Dawgs as consensus favorites: ‘A lot of pressure on us’

Vegas thinks Mark Richt will be striking this pose after every regular season game in 2012. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Vegas thinks Mark Richt will be striking this pose after every regular season game in 2012. (Jason Getz / AJC)

We’ve already established that Vegas oddsmakers like the 2012 Dawgs, but it turns out they’re so high on Mark Richt’s upcoming team that the folks who come up with point spreads have installed UGA as the early favorite in every game on the schedule.

At the Golden Nugget, Georgia is a 3-point favorite over Missouri, a 13.5-point favorite over Tennessee, a 2.5-point favorite over South Carolina, a 4.5-point favorite over Florida and a 6-point favorite over Auburn. And Pregame.com rates Georgia as the favorite in every game on its schedule.

Of course, as has been discussed here, Richt teams have had a disturbing tendency in the past to falter under high expectations, and playing as the favorite every week is going to be as big a challenge this season as rebuilding that offensive line and getting the special teams to quit rolling gutter balls.

The Athens Banner-Herald talked with a couple of the team leaders about Georgia playing as the favorite at the Pigskin Preview in Macon.

“It’s great that people say that, but I think it does put a lot of pressure on us to go out and just win games,” safety Shawn Williams said.

And quarterback Aaron Murray noted that, with a key difference, the Dawgs face a similar problem to last year, when they had to ignore all the media noise about their coach being on the “hot seat.”

“Our motto last year was, ‘We’re on the bus and we’re not listening to any outside noise,’” Murray said. “There was a lot of negative noise, and we wanted to ignore that. The hard thing now is to ignore all the positives and people wanting to pat you on the back and tell you that you’re great and this and that. We have to ignore that, too, and just do what we did last year.”

Or better.

After last year’s 0-2 start, the Dogs reeled off 10 straight wins and took the SEC East, only to end the season with a couple of disappointing losses. But as a team loaded with returning talent and playing the favorite’s role every week this fall, just notching 10 regular season wins again probably won’t be viewed as an entirely satisfactory outcome by many in the Bulldog Nation.

How many regular season losses puts Mark Richt back on the hot seat?

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Which raises an interesting question on the flip side. How many losses for the 2012 Bulldogs would put Richt back on that hot seat, at least in terms of media chatter if not in the eyes of his boss, Greg McGarity? If his team underperforms badly, you can bet the pressure on Richt will ratchet up exponentially.

But what would constitute a disappointing season in your eyes? Less than 10 wins? Or perhaps anything less than the SEC championship? Feel free to weigh in with a comment, vote in the poll or both.

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

340 comments Add your comment

Goldenrod

June 13th, 2012
9:53 am

2

Coach Paul Johnson will be responsible for one of Helen Hunt’s losses.

SYRUPMAKER 61

June 13th, 2012
9:54 am

LEAVE THE MAN ALONE HE DOES ABETER OVER ALL JOB THAN ANY ONE UGA COULD HIRE TO REPACE HIM

Harvey Updyke

June 13th, 2012
10:02 am

Saban is better than Richt, no question about it. Has the national championships to prove it.

chazzo

June 13th, 2012
10:03 am

I am happy to hear at least a couple of team leaders with the right attitude about it. Don’t believe the hype! One game at a time.

bh

June 13th, 2012
10:03 am

UGA just needs to play with a killer instinct and not so tight. Richt and Bobo need to loosen things up somehow with the game plan. If we get creative again, our talent should be enough. But if we continue to “play not to lose”, teams with lesser talent will continue to hang around and potentially pull off upsets (i.e. Michigan St.).

bh

June 13th, 2012
10:06 am

does anyone remember the Clemson game in 2002? We were up by 3 very late and went for it on 4th down inside our own territory instead of punting. I think Musa Smith got the 1st and we won the game. Afterwards, I loved Richt’s comment. He said his decision was based more on the mindset he wanted to establish with the team than “getting the 1st down”. Man, I miss those days. Where we just went for it and lived with the consequences.

bh

June 13th, 2012
10:07 am

that mindset helped us win our 1st SEC championship in over 20 yrs!

here we go again.........

