Is just winning enough for Dogs against Idaho State?

Sanford Stadium is sold out for Saturday's game, but how many actually will show up? (University of Georgia)

Sanford Stadium is sold out for Saturday's game, but how many actually will show up? (University of Georgia)

The last 100 tickets to Saturday’s game at Sanford Stadium were sold this week, pretty much eliminating the only real suspense concerning the meeting with Idaho State. Georgia’s streak of sold-out games continues at 62.

But it’ll be interesting to see how many thousands of those sold-out seats will be empty when the Bulldogs and Bengals take the field. There’ve been pockets of seats going unused all season, and not just in the student section. On the heels of a disappointing loss to Florida that put the Dogs officially out of the SEC East race, and with a less than compelling match-up against an FCS (formerly 1-AA) jabroni opponent, the stands could look quite spotty Saturday, even with the 1980 national champions being honored at halftime.

The Bengals, of course, will get their $525,000 for being Georgia’s designated breather, and barring a complete implosion by the Dogs, Georgia will get another win to count toward becoming bowl-eligible.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity acknowledged earlier this week to The Macon Telegraph that, “I think you’re gonna have a certain percentage of fans that might not come” to Saturday’s game. But, he said, “We only have six home games this year, so it’s not like you have a glut of home games. So it more or less turns into a weekend to tailgate, to be around their friends. I think that’s so much a part of college football.”

Granted, but aside from some hurry-up Saturday morning tailgating fun compressed into a brief window by the early kickoff and the chance to enjoy a beautiful day in the prettiest college stadium in the country, what will the fans get?

Hopefully, a chance to see the Dogs do more than go through the motions against a lesser opponent, as Georgia teams have been known to do over the years. Said Mark Richt about this game, “We think about winning the rest of our games starting with Idaho State. There’s honor in that. We have fans that have paid their money for their season tickets. We’ve got people that still love the Dogs and want to see them do well.”

I’m not too worried about the Dogs getting upset by the Bengals. Richt said he’d remind his players of James Madison beating Virginia Tech and Jacksonville State toppling Mississippi this season. And everyone always remembers Applachian State over Michigan a couple of years ago. But Idaho State likely would get whipped by any of those FCS schools. They’re 1-7 and rank last in virtually every statistic kept by the minor-league Big Sky Conference. OK, they do have the nation’s leading punter, but that’s getting into Vince Dooley “best long snappah” territory. Basically, it’s virtually impossible to imagine a scenario where the Dogs lose this game.

Is just winning enough, though? As Richt noted, fans have paid their money, and they didn’t get a discount for a no-name opponent.

I’d hope that the UGA coaches challenge the Bulldogs to a lot more than just not overlook Idaho State.

Sure, this is a chance to empty the bench and let the subs get some playing time, but not until the starters have made a statement that every game counts.

Anything less than a shutout should be considered a failure on the part of Todd Grantham’s defense.

And while Richt generally is known for taking his foot off the accelerator when his teams get a comfortable lead, the general tenor of this season would seem to require a different approach this week: Go all out and see just how many points Georgia can rack up. It’s not like running up the score is going to hurt the feelings of the Bengals, who will be enjoying a rare opportunity to play in one of college football’s storied stadiums, in addition to the big payday.

No, breaking the 60-point mark against Idaho State wouldn’t make up for the Dogs’ earlier poor performances or turn this into anything other than a mediocre season at best.

But at least it would give the fans something to cheer and show that there’s still Bulldog pride Between the Hedges, no matter how the season has gone.

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192 comments Add your comment

Scott

November 5th, 2010
11:12 am

first, fire bobo

first one

November 5th, 2010
11:12 am

Scott

November 5th, 2010
11:15 am

We are a top football program, so we should pay for a top offensive mind. Get rid of/demote Bobo.

joe

November 5th, 2010
11:16 am

Seriously, this is the best you can put out there? How about the fact that this team has not won a single game against a good team this year. Not ONE game. They got beat by a Florida team with less talent, being out-coached is becoming the norm.

Scott

November 5th, 2010
11:21 am

When was the last time we actually beat a good ranked team?

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
11:23 am

Over/Under on which quarter Grantham “choke” signs the Idaho State QB?

I say 3.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
11:24 am

If Grantham tells the ISU QB to “f@&%ing choke!”, how long before Barnhart blows a gasket and demands his immediate dismissal?

3-18

November 5th, 2010
11:27 am

LSU, early 2008, just before the 310-0 halftime debacle.

Scott

November 5th, 2010
11:27 am

I’m just happy that one coach is showing some emotion and trying to win.

Dawg Man

November 5th, 2010
11:28 am

Don’t think we will see any of that JT

bugsquacher

November 5th, 2010
11:29 am

Idaho state,,,,,,,,,who cares? 5-7 season is not something worth spending time on…….

bugsquacher

November 5th, 2010
11:30 am

georgia loses to auburn and tech…… do you think a coaching change is in order? ohhhhhh!

