Fan talk: Is Ole Miss really the ‘must win’ game?

Does Mark Richt face a must-not-lose game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Does Mark Richt face a must-not-lose game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

It’s not been a good week for news out of Athens. First Rutherford Hall, then R.E.M. and the Georgia offensive line. But, as the old Southern saying goes, Thank God for Mississippi. Or perhaps not, as we’ll discuss when we check some Junkyard Mail. …

Stan the Dawg writes: I think the sports columnists had it all wrong (so what else is new?). They labeled South Carolina a “must win” for Mark Richt, but that never made any sense. Even for a coach on the hot seat, there’s no dishonor in losing to a talented, highly-ranked team. But Ole Miss is another matter. The Rebs are a truly bad team and got routed by Vandy! I think the Dawgs win easily Saturday, but what if they don’t? Is there any way Richt could survive a loss to Ole Miss?

You make a good point. This game could potentially be a lot more damaging to Richt’s job security than the South Carolina game. But it wouldn’t necessarily be an official jumping of the shark for him. If Georgia lost to the Rebels but then won out, that would mean this team had victories over Florida, Auburn and Tech, the big three of UGA rivals. Of course, it’s difficult to imagine a team that lost to Ole Miss beating all those teams. And a loss Saturday certainly would have the Bulldog Nation howling. It’s more of a must-not-lose game than a must-win game.

Jax Dawg writes: No Dawg fan will disagree that Aaron Murray is a HUGE talent at the QB position, but is he progressing as a player in his 3rd year in the system? He is still young and only a RS-Sophomore so there plenty of room for growth, but shouldn’t ball security be a higher priority for a QB in the SEC?

And Raymon is thinking along the same lines when he writes: Just wondering when will people start to question is Murray part of the problem with UGA football? Because who has Murray beat since starting at QB last year? Nobody! He is the reason we lost the 2010 Florida game, IMO. Because he could not throw and hit the side of a barn in the 1st half when our defense was playing their tail off. So if he wouldn’t have overshot the WR then we could have jumped on Florida and then we all know he threw the INT also, and again sometimes against S.C. he looked stupid. Again, the defense played good enough to win and again we could have really jumped on them however … Murray threw an INT and fumbled the ball at big parts of the game. … So I’m one that believes Mark’s time might be up but, hey, Murray hasn’t helped the man either! GO DAWGS!!!

There’s no question Aaron Murray’s sophomore season hasn’t exactly gotten off to a sizzling start, but aside from the two lapses against the Gamecocks I think he’s generally been pretty good. And I think the lapses on the offensive line have had a lot to do with the games in which he’s struggled, both last season and this year. I’m not ready to write him off by a long shot.

An anonymous Redcoat writes: I would like to start off by saying that I am a UGA Redcoat, and personally I am not fond of a lot of the new aspects of our performance this year. I was wondering what someone from the crowd thinks of it? I’ve heard reports that we cannot be heard as well from our new seats (and especially not with an opposing band sitting two sections away), and the “Georgia Bulldogs” cheer that we lead during pregame never seems to go well. What are your thoughts?

And we also hear from another Redcoat, Josh Osif, who writes: I understand that change isn’t the most comfortable feeling at such a “tradition rich” college. That being said, I and my colleagues of the 107th Redcoat Band do not appreciate the comments made last week by the Junkyard Blawg. We work very hard to put together a show that gets the crowd excited and involved. … In that article that knocked the band last week, the lack of fan support was mentioned. You won’t find any more devout fans than in the Redcoat band. And with that I ask, should the band change to our old pregame show, or should Dawg fans be better fans and adapt to change in the name of supporting their team?

I wasn’t knocking the Redcoat Band. One of my brothers was a Redcoat and I’m a fan of the Redcoats. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with or like everything they do. I happen to think the spell-Georgia cheer works better at the end of the halftime show rather than in the pregame routine. And the “Georgia/Bulldogs” thing with the band just isn’t working. The second game it was done, the crowd was no closer to catching on and the lag time while the band members reposition themselves ruins the pace of the cheer. Howevver, I am very glad  to have the band down in my end of the stadium now, though having them and the South Carolina band playing at the same time was a bit problematic. And I’m not sure if the bulk of the student section can hear them as well, which might be a problem. Overall, though, I think the new placement of the band probably is a good thing. Anyway, let’s be clear: I love the Redcoats. Ain’t nothing finer in the land!

