We’ve heard a lot recently about how Georgia fans are disappointed with the way things have been going lately for Mark Richt’s program. But it’s worth noting that most of that disappointment is focused on the past two seasons and, in fact, is prompted in large measure by how consistently successful the Dogs have been since Richt came to Athens.
Richt raised the standards of what Georgia fans consider acceptable, and how he has to live up to those standards.
Factoring in winning percentage, schedule, national championships won and Big 4 bowl appearances, the Data Warehouse folks have compiled a comprehensive college football ranking for the years 2000-2009, and UGA comes in No. 8 for the decade. (That covers Jim Donnan’s last season and all of Richt’s to date.)
Here’s how the Top 25 looks:
1. Southern Cal 2. Florida 3. LSU 4. Ohio State 5. Oklahoma 6. Texas 7. Miami 8. Georgia 9. Oregon 10. FSU 11. Virginia Tech 12. Alabama 13. Oregon State 14. Michigan 15. Auburn 16. Notre Dame 17. Tennessee 18. Georgia Tech 19. UCLA 20. California 21. Penn State 22. Iowa 23. Wisconsin 24. West Virginia 25. Boston College
What’s especially notable is that all of the teams ranked ahead of Georgia won a national championship during that decade and the Dogs are the highest-ranked team that didn’t win one.
While it might be popular to judge things from a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately point of view, Richt’s most severe critics have to concede that when you look at the overall record, he’s done a remarkable job, even without winning a crystal football.
Whether you think he can keep it up in the next decade and eventually get UGA a BCS title is certainly something that’s hotly debated in Bulldog circles. You either see this past season and a half as a hiccup for a still successful program, or you see a program starting to decline.
I’m with the hiccup crowd. What about you?
While on the subject of the decade ranking, it’s also notable that using the same criteria, the SEC was the top-ranked conference for 2000-2009, followed by the Pac 10, Big 12, Big 10, ACC, Big East, Mountain West, Division 1-A independents, the WAC and Conference USA. Which might come as a surprise to a lot of Big 12 boosters.