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.”
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!
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg