Which season has been the high point of the Mark Richt era?

There’s no question the national championship season of 1980 was Vince Dooley’s best, and the relatively slim pickings from among the Ray Goff and Jim Donnan years make picking their best seasons pretty easy, too: 1992 for Goff, when the Dogs finished 10-2 and beat Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl, and 1997 for Donnan, also with a 10-2 record that included beating Florida and a win over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

But looking back over the past 10 years of Mark Richt at UGA, the choice of best season isn’t quite so clear-cut. The 2002 and 2005 teams won the SEC while the 2007 Dogs wound up the season ranked No. 2 in the country and with so much momentum that next year’s team was the preseason No. 1.

Dayne Young of HolyTurf.com tackled the question recently in his overview of the past decade. He noted that the most impressive season of nonconference play for Georgia under Richt was probably 2007, when the Dogs beat Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech and a highly touted Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl, while Richt’s best season in the SEC was 2002, with the only loss being to the Gators.

As for the overall best season, Young writes: “This was a tough decision because Georgia ended the year as one of the top teams in both 2002 and 2007. The team in 2007 was probably the better team and more feared by opponents. But the team in 2002 lost one less game, so they get the nod here. That was only Coach Richt’s second season at Georgia. But, they ended up pummeling Arkansas in the SEC Championship by a score of 30-3. The miraculous moment of that season was at Auburn when David Greene completed a corner endzone touchdown pass that gave the Dawgs the victory. The only blemish of the season was a loss against Florida. Georgia ended the season with a 26-13 defeat of Bobby Bowden and Florida State. The Dawgs ended the year ranked number three in the nation.”

Which has been Mark Richt's best season at UGA to date?

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I agree that the 2007 Dawgs, with Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, Mohamed Massaquoi and Marcus Howard, probably were the better team on paper (though I’d give the edge to the 2002 defense), and the 2007 team certainly finished the season on red-hot tear, including the dancing-in-the-end-zone win over Florida and absolutely demolishing media-darling Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. That snared the 11-2 Dogs the No. 2 ranking in the final AP poll of the season. But they did lose to both South Carolina and Tennessee.

The 2002 Bulldogs had a pretty awesome lineup, too, with Greenie, Musa Smith, Jon Stinchcomb, Terrence Edwards, David Pollack, Boss Bailey and Sean Jones. And more importantly they went 13-1, with the inexplicable lone loss coming to a less talented Florida team in Jacksonville. That year’s team pounded Arkansas in the SEC championship and cruised to a Sugar Bowl win over FSU, finishing No. 3 in the final BCS standings.

So 2002 gets my vote as Richt’s best season to date. How about you? Feel free to share your views in the comments, vote in the poll or do both.

A LOYAL BULLDOG

I like this a lot: Asked in a teleconference interview about his shout-out to the Bulldog Nation after his “Dancing With the Stars” win, Hines Ward said he wanted to thank Georgia “because that’s where I started from and I still live in Atlanta. Georgia will always be home for me. I love the fine people in Athens and Bulldog Nation. People always come up to me and tell me they went to Georgia — it’s a family to me. The first thing people tell me when I’m signing autographs is ‘Go Dogs!’ I went to school there and I understand the connection with the Bulldogs and the football team. I’m grateful for my time there, and for the fans who have supported me my whole career and are still staying with me and voted for me on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’”

Go Dogs, indeed!

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

168 comments Add your comment

jdub

May 28th, 2011
10:53 am

87th!! Good read.

RabidDawgFan

May 28th, 2011
10:57 am

RabidDawgFan

May 28th, 2011
10:57 am

Not really. But who cares?

RabidDawgFan

May 28th, 2011
11:00 am

Anyway, 2002 was the best season. Anytime you win the SEC title and your BCS bowl game that has to be your best season. I agree that in 2007 we had a very good team, I think we were even good enough that if we had been given the nod to play in the national title game, we would have won. We were on a streak and it seemed like nobody could stop us. Hawaii just wasn’t competition in that game even though they were hyped up to be the next great dynasty (sound like another WAC team?) After we demolished Hawaii, nobody’s ever heard from them again.

