Will anything less than a New Year’s Day bowl for Dogs be a ‘mega-disappointment’?

Justin Houston is seen as a big weapon for the Dogs' defense. (Georgiadogs.com)

Justin Houston is seen as a big weapon for the Dogs' defense. (Georgiadogs.com)

If you haven’t yet checked out CollegeFootballNews.com’s preview of the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs, by all means do so. It’s a remarkably optimistic and yet balanced look at the strengths and weaknesses of Mark Richt’s team.

Writes CFN’s Pete Fiutak: “Georgia can absolutely win the East and it can absolutely rise up at the right time to win the conference championship if everything breaks right. And lately, if you win the SEC Championship, big things tend to follow. No, this isn’t a national title team, but that’s not to say it can’t come back and rebound in a huge way.”

Fiutak correctly pegs the health of the veteran offensive line as a key to the season and says it might be “the best in America” if injuries are avoided. He thinks turning NFL prospect Justin Houston loose to harass quarterbacks will help ease the transition to a 3-4 defense.

And he notes that the team will be better than last year’s if “it wins the turnover battle and if it stops screwing up. Georgia, with enough talent and speed to hang around with anyone in the SEC, forced two fumbles and picked off 10 passes, while the offense gave it away 28 times. Alright, so takeaways aren’t necessarily indicative of success (Florida and Cincinnati only recovered three fumbles and Alabama came up with seven), but the knucklehead streak when it came to penalties didn’t help. The Bulldogs were flagged 105 times; only five teams got hit with more penalties.”

What about QB Aaron Murray? Fiutak says, “Murray isn’t all that big, but he has a next-level arm and has just enough talent to grow into the job over the next few years. If he’s outstanding right away, Georgia has a legitimate shot to win the SEC title. If he’s inconsistent, the ceiling is a Florida bowl on New Year’s Day.”

Another factor in the Dogs’ favor, Fiutak notes: “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.”

Fiutak is setting the bar high for the 2010 Dogs, saying their season will be a success if “Georgia wins the SEC East. If you’re going to catch Florida, do it now. The Bulldogs might still be growing, too, but they have the schedule and just enough talent to win the division to get to the SEC title game. For a team with so many concerns, anything else would be gravy. If this isn’t a division-winning year, 10-2 with a January 1st bowl game would signal a big bounceback.”

Is Fiutak expecting too much of a team that’s rebuilding its defense and starting a completely inexperienced quarterback? I tend to agree with the Senator, who thinks 2011 looks much more like the year of the Dawg.

But the CFN assessment isn’t pie-in-the-sky. Bama and Florida both lost a lot of talent off last year’s teams. Georgia’s schedule is favorable. The Dogs return 10 starters on offense. Willie Martinez is no longer in Athens. The big “ifs” are staying healthy, fixing that turnover ratio, cutting way back on penalties, continuing last season’s surge in the running game, and getting at least a decently productive first season out of Murray.

Still, I think it’s going a bit far to say that success for Georgia this season will be defined by whether it wins the SEC East or not. How about you?

METTENBERGER UPDATE

Former Dog Kelin Johnson has launched a Web site/blog and reports Zach Mettenberger told him he has two scholarship offers on the table — Louisville and Cincinnati — and has had heavy interest and calls from other schools, including Tennessee, USC, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Troy, Memphis and Colorado. So even if Mett doesn’t wind up at Louisville, the Dogs still could face their former teammate. You know CBS and/or ESPN would love that storyline.

253 comments Add your comment

PDawg

May 6th, 2010
10:13 pm

Dawgs will be lucky to win 8 this year….sorry but that’s what it looks like to me.

KMax

May 6th, 2010
10:13 pm

Georgia is Loaded with Game Breakers like the USC team with reggie bush.

RB: King & Ealey (ranked #4 #5 in nation in high school)
TE: Charles & White (ranked #1 & 2 in nation)
WR: AJ Green (#1 in nation), Wooten (parade all-american) Brown (#2 in nation out of high school 6′ 5”)
Punter: #1 in nation last year
Kicker: #3 in nation last year
QB: #3 in nation, 2 Elite 11 QB’s and a Parade All American
O-Line: averaging 247 a game over last 5 games (#5 in nation), only 10 sacks last year, deep, experienced & healthy

sportsline.com

May 6th, 2010
10:18 pm

Read this link from CBS Sportsline:

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/13351665/-spring-stories-expansion-talk-kiffin-at-usc-kelly-in-south-bend

Quote:

Sheriff Richt: Funny, it was only after Georgia slumped to 8-5 that discipline suddenly became an issue in Athens. Oh, discipline has been a problem in the past under tolerant Georgia coach Mark Richt, but nothing a BCS bowl couldn’t cure. It’s the same everywhere: Wins trump drunk driving arrests every time.

