Florida game bigger for Dogs’ SEC hopes than it is for Richt’s job status

Can Mark Richt survive a loss to Florida this year? (Associated Press)

Can Mark Richt survive a loss to Florida this year? (Associated Press)

In a season of “must-win” games, Georgia will make the trip to Jacksonville facing twin imperatives:

First, with South Carolina holding the tie-breaker over the Dogs in the SEC East, a loss to Florida might not finish off UGA’s chances of making it to the championship game in the Georgia Dome (the Gamecocks, after all, are missing Marcus Lattimore), but the odds surely would get a lot longer. Without a win over the Gators, Georgia would need South Carolina to lose at least twice more in the conference while the Dogs won over Auburn and Kentucky.

And secondly, if Mark Richt, who’s won only twice against Florida in his 10 previous seasons at Georgia, can’t get a victory against a first-year coach of a team that’s lost three in a row and is on thin ice when it comes to its quarterbacking corps, the heat under his seat is going to suddenly ramp back up to pretty near the level it was when the Dogs opened 0-2.

But is this really a must-win game for Richt to keep his job? I don’t think so. Sure, it’ll get awfully ugly in the Bulldog Nation if he loses again to the Gators, but if the Dogs then win out and finish 9-3, with a decent bowl likely in the offing, I doubt very much Greg McGarity and Michael Adams would be thinking coaching change at the end of the season.

Conversely, if Georgia collapses down the stretch and loses two or more games but somehow gets a win over hated rival Florida, it’s possible Richt still would survive to face another season of hot-seat speculation.

So, yes, Georgia-Florida is a very important game for both the Georgia team and its head coach.

But I don’t see it as a must win.

Agree or disagree? Feel free to share your views in the comments. Go Dogs!

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199 comments Add your comment

dawgfacedboy

October 25th, 2011
10:13 am

Lose again to FLorida? He would be 2-9? That does not look very good at all.

He only beat Zook 1 out of 3.

JaxDawg05

October 25th, 2011
10:17 am

Heck yeah it’s a must win, sixth one this year! Sarcasm………………..

DawginLex

October 25th, 2011
10:17 am

If you review Richt’s tenure, I’d say it goes like this:

2001-Loss-They were better
2002-Loss-No excuse
2003-Loss-Close game but still no excuse
2004-Won
2005-Loss-No Shockley-He plays, we win
2006-Loss-We actually played them close-they won BCS
2007-Won
2008-Loss-They were better but not that much-Embarrassing
2009-Loss-They were better
2010-Loss-Close game

I give Richt a pass on 2005 and 2006. We were bad in 2008 and 2009 because of his loyalty to Martinez.

DAWG with two bags over head

October 25th, 2011
10:19 am

Bill,

I agree that our braintrust won’t make a change if we lose to UF, but I totally disagree with the logic. A 2-9 record in Jax with great opportunities to win in 2010 and 2011 isn’t up to our standards. If we as fans are accepting of this, we should just go ahead and apply to move to the ACC.

DAWG with two bags over head

October 25th, 2011
10:22 am

At this point in Richt’s tenure, this is the only MUST WIN game to me.

Cuz

October 25th, 2011
10:22 am

Facing a Florida team with three losses in a row is more dangerous than facing them with three wins in a row. This will be ugly.

jaglaw

October 25th, 2011
10:24 am

Dawgin lex…..I have said the 05 sec championship was the worst win in recent history…..it have martinez a job extension. Bad for UGA.

jaglaw

October 25th, 2011
10:25 am

oops “gave” I ment to say

JAWJeRDAWG

October 25th, 2011
10:25 am

Bill

It is certainly a must win to remain in the SEC East race.

Though we’ll need a SC loss to get there, I’m just hopeful for a win where we can continue first that quest, then play hard for a win in the SECC game.

Not sure if it’s must win for Coach Richt, though the CMR haters will say it will, and a loss would certainly beget some nasty debate on his continuing position as the UGA Heah Coach.