June 13th, 2012
10:08 am

its 2008 all over again.

chipperdawg

June 13th, 2012
10:08 am

I agree “SM 61″, CMR is doing a fine job and we’re blessed to have him. I believe our team will play hard in every game and, with the talent the coaching staff has gathered, that will put us in a position to win in every match up on the schedule. I also think the “D” is gonna totally shut down a good bit of the teams we play this year.

BP85

June 13th, 2012
10:11 am

Two or more regular season losses will be very disappointing with our schedule and the seniority and fire-power we have coming into the season, particularly on defense. If the OL can rise to the occasion and do their part, we should be clicking on all cylinders.

keith

June 13th, 2012
10:17 am

ditto “here we go again” 2008. I just want us to show up and play 4 quaters every game

harold

June 13th, 2012
10:18 am

UGA SHOULD HAVE WON NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS TWICE WITH IN 2002 AND 2005 WHILE GREEN AND POLLACK WERE THERE. A NICK SABAN OR URBAN MEYER WOULD HAVE WITH THAT ( JIM DONNAN TALENT) STILL THERE.

UGA WAS A CONSENSUS NUMBER ONE IN 2008 WITH MORENO AND STAFFORD AND RICHT COULD NOT GET IT DONE WITH ALL OF THAT TALENT. AGAIN SABAN, MEYER, OR LES MILES WOULD HAVE WON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THAT TYPE OF TALENT.

SOOOOO…HERE WE GO AGAIN. UGA HAS NINE RETURNING STARTERS ON DEFENSE. THEY HAVE A GREAT QB WITH TWO YEARS SEC EXPERIENCE. UGA IS LOADED AT RUNNING BACK. THEY HAVE A SOLID OFFENSIVE LINE. UGA HAS RED SHIRTED VERY WELL CREATING DEPTH FOR THIS SEASON.

IN SHORT…..THERE IS TONS OF TALENT PLUS A CAKEWALK SCHEDULE ( ONLY ONE OR TWO TEAMS THE PLAY) ARE IN THE TOP 25!

IF UGA CAN’T GO ALL THE WAY WITH THIS TALENT AND PLAY FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THESE PLAYERS——–RICHT NEEDS TO BE FIRED.

THE PROBLEM WITH RICHT IS THE FACT THAT THE RECRUITING CLASSES NEVER EQUATE TO A TOP TEN RATING??????

COULD THAT BE COACHING????HMMMMM……

Mobile Dawg

June 13th, 2012
10:22 am

I think with Richt it’s put up or get out time. If this team underperforms how does he go back on the hot seat? To late for that, this Dawgs hopes that if this team underperforms McGarity goes coach hunting.

A disappointing season to me would be losses to teams we have no business losing to. Showing up unprepared. Players continuing to put themselves above the team, i.e. look at the early season suspensions. Aaron Murray continuing to make rookie mistakes with no apparent accountability. I would just like to see this team show up and play HARD every game. Win the battle of conditioning late in a tight game against a quality opponent.

I’m hoping for the best, but prepared for disappointment once again, using your own words Bill, “Richt’s teams have had a disturbing tendency to falter under high expectations”. It’s hard to change the spots on a Dawg.

UGA Insider

June 13th, 2012
10:23 am

IN 2008 CTG was not on the sideline…… If we had Grantham that year the title would have been ours.

Holy Guacamole

June 13th, 2012
10:25 am

harold – depress the caps key.

UGA Insider

June 13th, 2012
10:27 am

Coaches tell me UGA is going to win with a staunch defense and a running game. AM will not scramble much nor pass in the 2nd half. I’m serious…. Hines is still installing the Pittsburgh offense.