Since Vince

November 5th, 2010
11:31 am

There will be noticeable pockets of emptiness throughout the stadium. This Season is OVA !

Dawg Man

November 5th, 2010
11:34 am

Bill,
Nice column. I like Mark RIcht and want to see him and UGA succeed but I wish the “taking his foot off the accelerator when his team gets a comfortable lead” crap wouldn’t start until 3 or 4 minutes left in the game Starters or subs in the game, doesn’t matter. I think it takes away from the controlled aggressive attitude that every football player needs. Why would you want to change the right mindset? The other guys are on scholarship too, they need to stop up from scoring. The only reason Alabama didn’t put 55 or 60 on Penn State was because of Saban’s respect for Paterno. THAT”S the only reason I see where you can take your foot of the gas, out of respect for you elders and legends.

Dawg Man

bugsquacher

November 5th, 2010
11:37 am

what happens if Idaho State wins?

Dawg Man

November 5th, 2010
11:38 am

bugs- Your comments are irrelevant. Same as, what happens when it rains?

Dawg Man

November 5th, 2010
11:38 am

Bugs- that is like saying, what happens when it rains?

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Tallahassee Tom

November 5th, 2010
11:40 am

I suspect the Dawgs will come out a little sloppy at first. Sputter along and hit a big play here and there. Next week, Sir Cam Newton and Auburn hangs 60 on the dawgs. Its gonna be a long winter for the dawgs.

Coachdawg 2000

November 5th, 2010
11:43 am

I don’t think that it matters if we win 2-0 or 200-0. A victory of any margin is hollow at best. Just get it over with and hope we can beat the bugs ofr hope that there is fire with the Cam Newton smoke.

Dawggone-it

November 5th, 2010
11:52 am

I don’t think its a lose-lose either way. You don’t rack up a lot of points, you get more fingers pointed at a lackluster team. If you do try to run up the score – so what? you just beat a no-body last-ranked team. Who cares? You want to impress me? Beat Auburn. (Yeah, I know – Its not getting THAT cold), or at least play them close. Then, beat Tech and win whatever cheese-bowl we get to – if we get to one. Then start working for next year

Greg

November 5th, 2010
11:55 am

Dogs have already won 4 games, with a Fresh QB & new defensive staff/scheme, I expected 2-10.

4-8 is an excellent year considering everything.

Dogs likely go 0-3 to finish out the season, exceeding my expectations by 2 wins.

PMC

November 5th, 2010
11:57 am

Nah, you’re going to see them go through the montions here Bill. This is nothing but a paycheck to Idaho State. Georgia should start Hutson Mason and let him get experience in this one incase they should need him at another point. Idaho State is awful. People would be better served spending this game at the tailgate and listening or watching the game from the comfort of thier own seats.

If they don’t tackle well in this game……

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UGA VIII

November 5th, 2010
11:59 am

Sorry Bill. Killing Idaho State by 60 points won’t restore any pride for me in what is an embarrassing season.

PMC

November 5th, 2010
11:59 am

Todd Grantham should give money back if Idaho State scores a point.

chiefdawg

November 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

No. the score should be 72-0.

azdawg

November 5th, 2010
12:06 pm

Bull honkey! rest the starters for next week vs AU. I’d rather see a more competitive game w/our 2d team vs their 1st string. What glory is there in running the score up 60 points. That stinks of Urban Crier and doesn’t erase the 5 losses so far this season. To add insult to injury Grantham will probably put 8 men in the box for the 1st time this season when the jerk should have done that in the games we lost. Fire him and hire Diaz from MSU.

Bright Idea

November 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

Running the score up would only give the AJC more reason to flog Richt. If he does not run it up, they will still flog him. He loses either way.

DTC

November 5th, 2010
12:27 pm

Start the first string for the first quarter and then take them out. They start, they play, they get the lead. I agree the 2nd string needs the practice, expecially Mason. 45-50 points is more than enough.

Jackson

November 5th, 2010
12:28 pm

I agree with azdawg… we really need to get second team non-seniors/non-leaving for the draft early players in there after Q1. Having said that, since we really don’t have a 2nd string QB we want to play… and only have 3 running backs we want to play… we will see Murray all game, Ealey, King, and Thomas until the third… then we will see Munz running the ball again… ugh. At this point, we need to get as many players in to start prepping for next season. Will we beat the $200,000 Cam Newton… nope, but since AU will be on probation for the next 4 years, will it really matter? Tech lost Nesbit so I would say ring up another victory against the stingless jackets this year. Besides, we need to have lots of D snaps with second teamers to work on fundamentals and game situations.

funny...

November 5th, 2010
12:33 pm

13-11 over the last 24 and Richt has the same record over the last five year span that Jim Donnan had over his last five year run.

