Dogs could benefit from schedule in 2010

Georgia's schedule finally breaks Mark Richt's way. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia's schedule finally breaks Mark Richt's way. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Over the past two seasons, as the Dogs were trying to survive absolutely killer schedules, I kept looking ahead at the 2010 and 2011 schedules and thinking that if Mark Richt could solve his defensive problems and find a quarterback, he’d be looking at a definite window of opportunity.

The rotation of SEC West teams that the Dogs face definitely turns advantageous this season (no Bama or LSU) and the most challenging opponent on the nonconference schedule looks to be our in-state rival.

CollegeFootballNews.com is thinking along the same lines. In doing their roundup of the SEC composite schedule for 2010, they see Georgia’s “realistic best case record” as 11-1, the “worst case” record as 7-5 and peg the Dogs’ “likely finish” at 10-2.

Their summary paints a pretty optimistic scenario: “Georgia won’t be the best team in the SEC, but it has the schedule to look that way. Any SEC East team worth its salt would take this slate in a heartbeat. There’s no Alabama or LSU to deal with, Florida, as always, is at a neutral site, Tennessee is a home game, and the road games are at South Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Auburn. Throw in a home date against Vanderbilt and anything less than a New Year’s Day bowl appearance will be a mega-disappointment. Even the nonconference schedule works out well with the Georgia Tech game at home and the one tough road trip at Colorado. On the negative side, the game against the Buffs is coming off a road trip to Mississippi State for the only back-to-back road games of the year, and the week off doesn’t come until late November.”

One caveat: CFN also predicted a 10-2 finish for the Dogs in 2009.

And, of course, that neutral site for the Florida game hasn’t proved very helpful for the Dogs in recent years. Plus, under Richt the Dogs actually play better on the road than at home. But a return to New Year’s Day certainly does seem within this team’s grasp. Let’s face it, if they hadn’t blown it against Kentucky last year, they still probably would have played on Jan. 1.

So what do you think? Will anything less than the Outback or Capitol One be a “mega-disappointment” this season? Or is CFN underestimating the rebuilding Richt faces this year?

SUCCESS AT THE CHARITY STRIPE

The men’s basketball Bulldogs aren’t there yet, but the team definitely has improved since Mark Fox came to town, especially in one aspect of the game: free throws.

The Athens Banner-Herald takes a look at that improvement, which sees the dogs leading the SEC by making 72.7 percent from the free-throw line heading into tonight’s game in Knoxville. That’s up from the 63.8 percent they shot last season (which ranked 297th in the nation out of 330 Division I teams) and is on pace to be the team’s best percentage from the foul line since 2001-02, when the Bulldogs converted 73.7 percent of the time, the ABH says. Under Dennis Felton, Georgia never shot better than 67.9 percent.

Travis Leslie, for example, has improved from shooting 57.5 percent last season to 76.1 percent this year. The other Dogs have also improved.

Trey Thompkins, who leads the conference by making 85.7 of his free throws, tells the ABH, that the key to the turnaround is “we just shoot millions and millions of free throws. Once we’re done doing all the grinding in practice, we step up to the free-throw line and knock down free throws. You can’t leave unless you knock them down.”

I’ve never understood basketball coaches who don’t emphasize practicing free throws. It’s like a football coach who ignores the kicking game. Too many games are won or lost at the line.

This is just one more reason for Dogs basketball fans to be pleased with the Fox hire.

518 comments Add your comment

how2fish

February 17th, 2010
11:00 am

good article!

JimDog

February 17th, 2010
11:04 am

L-Dawg

February 17th, 2010
11:07 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!!

IT CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH!! LESS THAN 2 MONTHS TIL G-DAY!!

{{{{{30-24}}}}}

Old Dawg

February 17th, 2010
11:11 am

You’re right on. I was looking at the schedules for 2012-16 and UGA is playing at Oregon and hosting the Ducks the following year. Part of me likes having the Dawgs garnering national attention for playing outside the South, as long as Florida and other SEC teams continue to play its wimpy schedules that don’t impact their strength of schedule for BCS rankings, I don’t see any reason to play teams so far away from top-tier BCS conferences.

But with the schedule in 2010-11, UGA should benefit tremendously. One more thing, the off week is before the Tech game which should be a great advantage to rest up and prepare for the Yellow Jackets. I know UGA struggled in the second half and lost in 2008, but traditionally an off week is good for CMR’s teams.