Mobile Dawg

June 13th, 2012
10:28 am

Insider, you don’t seriously believe that do you? As much as I hate excuses, a different one each year, injuries did exact a toll in 08, not to mention the offensive game planning, IMO. We had opportunities to stay the game, even take the lead, early on but the playcalling shot us in the foot against Bama and Florida.

Pat

June 13th, 2012
10:29 am

We have to go to the dome.

Destin Dawg

June 13th, 2012
10:29 am

yes Grantham is a huge factor and he wants to be D.C. for now and loves this opportunity go Dawgs !!!

Holy Guacamole

June 13th, 2012
10:30 am

Some of you are quick to throw CMR out but have you considered a replacement? All teams have had a bad run of coaches after throwing out a winner. Look at Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Alabama (prior to Saban) and exactly what will Arkansas be this year with Petrino gone? Interesting question that some of you need to try to answer.

Raleigh

June 13th, 2012
10:30 am

With that schedule, if he doesn’t run the table, he should be demoted, let grantham become head coach, then hire some offensive coordinator from the west coast.

The Honest Truth

June 13th, 2012
10:31 am

A loss to Missouri would be crippling to this program and if a coupled with a loss to SC or FLA that would seal CMR’s fate.

I honestly don’t expect us to compete with Bama but I do expect to win the SEC East again, no doubt.

Mobile Dawg

June 13th, 2012
10:32 am

Sounds like an LSU model to me Insider. Can Richt and Bobo have enough patience to stay with a running game, sometimes it takes well into the third quarter to tire a defense to the point where a power running game can control the game. Richt’s achilles heel, IMO, is his inability to be patient, he’s got to be throwing the ball down the field.

SSIgator

June 13th, 2012
10:32 am

I have been to Vegas many times, but in all of the bars out there I can’t remember anyone ordering a UGA Kool-Aid. I guess Richt has opened a distribution center for it out west somewhere now.

Destin Dawg

June 13th, 2012
10:33 am

Jobs for Grantham will open up in 3 or 4 years or less… Tenn…. S.C. Spurrier will retire .. Auburn.. Chizik had Scam.. its over now… Go Dawgs.. this is OUR YEAR !!!!

SSIgator

June 13th, 2012
10:40 am

“Our motto last year was, ‘We’re on the bus and we’re not listening to any outside noise,’” Murray said.

Well, that didn’t work out very well did it Murray. Some of the guys must have been listening to it with their headphones on. You got steamrolled in the SEC CG and lost your bowl game. But hey, at least you won ten games.

SSIgator

June 13th, 2012
10:43 am

“and people wanting to pat you on the back and tell you that you’re great”

Really? And who would that be besides Mark “I can win games – just not the big games” Richt?

harold

June 13th, 2012
10:44 am

RICHT HAS NOT YET DELIVERD WHAT SABAN —-URBAN MEYER—-LES MILES—STEVE SPURRIER—AND PHILLIP FULMER DELIVERD: A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

HAD THESE PROGRAMS NOT CHANGED COACHES THEY WOULD NOT HAVE WON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

RICHT HAS NOW GOT TO DELIVER. HE HAS THE TALENT AND THE SCHEDULE TO DO IT THIS YEAR. IF HE DOESN’T LOOK AT WHAT A COACHING CHANGE DID AT ALABAMA ETC.

READ HAROLD’S POST @ 10:18. IT IS TIME FOR RICHT AND UGA TO QUIT BARKING AND START BITING. THE REST OF THE SEC SCHOOLS LAUGH THEIR ASS OFF AT ALL OF THE UGA EXCUSES…..THE SCHEDULE…THE INJURIES etc.

WITH THIS TALENT AND CAKEWALK SCHEDULE IT IS TIME TO STPO DREAMING AND START DOING.

SEE THE 10:18 POST.

