A host of all-decade SEC teams have been trotted out in recent weeks, and the only Dog who’s been pretty much a constant on them is David Pollack, though tight end Ben Watson also managed to crack Chris Low’s team for ESPN.com.
And yet despite not fielding as many consensus all stars as some programs, Mark Richt still managed to have a pretty good decade, as reflected by him finishing third, behind only Nick Saban and Urban Meyer (both of whom have two BCS championships) and ahead of Les Miles (one BCS title), on Low’s list of the SEC coaches of the decade. Said Low: “Despite some of the grumbling this past season in Athens, Richt’s consistency has been what sets him apart. He won SEC titles in 2002 and 2005 and has finished in the top 10 in the final polls in six of his nine seasons. He’s also won 10 or more games in six of his nine seasons.”
And from a national perspective, ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel ranks the Dogs No. 8 on his list of the 10 best college football programs of the decade, behind USC, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State, LSU and Boise State, and ahead of Virginia Tech and TCU. I might quibble about Boise State’s placement, despite a couple of major bowl wins, but we’ll just note that the Dogs beat the Broncos in their one meeting.
Says Maisel of Georgia: “The Bulldogs’ success in the decade — two Southeastern Conference championships, a share of four SEC East titles — reflected the quiet, steely nature of head coach Mark Richt, who arrived after the 2000 season. They won 98 games while in the shadow of Florida. They won 98 games with a mixture of hard-nosed defense and two outstanding quarterbacks, David Greene, who set an FBS record with 42 victories (broken in 2009 by Colt McCoy), and Matthew Stafford. One other characteristic: Richt’s teams win close games. His Dawgs are 20-9 in games decided by five points or fewer.”
Yeah, a BCS trophy would have been great. But looking back on the ’00s, I have to say Richt has done a pretty fine job, despite losing some momentum the past couple of seasons.
You can argue about whether the 1940s under Wally Butts (three SEC championships, a consensus national title and another one with an asterisk) or the 1980s under Vince Dooley (three SEC championships and one consensus national championship) is the Dogs’ best decade ever, but I believe the past decade definitely ranks right after them.
Of course, the glass-half-empty folks might wish to concentrate on what Richt didn’t accomplish, but compared with the ’90s this decade has been paradise. What’s your view of the past 10 years of Georgia football?
A SWEET WIN IN ATHENS
A big congratulations to Andy Landers and the Lady Dogs for Thursday night’s tough, defensive-minded 53-50 victory over Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols, Georgia’s first home win over UT since 2000 and first win in the series since 2004. The Lady Vols are one of the most successful women’s basketball programs ever — the overall series record with UGA favors the Vols 39-15 — but those 15 wins by the Dogs are the second-most by any program over Tennessee, trailing only Louisiana Tech’s 17. And it says something for Landers’ tenure in Athens that the Lady Vols are the only SEC team with a winning record over Georgia.
It’s too early to say Landers has his program completely back on track, but the win over Tennessee is a big step in that direction.
YATA YATA YATA
David Hale of Bulldogs Blog talked recently with former UGA basketball mainstay Sundiata Gaines, now finally getting his crack at the NBA with the Utah Jazz. He put Gaines on the spot and asked which was a bigger moment for him, his game-winning shot to beat the Cavs or the Bulldogs’ SEC Tournament run two years ago.
Gaines’ reply: “Man, that’s tough. I love the NBA and all, and the last shot is great. But I’d have to go with the tournament run, just because, my team, I’d been with since the beginning. We had to work from the bottom and go all the way to the top. It was four games in three days, and that’s crazy and unheard of. And for us to go to the tournament — the last time Georgia won the SEC tournament was like 1983 or something, so to win it, that to me was probably the best moment of my life right there. Then comes the NBA shot.”
Once a Dog, always a Dog!