Keep up the great work!

whiney dog

February 17th, 2010
11:20 am

IC things have returned to usual after experimenting “playing up” outside your conference. Go pups. ruf ruf.

Brewdawg

February 17th, 2010
11:22 am

Can someone post the site where it has the next few year’s schedules please

GO DAWGS!!
{{{30 – 24}}}

BT

February 17th, 2010
11:25 am

Agree for the most part but South Carolina and Auburn will be tough. On the road, they want revenge, and both will be tons better than last year. I would also say both of those schools should be darkhorses to win the division.

I would go ahead and chalk up the SC game as a loss. That will be our new qb’s first road game and Columbia gets crazy with that stupid rooster crow!

how2fish

February 17th, 2010
11:26 am

whiney dog after the debacle UF has in way of an out of conference schedule last year…I don’t want to hear it..if any one is whiney its you!

Ron Roberts

February 17th, 2010
11:26 am

1. Brewdawg, you can find future schedules at georgiadogs.com.

2. Free throw improvement could be attributed to the new practice facility with far more courts and baskets TO practice free throws on, as well. But I agree, I’ve ALWAYS been aggravated when good/great players lacked the ability to sink an uncontested shot from the charity stripe. It’s akin to being able to lay down a bunt in baseball. If you can’t do it, it’s more likely because you haven’t practiced it enough to have it down.

11Dawg

February 17th, 2010
11:26 am

The scheduling awesomeness goes beyond our own schedule. Florida has to play Bama in Tuscaloosa, Tennessee has to play Bama and LSU, and South Carolina has to play Bama. All the other challengers for the East have tough SEC schedules. As long as we beat Florida (which actually seems possible this year) and don’t lose more than 2 SEC games, we should be able to go to Atlanta.

Tech's nightmare

February 17th, 2010
11:27 am

Hey whiney dog if we didn’t have to blow one of our nonconference games on a pitiful ACC school down in Atlanta, then we would have room to fit in more top notch opponents from other somewhat respectable conferences like the Big 10 and Big 12.

whiney dog

February 17th, 2010
11:28 am

how2fish—— whining if you loose and barking if you win… never can keep the snout shut! That’s why no one likes you

Ferndolin

February 17th, 2010
11:28 am

Very excited about what Mark Fox is doing. I think is style and the hustle he gets out of the players he has will bring in a few ver good recruits his first year. It’s going to be fun.

RxDawg

February 17th, 2010
11:30 am

“One caveat: CFN also predicted a 10-2 finish for the Dogs in 2009.”

Ah, but did they know we would turn the ball over 3 times per game? Not to mention all the other intangibles such as bad ref calls, losing our best lineman for the year…again.

Not that I’m trying to make excuses though. We got punched in the chin last year. Time to get back up and go again baby. Go dawgs!

HardTruthSoldier...

February 17th, 2010
11:32 am

Bill, Anything less than the Outback or Capital one Bowl? Are you serious! The thoughts of this team, this program, and the Bulldawg nation should be “Anthing less than a Nat’l Championship is a disappointment”! We have got to learn to think beyond “A New Year’s Day Bowl”. Alabama, Florida, and LSU fans want Rings. Georgia fans should expect the same!

rural dawg

February 17th, 2010
11:32 am

“It’s like a football coach who ignores the kicking game”. Good dig Bill, I couldn’t agree with you more….

Dan

February 17th, 2010
11:33 am

A tough road game at Colorado? Please. You mean the CU that’s gone 16-33 the past four seasons and hasn’t had a winning season since 2005? If you’re going to talk about schedules, at least deal with reality.

UGA Student

February 17th, 2010
11:34 am

I have a good feeling about this year, I think the man that Richt chooses to lead us at QB will be an upgrade over Joe Cox. And lets not knock on JC, because he actually had one of the best UGA statistical seasons of all time, minus the INTs. His yards, TDs, and TDs in one game (ARK – 5 TDs) rank up there. I think that Grantham cannot do worse than Willy and I think that we will easily find a replacement for Rennie’s production.

UGA Student

February 17th, 2010
11:36 am

Just to clear it up, I meant JC’s TDs in a season rank up there, which I believe was 24. Stafford set the record with 25. His yards werent stellar, somehwere around 2,500 but thats still pretty good considering the entire fanbase viewed him as incompetent.