Zach Mettenberger is no longer Mark Richt’s problem at Georgia. (US Presswire)
Last month, Richt took the bold (for him) step of kicking quarterback Zach Mettenberger off the team for — here we go again — violation of team rules. This wasn’t a token move, since Mettenberger was in a three-way battle for the job. You can bet programs all over the country will be inquiring about Mettenberger’s availability.

You can also bet the pressure will ramp up on Richt if he goes 8-5 again.

THE PLAYERS & NAMES CHANGE, THE RESULTS AND THE COACH ARE THE SAME!

UGADAWGZ

May 6th, 2010
10:18 pm

gtfan- You are delusional. Do you honestly thing GT, MSU, and USC beat UGA? HA! That’s really funny

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
10:18 pm

Recordkeeper: Thank You. I don’t HATE UGA players. They should be doing their best and stay out of trouble. I HATE UGA fans that think they are SO SO MUCH better than they really are. ATL XMEN UGA fans don’t think they should ever fear TECH NO MATTER WHAT. What did Richt do? Hold a clipboard for Kelly in college? Zeier did that in the NFL. So did Greene & DJ. Bobo & Richt never got that chance in the NFL. Richt coaches C. Ward to run around and wait til the D broke down and then heave the Ball deep. Wait, Richt coached C. Ward to be a great NBA guard while carrying a Heisman. Weinke was what, 30 with a baseball players arm? RICHT TOUGHT WEINKE HOW TO HAVE A BASEBALL PLAYERS ARM? The Heisman winners under Richt didn’t learn anything from him. FSU’s D made up for any of Richt’s bad play calls or Ward’s or Weinke’s bad choices.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
10:22 pm

K-Max is that UGA game breakers or JAIL BREAKERS?

SOUTHGADAWG88

May 6th, 2010
10:29 pm

A Spurrier type of run is not happening in the league again.There is too much talent at the top 5 programs..the next 10 years should be similar to the last…a couple of teams may have a mini run but no one can really claim to have dominated.I only care about winning the SEC championship other factors can determine being in the NC game.Win the SEC and you are in the hunt for a NC.

UGADAWGZ

May 6th, 2010
10:32 pm

kimz- OK, now you are just delusional. You can’t honestly think Mark Richt isn’t a good coach, you’ve only been able to beat him once.
Also, we shouldn’t fear a team that has only beat us ONCE the past decade
O, and to all you gt fans who keep talking about how UGA hasn’t played a good team in bowls, you’ve only won 2 the past decade against Syracuse and Tulsa and had loses to Fresno state twice so I would stop talking

Shreveport Sam

May 6th, 2010
10:36 pm

We’re getting the Days Inn ready and Zulina’s Grill is going to offer three for the price of two potted meat sandwiches! They’re for the takin’ for anyone who yells, “Go Dawgs,” on bowl game day!

UGADAWGZ

May 6th, 2010
10:40 pm

sam-IOWA HA HA HA

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
10:42 pm

WHAT has RICHT DONE? HE is the Dale JR. of SEC coaches. He looks good for the camera, sells crap, and never wins anything that really matters. I can’t compare Richt to TECH coaches. You are right. I am Comparing him to SEC COACHES. You are so BIG on the SEC go apples to apples. WHAT does 10 wins mean, if you don’t take those 4-5 Star players to the SEC Championship and a shot at the BCS title?

Rob

May 6th, 2010
10:44 pm

A January 1 bowl game in Florida really isn’t saying that much. Almost certainly two SEC teams in BCS bowls. Then the Capital One, Cotton, Outback, and Gator bowls on January 1 or 2. Not making one of those games means you finished seventh in the conference. 8-4 gets an Outback or Gator bowl bid. No way UGA does worse than that with its 2010 schedule.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
10:50 pm

I will be this honest. I lived in Nashville. I enjoy that Bowl if it is on a weekend. It is a nice trip. Maimi been there done that. You think the area around Tech is bad? AHHAHAH.

Dawg Rule

May 6th, 2010
10:50 pm

The Dawgs will come up big with Murray in 2010! UgA beats south carolina and tennessee—mark it down!

Murray the Midget

May 6th, 2010
11:00 pm

Did someone say the Dawgs will come up “big” with Murray?? You mean my platform cleats finally came in?!

