-1 record against Tech sets him apart. A combined 6-3 record against Bama and LSU is pretty sweet as well. Richt just needs to play the Gators even from here on out, and he can run for Governor of Georgia when he’s finished coaching.

AltamahaDawg

July 27th, 2009
1:59 pm

Did anyone bring up the “it factor” yet?

Drew-G-A

July 27th, 2009
2:14 pm

To go down as the best he has to be able to start beating Florida, at least have .500 winning percentage against them.

CharlotteGator

July 27th, 2009
2:16 pm

dan,

Thoroughly enjoyed reading both of those posts. Totally agree with the first one. I don’t know enough about UGA to comment on the second. Those were definitely two of the better posts on today’s topic.

Ed,

Very well said. I can totally relate on the flipside as even though the Zook years were rough, a couple timely wins against UGA and FSU helped us through those seasons. Great assessment on Richt as well. People forget that UGA is not the only program that’s struggled with UF over the last 20 years, just the most publicized. I think Auburn and the Mississippi schools have the best records against UF with Bama around .500 as well. Haven’t looked it up or anything, just off the top of my head.

JET

July 27th, 2009
2:17 pm

For those of you who are talking about “CMR must beat Florida or he needs to go…”, you are an embarrassment for the other 95% of Dawg fans who KNOW Mark Richt is a wonderful coach and UGA/Damon Evans will do whatever it takes to keep him for a long, long time. Sure losing to UF is painful, but you can’t win everything and currently, UF is in the middle of a dynasty. They have something special going on and have for the majority of 15 years or so. As said in an earlier post above, these things operate in a cycle and UGA’s time of dominance (or evening out the series) will come soon enough with the positive going-ons in Athens. If you folks are truly UGA grads (much less real followers and fans), think about Donnan and Goff for a second….wait…think hard…ah yes. Now do you see?? We are in much better shape now so chill….

Before some of you so called fans get carried away, please remember that prior to CMR coming here, the Tech, Auburn, and Tenn series were much closer and we lost more then to these teams than we have been since CMR and company came here. So we don’t beat UF and win NC’s as much as UF….big deal…there is much more to the life of a football program and a student athletes success than what some of you seem to believe in by these foolish posts. And yes, last summer the UGA team didn’t do so great in terms of staying out of trouble. However, to say that CMR has no control of his team shows that you 1) don’t really follow UGA and 2) you don’t understand young adults. Did you ever go to college??

If you all really feel that way, go root for Tech…they need help filling their stadium with band wagon fans anyhow…their wagon is still loading…for now.

And for those Tech fans who suddenly think UGA has 2 automatic losses now (UF and Tech), you sound more idiotic than the GA fans saying oust Richt. You have won once in years..by 3 points. Thats like UGA talking about how we were going to own UF after last year…really? Did we all suddenly think UF was a burning battleship after we beat them? I think not…

Get a life… I used to pull for Tech when we weren’t playing them, but those days are over. I’ll root for the N.C. State’s and UNC’s all day long now. The past months of hearing Tech fans run those mouths have shown exactly why your stadium is half full…you are morons.

Get ready for your “funeral” on Nov. 28th…this will be fun.

GO CMR and GO DAWGS!

Joe

July 27th, 2009
2:25 pm

Hungry Dawg said it correct……it takes time for the tide to turn…last few years has been back and forth…..look at the history….that happens before one team goes on a roll…

Mike T.

July 27th, 2009
3:21 pm

47-28-2 Georgia owns Florida
59-38-5 Georgia owns Tech

Mike T.

July 27th, 2009
3:22 pm

Correction 47-38-2 Georgia owns the Baja Georgia Gators

G8R8U2

July 27th, 2009
3:27 pm

Where’d you get your numbers, Mike? They’re pretty far off the mark. Try 46-38-2 against Florida (not 28)… the series is only an 8-game difference at this point. Man, y’all could never hope to beat UF regularly again if you can’t even count. And, the record with GT is 55-38-5, not 59.

Rob

July 27th, 2009
3:46 pm

Jim Morrison, aren’t you supposed be a Seminole or at least a Bruin? Why would you care about UF or UGA?

Mike T.

July 27th, 2009
3:49 pm

Hey Nerd, Did you not see the correction above while you were chomping at the bits to respond.
Also the series record is in fact 47-38-2 against UF and 59-37-5 against GT.