Go Dawgs! Beat the Gators and let’s hopefully move forward towards the SEC championship!

Herb Burbalurb

October 25th, 2011
10:26 am

Richt isn’t going anywhere. Listened to his radio show last night- immensely likable guy.

Neither is Kirby Smart going anywhere, while we’re at it.

lanier

October 25th, 2011
10:28 am

got to win the big rivalry loose and he should be gone

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

October 25th, 2011
10:29 am

DawginLex, I’m in total agreement with your timeline. Well laid-out.

As for this game, I think it is a must-win only because, even without Lattimore, I just don’t know that Carolina’ll lose two more times (in conference: Clemson’ll smack them around Thanksgiving weekend). They’ll definitely get whipped in Fayetteville, but I don’t know that UT or UF is good enough to beat ‘em.

That being said, I think we beat Florida this year by a good margin (14-17 points, I’d wager). Either way, I’m looking forward to watching ‘em play!

Go Dawgs!

Paul H

October 25th, 2011
10:31 am

It’s a must win. Because it’s Florida.

Logan Walker

October 25th, 2011
10:31 am

I hate the phrase must-win, so I won’t be using it. As a Georgia fan, my definition of a successful season includes thumping our rivals, namely Florida. I’ve said many times, only partly in jest, that i would be ok if we went 1-11, as long as that 1 win came in Jax. But I digress; basically, win this game and the Bulldog Nation will be more unified than it has been since we stormed the field in 2007.

Gdawg

October 25th, 2011
10:34 am

Dont agree Bill, if you lose to Gayters then you will have lost to the two teams above you in your own division. That tells you everything about where you are and I dont think that is where we aspire to be.

SuwaneeDawg

October 25th, 2011
10:34 am

I definitely think this is a must win for the program overall.

For Richt, a win can prove that he has got the ship back on course and he can let Houston Nutt declare himself the “King of the Hot Seat” in the SEC.

For McGarity, you know that a UGA alumni that once worked for the dark side is secretly pushing for this team to beat his former employer.

For the team, I hope the coaches have played the recording of Muschamp proclaiming a win against UGA before even coaching a game at Florida. If you want to prove your worth in the SEC, go manhandle your biggest rival.

Finally for Murray, he is a good QB. However, until he wins a big-time game like Saturday he will not get any glory. Here is the time and place to prove yourself in your home state against your school’s biggest rival.

RiffRaff

October 25th, 2011
10:41 am

Dawgs need to win remaining SEC games to have a chance making it to Atlanta. They’ve got the talent but looked bad against Vandy. This is a defining moment for Richt.

DawginLex

October 25th, 2011
10:41 am

The 2005 team was so good on offense that it masked the Willie Martinez defense. Plus, Van Gorder was only one year removed and willie ball hadn’t sunk in yet.

Anybody notice who was coaching Oklahoma’s defensive secondary Saturday night that got TORCHED by Tommy Tubs and Texas Tech? Mr Martinez. Tommy must have felt like he was back at Auburn coahcing against that guy.

NC Dawg

October 25th, 2011
10:41 am

We need a victory over Florida. We don’t need to be saying how it isn’t a must-win. It is. How many have we won over the last 20 years…not many. It’s time to reverse the trend and start winning 18 out of 21 ourselves. Go Dawgs!

LSUTiger

October 25th, 2011
10:41 am

If Brantley is back, Gators win.

DawginLex

October 25th, 2011
10:42 am

filters ate my post

george

October 25th, 2011
10:47 am

what is the over under on number of fights and or times the puppies storm the field this game?

@DawginLex

October 25th, 2011
10:47 am

Is that Lexington, KY? We need to start a Bulldog Club up here.

