‘How are the Dogs gonna do?’

Mark Richt's seat will be slightly less warm after this season. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt's seat will be slightly less warm after this season. (Associated Press)

I’ve been getting the question all summer, seemingly everywhere I go. In the elevator at work. In restaurants. At a funeral.

“How are the Dogs gonna do? How many wins do you think they’ll have?”

So now it’s time to make that annual venture out on the limb and share with you what I’ve been telling those folks, though I first must remind you that my record as a seer is mixed.

Most years since I’ve been doing this blog I’ve been fairly conservative in my predictions, with the Dogs even bettering my forecast a couple of times. And then there’ve been a couple of seasons like last year, when I predicted a 10-2 regular season and Georgia winning the SEC East. That didn’t go so well.

Of course, I wasn’t alone. In a poll we did here last year, only 18 percent of you thought Georgia would have less than nine wins and 44 percent expected at least 10 wins.

I’m not going quite that far this year. I think Mark Richt’s team will do well enough to turn the heat down a notch under his seat and, depending on how many times South Carolina and Florida mess up, they might still be in contention for the SEC East late in the season.

But 10 wins in the regular season? Can’t quite see that.

I think Todd Grantham’s defense will be much improved this year, though I’ll feel much better the first time I see Kwame Geathers or John “Motel 6″ Jenkins stuff a big-time running back. I’m excited about the linebackers and I feel a whole lot more confident about the secondary than I did back before spring practice.

But the offense has a lot of question marks and is very thin at key positions. As my son put it, “the O-line is a scooter accident away from disaster.” The Dogs also are ridiculously shy of depth and experience at running back, and while the talent looks promising at receiver, a step down in production there sort of has to be expected with the departure of A.J. Green and Kris Durham. Plus, of course, the Dogs still have hot-and-cold Mike Bobo calling the plays.

So I’m expecting Georgia to wind up 9-3.

Here’s why: I see the Dogs splitting those tough first two games. No, I wouldn’t be shocked if they won them both or lost them both, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Then comes a stretch of five games where Georgia ought to be the favorite every week. However, the pessimist in me sees them losing one game they shouldn’t this season and it’ll probably be in Knoxville. Finally, I think Georgia likely will lose to either Florida or Auburn, but not both. Again, at this point it looks like the Dogs ought to be favored in both of those games but Jacksonville is still Jacksonville, and Auburn-Georgia is always tough.

I’ll admit I flirted with 10-2 again while reading about how his teammates all say Isaiah Crowell is the real deal. But I also gave serious consideration to 8-4 as I watched Georgia’s depth get downright precarious at several positions over the past few months.

How satisfying would a 9-3 season be? Well, a win over either Boise State or South Carolina would look awfully good. And if one of those nine victories is over the Gators, I don’t think there’d be too much reason for grumbling, even if Georgia doesn’t make it to the SEC championship.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been telling all the folks who ask me how the Dogs are going to do. Feel free to join me out on that limb with your own season predictions.

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238 comments Add your comment

Coy

August 31st, 2011
10:40 am

Not too good we still have Bozo!

txfod

August 31st, 2011
10:40 am

Coy

August 31st, 2011
10:42 am

At 9 – 3 you are still drinking the kool aid.

Take a look at last year

August 31st, 2011
10:42 am

If you look at last year, you were not off as much as you think from your 10 win season. I believe they can get 11 wins, but do they have the resolve. Are they winners? Some teams just find a way to win. Are these guys of that making?

Reality

August 31st, 2011
10:42 am

Sounds pretty reasonable…but I’m hoping for at least 10-2 and an SEC East title! Go Dawgs!

Ban the Raybans

August 31st, 2011
10:45 am

It’s common knowledge and an unquestioned fact that UGA head football coach Mark Richt has brought shame on the state of Georgia and made an embarrassing laughingstock of the state’s largest university. Even the most avid UGA fans understand this even when they won’t acknowledge it, bless their hearts. :-)

The most embarrassing thing is the win-at-any-price mentality of Richt, which has effectively made UGA a football factory, with cheating, recruiting of low-intelligence jerks who barely graduated from high school, and tolerating immoral and unethical activities by both players and coaches. Even with all this, he still can’t win.

Richt is a product of the lawless environments of the University of Miami and Florida State University, where he learned well how to conduct himself in the most tawdry way, while pretending to the world to be a saint. Make no mistake – Richt is in coaching purely for the millions of dollars that have been wasted on him, and the millions more he will add until someone in Athens has the integrity and intestinal fortitude to run him out of town.

A truly shameful situation, especially since all Georgians, including UGA alumni and fans, have to live under this shadow of infamy.