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
11:06 pm

The VOLS? WOW! New coach, new QB, @ Home, the Dooley’s (1/2 & 1/2 in orange for sure), and all the HYPE! UGA should win. What is the UGA v USC record? UGA never gets beat by So. Carolina, Vandy, Miss St., or Kentucky. Fear the 6-6 La-Laf, 3-9 Colorado, and 1-10 Idaho St. too. HAHAHAHA. If the teachers and staff are as drunk as the players and students if could be fun.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
11:06 pm

Enter your comments here

StinkinLincoln

May 6th, 2010
11:16 pm

This Lemay kid coming to Ga has Dawg nation dreaming of championships. Lemay has already stated that he’ll not sit on the bench for 2 or 3 years. I have a question,,,, what are you gonna do with Murray? Now Murray comes highly touted and should be the perfect QB for Richt’s offense. Sounds like some in Dawg nation are ready to throw him (Murray) under the bus. It’s not hard to see this Lemay kid has premaddona written all over him….My prediction, 50-50 either way he could be a real good QB or he could be a real big problem….especially if he doesn’t get to play right away.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
11:22 pm

Stinkin: what about Hutson coming in this fall? He has all the State passing, or many of them, recorda and is 6′-5″ and has palyed in as many SEC stadiums as Murry.

KimZ's Package

May 6th, 2010
11:27 pm

I can’t spell any more after drinking my way through the HAWKS JOKE of a game. Add the almost No Hit Braves and I DONE.

StinkinLincoln

May 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

My point exactly KimZ’s. Why should QBs want to pile-up at one program. Only one gets to start and only one gets to back-up.

Pete

May 6th, 2010
11:55 pm

New Year’s Day bowls ain’t what they used to be. Only the Rose Bowl and whichever other BCS bowl will later hold the championship game are of any significance.
The Outback — who can brag about a bowl that starts before noon, while many fans are still nursing hangovers? The Capital One — played in a dump. Those of us at the UGA-Michigan State game can swear to that. The Gator — do they still play that ACC snoozer on New Year’s?
There were as many bowls on Jan. 2 as Jan. 1 this past year.
The current system means that only one bowl — the BCS championship — really means anything. For the rest of us, it’s just window dressing and justification for the coach to keep his job (if he wins).
So a goal of a New Year’s Day bowl isn’t much of a goal. You have to aim for a BCS game to really amount to anything in modern college football.

Chuck Uga

May 6th, 2010
11:56 pm

What a shock! Derek Dooley reaching out to Mett?! Looks like maybe things in Knoxville haven’t changed that much. Barbara and Vince are short-term as Athens residents. Just watch. I hope Mett fails miserably if he goes to an SEC East rival. What a jerk if he is considering this.

Chuck Uga

May 7th, 2010
12:03 am

SEC Recordkeeper: Those stats are incorrect. For one, Georgia has 4 Division titles in the SEC East. But don’t let your hate of UGA get in the way…

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:12 am

What has Richt done.he has won 2 SEC titles…same as Meyer. The only difference you ask?

2002 UGA went 12-1 and a SEC title needing a team to win to get in the NC (OSU)

2006 FLA went 12-1 and a SEC title needing a team to win to get in the NC (USC)

one happened…the other didnt

THATS the ONLY difference in Richt and Meyers as far as NCs.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:15 am

Fla didnt go to UCLA and change Unis with them to beat USC EARNING a trip to the NC. It just fell to them due to USC losing

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:18 am

Chuck Uga,

UT won the division in 2001, Georgia in 02 and 03, 04 AU beat UT, 05 Georgia, 06 Florida, 07 UT, 08 and 09 Florida won.

So where am I wrong. Georgia won the division and sec in 02 and 05 and lost to LSU in 03. Where am I wrong?

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:20 am

yeah whatever,

Maybe you can help out yet another delusional dawg fan. He says I let my hate get in the way of things and that Georgia has won 4 division titles. Really, 02, 03, and 05. What other year or is chuck just another idiotic Georgia fan?

Dawg fans-Never letting the facts get in the way of an argument.

Mike

May 7th, 2010
12:22 am

What has Richt done? He went 12-1 and won the SEC, like Meyer did, but didn’t get invited to the National Championship–guess you gotta be tight with ESPN a little there.

Richt also finished #1 ranked in 2007 after #1 and #2 both lost, but ESPN and Les Miles had a thing going, and Miles was in with ESPN a little better. Oklahoma got invited to the Natl Champ without winning their conference, so the precedent was there.

He’s done as much as Meyer or MIles did to get invited to the big dance. He just didn’t get invited. I don’t think Richt’s as much as a schmoozer as Miles and Meyer and Saban. Gotta work on those schmoozer skills because ESPN will ratify precedent and work to get you in to the big dance if you schmooze em’ a little.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:23 am

OK this is dated from the week before the Fla GA game in 2008

so it does not include last years debacle but…………………….