With that being said, 2002 was the best season under Richt SO FAR. Hopefully we can say that about the 2011 season. With experience in the defense starting year 2, a new strength and conditioning staff, a new attitude, a new hunger, a great recruiting class, and good pieces in place, with a favorable schedule, we should make a run. Go Dawgs!

Buckeye

May 28th, 2011
11:04 am

Duh………….

Last year. 6-7. Loser to Conf USA in the Liberty Bowl!

Buckeye

May 28th, 2011
11:04 am

The vote question says all you need to no…………

2007: No SEC Championship but # 2 in the country!

With a freakin exclaimation point no less!!!!

go dogs. woof woof.

Lindsey

May 28th, 2011
11:10 am

2007 was defiantly my favorite year that CMR coached!! From the overtime catch in Alabama, the end-zone dance in Jacksonville and the chill bumps I got when the Dawgs ran out in all black against Auburn it remains my favorite. I feel like we got to see another side to CMR, he is always a class act. I was so happy to see Hines get the mirror ball trophy, he is one of my favorite Dawgs and I loved it when he gave a shout out to the Bulldog Nation (I hope Gator Emmitt Smith heard it to in the crowd!!). Looking forward to the 2011 season, GO DAWGS!!!

ugaclassof2004

May 28th, 2011
11:17 am

Good question Bill,

I think 2002 was UGA’s best season under Richt. 13-1, SEC title, good talent.

However with that being said, if you ask me which of Mark Richt’s teams had the championship swagger to win a National Title, I’m going with the 2007 team. The way they played from the Florida game on was just RAW! The way they dominated Florida and Auburn….Good GOD! I think that team would have beaten LSU in the SEC Title game. I think they would have beaten USC in the Rose Bowl. And I think they would have throttled THE Ohio State for the National Title game.

2002 had some swagger too when they blew out Tech and Arkansas late in the year, but those teams were pretty mediocre. Plus I not sure if the 2002 team could have beaten that Miami team with Ken Dorsey, Willis McGahee etc. That was a VERY talented team. They might could have beaten Ohio State, but I think Miami would have still beaten us, even though I will give us enough credit to say it would be a close game. Whereas in 2007 we were the best team in the country by the end of the season and would have beaten anyone for the title.

Buckeye

May 28th, 2011
11:23 am

uga class of 2004,

In other words regarding 2007, shoulda, woulda, coulda??

Isn’t that what you’re really saying??

ugaclassof2004

May 28th, 2011
11:27 am

Buckeye,

Talk to me when you play in a big boy schedule instead of that JV conference you play in now. K, thanks.

Joey

May 28th, 2011
11:30 am

Bill, you are blocking my posts?

Joey

May 28th, 2011
11:33 am

Buckeye, you must be so proud of your lying and cheating coach and program.

1eyedJack

May 28th, 2011
11:39 am

“So 2002 gets my vote as Richt’s best season to date.”

Agreed Bill, 2002 was “Richt’s” best season, but I’ll take the swaggering, take no prisoners attitude of that 2007 team. And the talent. USC was quaking in their cleats with the prospect of having to play those Dawgs. Wussies.

“inexplicable …loss coming to a less talented Florida team in Jacksonville.” That phrase just haunts doesn’t it? I hate that. Well, we’ll get ‘em this year, you betcha.

AltamahaDawg

May 28th, 2011
11:42 am

“With all due respect sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”

Delbert D.

May 28th, 2011
11:42 am

2002 was the high point. Had they played someone other than Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl after the 2007 season, some argument would be more credible; but still 2 losses that year.

JDawg1785

May 28th, 2011
11:43 am

It’s a tough call. The Dawgs won the SEC in 2002 but still lost to the lizards in Jacksonville. They beat Florida in 2007 but didn’t play for the conference title due to two REALLY stupid losses earlier on. If we’re evaluating them in terms of accomplishment, you have to give the nod to 2002. If we’re evaluating them on how entertaining they were to watch, you have to go with 2007.

aarh

May 28th, 2011
11:45 am

Buckeye- Learn how to spell. No means no…as in yes & no.