Say What?/

August 31st, 2011
10:51 am

“Ban the Raybans” – another Auburn alum ?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 31st, 2011
10:52 am

Ban the Raybans is certainly not a UGA guy.

Coy

August 31st, 2011
10:53 am

Dawg nation better stock up on the Tums or Rolaids. Its gonna be another looooooooong season.

Ohio Dawg

August 31st, 2011
10:54 am

Just beat Florida and make it to Atlanta. I think we’ll all be happy.

JaxDawg05

August 31st, 2011
10:56 am

Raybans, go hang out with SSIgator and Beast from the east over on the Pat Dooley blog at the Gainesville Sun website. Shame, shame WE know your name…..troll.

DawginLex

August 31st, 2011
10:57 am

Where is my post?

I am not typing that again.

John

August 31st, 2011
10:59 am

Bobo had a 1st round NFL QB (Stafford) , RB (Knowshon) and 2 WR’s (MoMass, Green) and couldn’t win the SEC East with that talent. How do you think he does with lesser talent? Better?

just a fan

August 31st, 2011
10:59 am

We can’t keep losing to floduh, we need to start beating them on a yearly basis not just once every 5 years.

just a fan

August 31st, 2011
11:00 am

sogadog

August 31st, 2011
11:00 am

Most likely 9-3 with losses to South Carolina, (talented QB, receiver and RB and well coached) Tenn. (the Dawgs tend to choke in Knoxville), and Florida (a lot of talent has been stockpiled in Gainesville and the Dawgs always choke in Jacksonville). However, if the Dawgs get past Boise and USC all bets are off and the SEC East will be well within reach.

Jasper Fraaaanks

August 31st, 2011
11:01 am

They’ll do well as long as they keep it REAL.

Pago Pago Dawg

August 31st, 2011
11:01 am

So we have to depend on SC and UF “messing” up in order to win the East!! Sad….

schmeckdawg

August 31st, 2011
11:03 am

@ Ban the Raybans

All that I can say, is that you are a complete and udder freaking moron!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 31st, 2011
11:05 am

John,

Using that as a basis, Saban lost four 1st rd picks, finished 4th in the SEC West. How could anyone think they could be a top five calibur team. The retort? Well they have Saban, they have won a MNC. Well Richt has came pretty dang close. Its not as if he has forgotten how to be a head coach. Ready to finally get this team on the field and give them a chance to shut a bunch of you losers up.

Bigdsel5556

August 31st, 2011
11:06 am

Ban the raybans sounds like an idiot. I bet u think the two previous coaches were better. He brought UGA back to glory. He can bring us back. I want the dawgs to win them all. If they dont, atleast beat florida.

hipdawg

August 31st, 2011
11:07 am

Thin on the O’line is the downfall of CMR.You need the big uglies………12-0. Nat’ Champs.lol.

Old Old Dawg

August 31st, 2011
11:07 am

To contend for a chanpionship, any team must good talent that fit the system, reasonable depth, and a favorable schedule. I think you must acknowledge that our current talent is average for what we do, depth is non-existent, but the schedule is favorable, especially if we can win at least one of the first two. So, with only one of the three requirements in place, a 10-2 season is possible but more likely a dream. I do believe the quality will be improved, but we still have a way to go to be a contender. I love my Dawgs, and I think CMR will get us there, but this is not the year. I expect 8-4 with losses to Boise, SC, Tenn, and FL.

Cloonan

August 31st, 2011
11:08 am

The photo of Richt above shows that he will look up at the jumbotrons and run his fingers through his hair while looking clueless. Its heartbreaking that this is his last year. Buh Bye coach.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 31st, 2011
11:11 am

Note not a single damn blogger can judge this current level of talent in Athens. To call it average is pure speculation as we have new RB’s,WR. LB,NG and other various positions. So how has anyone seen enough to justify it as average? Now give it five games and we sit at 3-2 or 2-3 then you have a point perhaps, but damn give the guys a shot at earning some bones before you prejudge them.

JAWJeRDAWG

August 31st, 2011
11:12 am

Bill, you ask, ““How are the Dogs gonna do? How many wins do you think they’ll have?”

Nobody knows that now, but one thing I’m sure IS certain, we’ll have a better idea about that after the first two games.

And one thing’s for certain, this 2011 team is certainly more focused, more knowlegeable about their position responsibilities, and IS NOT the same team that UGA suited up the past two years.

If Boise State and South Carolina take this time lightly, they will be disappointed when the clock reads 0:00 at the end of the 4th quarter. .. Go Dawgs!