Cleveland Williams writes: Do you really think the Georgia board and executives (Adams and McGarity) who make coaching decisions are really thinking change or is it just media hype and fan frustration?

I think the folks in charge can’t ignore media hype and fan frustration, but I’m not sure there’s any “minimum” number of wins Richt has to get this year to save his job. I think the general trend of the team’s performance and how competitive it is as the season goes on might be a bigger factor in how they evaluate Richt.

Invictus Mon writes: Got it from a VERY reliable source who has known Richt since his years before UGA that he thinks this will be Richt’s last year at UGA and not because he’s going to be fired. He thinks Richt has already had enough of all of us, and is ready to take his fortune and do more meaningful things with his life. This is something I’ve been afraid of for years. We’re going to lose the winningest coach of the last decade because we chased him off. Not because we fired him, but because we made his life so miserable he didn’t find it worthwhile to stay. Then who are we going to get? Nobody’s going to want to put up with our crap. You think Smart would leave his cush job at BAMA with uncle Saban looking after him to get thrown to the wolves here? I have it under VERY good authority as well that the only reason Muschamp did that at UT was because he knew he was on the hot seat and even though he was the coach in waiting, there was a strong feeling by the powers that be that someone else was getting that job over him anyway. The SEC is a dream destination, and UGA is a great job, but I’m not sure we’re doing ourselves any favors recruiting a quality coach by acting like a dadgum lynch mob.

Love those reliable sources everyone seems to have. I’ve heard the Richt-really-wants-to-be-a-missionary theory and I don’t buy it. I think he enjoys coaching at UGA and would be happy to be in Athens another 10 years. Whether that’s possible for any coach in today’s media/fan environment, I don’t know.

Kelly Hibbs, who apparently took umbrage at me saying West Virginia wouldn’t be a very good choice for the SEC, writes: Didn’t West Virginia beat UGA in their own backyard in the Sugar Bowl recently? That is what I thought. Way better basketball program than UGA, too. Don’t think the Dawgs could handle them on a yearly basis. UGA is an also-ran program now. Sorry.

Look, if beating Georgia in in the past six years was sole qualification for being in the SEC, then Colorado and Central Florida would merit consideration. Beating Georgia doesn’t change the fact that West Virginia was passed over by the ACC and doesn’t have much TV reach (though someone pointed out it has some following in Pittsburgh). There are other more suitable choices for a 14th team.

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302 comments Add your comment

Bryan G.

September 22nd, 2011
11:13 am

This is absolutely a must win game.

Buckeye

September 22nd, 2011
11:15 am

Nope,

1-3 sounds about right.

Fred

September 22nd, 2011
11:16 am

Nice response to the mountaineer lol.

Buckeye

September 22nd, 2011
11:17 am

Vandy rules the SEC Least!

Franklin and Co. gonna whup on you dogs.

Take it to the bank.

just a fan

September 22nd, 2011
11:23 am

jsmooth

September 22nd, 2011
11:23 am

I personally like the Redcoats pregame “UGA”chant down the field. That seems to get the fans fired up and ready pregame. The other “UGA” cheer is pathetic. If you are going to mimic the LSU Band, continue on with their type of pregame fanfare. Definitely, according to this fan, a move in the right direction!!

just a fan

September 22nd, 2011
11:23 am

or maybe fifth is more appropriate

just a fan

September 22nd, 2011
11:24 am

hey Buckeye why don’t yall go lose to another SEC team

Top Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:25 am

Boy you shut down Kelly Hibbs there Bill with logic…..and schools go through cycles….the better ones have longer winning traditions, though, such as UGA. What’s WVA’s long tradition?
And I don’t go for the VERY reliable source thing the other idiot states.
If he doesn’t believe in this world of social networks and multi-million dollar contracts that pressure is put on coaches at other schools, invictus mon is just as nuts.
I’d say it’s great to be a coach at a school with such PASSION and tradition as UGA.

DawginLex

September 22nd, 2011
11:25 am

UGA 31
Ole Miss 0

I’m sticking with it

It is a must win

If Richt loses this game, I would vote for his immediate dismissal and make Grantham interim coach.

jrmdvm1

September 22nd, 2011
11:25 am

The Ole Miss game is one of those “can’t win” games. If we win, well we were supposed to win. After all, Vandy blew them out. If Ole Miss corrects its problems and manages to beat us ( it can be hard to win on the road in the SEC if teams are evenly matched ), then the question is how did we lose to such a bad team ( even though the errors that cost them their previous games were corrected, they will be perceived as a bad team until they beat someone else ).