OkieDawg

October 25th, 2011
10:47 am

If Georgia loses to Florida, there will be more to come. We will lose to either Auburn, GT or a bowl team. CMR would not have a meaningful win this year. McGarity and Adams, mostly Adams, would then have to decide if they extend CMR’s contract or release him. I think they would let him go. Donations are already down and Adams will not allow further erosion to the revenue base.

So yes, Florida is an absolute must win for CMR.

Buckhead Dawg

October 25th, 2011
10:49 am

It’s huge, must win. Mainly because Florida is not good right now and if you can’t beat them now the mental barrier when it comes to UF with this coaching staff is obviously to big to ever overcome.

DawginLex

October 25th, 2011
10:50 am

Yes sir, Lexington Kentucky

PTC DAWG

October 25th, 2011
10:50 am

GATA and pass the ammunition.

Class of '98

October 25th, 2011
10:51 am

Bill, you are wrong. If UGA runs the SEC table, South Carolina only has to lose once more. UGA and SCar both have one loss in the SEC presently.

Class of '98

October 25th, 2011
10:51 am

My mistake, Bill. I misread the sentence. Keep up the good work. Sic Em.

just a fan

October 25th, 2011
10:51 am

I think this is a must win game for CMR if we lose he will be 2-9 vs our biggest rival and will have lost to 4 different coaches.

jack handy

October 25th, 2011
10:56 am

Richt has to beat Florida and win out to keep his job imo. If we can’t beat UF this year, then when? What quality wins have we had over the last three years? Richt look tired. It may be the best thing for the program that we lose this saturday.

Ralph

October 25th, 2011
10:57 am

Annual thumping, whipping, beatdown.

big poppa dawg

October 25th, 2011
10:59 am

Incorrect. Lose this game and it is curtains on the Richt regime.

DAWGS forever

October 25th, 2011
11:01 am

Not sure it’s in the “must win” category now after the last 5 weeks. However is it a game Richt can afford to “loose?”

I say NO. He needs this as bad as he did Tennessee in his second year with the “hob nail boot”. This game is huge.

If they loose the streak is over mediocre teams at best even though Fla is down as well.
If they loose the slide of the last few years continues with only small upward trend.
If they loose and the condition Fla is in we probably loose to Auburn and Tech is a war so we could finish 8-5 with wins over NM st and Kentucky.
This game is a game the DAWGS can’t afford to loose.

Go DAWGS!

Columbus Dawg

October 25th, 2011
11:04 am

I’m not so sure that Insider and some others who have posted that CMR is gone after 2011 on his own accord are not wrong. I, and others that I have talked about this with have noticed that Richt seems just plain disgusted every week on TV, whether the Dawgs are winning or not. I don’t know whether he really thinks his players should be performing better, or is just fed up with hearing how he is doing a terrible job as Head Coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. I, and those same Bulldog friends share the same sentiment, Georgia has a lot of talent on it’s roster, and the team does not appear to be very well coached. It seems that the same old problems are present nearly every season, poor special teams, OL problems, ect., ect.

Also, I hope some UGA coach sees this post, the running plays that Georgia calls put the running back at a disadvantage every time. You can not stand around and let the opposing D get in your backfield while you look like a statue holding the ball out for a back to come and get it. If nothing else, McGarity should insist that Richt and company view some old film of UGA running plays of old when Dooley was there. Georgia should employ running plays and handoff strategies that let the tailback get a step or two before the opposing defense is all over them at or behind the line of scrimmage. UGA never uses the old toss sweeps and such that were so successful in the past.

I would like to see Richt get the team back, and make the required adjustments that it would take to get back to where it needs to be, but I am not so sure that Richt wants it anymore.

Loose Screw

October 25th, 2011
11:05 am

DAWGSforever,

Do you have a loose screw? If not, lose an o in loose.

bjohndawg

October 25th, 2011
11:09 am

We need to win this GAME!
But it is not a must win for Richt.

He needs to only go 9-3 and he is safe for another year.
Which I am not sure is a good thing. But is what it is.