Still@theBAR

August 31st, 2011
11:13 am

UGA goes 4-4 in the SEC.

Athens= God's Country

August 31st, 2011
11:13 am

I have them losing to Florida (it’s painful to say, but they own us) and Alabama. 12-2 for the season

Old Old Dawg

August 31st, 2011
11:13 am

My buddy now says that I am nuts to think we can’t beat Boise. When was our last victory over a ranked team, especially one with an excellent, established quaterback?

astrouga

August 31st, 2011
11:21 am

Bill:

Finally someone gets it right. Excellent job of summing up how most of us probably feel. We could win them all or lose 4, but likely will go 10-2 or 9-3.

CHDawg

August 31st, 2011
11:21 am

OK, I’ll go out on a limb and say we take the NC this year. I am an optimist, but here is what I like. First, don’t let polls and pundits get you down, AU was about the same spot in last year’s preseason poll that we are! Means nothing. The D is better by everyone’s estimation. The players seem much more optimistic than anybody else, but the coaches definitely are more upbeat, too. I say we show marked improvement. Our line should be much better, which would have helped last year’s D, but I think our LBs are better as a whole, too, as well as our secondary. I think we are at least better, and maybe superb; time will tell. Our O should be much better this year. I believe we will have a good running game again. We really haven’t scared opponents with our running game in quite some time. I love TK’s perfect name for Samuel and Crowell–thunder and lightning! Not only that, but Malcome is a great back if he can get healthy. Thomas and Harton are a great change of pace and hard to track down. Thomas was our top producer at times–remember Ark? We are much better at TB, and CMR has confirmed that–we do have hold on to the ball!! I also think CMB has grown a lot as a play caller in the last couple of years. Murray will be much better, and I think our receivers/TEs will be great. Special teams are very, very strong. Boykin and Smith, I think, may well go down as our best returning tandem ever! Finally, the attitude is much better; we have way less distractions and problems. Potential problems with my thesis: if the Oline can’t block or we have injuries there. We do have some youth that I think will be very strong, but we will have to see. Any huge injuries or distractions could cause problems. We are a young team, so it is important to get out on the right foot. Lord willing, I think this is a team of destiny, but heads up–I am an optimist. Go Dawgs

Columbus Dawg

August 31st, 2011
11:33 am

Bill, get ready for some new bumper stickers! I know that you have to remember all of the stickers that emerged in 1980 after it had become obvious that UGA was not going down, no matter what. Besides all of the Super Dawg stickers about Hershel, there was one that read: Hershel by land, Rex by toe, Buck by air will surely get us there! We can replace these names with Isaiah, Blair, and Aaron this year. I don’t mind going out on a limb because I truly believe that the Dawgs have a real chance this year. Can anyone doubt that UGA does not at least have as much chance at it all as Auburn did last year? I have news for you, the years leading up to last year for the weagles sucked just as bad if not worse than Georgia’s last few years. I am aware of the fact that most of these people who either were not born, or were too young to remember the early 80’s just do not really get what UGA football is all about, and the Stafford years are the best they have ever seen from UGA. Here is what is different with UGA team now. Stafford, A.J. Green, Knowshon Moreno, Justin Houston. These were me,me,me players. Aaron Murray and his supporting cast have formed a TEAM attitude that UGA has not seen in years, maybe even since Ray Goff was coach. Now I know that Goff had plenty of shortcomings, but he had at his disposal a heck of a lot of “Damn Good Dawgs”, who wanted nothing but the best for Georgia, even if they came up short on their goals. Now that being said, Richt did have that same player sentiment when he came to Georgia in players such as David Greene, David Pollack, Boss Bailey, and many more. This translated into being the best team in college football in 2002, and would have beaten Miami or Ohio State if they had been given the chance that year. I do not know if the Dawgs can make all the way without a single loss this year, but 11-1 is sure not out of the question. Now with the media being down on the Dawgs as they are, even if UGA were to win the SEC Championship, a loss may well keep them out of the BCS Championship, but who knows. Maybe we get the right bounce and get all twelve wins regular season, along with some new bumper stickers!

bdawg

August 31st, 2011
11:36 am

I really think 10-2 is reasonable with this schedule. I think we lose to bama in the SEC championship. Then the bowl game is a toss up…so either 11-3 or 10-4

Vance Duly

August 31st, 2011
11:39 am

You make a key point — Coach Bobo calling the plays. UNLESS he has grown during the off-season, and studied his own tendencies, we will probably lose at least 1-2 winnable games due to Bobo’s predictability and inconsistency. Due to lack of O-line depth and having to rely on so many new playmakers, we may have a lot of very close games. If our playcalling is inspired and clever, it will improve our chances. But, those 2 adjectives can NOT be used to describe our playcalling and in-game adjustments over the past few years with Bobo calling the plays.