Dawgs 73

September 22nd, 2011
11:27 am

I can’t believe that I still read folks stating “if UGA wins out” crap. It’s inconceivable to think that Richt and this staff is suddenly going to instill discipline on both sides of the ball, call a good game make adjustments during the game, and put the right folks in correct positions to be successful (See LB turned running back Samuel). It’s just not gonna happen. Richt’s recent track record and downward trend are not mere blips on the radar screen, they are CLEAR signs of a coach and team that is headed in the wrong direction. As much as I would love to believe that there is a magical cure, my rationale/logical mind tells me differently.

Facts tell me that we have at least 4 more losses ahead of us and ANYONE that thinks we have any “easy wins” left on the schedule, are just delusional. It has been time to make a change for over two years now and I don’t want to hear “be careful for what you wish for” crap. I wish for a new direction and a new coach!

Tech Dude

September 22nd, 2011
11:28 am

If the fans can’t catch on to the Georgia/Bulldogs cheer, it doesn’t say much for the fans. That said, good luck this week.

Top Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:31 am

Other than fluke scoring in the SC game, did not anybody see the Dawgs dominate and get better as a team? Georgia will dominate Ole (Les) Miserable.

Gay Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:32 am

Here;s to hoping our dawgs bust a Nutt this weekend!!!

JayD

September 22nd, 2011
11:33 am

Great article on Shawn Williams – Good stories exist………Nobody wants to write them Go Dawgs!

LHarding Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:34 am

All of our games this year are “must win” games.

Newman

September 22nd, 2011
11:35 am

They ALL are must win!

DawginLex

September 22nd, 2011
11:36 am

Shawn williams is a DGD

SSIgator

September 22nd, 2011
11:36 am

“Is Ole Miss really the ‘must win’ game?”

No, not if you really don’t care – and I guess Richt does not since he laughs at any comment regarding that type of question. The arrogance of that man is stunning. Not only does he have the fans buffaloed, but he thinks he has the administration hoodwinked as well. What a con artist.

Chuck

September 22nd, 2011
11:37 am

Please – turnovers and defense have been a HUGE factor in the games we have lost under Murray.

Sure some of those are INTs and fumbles but both of those are part of the territory for anu passing offense with a horrible OL like we have.

Murray is not to blame – in fact, despite our OL, he has put up incredible numbers. Aaron Murray is not the problem with our team, he is one of the bright spots.

WDE

September 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

@Buckeye how bad is Colorado going to clean your clock this week ? they aren’t very good so I’m think less than two touchdowns..what do you think?

Wee the Willy

September 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

WOW, the haters are up early and strong today. Go back to your yech blog and crow about beating no ones this year by record breaking offensive production. Two AA teams and a third that plays like one. Really something to be proud of. We’ll see what you got after the North Carolina games.

Paul H

September 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

Ole Miss is the new Vandy. This one won’t even be close. But I am excited to get a much needed SEC win under our belt.

DawginLex

September 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

Buckeye

Joe Bauserman 2-16 for 24 yards versus Miami?

Why aren’t you cowering in a corner somewhere?

God I hope we play y’all in a bowl game.

42-0 UGA

waytoshinericht

September 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

Richt is inept, he suffers against SEC lower echelons, and gets mauled by the SEC big boys. Fire Richt as soon as a competitive replacement can be acquired. Not with some warm body replacement who will further ruin the program, but with somebody like Boise’s Petersen.

lmao i f n love it....

September 22nd, 2011
11:39 am

1-3 and counting

VALDOSTADAWG

September 22nd, 2011
11:39 am

None of that even matters, what does matter is all these 12 oclock kickoffs! Natty light for breakfast again!

Larry

September 22nd, 2011
11:40 am

To the red coat band…….Instead of the usual two things you play in the stands, how about learning a few other things…I personally like you in the end zone….I cant imagine people not being able to hear you- I could never hear you from where you were before…..part of that was you guys never played…..Its college football…..and we need our band to play all the time…..hate to say this, but take a look at Florida band …..they play alot and have come up with some very cool stuff…the dragnet theme when other team gets a penality……..come on RedCoats….get creative like that

Half Century Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:41 am

Buckeye, as close win over MAC team plus a butt wooping from Miami and your on here talking smack. You got to laugh at that.

