Why I’m glad the Dogs are opening with Oklahoma State

I’ve heard a number of fans bemoaning how Georgia’s killer schedule is getting off to a particularly tough start with an on-the-road opener against a Top 10 team. But as my son and I were discussing, that’s really a good thing, because Georgia seems to have its best years under Mark Richt when it schedules a hard (or supposedly hard) opener.

In contrast, a season where they open with a patsy generally has seen Richt teams underperform, or at least not be quite as successful.

What was the best opening win under Mark Richt?

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Here’s how it’s gone so far:

In 2001, the Dogs opened Richt’s first season with a patsy in Arkansas State and wound up with an 8-4 record (admittedly not bad for a rookie coach’s first year) and a loss in the Music City Bowl.

The next year, 2002, Georgia opened with a tougher opponent, traditional rival Clemson. That season ended in an SEC championship.

Clemson again was the opening opponent in 2003, a road game for the Dogs. Georgia won the SEC East title that year.

It was back down the ladder in 2004, opening with 1-AA Georgia Southern. Now, that certainly wasn’t a bad year, what with a 10-2 record, a demolishing of LSU and a win over Florida, but the Dogs did not meet expectations because they did not win the SEC East, losing to Tennessee and Auburn.

In 2005, Georgia opened with a highly touted visitor from out West, Boise State. Another SEC championship season.

The 2006 season opened with one of those directional patsies, Western Kentucky. The Dogs finished 9-4, with two of those losses to Vandy and Kentucky.

In 2007, the opener was another hyped opponent, Oklahoma State. The Dogs didn’t win the SEC East that year, but they did make it to a BCS Bowl, the Sugar, and wound up the year as the No. 2 team in the country.

Then last year, the preseason No. 1 Dogs opened in what was perceived as underwhelming fashion against 1-AA Georgia Southern. And, again, a disappointing season, despite 10 wins.

Of course, the theory isn’t perfect. After opening with a win over a supposedly tough opponent in 2007, Georgia lost the very next week to South Carolina. And in 2004, after beating a weak opening opponent, the Dogs didn’t lose again until October and had played their best game (LSU) before losing to Tennessee.

And it’s oversimplifying to say that the difficulty of the opening opponent sets the tone for the whole season. The unsettled quarterback situation had a lot to do with the off year for the 2006 team. And it’s entirely possible that if Georgia had played a tough opening game last year, it would have just revealed earlier what we found out against Alabama: The 2008 Dogs weren’t ready for prime time.

But the pattern does seem to show that in the years where we have a tough opening opponent, it tends to get the team focused earlier and they wind up having a better season.

So as difficult as it will be to open on the road against the Cowboys, it’s the best way for Georgia to start this season.

Speaking of openers under Richt, which one pleased you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments, vote in the poll or do both.

195 comments Add your comment

Corrine Brown

August 26th, 2009
10:44 am

Sept 6=byebye top 10

TS

August 26th, 2009
10:46 am

Real Dawg- you have a short memory. In 2008 Florida opened up with your BCS bowl opponent- Hawaii.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
10:47 am

Ok, glad u think so, just make sure u puppy fans are on here on Sept 6 to take your medicine

BurningRedBleedingBlack

August 26th, 2009
10:49 am

The cowgirls have already felt SEC speed in are defense once, i was there the last time we playied heard the same crap then. your offense was gonna burn are d yeah yeah yeah. We saw what happend buddy. The fact is SEC speed is fast and you guys are not use to it. I’m not saying you won’t score points. We just play alot harder than you cowgirls do and we do it against way better talent year in and out. Check all the big 12 games agaisnt SEC last year, texas tech got destroyed by ole miss, the gators chewed up OU. Now it’s are turn. GATA GO DAWGS!!!! We don’t rebuild we reload!!!!!

AceDawg

August 26th, 2009
10:50 am

I traveled to Clemson in 2003. We were a little worried with the lowered expectations but became huge optimists about the team’s talent pretty quickly. I give that the number one ranking of the poll choices. Boise State was always a joke in my mind – a heck of a fun time watching the game in person, but they were completely overmatched.

Dave

August 26th, 2009
10:53 am

UGA’s defense sucked by OUR standards last year. Even so, our defense was still ranked ahead of every Big 12 team, except OK. Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
10:53 am

So burningred, guess the Sec is the only conference that gets better, this isnt last year, why do all you puppy fans bring up last year? Your defense sucked last year, so am i suppose to think they will this year, no the puppies have a good defense, but OSU will make that rookie QB pass after they are up by 14, then we will see how good the puppies are.