UGA Student

February 17th, 2010
11:39 am

And Mark Fox is bringing us a regular season title sometime in the very near future, we just need to actually land big basketball recruits.

Without-a-clue

February 17th, 2010
11:39 am

It’s still a case of “Real games are played on turf…not paper.”

Will

February 17th, 2010
11:44 am

No excuses this year.

UGA returns 10 of 11 offensive starters and two splendid, highly recruited quarterbacks are competing for the 11th starting position.

There are boatloads of redshirted players from top ten after top ten recruitng classes.

Accord to CMR, he now has on board the “best defensive coordinator available”.

No LSU and UT and UF lost tons of players and now one has a coach with a losing record in minor league college football and the other has a coach that is a basket case and has already had to replace two DCs.
tech’s high school offense has been exposed to being just that.

Anything less than 11 wins this year will be a major disappoint that will be impossible to explain.

Brewdawg

February 17th, 2010
11:49 am

Einsteindawg

February 17th, 2010
11:52 am

I like Coach Fox and his approach to the game. Give him a couple of years to recruit his players and we’ll have a BB team to be proud. If the Dawgs go 7-5 in football this year, you can color Coach Richt gone. And don’t give me the song and dance about us having an unproven QB…that should have been handled last year (and would have been handled at the other top tier schools). Especially with an average player like Cox who was never going to improve and being one and done. CMR will need to demonstrate that he is truly an SEC calibre head coach, not just a nice guy who happens to be a great recruiter with a year-around tan. Anyway, just my opinion and I hope we go 13-0.

gatrosam

February 17th, 2010
11:52 am

Well, if you can win with a tough schedule, don’t get better, just weaken the schedule. Gators rule.

Hello BuLLdaug

February 17th, 2010
11:54 am

I laughed last year about the daugs bragging about their tuff schedule…How did that turn out?
Any team that plans to win 10 will probably have two cupcakes on their schedule. The daugs do next year but you guys just will not admit it.

Happy Dawg

February 17th, 2010
11:54 am

This may be facetious but we could really go undefeated this year I’m just worried about Florida and Auburn. Hunker Down Dawgs!

Hmmmm

February 17th, 2010
11:56 am

I was about to say…. Didn’t they say the Dawgs would go 10-2 last year?? I would like to see one of the talking heads at the AJC do some researd to see how many times the “Pickers” have been wrong over the years…..Let me know the results.

Buddy El

February 17th, 2010
11:57 am

Hard Truth Soldier: You also have to apply a little rationale if you are seriously into UGA football.

Hmmmm

February 17th, 2010
11:57 am

Buddy El

February 17th, 2010
12:00 pm

Gatrosam: You are absolutely correct about scheduling cream puffs. We see all those Junior Colleges that UF schedules so Tebow could roll up the big numbers.

SD Dawg

February 17th, 2010
12:06 pm

Truth is, we have no idea what we are going to get out of our new QB. Even with David Green starting we lost four games in his first year. I think the schedule should buy us a win or two more. I am thinking 9-3 or 10-2, but that is just a guess. I do think the team will be a little bit hungrier this year.

11Dawg

February 17th, 2010
12:06 pm

No question a softer schedule would have saved us. If we played some Sun Belt instead of Okie State, we would have been 9-4 and playing in Tampa instead of Shreveport.

11Dawg

February 17th, 2010
12:07 pm

8-4 I mean. And then 9-4 after beating Northwestern.

Gen Neyland

February 17th, 2010
12:08 pm

From Shreveport to a New Year’s Day game by factoring in the loss to Kentucky as a turning point seems to be a stretch, BK. Peach-Fil-A at best would have seemed logical enough if not Music City (this is not intended as a knock on the bowl UGA played in, just my opinion)… Good luck tonight in Knoxville but may the Dawgs get waxed. GBO

SID

February 17th, 2010
12:09 pm

any Gator fan making comments about weak schedules should look in th mirror

1eyedJack

February 17th, 2010
12:10 pm

Hard Truth, if nothing but a NC is going to make you happy, then you’re going to be unhappy for most of your life.

HOUDAWG

February 17th, 2010
12:14 pm

Hoping for a 10-win season , but get a feeling that breaking in a new QB ; transitioning to the 3-4 D …. may be tougher than we realize. ‘Course , I’d be glad to be proven completely wrong ……

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 17th, 2010
12:14 pm

Enter your comments here

Ivan Vasilii Vladivostok, aka "Pasha dat a$$"

February 17th, 2010
12:15 pm

What happened to my other post Bill????

