Say this for the Orlando Sentinel: They’re at least consistent in their orange and blue advocacy.
You’ll recall that the Sentinel, whose sportswriters appear to operate as an unofficial arm of the Gators sports information program, drew headlines a while back for ranking the Georgia Bulldogs as only the 64th best team in the country this season.
Before that, the Sentinel had been among the first of the media outlets in states surrounding us to get the Mark-Richt-on-the-hot-seat bandwagon rolling. And, of course, they did it in typical hyperbolic style, noting in complete disregard to the facts that “It seems almost every season Richt’s name comes up as being on the hot seat.”
Now the Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi has taken another flying leap into absurdity. In writing about the SEC Media Days, he opened his latest blog saying, “Keep hearing and reading about how Georgia coach Mark Richt is on the imaginary hot seat.”
Such talk, Bianchi generously allows, “is a disservice to one of the classiest coaches in college football and one of the best coaches Georgia has ever had.” (It was, of course, Bianchi who raised the “hot seat” question question to Richt at the SEC media gathering.)
Naturally, he was just setting up Georgia fans for the Sentinel’s latest swipe. The problem, he says, is “Georgia fans have way too high of an opinion of their program. In fact, I believe an argument could be made that Georgia is the the most overrated program in college football history.”
His case consists mainly of calling Lindsay Scott’s touchdown catch in the 1980 game against the Gators “one of the biggest fluke plays in college football history,” and he concludes that without the national title that the Bulldogs won that year thanks to Herschel Walker and Scott, “Georgia would be closer in history and tradition to South Carolina than it is to Florida.”
Yes, we all know Florida has dominated the Dogs-Gators rivalry the past 20 years (the only period of college football history Gators fans pay any attention to) and that Florida has won a couple of BCS national titles and Georgia hasn’t.
But Bianchi’s notion that Georgia football history is pretty much limited to 1980 is so far off the mark it’s embarrassing. If he checked NCAA records, he’d find UGA is ranked as one of the Top 15 winningest college football programs of all time … and ahead of the University of Florida.
It’s one thing to try and rile up a rival state’s fandom, but at least Bianchi and the Sentinel could try and keep it based in reality.