Deal with it

October 25th, 2011
11:10 am

You can’t beat the Gators!

Dave

October 25th, 2011
11:10 am

UGA will lose because we always loseto Florida. We start out every season 0-1 because Florida is on the schedule. I just can’t explain it. Doesn’t matter who we have as a coach and doesn’t matter whom they have as a coach. Maybe it’s the planets or maybe I’m being tormented because of all of the one night stands in my past. Whatever it is, I expect a loss, but hope that I eat crow all Saturday evening.

chiefdawg

October 25th, 2011
11:14 am

The rest of the games should be must-wins. Enough is enough. UGA should be on the level with LSU and UA.

Raleigh

October 25th, 2011
11:15 am

Its the lizards! We have to beat them! Those freaking creatures from that swamp have to go down, if not this year, when? Go dawgs!!

Dave

October 25th, 2011
11:17 am

We can’t beat Florida. Nostrodamus has predicted it, the planets decree it and my bad, horrible luck determines it.

TallaDawg

October 25th, 2011
11:17 am

I am a huge Dawg not a “hater”. I think it is absolutely a must-win, but a win does not guarranty Richt’s return. It matters more HOW we win than IF we win. McGarrity observed that we had won VERY ugly this year against sub-par competition. It is only by the scheduling gods that UGA is not 2-5 instead of 5-2. We must beat UF cleanly and convincingly. They have a first-year coach who is changing the whole system, and have hobbled QB(s). We cannot even be in danger of losing, or it shows a total failure of our coaching staff.

sogadog

October 25th, 2011
11:18 am

CMR is coming to a cross roads. His contract will come up soon and McGarity will have to extend it significantly so CMR can continue to recruit or he will have to face reality and fire CMR. Adams, McGarity and the Athletic Board cannot have a lame duck coach with a year to year or short term contract because other teams will use this to gain an advantage in recruiting.

McGarity will have to either fire CMR at the end of this season and get a new coach in while there is plenty of talent on hand or give CMR a long term contract so he can continue to recruit. This will be a tough decision and the outcome of this UF game will greatly affect the decision makers.

This is a pivotal game at a pivotal time for CMR and McGarity and company have a hard decision to make at the end of the season.

David

October 25th, 2011
11:19 am

A baseline requirement for anybody that signs up as the UGA head coach should be to beat Florida. Every year. Period. Should be a bullet point in the job description. With no margin for error. One lose to Floriduh puts you on probation, the second one and you are gone.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 25th, 2011
11:19 am

This is simple – stop the run and chase Brantley down and Dawgs win. On offense they must avoid turnovers – especially in the first half when two starters will be out on the defense due to suspension. This IS a must win game for Richt and he should win by 10.

MarineDog

October 25th, 2011
11:22 am

The thing that scares me the most about this game is that Florida has lost three straight games. That alone makes them a dangerous team. If the offense plays up to their capabilities (mistake free) and special teams doesn’t become a liability, then we have a decent chance. If we beat Florida, I don’t think that they will lose again this year. Hopefully Richt will be involved in the playcalling on offense for the entire game. If he does that, then our chances are much better. Stopping Demps and Rainey is a must. They will try and neutralize our DL and LB by running screens and quick passes across the middle, much like Boise was able to do. Hopefully, we are able to make the proper adjustments.

Has anyone heard anything concerning Malcom Mitchell?

beanster

October 25th, 2011
11:24 am

@ Columbus — I think you’d find a lot of support on this blog for the shotgun draw being permanently removed from Mike Bobo’s playcall list.

Cdpridg

October 25th, 2011
11:28 am

It is a important game of course..but….the only way Richt is canned is if the team implores and loses to UF, AU and GT. Though mistake prone…the team is to talented for that

JDawg1785

October 25th, 2011
11:33 am

MarineDog, I read that Mitchell practiced yesterday but talked to the trainers after a few drills. Never heard anything further.