Delbert D.

May 28th, 2011
11:56 am

Also, the 2007 team had 2 losses in the division, S.C and UT. They were division co-champs, but could they have beaten LSU in the CCG?

1eyedJack

May 28th, 2011
12:01 pm

Delbert, I’m thinking that team would not be denied.

Dr Stu Green ...

May 28th, 2011
12:05 pm

13-1 in 2002 was a GREAT example of what A LOT of luck can do for a team. Clemson, SC, Bama & Auburn should’ve ALL been losses!

Clemson OFFSIDES on a kickoff, and on the rekick GA returns it for a TD. GA wins by 3.
SC fumbles TWICE inside the 5 yd line, coupled with Pollack’s “LUCKY Look-what-I-found in my Lap” play – GA wins 12-7.
Bama picks up fumble at 30 yd line, rumbles 69 yds to GA’s 1 yd line with it … play called dead b/c GA false start – GA scores TD a few. Don’t forget a couple of other killer penalties against Bama either. GA wins by 2.
Auburn’s kicking GA’s butt, the Tubberville goes into “prevent win / ultra conservative mode” in the 4th qrt. GA scores TD on 4th & goal from the 20 yd line???? and wins by 3.

And don’t get me started on the lucky Sugar Bowl win over an FSU team that had its #1 & #2 QBs suspended for the game!!

2007 … yeah right. Good season for sure, but SoCal would’ve kicked the living shee’at outta GA!! Go ahead, and say what you want Dog fans, but SoCal, and their cheating ways, would’ve done to GA what they did to OU.

Get over it!

Ca dawg

May 28th, 2011
12:12 pm

The 2002 team broke a 20 year sec title drought. It’s forgotten now how big a deal that was for us. I can still remember running all over the house yelling after Michael Johnson’s catch against auburn. But I’ve never seen a Georgia team as dominant as the 2007 bunch (Florida game forward), and the Florida and auburn games produced some very memorable moments. Marcus Howard slamming tebow, knowshons goalline stretch against Florida and that cut he made against auburn, Gary Samuelson and lundquist dancing in the booth to soulja boy, massaquoi’s 85 yard td catch, the blackout…

Man, this was a good column.

Still@theBAR

May 28th, 2011
12:24 pm

Is this really a question?
2002
Not his players.
BVG leading the D
He was calling the plays.
Never been better and will never be this good again.

kb

May 28th, 2011
12:32 pm

Buckeye, come trash talk on an SEC board when you can actually compete with players and coaches that don’ t cheat, NCAA is going to be very harsh with The Cheat and the head coach covers it up University.

DAWGS forever

May 28th, 2011
12:34 pm

My favorite is the “02″ because it was a return to the glory days. The only trouble is we need another return…..

The 02 Team was a sleeper than just caught fire. Down the stretch you could see each week how they got better. Once they beat Auburn, who lost their fullback in the first half who was caving in our D line. We steam rolled tech and arkansas and to finish with FSU from who Richt came…. story book.

How about a dream season from the dream team? Go DAWGS!

Still@theBAR

May 28th, 2011
12:35 pm

kb
trash talking on an SEC board is the best place to do it. All SEC do some cheating. The phrase came from the GOD of SEC coaches, “If you ain’t Cheat’n You ain’t Try’n” The Bear.

DAWGS forever

May 28th, 2011
12:36 pm

I have to admit the “07″ team caught fire in the same kind of manner. Tough, tough choice. Let’s just hope 2011 has the same kind of ring to it! Go DAWGS!

Bremen Dawg

May 28th, 2011
12:40 pm

2002 is the best for me.

Hey Suckeye

May 28th, 2011
12:40 pm

How about any season where they ended up beating up on a pathetic Big 10 team?

Oh wait, there’s way too many of those to choose from.

