Bulldog Bites: It was a good decade for Richt, UGA

David Pollack a consensus all-decade player. (Associated Press)

David Pollack a consensus all-decade player. (Associated Press)

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!

83 comments Add your comment

sc dawg

January 22nd, 2010
10:55 am

Let’s hope the next decade is even better!!!! All the stuff with Myer, and Kiffen, and Leach should make us appreciate Richt even more!

PMC

January 22nd, 2010
10:56 am

The best is yet to come. They can be better than they ever were.

First

January 22nd, 2010
10:57 am

First

January 22nd, 2010
10:59 am

Victory is not mine. Richt is probably third, but that can change. He’s really good at what he does. Sundiata sounds like a girl’s name.

richtfan

January 22nd, 2010
10:59 am

the decade doesn’t end until Dec 31, 2010. The new decade doesn’t begin until the next day.

GW

January 22nd, 2010
11:00 am

The defense draining down the toilet really cost Richt the last few years. Just think of the games the defense didn’t even show up, even some of the wins. Turnovers didn’t help either.

Doobie

January 22nd, 2010
11:01 am

If Todd Grantham became Richt’s strong right hand, as Erk was for Vince, then fortunes could rise.

GeoffDawg

January 22nd, 2010
11:07 am

Let’s not forget about Shockley’s outstanding (SEC player of the year) senior season either. Were we not forced to start JT3 against Florida, we would’ve likely been in the MNC game.

C-Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
11:13 am

Boss Bailey was the man!

SD Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
11:19 am

I see Richt’s run as very Mac Brown like. Brown had Texas as perennial top ten team for years and they always seemed to falter when it came to getting into the big game. Eventually, they did it. I am not sure Richt will ever break through, but he has a good enough body of work to be owed the a few more chances to get there. Ten win seasons earn you the right to keep trying, but a string of eight win seasons doesn’t.

I will say this about the upcoming season, I don’t think number of wins is the ultimate deciding factor in Richt’s future with UGA. I would point to the lack of fundamentals that we often discuss here. Let’s improve fundamentals and I imagine the wins will take care of themselves.

Lindsey

January 22nd, 2010
11:24 am

So happy the Bulldogs have a great coach like Mark Richt, looking forward to another great decade, GO DAWGS!!!

SEC East Headlines – 1/22/10 | MrSEC.com

January 22nd, 2010
11:29 am

[...] late in the game.5.  This Georgia fan/blogger believes that compared to the 1990s, the past decade was “paradise” for Dawg fans. 6.  UGA defenders are wondering about position changes as they prepare to go from a 4-man front to [...]

Buckhead Bulldog

January 22nd, 2010
11:38 am

Proud to be a Georgia Bulldog! Good luck Coach Richt to another sucessful ten years of Georgia Bulldog Football!

Sic’ ‘em Dogs….woof-woof

Bremen Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
11:42 am

Very good decade, just the NC was all that was missing. Should have got to go to the game in 2002 and 2005 but it just didn’t fall Richts way. I think the voters support UGA a little more now that Richt has accomplished so much. Just look at what kind of raises coaches get for Richt going after them. That just shows the kind of respect he is getting from the college football world now.

Diamond Dave

January 22nd, 2010
11:45 am

Georgia was one of the top teams in the entire country in the 1940’s not just the SEC.

SC Dawd

January 22nd, 2010
11:59 am

Georgia might have been good enough to get to the title game in 2002, but not 2005. Texas and Southern Cal were a class above every team in the country that year.

il5

January 22nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Funny, you’d think a guy that is the #1 winningest coach in the SEC for the decade might be ranked a little higher?

Richt has a .769 winningest %. Saban’s .710, Miles .687, Mack Brown’s .677

Richt has done it in the SEC hardest conference strength of schedule, where as Meyer got most of his wins at Utah and Bowling Green, weak conference. Meyer hasn’t been in the SEC for the decade, only 5 years.

I would argue, that the person with the highest winning % in the #1 toughest conference with all the years in that conference, should be ranked #1.

Gator's Tator

January 22nd, 2010
12:05 pm

Bill-

I think Billy Bennett made Low’s all-sec team too, so 3 Georgia guys.

ESPN Bias Hurt Georgia This Decade

January 22nd, 2010
12:13 pm

The ESPN hurt Georgia hard in 2007 when Herbstreit campaigned against Georgia to get Georgia knocked down from #1 to #4. That was a Natl Champ year. And 2002 13-1, winning the SEC, that type of year was good enough for Florida and LSU to get an Natl Champ invite but ESPN didn’t think Georgia deserved an invitation to the Natl Champ.