AceDawg

August 26th, 2009
10:54 am

Also, anyone heard the new “Cowboys Forever’ song that OSU is using this year? It was made by a recent Baylor grad (who played football for Baylor!!), but his daddy is athletics director at OSU, so he has true Cowboy cred. Why didn’t you pokes get Garth Brooks to write it?

Here is link – http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/OSU/article.aspx?subjectid=93&articleid=20090823_93_B1_JohnMa994991

listen to the song here… http://www.johnmartinlive.com/

hahahaha – Go Dawgs

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
10:55 am

Oh and who is going to stop Dez from killing you guys, and Robinson can run too.

ZP

August 26th, 2009
10:56 am

Same to you pokesfan, don’t go back into hiding on Sept. 6th. Be on here to eat your crow.

JaxDawg

August 26th, 2009
10:56 am

pokesfan- “we have really good players everywhere on defense except the D-line”

Do you have ANY football acumen? Games are won and lost in the trenches. If you don’t have good players on your d-line, then how do you expect to get pressure on our “rookie QB”? Given enough time even the most average of QBs can light a team up. Look at Bama last year w/ J.Parker Wilson. He was a decent QB, but I think most would consider him an average QB, and he looked all world at times, why? He had a dominant o-line that gave him time in the pocket to find the open receiver. Thanks for the heads up on your D-line, I feel even better about the game now.
BTW- Vegas sets the lines based not on who will win or lose, but rather where the line needs to be to get EQUAL money on both sides period! Vegas makes it’s money in sports betting off the vig(tax paid on winning payouts). They simply want equal money on both sides, and pay winners with losers money minus the vig. When you see lines move, it’s because they don’t have enough money bet on one side or the other. Even when the line moves because of a late injury, it’s adjusted to make sure the betting on both sides is equal. Hate to burst your bubble, but Vegas doesn’t think you will or care if you will win by 6, that’s the current line they need to get equal betting on both sides.

The Dawgs WILL win this game make no mistake about it.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
10:58 am

Dave u act like i think OSU defense is better than the puppies defense, its not, but it doesnt have to be with our offense and home field. And Texas defense was better than the puppies last year to, plus the big 12 is a passing league not a running league like the SEC so of course the SEC numbers are better

ZP

August 26th, 2009
10:59 am

Robinson could run, before the hamstring injury. Prince Miller will handle Dez just fine and Boykin can if needed. We have corners that are plenty capable of stopping Dez just like we had plenty to stop Adarius Bowman last time. Reid, Savage, and Bowman were talked about just like now Robinson, Hunter, and Bryant were. We’ll shut everyone up about these new guys too.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:00 am

Jax puppy i also said who knows about our D line, they could be decent, but u act like the puppies d line is going to kill OSU o line, dont think so, we have a great line with the best tackle in the nation, thats not me hyping that either

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:02 am

Are u really trying to compare Dez to bowman? R u really that stupid, that would be like comparing cox to stafford, man lay off the moonshine dude

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:03 am

Yeah will give u that, that song sucks, oh well songs dont win games puppy

ZP

August 26th, 2009
11:04 am

you have a good O-line, we have a Great interior D-line and who knows about DE this year. Both of our starting DTs are top 15 in the country. How’s your guards and center?

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:06 am

dont worry zp i will be here win or lose, i’m an OSU fan i am use to dissappointment, lol

ZP

August 26th, 2009
11:06 am

Bowman had nearly the same amount of hype as Dez, until the UGA game after which you heard nothing else. Bryant’s a good WR, probably better than Bowman, but will not burn the UGA D. Guaranteed.