Still@theBAR

May 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

Look at the Character of the 2002 TEAM compared to just the Characters of the 2007 group.
That also says it all.
2002 were Dawgs Players
2007 were Me Me Me players.
Totally different type of Character Richt was Given compared to the type of Characters Richt recruited.

kb

May 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

Still, that isn’t a Bryant quote, that quote came from old Southwest conference boosters.Aj had to sit 4 games last year, and if Tressell would’ve been honest his players would have been ineligible and Ohio State would have lost most of the games they will eventually have to vacate.

Indian Dawg

May 28th, 2011
12:56 pm

2007…my freshman year at Georgia. Enough said.

no dog

May 28th, 2011
12:56 pm

2008

First year rickt did not play old chan

Brandon

May 28th, 2011
1:00 pm

2002 was probably the high point because of the record, championship, and BCS win. Plus it put us back on the national stage. But most memorable would have to be the 2007 season…they sure were fun to watch

Terry

May 28th, 2011
1:15 pm

Dr Stu Green …, Every team has bad calls, Comparisons are odious.

Still@theBAR, Now your just ‘clutching at straws’.

funny...

May 28th, 2011
1:27 pm

That 2002 team beats the 2002 Florida team 9 out of 10 and no one else in the country could stop that team.

Georgia would have crushed Ohio State or Miami that year.

funny...

May 28th, 2011
1:29 pm

That 2002 team also shows that Richt will always be the “almost” guy.

bdawg

May 28th, 2011
1:45 pm

02 hands down the best season. Tennessee beat the crap out of us in 07

Alabama Jack

May 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

His about to be last one

Still@theBAR

May 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

How Bout the Season the GRANDMA Bandit had? Turns out the Georgia Dawg Fan Grandma Bandit is really Grandpa. Got to love the UGA fans.

BOSS GATOR

May 28th, 2011
2:05 pm

YO RED PANTIES…….Season for ” What ya got Loren”…..”.Well, Larry…..Beautiful day here in Jacksonville……Silver Bonnets….Black sweaters…..Red panties….Doesn’t get any better than this…..Until the kick-off…Then……..I’m Leaving….Again….At halftime Darn those Red Panties”….Back to you, Larry”……October 29, 2011……We’;re waiting…….Your BOSS…..

Effie's of Athens Boarding House

May 28th, 2011
2:13 pm

. . . . . . . . gotta beat Boise State . . . . . . . .

2002 team was better

May 28th, 2011
2:25 pm

UGA lost to Fulmer and the Vols 35-14 in 2007
and Zook and the Gators 20-13 in 2002.

fpice

May 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

The season that will be the high point is yet to come. For me it will be the season this poor excuse of a coach is finally fired. How do you lose SEVEN games in one season at UGA?

Dream on!!

May 28th, 2011
2:33 pm

“And more importantly they went 13-1, with the inexplicable lone loss coming to a less talented Florida team in Jacksonville”

Keep telling yourself you were better if it makes you sleep better at night. UGA could not convert a single first down (0-13) against that Mighty Gator Defense. UF was a better team that day…….7 points better!!!!

Dream on!!

May 28th, 2011
2:37 pm

“That 2002 team beats the 2002 Florida team 9 out of 10 and no one else in the country could stop that team.”

Too bad you only get one shot and the BETTER TEAM won that day 20-13. You can’t win when you can’t keep the ball. 0-13 on 3rd downs. You guys sure you want Richt calling the plays again?

Pr1sonMike

May 28th, 2011
2:38 pm

2002 was the best team all around, but 2003 was probably Richt’s best coaching job… brand new offensive line, depleted tailback corps, several suspensions/injuries at the beginning of the season and we were still able to win 11 games.

Ben

May 28th, 2011
2:40 pm

Got to be 2002. 2007 is marred by the beat down against UT. We tacked on a late FG to make it not look as bad as it was. What defined those early teams was VanGorders defenses. We NEVER got blown out. Since 2007 we have had way to many inexplicable lopsided losses.

Ben

May 28th, 2011
2:42 pm

Sorry, should’ve said tacked on a late TD.

DIT

May 28th, 2011
2:46 pm

Have to go with 2002!

MrGFR

May 28th, 2011
2:49 pm

Senator Blutasky and the Kool-Aid Drinkers over at the website,”Get the Apology” are still right here in my lap!