Most Georgia fans feel Richt has won the SEC 2x, should have been 2 Natl Champ invites. Plus the 2007 where Georgia finished #1 before Berbstreit’s bizarre anti-journalistic anti-Georgia bias tirade. Most Georgia fans see Richt as having somewhere between 2 and 3 Natl Champ while at Georgia.

ESPN will have no choice to be PRO-GEORGIA in this decade, Georgia’s gonna be the biggest story year after year as we dominate the SEC for years to come. If you win the SEC, you’ll get to the Natl Champ. That’s what Georgia needs to do to FORCE ESPN to be PRO-GEORGIA.

Andy

January 22nd, 2010
12:14 pm

This pre-Richt team sure have made a name for themselves post-Athens.
All Star Bulldogs From 2000 Squad

RxDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:17 pm

It just blows my mind when “fans” actualy say they want Richt gone.

With a little bit more luck one of those BCS trophies could be sitting in Athens. But it’s not and that’s ok. We do control the SEC championship and we won 1/5 of those this decade sharing the glory with UF, Bama, LSU, and UT. It’s hard to get P.O.’d over that.

1970 Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:17 pm

Interesting that all the naysayers from within and outside the Bulldog Nation have stayed silent
here. I guess its hard to argue with cold hard facts. As judged by ESPN, UGA is a relevant
national football power. Thanks, Bill and thanks to Coach Richt and staff.

RxDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:21 pm

Bremen, I think UGA was more robed in 2007 then in 2005 or 2002. In both of those years there were 2 undefeated teams ahead of us. In 2007 though, we were #3 and the #1 and #2 teams lost. ESPN and others pretty much campaigned against UGA since we didn’t beat out UT for the east tie breaker. I call BS. What if that #3 team was Notre Dame instead of UGA? If winning your conference has to be a requirement, then make the rule. Don’t just use it when it’s convienient.

Still….water under the bridge now.

Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:22 pm

Here’s hoping for another great decade with CMR!

gatorman

January 22nd, 2010
12:24 pm

il5, how can you put Richt ahead of Myer when he has a losing record against him.

gatorman

January 22nd, 2010
12:25 pm

RxDawg, didn’t you finish behind Tenn in 2007 in the SEC East?

RxDawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:31 pm

gatorman, didn’t I put that in my post?

It’s irrelevant by the rules. We were the #3 ranked team in the nation and red hot at the end of that year. After 1 and 2 lost they immediately had Richt on the phone for an interview for a likely chance of going to the national championship. However, since the polls are driven by popularity and human vote a media campaign against UGA convinced enough people to actually drop us way out of contention. We literaly were robbed. We went from #3 (with 1 and 2 losing) to #5 or 6. How many other times have you seen that kind of drop without losing? The answer is zero. I’m telling ya, replace UGA with an independent team like Notre Dame and that doesn’t happen. But really what’s the difference? It was an odd year and isn’t likely to happen again, but it did and it was wrong.

gatorman

January 22nd, 2010
12:37 pm

RxDawg, I agree 100% about the Notre Dame thing but if we are going to benefit from winning our Conference Championship by going to the NC, then you at least have to come in 2nd in your conference, not 3rd. Coming in 3rd simply means you had an easier out of conference schedule than the teams you finished behind in your conference to. The same has been true twice with other conferences: people argued for Tex and Okla and Ohio State and Mich. It won’t ever happen.

Seymour Hyknee

January 22nd, 2010
1:09 pm

Wally Butts? Come on, are you guys makin’ these names up? Don’t let your Sanjay Gooptah!

Boise Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
1:18 pm

gatorman… your logic is flawed. First let me say I don’t believe Georgia got hosed in 2007. The way the system is set up, if you don’t win your conference championship you shouldn’t be eligible for the BCS championship game. That being said I felt Georgia was playing the best football in the conference at the end of the year… but your statement that coming in 3rd means we played a weaker out of conference schedule makes no sense… it just means we lost the wrong two games in conference. LSU and Tennessee both had 2 losses in conference, same as Georgia. LSU lost to Kentucky and Arkansas (Georgia beat Kentucky). Tennessee lost to Florida and Alabama (Georgia beat both Alabama and Florida). The SEC doesn’t rank order the entire conference… if you did then Georgia would have finished in a 3-way tie for first place.

TommyP

January 22nd, 2010
1:26 pm

Boise: What he’s saying is IT’S NOT A RULE that you have to win your division or conference. Maybe it SHOULD be but it wasn’t a rule and it still isn’t.