Meyer……………………………………………………………Richt
4……………………….Seasons…………………………………..8
22-8………………vs. SEC foes……………………………..46-18
12-5………………vs. Top 25 foes…………………………..26-14
7-5………………..vs. Top 25 foes (away)…………………18-8
7-2………………..vs. top 10 foes…………………………….7-5
4-2………………..vs. top 10 foes (away)……………………6-4
3-1………………..Postseason record……………………….7-3
9-5………………..Games decided by TD or less………..25-14
23-2………………Record at home………………………….42-8
9-5………………..Record on the road……………………..28-4
7-3………………..Record in last 10 SEC games…………8-2
15-5………………Record in last 20 SEC games………..13-7
4…………………..Losses to unranked teams……………….5
3…………………..Top 25 finishes………………………………7
1…………………..Top 10 finishes………………………………5

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:26 am

Record keeper……..2007 UGA was co champion of the East. Tenn was the team sent to represent the EAST for the SEC title game but both were champs.

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:29 am

yeah whatever,

Sorry but that doesn’t count. What counts is who went to the championship game. And I do believe that even though ya’ll were co champs in your mind UT gets the nod as division champs by virtue of that brutal @ss raping of 35-7 they put on you.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:29 am

actually UGA won the EAST 5 times

1992 SEC East NA Did Not Play X X
2002 SEC East W Arkansas 30 3
2003 SEC East L LSU 13 34
2005 SEC East W LSU 34 14
2007 SEC East NA Did Not Play X X

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:31 am

Record keeper it does count. You need to know what co championships mean.

For a better explanation look here: Look at the middle of this page

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Bulldogs_football

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:33 am

yeah whatever,

Interestingly enough you didn’t put # of bcs national championships between Meyer and Richt. Also, Richt has more top 10 and top 25 finishes by virtue of coaching 9 years vs 5 for Meyer in the sec.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:33 am

winning the division does not mean you go to the SEC title game…if their are co champs the winner of head to head moves on but BOTH are champions. If you knew SEC football you would know this and would not need it explained

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:33 am

“if there are”

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:34 am

record keeper….Meyer actually coached 9 years in FBS (Utah) and Richt still has more top ten finishes. You are not much of a record keeper if you dont know records

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:35 am

by the way…that comparison of Richt and Meyer comes from ESPN

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/756/meyer-vs-richt-a-closer-look

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:37 am

yeah whatever,

Going by that criteria the west has had several ties. That would mean AU, Bama, and LSU could probably claim 2-3 more division crowns each. As a matter of fact Bama could claim the 02 division since they won it outright on the field. They didn’t go to the seccg due to probation. But sorry Bama it don’t count in my book.

Lets put it in another format so that Dawg fans can’t skew statistics. The dawgs have a mere 3 seccg appearances in the 18 years of the 2 division format. Now would you like to argue about that?

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:37 am

….and I explained before quite clearly…Meyer did nothing more than Richt to get the # of BCS championships…..Meyer did not have anything to do with USC losing to UCLA in 2006 or Or St in 2008.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:39 am

if that criteria bothers you …..petition the SEC. We dont have anything to do with it…but until your whining reaches the ears of the SEC comish …the “record” stays at 5 EAST championships

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:40 am

Again…if you keep the moniker of “record keeper” at least know records.

San Clemente Mental Hospital

May 7th, 2010
12:41 am

patrick, is that you? Now take your meds and go to bed! You KNOW you have 3 more electric shock therapy sessions tomorrow!

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:41 am

yeah whatever,

I’m just looking at the Urban Legend’s reign at Florida. Isn’t that how dawg fans like to skew stats? When they talk about dog stats they only include the Richt years when the sec was down and pre Urban Meyer? And if you think that building up a no tradition, talent barren wasteland like Utah is the same as taking over an sec program than I have to question your judgment. Utah is what it is today because Meyer built a never done nothing 3rd rate program into a monster that whupped Bama in 2008 after Bama whupped you. That’s what Meyer did.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:44 am

Skew facts?…the facts are UGA has 5 SEC EST titles…you said 3. I am quite sure that saying something falsely, as you did, is skewing

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:45 am

again…you would be better served if you changed your moniker from “record keeper” to “hyperbole giver”

Recordkeeper

May 7th, 2010
12:46 am

yeah whatever,

Tell you what Patrick. I’ll stick with seccg appearances which is what actually counts as the division’s representative in the title game and you can stick with your “but we tied for the division ranting” if it makes you feel better. Bottom line is that you’ve only represented the east division in the seccg a paltry 3 years in 18 years. And that FACT sir is not up for debate.

yeah whatever!

May 7th, 2010
12:46 am

so the SEC was down in 2002 and 2005? Why? Based on merely the fact UGA won it? Why was it up in 2006? based on what?

Me

May 7th, 2010
12:47 am

Recordkeeper…never argue mortors and bricks with the architect of his own reality.