ZP

August 26th, 2009
11:07 am

haha. and after last year pokesfan, so are we.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:07 am

Center is kinda new has played some, not worried about our guards or tackles

BurningRedBleedingBlack

August 26th, 2009
11:08 am

POKE WHAT IM SAYING MY MAN IS WE RECRUIT TOP TEN TALENT YEAR IN AND OUT YOU GUYS DON’T WE HAVE A IMPORTANT THING CALLED DEPTH, IT SHOWED IN 07 YOU GUYS GOT REAL TIRED. SAME THING HERE COWGIRLS PLAY HARD FOR THE FIRST HALF GET SHOW AGAIN TO THE COUNTRY YOU DON’T BELONG IN THE TOP
AND PLEASE DON’T COMPARE UGA TO OSU WE DO AT LEAST WIN BCS BOWL GAMES AND CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS. YOU CAN TRY AND SCARE US ALL U WANT DAWGS GONNA EAT THE COWGIRLS LUNCH YOU CAN BANK ON THAT T BOONE. GATA GO DAWGS

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:09 am

See ZP this is where ur smoking crack, have you watched DEZ play? Hes not an all american for no reason. He is the real deal

ZP

August 26th, 2009
11:09 am

kinda new center? I bet Owens and Atkins are excited about that!

MattDawg

August 26th, 2009
11:10 am

I like the pokes new song. The first line is and I quote:
“The prairie wind touches our skin, another maverick morning begins”
and you expect us to take you seriously.
Dawgs by 14.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:11 am

Well depth is something we have this year, and if you havent seen we are getting better recruits now and last year, Thank you T. BOONE lol

AceDawg

August 26th, 2009
11:11 am

Dez Bryant is a great receiver. He isn’t really a guy any cornerback can cover on his own. It will take a pass rush and a good scheme to limit him. That said, pokes fans, I’d say the only difference between Dez Bryant and AJ Green is that Green needs to add a little more body weight to have Bryant’s power. Otherwise, he is developing just as quickly considering he was fantastic as a true freshman last year. Anyone who gets to practice against AJ Green will get some sort of idea of how to keep up with Bryant, although tackling Bryant is harder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF515bWfv9Y

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:13 am

Man when did songs win games, lol u puppies kill me, Zp u act like Robinson is a drop back passer, he gets rid of the ball pretty quick

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:15 am

Now acedawg, you are a sane fan, yes green is good and next year might be as good as Dez, but Dez will be the first reciever taken in the draft

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:20 am

Oh ZP Robinson hamstring is no big deal, they held him out longer to figure out who the back up is going to be. Not worried one bit about his hamstring

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:22 am

But do you guys think Cox can get green the ball like last year?

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:28 am

Oh by the way, OSU did score 41 against OU who has a better defense than your puppies

William

August 26th, 2009
11:29 am

I am a SEC fan and the winner is determined on the field. Unlike USC,OK, Ohio St, and the one who was in the top ten the previous year gets an automatic bye to the BCS. I worry only about the SEC teams we face. I can not wait for SEC football.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:38 am

Enter your comments here

dawgfanatic24-7

August 26th, 2009
11:40 am

I’ll tell you who the dawgs beat last year. LSU…in death valley…the defending national champs. OSU never beats anyone who matters. When was the last time OSU beat Tx or OK?

JaxDawg

August 26th, 2009
11:41 am

pokesfan – you’re the one who said your d-line doesn’t have very good players. I’m done with you for now, as you obviously know very little about football. Most Dawg fans acknowledge thay your pokes will have a strong offense, but let’s not forget- 9 of your wins came against teams with defenses rated 94th or worse, and your defense wasn’t very good last year, has a ton of youth although probabaly talented, they will all have to learn a new scheme this year and there will be growing pains early on, not a good thing facing a BCS opponent to start the season.

Question: We all know IF (and that’s a big “if”)OkSt wins you will be back here gloating, but will you be MAN enough to come back and admit you were wrong when the Dawgs win?

dawgfanatic24-7

August 26th, 2009
11:44 am

Who cares if you put up 40 on OK. Did you win the game? Hyell no!

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:47 am

Yeah i can admit i dont know if our Dline is very good, but the rest of our defense isnt young, and our new Def. cor Bill Young isnt putting some complex system in, they are alot better than last year. U guys think your QB and RB for that fact is just going to not miss a beat from last year, last time i looked those positions are cruical to winning, yes i will be on here win or lose, its a freaking blog what am i worried about

Cotton

August 26th, 2009
11:49 am

“Oklahoma State returns enough talent to explode on offense and be better on defense, but will it be enough to break through in the Big 12 South? If Adarius Bowman is as good as he was last year, it’s possible.” ……continued at http://cfn.scout.com/2/632522.html

To take nothing away from the OSU fans excitement in their program, new stadium, etc., but doesn’t the above comments/link sound very familiar to what we’re hearing today? All the talk in August of ‘07 was the triple threat of Reid/Bowman/Savage and this explosive offense. In ‘09 its the same thing with different jersey numbers Robinson/Bryant/Hunter.