Dawg4Life

February 17th, 2010
12:17 pm

Do you realize that the Dawgs have the potential to be undefeated when the play UF. They possibly could be the Gators depending on how UF looks. GO DAWGS!!!!

Florida HS ball is superior to NC HS ball

February 17th, 2010
12:18 pm

Aaron Murray IS a huge upgrade at QB for UGA vs Jumping Joe Cox from NC. Over the years, UGA has inked several N/S Carolina QBs and they never, ever pan out. We had one several years ago that played at Spartanburg HS and then many years ago, we signed Jamie Harris ( maybe from VA ) and he was ALSO a gigantic bust. There are others ( one played second string behind Andy Johnson and he was just a fair passer, if I recall ) from the Carolina area that played QB.

Murray played in Tampa in a big boy league and he won the Florida State C in whatever division that they played in. I am sure that it was a AAA or AAAA type of program. Plant HS is big boy school.

Mettenberger played in the Athens area at Oconee HS but saw no real competition BUT he is acknowledged to have a cannon. Tee Martin raved about him only a couple of years ago after an all world invitation only QB camp. Zack M. is a DARK HORSE to play QB and play it well for UGA. Richt will be hugely involved in their growth at QB this year and next for sure.
Gooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

Georgia Tech For Life

February 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

HAVE FUN AT THE INDEPENDENCE BOWL LOSERS HAHAHAHAHAHA…..UGA FANS ARE D-BAGS, FANS ARE REDNECKS, AND THEIR WIFES LOVE GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS………(((((((1980)))))))

SEC East Headlines – 2/17/10 « MrSEC.com

February 17th, 2010
12:24 pm

[...] wins to gain an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.8.  Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs could benefit from their 2010 schedule.9.  The basketball Dawgs are 11-12 overall and need to start winning some road games if they want [...]

Georgia Tech For Life

February 17th, 2010
12:24 pm

1980 1980 1980

Whopper Dawg

February 17th, 2010
12:24 pm

Georgia Tech For Life

February 17th, 2010
12:26 pm

HEY, REMEMBER WHEN GEORGIA HAD TO BUY HERSHY WALKER A BRAND NEW BLACK TRANS AM FOR HIM TO GO THERE, I DO….UGA’S BEEN DOING STUFF LIKE THAT FOR YEARS AND THATS WHY EVERYONE MAKES FUN OF THEM. GOD, IT MUST SUCK TO BE A GEORGIA FAN

knoxdawg

February 17th, 2010
12:27 pm

CMR needs to show vast improvement. That means we need to be competitive in every game and not get blown out like we did against UT, UF. Gotta be better at takeaways and stop the giveaways. An easier schedule is a plus but it doesn’t guarantee a winning season. The running game has to be stout this year or we will not be a better team. Long drives consuming the clock will make the defense better. I will be disappointed if we are not challenging UF for the east title. To me, we gotta beat them if we want a shot in the SECCG.

Fox is doing a whale of a job. He needs more talent. Probably will loose tonight in Knoxville but this team is better and is exciting to watch at times.

ButlerDawg

February 17th, 2010
12:27 pm

Turnovers is the next problem for Fox to solve.

General Neyland; Attention, Sir !!

February 17th, 2010
12:29 pm

How many football coaches has UT had in the last 400-450 days??? Is it ONLY THREE???

Dooley is only “window dressing” or an “offering” to the NCAA as proof that ” we at UT have cleaned up our recruitment act” after Blame Kiffen and Ed. O puked all over your program. They HATED Hillbilly Knoxville and their wives hated it even more. Pathtic. I really like Regas Steak House.

UT is a long way from being even a second tier program. UGA is Second Tier today and was in 09 and 08 and 07 and for quite some time and we are pleased to ALWAYS BE Second Tier with a shot at the TOP TIER. Think of the gazzillions of schools that have not been to a New Year’s Day Bowl, like Tech in 08. At that time, they had not seen the inside of a major bowl since Bobby Dodd was blown out by hapless Florida in 67. See? Second Tier beats Third Tier anytime.

UT needs to tend to their business ( if you are a graduate which I strongly doubt ) and UGA will stay on their business.

Shhhhhhhhh! I hear the NCAA investigators coming for y’all. Shhhhhhhhh!