People, it’s time. What Georgia fans and athletic donors want is what Mark Ricth can’t deliver.

Mean Machine

November 5th, 2010
12:33 pm

Who cares? It’s just another cupcake for this team to pad stats, so everybody can say, “see, we’re not that bad”. Even if this team manages to beat Auburn and GT, it won’t change the fact that they’re atrocious. Let’s just get this disastrous season over with.

NashDawg

November 5th, 2010
12:34 pm

Who Cares!!! It is Idaho State.

funny...

November 5th, 2010
12:38 pm

Bill,

You talk about the “tailgating” experience in Athens and I 100% agree with you. But this is where Georgia has to decide, do they want experience and become Ole Miss? Or does Georgia want to be a contender and become like Alabama? Mark Richt is a great coach, for Ole Miss…

MURPHY

November 5th, 2010
12:47 pm

The Dawgs scoring 60 or more points on Baked Potato State wont make me any happier about how this season has unfolded to this point. The Dawgs and Richt want to impress me? Go beat Auburn and Tech handily. Aint gonna happen but It sure would make me feel a little better.

Ed

November 5th, 2010
12:53 pm

WHO CARES? This game is a joke. There should be 92,000 empty seats. Fans get what they are willing to pay for.

“Go all out and see just how many points Georgia can rack up.”

Sure, why not. We choked yet again against Florida, so why not take it out on a hapless 1-AA team? What a gritty program UGA has become under Richt.

Greg

November 5th, 2010
12:56 pm

Saban in 2007, 1st year installing the 3-4, gt beat by La Monroe, so look out.

this is a trap game, Georgia could be caught looking ahead, like Saban did back in 2007.

Also, looking at how Saban’s defense did against La Monoroe in 2007, don’t expect miracles from Grantham in this game.

It’s year 1 in the 3-4, new coaches, new scheme, wrong body types.

expect lots of losses.

Saban went 7-6 in 2007, but 2008 & 2009 turned out pretty good.

jack bull

November 5th, 2010
12:57 pm

i, for one, can’t wait to see our best QB get into the game in the second half, and hopefully they’ll let him throw some balls around a little…..

Greg

November 5th, 2010
12:59 pm

Saban gave up 21 points, and 280 yards to La Monroe in 2007.

Saban got caught in a trap game, looking ahead to Auburn, Georgia might do the same thing.

Hopefully, Grantham can do a little better than giving up 21 and 280 yards, and 7 3rd downs.

It’s year 1 in the 3-4, don’t expect much.

Bobo is not the problem!!

November 5th, 2010
1:01 pm

Bobo is not the problem. UGA has scored more than 30 points against SEC teams 4 games in a row for the first time in History. The problem is the overpaid blowhard coaching the Defense.

Not again?

November 5th, 2010
1:02 pm

Greg is Patrick

Greg

November 5th, 2010
1:09 pm

I look for Georgia to lose the game, give up 21 points, and give up 300 yard son defense, just like Saban did in his 1st year installing the 3-4 at Alabama.

Also think Georgia will be caught looking ahead to the Auburn game, like Alabama was in 2007 when they lost to La Monroe.

It’s year 1, 3-4 defense, not going to be pretty season, Bama went 7-6 in year 1 installing 3-4.

Greg

November 5th, 2010
1:11 pm

I’m not sure expecting the score to be 70-0 serves any kind of purpose.

When you consider Georgia has lost to Colorado, has a Freshman QB who just committed 4 TO’s in 1 game, has a brand new 3-4 defensive/scheme, without they body types to run it, lucky to have 4 wins.

Greg

November 5th, 2010
1:12 pm

Bama LOST 21-14 to La Monroe in year 1 installing the 3-4 defense in 2007.

The loss was near the end of the season, before the AUburn game, Saban got busted looking haead of La Monroe to Auburn, Grantham will do the same.

That’s what you can expect.

Not again?

November 5th, 2010
1:18 pm

The 3-4 is not an excuse anymore Patrick. We are playing our 10th game Saturday and that is more than enough time to learn the freakin defense. The problem is the bozo calling the defensive signals.

Patrick

November 5th, 2010
1:20 pm

I can argue excuses for us being lousy as easily as I could in preseason for us to be National Champs again.

wildbill

November 5th, 2010
1:22 pm

Well, here we are, playing Idaho State. Hmmmmm, I don’t have a plan yet, my better half and I just might go to the ga……………………nahhhhhhhhhhh.

Coachdawg 2000

November 5th, 2010
1:23 pm

I think I must have gone back in time. Is this 1995? We need to beat joe’s horseshoe academy and the bugs to go even for the year. We’ve come along way in the last 15 years, unfortunatley it has been backwards.

EdMartin

November 5th, 2010
1:23 pm

Complain about the record, the coaches, the needless mistakes all you want – the kids still play football and, if you are any kind of Georgia fan, you support the kids.

Get over yourselves!