It’ll remain close in the first half. The Dawgs lines will take over in midway through the 3rd quarter in a 34-23 win. AJ Green and Cox have big nights, Samuel goes for 125+.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:50 am

Well all we need is 40 against ur puppies, just trying to tell you guys the puppies are not going to stop OSU

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:51 am

Hey cotton, Bowman didnt play last year.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:52 am

And why are you comparing Bowman to Dez, lay off the crack pipe

dallasga6

August 26th, 2009
11:52 am

Okie lite is 3-17 against anybody not named Baylor in the last 5 years in the Big12 south…..

dawgfan1911

August 26th, 2009
11:54 am

A tough opening opponent is great. Its great for Tv and recruiting. It helps you identify what type of team you will have. Georgia has a lot of questions and many of them will be answered after the Okie State game. I cant wait.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
11:56 am

If you think this is the 07 offense u puppies are in for a bad treat

senoiadawgs

August 26th, 2009
11:58 am

The one comment pokesfan has made that most have overlooked and could be the deciding factor in the game. I have no confidence in our D playing like UGA until I see it. It wasn’t just last year guys, Willie’s D has had brain farts throughout the years in a half here and there. Who says it will not happen against OKState this year. Last year was just consistently awful from the Bama game on. Hopefully we will return to UGA D this year. One thing we need is that consistent big hitter we have been missing for a couple of years and a pass rush. I am questioning the D until I see it.

Now back to pokesfan comment that hasn’t gotten much response. He has said several times the the DLine for OKState is questionable. This is what separates the SEC and all of the other conferences every year. It’s DLine and OLine play. We all have the nice skill players but the linemen in the SEC are just that MEN. Most likely with our experienced fast and big OLine we will be able to move the ball on the ground and keep the OKState offense off of the field. If we can do that and our D stays fresh and we play fast hard hitting SEC defense we will win. If we get into a shootout see 2008 season.

I know there are a lot of Caleb K fans on this blawg, but folks from the first time I saw Samuel carry the ball he has always been the next in line to me. I can’t wait to see Thomas tote the rock as well.

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
12:01 pm

Ok puppy fans, never said OSU were a great team in the past, man is that all u guys have is the past? Or wait Gundys rant, or hair, which i cant stand either. This is OSU’s best team since 88 with Sanders, Ok so i know the past we have sucked, when was the last time u won everything, oh like 1980. Congrats on being able to tell that story.

Heywood Jablome

August 26th, 2009
12:04 pm

Sung to the tune of Don Williams immortal “Tulsa Time”….

We left for Oklahoma,
Driving in a Pontiac,
Just about stoned out of our minds
Last year it was Arizona
This year California
‘Cause the Rose Bowl suits us all just fine.

The Pokes said we were crazy
Their 2007 team was lazy
And they’re gonna’ show us all this time,
But you know they’re just foolin’ ’cause they ain’t never seen a schoolin’
Like they will when UGA toes the line

Livin’ on Pokie time
Livin’ on Pokie time
Well you know Okie States been through it
When the Big Dawg gets down to it
Livin’ on Pokie time

Well there we were in Stillwater, The Georgia DAWGS doin good,
Scoring on every drive,
The pokes ain’t got no defense and they can’t even move the ball,
Guess they’re just wastin’ time.

Well then I got to thinkin’,
Man the Pokes are stinking
Do they really suck this bad all the time?
Can’t wait to see the Poke fans leavin’
When the Cowboys start to grievin’
They will lose to the DAWGS again this time!

Livin’ on Pokie time
Livin’ on Pokie time
Well you know Okie States been through it
When the Big Dawg gets down to it
Livin’ on Pokie time

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
12:08 pm

Ok senoiadawgs your comments maybe correct about our dline, but our oline isnt going to get pushed around, I hope the puppies try to run it all day, OSU isnt that bad, we play in the pass happy Big 12, where most of the defenses got torched for alot of yards, they will load the box and make your rookie QB, he is a rookie too, just because he has scored 1 TD against florida doesnt mean a thing

pokesfan

August 26th, 2009
12:11 pm

gez, hope you didnt waste the few brain cells u have left on that song, make sure u copyright it, think u have a hit, take it to that dumba$$ blond in the housewive show