Our best hope is that the defense improves so dramatically, especially in the 4th quarter, that it will cover up Bobo’s choices of plays in key situations. It’s not always just about “execution”, if the play being called is an idiotic one, given the situation in the game. GO DAWGS!!!!

Reality

August 31st, 2011
11:40 am

Lets face reality, with the level of talent this team could really have a legitimate shot at running the table and winning the SEC. HOWEVER, as everyone knows, this team has not played a complete game as a complete unit in a long time. When is the last time that the offense, defense, and special teams had a great day on the same day? It seems as of late that when the offense has a good game, the defense is sleeping, or the defense will have a good day while the offense forgets to show up (Look at (UCF). To me, that is the fault of the head coach. It is his job to ensure that the rest of the coaches have the players ready to play both mentally and physically. It is also his duty to address the issue of Bobo’s play calling being so predictable.

On a brighter note, The one thing that the program has not had in the last 2 years is a returning starting quarterback. They had Joe Cox trying to replace Stafford and then last year a redshirt freshman in Murray. This year they have a returning QB and when you look at CMR’s record when his Starting QB returns, it is 13-1 (2002), 11-3 (2003), 10-2 (2004), 10-3 (2005), 11-2 (2007), 10-3 (2008). But look at the other 4, 8-4 (2001 David Greene a Freshman starting QB), 9-4 in 2006 Matthew Staffords freshman year, 2009 Joe Cox senior but first year starting, and last year 6-7 starting a redshirt freshman. This trend does give me a positive outlook on this season.

Go Dawgs!

DawginLex

August 31st, 2011
11:44 am

I laugh at the idiots that keep harping about 6-7 and no chance to turn things around.

1996 5-6
1997 10-2 and beat Visor Boy

And Bobo was the QB!!!

It can happen

Mad Dog 1

August 31st, 2011
11:45 am

Preach on Lowcountry and I will clap my hands and shout AMEN. I am so tired of hearing so called DOG fans put down our team like they were some expert from the ajc. We may not win 10 games this year buy from what I read there will be no quitting this year. All you will hear from me is GATA when it’s all said and done at least I can say I AM A DAMN GOOD DOG(FAN)

Frosty Dawg

August 31st, 2011
11:46 am

Bill, my own red and black crystal ball this year is murkier than it’s ever been. I just have no good idea. That said, based on available evidence, 8-4 is my best wild guess. I agree with everything you said re: where those losses will come, except that I think we can write off UF and we’ll lose 2 games we shouldn’t (not 1), probably some combination of Miss St, UT, AU and UK, at least one of which will drill us bad. The little guy in the back of my head says “listennn to meeee, we’re gonna beat BSU and UF, listennnn to meeee” and my Momma always said to listen to that fella; but while he might be right re: BSU, there’s no statistical reason to believe we’ll beat UF regardless of who the coaches or players are. If we do finish 9-3 and beat BSU and UF, I’ll be duly chastened for forgetting Mom’s wisdom! Oh, and SC upsets Bama in the Dome, then lays an egg in a bowl while 2 non-SEC teams play for the MNC. And I reserve the right to give an utterly different response to the next person who asks!

solja

August 31st, 2011
11:47 am

I think this is only the 80th blog from this guy this offseason about “how’s THuga gonna do this season”. Talk about a lack of ability! I high schooler can come up with these same topics every single time and do a better job of preseting them. Typical georgia alum. No talent hack somehow makes it onto the pages of the THuga owned AJC.

Atlanta Gator

August 31st, 2011
11:49 am

How UGA does this season will depend in large measure on whether Spurrier can continue to make progress in improving his South Carolina team and on how quickly Will Muschamp and Charlie Weis can rebuild Florida. Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt will be non-factors in the Eastern Division race, except to the extent one of them manages to upset Florida, Georgia or South Carolina.

This is the year for one of the three contenders to step up—-if they can. It’s just as conceivable that there could be a 3-way divisional tie with a 6-2 or 5-3 SEC record. It’s going to be an interesting season, and a real test of Muschamp, Richt and Spurrier’s coaching skills. Given the recruiting disparity, however, I would still say the future beyond 2011 is Florida’s.