Brad in Jasper

July 27th, 2009
3:52 pm

Chazzo and Huh?, well said. Your last post is how I feel about the NC. Fans are a fickle breed, and certainly products of their environment. One of my customers here in Jasper (GA) is probably Duke football’s most avid supporter. He drives to every game he can, man’s probably in his 70s. Writes the team congratulatory/support letters after a big game. Never bitches about a 2 win season, although he hungers for more of course. He’s a by god fan. Using UGA’s 2002 season as an example – I’ve seen many UGA fans to this day that just couldn’t get over Edwards’ dropped pass and the UF loss. Never mind the first SEC title in TWENTY YEARS or THIRTEEN FRIGGIN WINS. You let the boys in Athens carry on about their business, I think they’re doing a pretty darned good job looking at the college football landscape as a whole. Comparing any team to UF over the last few years is a lost cause. Me trying to reason with the majority of you is a lost cause, come to think of it – so here my post ends. GO DAWGS

Statesboro Gator

July 27th, 2009
4:05 pm

Brad in Jasper you are absolutly correct I can remember back in 73 as a freshman at UF leaving the stadium after a game saying “it’s great to be a FL gator” win lose or draw. One of my years we were 0-10-1 (tie was to GA Tech) and the chant was the same. Would have loved to be at school during these last few years but a real fan is just that a real fan. How many 2 win seasons could the UGA fans take? Not too many I think. Just like the last few years at GA Southern post Erk and Paul Johnson, we all got spoiled.

Disgruntled Dawg

July 27th, 2009
4:14 pm

The real ultimate test is not only beating Florida but how the team is playing overall in winning and losing. The microscope from the college football pundits are watching UGAs and CMRs performance on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Will UGA stop playing to the level of the SEC weak sisters? Will UGAs defense stop the big boys of the SEC and the weak sisters of the SEC score more than 30 points? Where is the back to the basics football for UGA ? The Big test is just a few weeks away and I wonder if UGA will be able to step it up a notch or two or will the gradual slide continue?

Fast Eddie

July 27th, 2009
4:20 pm

Hal and Clay (both posts at 8:37 a.m.), why don’t you just go back to the last 2 years and you proclaim rightly that you are even with the Gators. While Dooley was 17-7-1 against UF, Richt is 2-6 no matter how you slice it. I wish the teams would play home and home for the next 4 or 6 years after this year. Then when the Gators continue to win the vast majority of the games in both places, perhaps that will take away your crutch and excuse. If it truly is related to having the week off before the game and UF wins this year, what is going to be your excuse this time? I thing Richt is a wonderful man,husband, and father as well as being a very good coach but he just is not as good a coach as Meyer. That’s no crime. Every poll I have seen this year indicates Meyer is the best college coach in the country right now. Winning the UF/UGA football game is not a matter of life and death. Give it a rest.

BIGBOY

July 27th, 2009
4:24 pm

Richt vs Dooley?That’s a tough one to call in a way not so much on the other hand.Dooley won a NC so he will always be beloved.In his youth Dooley was also a good coach he won a SEC title without Hershel…he also lost 2 out of 3 NC games he coached.But he rode Hershel like he should have and was in the hunt all 3 years he had him.In comparison of the 2 CMR has a higher winning pct..some will say the schedule was only 10 games so it’s different…however CMR has a higher pct in SEC games as well.Now considering the fact that UGA only lost 1SEC game in 4 years 80-83 that would make CMR’s record even more impressive to me.The bye week before the FLA game is not something to just brush off as trivial.FLA obviously takes it seriously.That has more to do with the AD than the coach.Maybe Damon Evans should get it together and go back to the bye week before the game.I respect Dooley no question but I think Mark Richt is the best coach this program ever had.Larry Coaker won a NC at Mia..does that make him a great coach?NO

AceDawg

July 27th, 2009
4:25 pm

It’s not that the Dawgs lose to the Gators alone – it is that the Dawgs have been good enough to beat the Gators several times where they lost nonetheless. Never should have lost to a Zook team for starters!

Irked Erk

July 27th, 2009
4:25 pm

One thing is for certain and that is its a real big test for that knuckle head Martinez. If his defense don’t force a lot of three in outs this season then the Dawgs will be in trouble because the offense sure ain’t gonna bail out the dawgs with that Boo Boo Coach.

Larry Munson

July 27th, 2009
4:31 pm

“They’re running through us like we are Maryland or a Wake Forrest!”

Dawg Man

July 27th, 2009
5:19 pm

that 45-42 win was a total fluke. Georgia was flat, overconfident and didn’t even show up to play that day. This year, they will take the game somewhat seriously and win easily–probably a blowout win. Face it, Georgia has 3 times the talent of tech—the game shouldn’t be close. GA 45 Tech 23—mark it down!

JaxDawg

July 27th, 2009
5:25 pm

It’s unfair that florida gets to recruit all that talent in the state of florida and Georgia is stuck with a few good players in the state, forcing them to go out of state to get a lot of talent. The SEC should change the rules to allow Georgia to sign more of the top florida players and prevent florida from getting the top georgia talent like Mack Brown. Without some rule changes, Georgia will not be able to compete on a level playing field with georgia!

UFGATORFAN100

July 27th, 2009
10:57 pm

You Mutts must realize that we GATORS have a psycological edge over you. You weren’t complaining during the 70’s or 80’s about moving the location WHY NOW THE SUDDEN CHANGE? LOL HAHAHAHA LOL. Thanks for “THE STOMP” and for motivation, and hunger to destroy Mutts on a yearly basis in J’VILLE. Our coaches, players,alumni, and fans will never forget. Thanks for that added amunition.