Notre Dame never wins their conference…the guy made a great comparison. (I know that ND is an independent)

Reg

January 22nd, 2010
1:27 pm

If the first month of a year is year 1, not 0, and the 10th month of a year is 10, then the second year is year 2, and right on down the line to year 10. Since it takes 10 years to be a decade, then why is year 9 (as in 2009) being called the end of a decade? Perhaps the media could investigate to find what happened to the 10th year.

UGA89

January 22nd, 2010
1:29 pm

The decade that was –UGA vs the SEC.

vs the good = 13-7
vs the bad = 30-3
vs the teams that matter the most = 14-16

maybe it was a good decade, but certainly not a great decade. A 54% winning percentage against the strength of the conference isn’t that glowing of an accomplishment. the failure of the 2008 season, falling from being pre-season #1 to giving up over 400 yards on the ground to Tech, then finishing up with an 8-win season and Shreveport bowl in 2009, just reveals to me that the last two seasons have been tough ones. i think the team and the program have peaked. thank goodness a weak schedule next season makes for a potential good year –UGA could be 7-1 or 8-0 going into the Florida game, which will of course be a loss. but breaking in a new QB could spell trouble, so maybe i’m a bit too optimistic about 2010.

UGA = REDNECK

January 22nd, 2010
1:34 pm

With all those fans and high croot’n rankings you fools were unranked. Now get back to cutting my yard rednecks!!!!!

78 DAWG

January 22nd, 2010
1:41 pm

We’aren’t rednecks! dummy! Our school may not be highly rated by us news and world report, or employers, but we give each other jobs and that’s what drives the Ga economy!
We’ve had the top program in the sec for a decade and one of the top 5 in the nation (USC, Oklhoma, Ohio St and guess who…..the DAWGS! We’ve got 30,000 plus students, if 100 or so don’t go to class and break minor laws so what, they’ve brought money and pride to Athens so suck on it. Do your players know calculus or how many points a three pointer is worth?
Your JELLOUS!

Bad Breaks

January 22nd, 2010
1:43 pm

We could have been 10 – 2 or 11 – 3 this year if it weren’t for bad bounces, bad officials and untimely weather. Back in the top 10 next year. Aaron Murray is already being mentioned for the Heisman.

Minnesota Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
1:45 pm

To be honest, ESPN plays a lot of politics in their reporting. You can see the bias towards certain teams. Of course, if you win National Championships, you get the attention. We have been consistent, but have not won the National Championship. The chance to play in the big game boils down to taking the chance when it’s offered to you. We have not done that. I’m excited to see those opportunities in the future. You have to admit, we always have been good enough to get that chance to play in the big one! Go Dawgs.

The Truth

January 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

“The ESPN hurt Georgia hard in 2007 when Herbstreit campaigned against Georgia to get Georgia knocked down from #1 to #4. That was a Natl Champ year.”

Yeah keep believing that, the fact is after the conference title games the rankings are adjusted, so you are saying a two loss UGA team who didn’t win the East or even play in the SEC title game should have been in the title game over a two loss LSU team that won the SEC that year? No Way. What did ESPN have to do with that? What did they have to do with the South Carolina loss or the Tennessee loss? Did Evil ESPN come up with that pesky tiebreaker rule that put Tennessee in the SEC Title game over Georgia? Keep dreaming, move on……………………………..

RxDawg

January 22nd, 2010
2:14 pm

To those actually trying to argue that it’s not the end of the decade…. the year 2000 counts as the first year of the decade.
2000-2009 is 10 years.
2010 is the first year begining in the teens (_ _ 1 _).

It’s just like the 1900s century was refered to the 20th century. The 2000s is refered to as the 21st century. It’s because the 1st century was 0000-0099. The 2nd century was 0100-0199 and so forth.

Huh…who’d of thought you would get math lessons on the UGA blog instead of Techs.

Kool-Aid

January 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

“Aaron Murray is already being mentioned for the Heisman”

Are you kidding? Who is mentioning him, Georgia fans? It surely isn’t by anyone that matters considering nobody has seen him play one minute of College ball.

dan

January 22nd, 2010
2:33 pm

richtfan,

No we’re in the new decade now! 2000 was not a part of the 1990’s, it was a part of the 2000’s. I know that you’ve probably been told that we don’t start counting until 1, but that rule only applys when there isn’t other numbers in from of it!! Numbers with “200″ in front constitute one decade, and numbers with “201″ constitute another! Jeez, you and Neil Boortz! What the hell is so hard to understand about this!

Mikey in the SAV

January 22nd, 2010
2:49 pm

In 2007, we had a very inexplicable loss to South Carolina when we should have won.
We didnt show up in Knoxville and deserved to lose that game.
So…It was out of our control when UT went to the SECCG….
Should they have been there? UK had them beat..I mean, what team has a turnover in overtime and still wins? Vandy had them beat and could not kick a chip shot FG.