Gay Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:41 am

I think this year we have Nutt in the right spot. We beat them down and Nutt will be everywhere.

schmeckdawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:44 am

They’re all must win games for CMR and staff! By the way, Happy Birthday Bill!!!!

mark

September 22nd, 2011
11:44 am

Richt’s must win was south carolina,what did he do? he’s done, toast

Half Century Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:44 am

SSIgator,not your problem, why you so worried about the Dawgs?

gofortwo

September 22nd, 2011
11:45 am

When Georgia came back against West Virgina, you had the feeling that when we received the ball back after they punted, we would score and win the game. When we dropped almost the entire team back for a punt return which we were doing through out the game, WV ran a fake punt and made a first down and wins the game. We, like opposing teams, look for weak spots in their special teams. Just ask South Carolina.

Top Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:45 am

Idiots that state how many games the team will lose need to go to Vegas and put their money where their piehole is and lay it on the line with people that are more than happy to take your money and shut you up.
People that keep basing an entire season on two weeks are like day-traders…here today, gone tomorrow.

djdawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:50 am

One game at a time baby !!!!!!

SSIgator

September 22nd, 2011
11:50 am

“If Georgia lost to the Rebels but then won out”

Good Lord Bill, at what point will you stop writing this kind of nonsense? When they are 1-4? 1-5? Puleeezee.

Gary

September 22nd, 2011
11:50 am

Like the band in the enzone. Sounds good. How about learning a new show and some stuff to fire up the fans. You guys have not been very good since Dwight Satterwhite was fired.

BG

September 22nd, 2011
11:53 am

DAWGS win an easy one.

radly dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:54 am

The Media Circus at the AJC’s sports department started with the departures of : Bisher, Outlar, and Mehre…end of statement. What a mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The AJC Sports Section and its whiny fans = judge, jury, and executioner. I am a 58 year old Dawg Fan and the present day litter of dawg fans is sickening!!!!!!!!!!!!

djdawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:54 am

SSIgator- Cant you find a blog of your own!! You spend more time on THE DAWGS blogs then anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!! You must be a DAWG fan hiding behind your name.

Contractor

September 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, it’s not a must win game for a team that is 1-2 and had pre-season hopes of playing for an SEC Title. Are you serious? I sure hope this is a questionnaire article that is released every week instead of a serious question you’re asking here. Georgia needs to win out, and most importantly beat Florida. Those are legitimate goals that can be accomplished, and need to be considering the athletes our team has.

Jeffro Bodeen

September 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

F to the B………B to the e……That’s for you Buckeye.

Dawglasville

September 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

I believe Coach Richt will be allowed one more loss. I don’t care who it is against except for maybe one. I think losing to Tech would be the most damaging to his chances of coming back.

UGA Insider

September 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

Invictus Mom,

Chris Peterson will be the new HC in Athens after their bowl game. It’s already in the works and you are right that this is the last season for CMR. I have heard he is retiring at season end. We can argue why he is leaving but it’s not because of the fans…He simply doesn’t have the mojo or fire anymore so it’s time to move on for both parties. No shame in that at all.

Anyways, we will have a proven winner and a guy who can recruit with the best of them in due time. I personally don’t think the recruiting class will suffer much because CMR really doesn’t have that great of a class of now at present. I think we are ranked 25th which is not good for SEC teams.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Peterson could haul in a top 10 class if he has a month to do it after a bowl game.

Anyways, it’s going to be Chris Peterson. This year is a lame-duck year so I hope fans are not too dissappointed if we lose 4 or 5 more games. All the players know what’s going on.

Top Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:57 am

djdawg,… lizards need severe mental help!

Top Dawg

September 22nd, 2011
11:59 am

There goes the old VERY reliable BS sources again……trying to instigate…..get a life

FreeJamesBrown

September 22nd, 2011
11:59 am

My first cousin’s sister’s boyfriend’s niece told me that UGA offered the head coaching job to “SponageBob SquarePants” and he turned them down. He said he didn’t want to be around those SUCKAS!!!!!!!!

Who is the guy they call Herschel?????…..Is he a rapper?

COACHDAWG2000

September 22nd, 2011
12:02 pm

It is SHAMEFUL how we and the media are treating CMR. We have lost to a top 5 team and a top 12 team. Take a breath and get a grip. Otherwise go cry about the choking Braves! Or go do the Dirty Bird at the Dome.