Atlanta Gator

August 31st, 2011
11:51 am

BTW, who is knucklehead at the AJC who has programmed the blog software to block posts with the word “Gamec*cks” in it? I’m pretty sure an exception can be created for the other word that you’re trying to block.

ca dawg

August 31st, 2011
11:55 am

i said 9-3 as well, but i’d believe 10-2 or 8-4. much depends on things we just can’t know right now (staying healthy, how fresman develop, etc…). all i know is i can’t wait to kick it off and GATA against the broncs.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 31st, 2011
11:55 am

Solja,

Then its the 80th time you logged on to read a UGA blog. Hmmm… So what does that tell you about yourself. Go get a life and stop trolling UGA blogs if you do not like the content. Dont let the door hit ya where the god lord split ya!

how2fish

August 31st, 2011
11:57 am

Bill good article…I have no clue about the win lose record. I am fairly certain we will field a better more focused team this year than last years. But I have to see them in the first couple of games to see how they work together especially the OL . I do also think this there are no teams on the schedule that we can’t beat if we play with fire and intelligence, limit turnovers and penalties. First up is Boise and it will be a real battle..I can’t wait! Go Dogs!

CHDawg

August 31st, 2011
12:01 pm

Solja wrote, “I high schooler…” Well, I don’t know what high school you are writing that trash talking tirade from, but I suggest you get back in English class, son. You can get back to us after some studying. Oh, and stop in and see mom for a refresher course on manners!

ugaclassof2004

August 31st, 2011
12:05 pm

Our program right now is a question mark. That could be a good or a bad thing. The last couple of years its been bad. But this year who knows?The 2010 team was better than the 2009 team in every way except the final record. Losing AJ Green for those key match-ups vs. South Carolina, Arkansas, and MSU took the wind out of our sails. Mathematically, the team knew they were out of contention for any title race, so their confidence was shot and they lost another game to a horrible Colorado team. But once AJ was in the lineup and the offense was able to gel, they put on a string of pretty dominant football. Yeah Yeah… they didn’t beat anyone with a winning record, but they took Florida into overtime and the Auburn game was a lot closer than the final score indicated.This makes me think we would have won at least one of those games SEC games we lost earlier in the season had we had AJ the entire time.

Now as an alum, do I like the fact that this program is a question mark for the 3rd year in a row? No.
Do I like the fact that we’re the kind of program that tanks it if ONE key player is out of the lineup?No.
Do I think we’re even remotely close to where Alabama is as a program or even where WE were as a program 6 years ago? No.

However: do I think the Dawgs can win 9 to 10 games with a shot at the SEC title this year? Given our schedule, and the fact that other programs in the SEC EAST are also down; YES. But 7-5 or 6-6 is also a possibility given our inexperience… and if that happens then Richt will be gone and we’ll find someone else who can win with the talent we have. So we’ll see I suppose…

Pink Goalpost

August 31st, 2011
12:05 pm

Auburn was 3-5 in the SEC the year before they went undefeated…the best thing about the college football gamedays is that ANYTHING can happen…Go Dawgs.

'94 UGA Grad

August 31st, 2011
12:06 pm

9-3 is what I’m predicting as well.

ugaclassof2004

August 31st, 2011
12:06 pm

Our program right now is a question mark. That could be a good or a bad thing. The last couple of years its been bad. But this year who knows?The 2010 team was better than the 2009 team in every way except the final record. Losing AJ Green for those key match-ups vs. South Carolina, Arkansas, and MSU took the wind out of our sails. Mathematically, the team knew they were out of contention for any title race, so their confidence was shot and they lost another game to a horrible Colorado team. But once AJ was in the lineup and the offense was able to gel, they put on a string of pretty dominant football. Yeah Yeah… they didn’t beat anyone with a winning record, but they took Florida into overtime and the Auburn game was a lot closer than the final score indicated.This makes me think we would have won at least one of those three SEC games we lost earlier in the season had we had AJ the entire time.

Now as an alum, do I like the fact that this program is a question mark for the 3rd year in a row? No.
Do I like the fact that we’re the kind of program that tanks it if ONE key player is out of the lineup?No.
Do I think we’re even remotely close to where Alabama is as a program or even where WE were as a program 6 years ago? No.

However: do I think the Dawgs can win 9 to 10 games with a shot at the SEC title this year? Given our schedule, and the fact that other programs in the SEC EAST are also down; YES. But 7-5 or 6-6 is also a possibility given our inexperience… and if that happens then Richt will be gone and we’ll find someone else who can win with the talent we have. So we’ll see I suppose…

OldFan

August 31st, 2011
12:14 pm

We’ll lose the first two,not because they’re more talented, but because they’re more mature, deeper, and better prepared. Lose to UT, because we fold in Knoxville. Lose to UF, because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Lose to either MS or AU, because bad things happen to good people. 7-5. Hey, we’re a winning team again. At least we’ve got that going for us.