It wasnt meant to be for UGA. Period.

dan

January 22nd, 2010
2:53 pm

I think UGA had a nice run from 2002-2005, and 2007 was kind of sweet near the end. But overall I’d say it’s been a good decade. Better than the 90’s but not quite as good as the 80’s.

Part of the problem is that I really don’t think Richt’s focus is on winning championships. I think he believes that if he builds these players up as people, the wins and the championships will take care of themselves. And there is an argument to be made for that. A team is definitely made up of individuals and focusing on the process of getting better is important.

However, I think Vince Lombardi said it best when he said “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

How excellence is measured in college football is National Championships. Richt has has teams that had the potential to win a National Title, most notably 2002,2005, and 2007. But if you want something in life you have to seek it! Florida, LSU, and Alabama demand excellence and make winning National Titles a focus, and they achieve it. Mark Richt settles for goodness, and that’s exactly what he gets.

timthebrave

January 22nd, 2010
2:54 pm

The BCS is a joke and there is no true national champion until we get a playoff….but there is a SEC champion and the dawgs won 2 of them this year. That is pretty good in my book…Don’t remember too many of them in the 90’s…Go Dawgs!!

Where are all the All-American's?

January 22nd, 2010
3:17 pm

Mr King – sometimes I don’t know where you come-up with your crap – a good decade for UGA? Are you serious? Let’s see – no NC, how many SEC titles?, How many times beating FL and TN in the decade?? (which are the only REAL opponents that UGA has every year – the rest are middle to low, let’s see you play more than 2 or 3 REAL teams year end and year out.)
So, Mr King – with the so-called top recruiting classes nearly every year and the talent that UGA has – do you really think that it has been a very good decade for the dawgs??
Like the rest of the dawg fans, you live in denial and a fantasy world.

[...] Bulldog Bites: It was a good decade for Richt, UGA—Bill King, Junkyard Blawg, AJC [...]

ChuckWDawg

January 22nd, 2010
4:27 pm

The Bulldogs’ 98 wins between 2000 and 2009 ranked 9th in the country only 4 games behind the the teams with the 4th most wins in that span. 2 SEC Championships after a drought of 20 years. 4 times they either won or shared the SEC East title. 2 wins in 3 BCS appearances. The very best program? No. A Top 10 program? Yes, The numbers say so. There are 111 teams who can’t put up better figuers. If you’re a Top 10 program among 120 then you’re a successful program. It’s all relative. But I’d say any team that finished in the Top 30 can claim to have had a fairly successful decade overall. (Note – Alabama’s 79 wins just squeezes them into the 30th place over the past 10 years in a tie with Clemson…)

AltamahaDawg

January 22nd, 2010
4:33 pm

I don’t share the view that UGA was robbed in 2007. Winning the conference should count for something and LSU did do that. To say we were robbed really misses the point anyway. The point is that in 2007 UGA was playing as good as anyone in the country and had it not been for a Vandy meltdown, or a Ky missed FG, UGA would have been in the SECCG. If the critisism of Richt is that he didn’t win the right game, or didnt have help at the right time, or snakebit, or deserves it , whatever, fine. But from a purely football standpoint, from a purely coaching standpoint, he DID have a NC caliber team in 2007. And 2002 for that matter. That’s the only part he can control.

70 Dawg

January 22nd, 2010
5:33 pm

Just read the post from Where’s all the all-Americans? Look in the NFL
Bulldog hater. There are about 40 of them there. Some went early so they missed the vote, but make no mistake they played some really good
football. Since he thinks UF and UT are the only top teams we play,
he obviously doesn’t know much about college football so I won’t debate
the other tired old criticism except to say I don’t like his school
either.

BigGAdawg

January 22nd, 2010
5:33 pm

RxDawg & Dan,
From what you are saying I must assume that the way you count to ten is: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9….Now how silly is that. There was never a year zero on the calendar. The calendar counts down with …4BC, 3BC, 2BC, 1BC, then 1AD, 2AD, 3AD, etc. There is no year Zero, therefore, a new decade, century, or millenium begins in the year 1, 101, 1001, etc. It is 1 thru 10, 101 thru 200, 1001 thru 2000, etc. The current decade did not actually begin until Jan 1, 2001. You got confused becaused the idiot media and the hotel industry decided to celebrate a year early. Just because a lot of people got it wrong does not make it suddenly become right.

Worth noting that the beginning of the 20th Century was celebrated at the at the correct time. People were smarter then than it appears they are now.