P.S. There’s reason to dislike Richt let me count the ways 1) He played for SCum, 2) He coached at SOW for Bowden, 3) He’s the Mutt coach. I respected Richt for his Christian Beliefs and Faith which I’m a Christian myself but, what he did “THE STOMP” really pissed me off. The reaction I saw the Mutt bench and smirk from Richt really pissed me off. I hope our Coaches, Players, Alumni, Fans, and Institution never forgets “THE STOMP” I hope we use this as motivation on a yearly basis to destroy the Mutts in J’VILLE. GO GATORS!!!

P.S. What he did was classless, underhanded, and he lied when asked about it after. He had that smirk on his face in the sidelines which the cameras clearly captured. WE MUST NEVER FORGET THE STOMP. GO GATORS!!! It’ll be payback every year starting last year.

Cuz

July 27th, 2009
11:19 pm

Jax, that is either your imposter or too much brown liquor. It made no sense.

UFGATOR, do you have a few unresolved anger issues. Why do you point out the smirk on Coach Richt’s face and ignore the rictus grin on Coach Meyer’s?
Did the “stomp” really get you this angry? Did you think that the JAX game was the Worlds Largest Outdoor Group Hug? Get real. I think you are full of it. If you really feel this way, get a new hobby, don’t watch the games. It apparently ruins your life if the Dawgs win or have fun. Your attitude makes me question my support of any SEC team in the BCS title game. Which I have the last three years.
And personally, I like the game in JAX. I can’t wait for the pre-game this year when Tim Tebow will part the stands and make them fifty-fifty. At halftime he will make the lame to see. Now if I can only get him to turn red Gatoraid into Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill.

AltamahaDawg

July 28th, 2009
8:01 am

“which I’m a Christian myself but” But? Thanks, cause we wouldn’t have guessed that based on your comments.

Interesting take on the whole, you know who is lying deal. Lying or not about his directions, Richt appologized repeatedly to the anyone who would listen. (and called meyers personally to do so), but You and your coach are appearantly are too full of your Christian values to acknowledge or accept that. Good for you. Personally……..I’d love to see it again.

chazzo

July 28th, 2009
9:25 am

AltamahaDawg,

Please add to that they Urban whined about sportsmanship for an entire year then used all his time outs to run up the score which I consider far more classless. Georgia was also penalized for the celebration double. I would even argue that were some extra penalties thrown in for spite. Honestly, I thought the celebration was a little tacky, but if it stuck in their crawl like that, maybe it was a good thing.
Go Gators! Focus all your energy on avenging a celebration from two seasons ago! Spend a lot of time coming up with some big surprise to get us back! Our guys will be working on football.

MiamiDawg

July 28th, 2009
11:03 am

Mark Richt and the UGA coaches have the date of the Florida game circled on their calendars—it will be payback time for Meyer calling those late timeouts to rub in that blowout, when he ran up the score! The dawgs will upset the Gators—mark it down! UGA 33 UF 30 The Dawgs ruin UF’s season!!!!

Casual Observer

July 28th, 2009
3:20 pm

I’m not a Georgia fan, but I follow the SEC with great interest. I would also agree that the Florida series has unfortunately become the measuring stick for Mark Richt, in spite of the fact he’s won two conference titles, led UGA to a 13-win season in only his second year, and pretty much owned Tech and most of the SEC during his tenure.

The scenario seems eerily reminiscent of John Cooper at Ohio State, where he continually plowed through the Big 10, but could never punch his ticket to the MNC game because of annual slips against their most hated rival in the next state.

In my opinion, Richt is Georgia’s best coach since Vince Dooley and I see no reason to believe he’s either hit a plateau or is heading downhill. The guy is a light’s out recruiter with a terrific staff and last year’s failure to meet expectations could be largely attributed to preseason injuries. To send him packing because he has trouble with Florida would be a huge mistake. To that point, there were always the same grumblings in Knoxville during the Fulmer vs Spurrier era, despite Phil’s long reign as the winningest active SEC coach. Disgruntled Tennessee fans finally got their wish in Fulmer’s removal, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would tell you with a straight face UT got an upgrade in Kiffin.

So, my question would be: to any fans who want Richt gone, who would be a suitable replacement?

DawginTexas

July 28th, 2009
3:27 pm

When Tebow leaves, florida’s party is over. Brantley is just a passer and with all the talent on D that Richt is bringing in, Brantley will be running for his life in that game and throwing a bunch of INTs. Look for Ga to win the SEC easy in 2010 and 2011. Florida will be headed to minor bowls for awhile.

T

July 29th, 2009
10:36 am

Richt has been owned by Florida and not lost his job… let Georgia get owned by Tech and he will lose his job… its just that simple.