SSIgator

June 13th, 2012
10:50 am

According to Murray, “just do what we did last year”

Well, I guess that there is no need for your poll now Bill. Murray the Midget has stated it will be a 10-4 year once again. Uga – home of the ten win season, but no titles.

RedandBlackDAWG

June 13th, 2012
10:55 am

The athlet3s are there, the coaching is there, so I don’t see why not. As long as the young men perform up to their potential, there is no reason UGA can’t be in the discussion for the big picture as the year progresses. The key for UGA, will be not to play down to the level of their opponent.

Natureboy809

June 13th, 2012
10:56 am

These gambling sights have a LOT more faith in our rebuilt offensive line that I do. Our offensive line was pretty bad last year, and we just lost our 3 best linemen to the NFL/graduation.
Murray has been great, but he has GOT to take better care of the ball. He gave up 42 points (6 pick sixes; 1 fumble return for a TD) by himself. He had 18 turnovers. Just eliminating some or hopefully all of that will be a huge boost.

Spanky

June 13th, 2012
10:56 am

SSIgator, yes we got steamrolled in the SEC CG…I guess Fla. would’ve if they WENT!! Seriously, with Muschamp as your coach, you want to show your face?! Dark ages are coming for the jean cut-off nation, sir!!

RedandBlackDAWG

June 13th, 2012
10:58 am

SSI Gator,

If I were a fan of your team, I would be worried about winning 8 games. Your team is a lot more unsettled as far as starters go, especially at QB, than the DAWGS. Of course I realize in your mind, the Gators already have the crystal ball wrapped up.

Spanky

June 13th, 2012
11:00 am

“The key for UGA, will be not to play down to the level of their opponent.”

You ain’t just whistling Dixie, bro!! Does anyone remember UAB, and our 3 pt win escape? ..have no idea what happens there…

Football Guy

June 13th, 2012
11:10 am

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Holy Guacamole

June 13th, 2012
11:22 am

harold – see the 10:25 post.

Rainbow Tide Pride

June 13th, 2012
11:22 am

All I can tell you is that UF will lose a lot of games over the next several years. Like 4-5 a season. Sinking ship = UF.

GTBob

June 13th, 2012
11:23 am

You guys are just never going to learn. If UGA underachieves the next 50 years in a row, there will still be expectations of a National Championship in year 51. At some point you just have to accept that you don’t have the program or the coaches to get to the next level. Talent alone won’t do it.

James Ainsworth

June 13th, 2012
11:24 am

The season hasn’t even begun so let’s remember “Sport Illustration” in 2008 and keep things in perspective and play the up-coming season games one at a time. I hope Georgia goes all the way and meet either Alabama or LSU in the southeastern conference game.

There’s no doubt this is a veteran team but until the games are played, it’s all hype. The team needs to stay focused and grounded and remember one mistake and any game can get away from them, no matter who the team is!

I have confidence in the coaches and the players and I’m really think this will be a good season to be a college football and Georgia fan!!!!

Rainbow Tide Pride

June 13th, 2012
11:25 am

UF has offered 9 qb’s and not a one has committed, most have already committed somewhere else. Did you guys do your home on muschump?

Dirty Dawg

June 13th, 2012
11:26 am

You guys are amazin…and as Johnny Mercer didn’t quite say, ‘You’ve got to Ac-Centuate the negative, and E-Lininate the positive, and don’t mess with being supportive in between’…oh yeah, and to keep the pot roiled and the ‘clicks’ coming. As I said, you are amazin…and, to paraphrase ‘The King’, you ain’t no friend of our ‘hound(Bull) dogs’, or of mine.

Rainbow Tide Pride

June 13th, 2012
11:28 am

GTbobbi: you live in a world of neglect and hate. Get a pet, they will not judge your low self esteem.

Rainbow Tide Pride

June 13th, 2012
11:32 am

GT = EMPTY SEAT U!

Spanky

June 13th, 2012
11:41 am

Well Bob, evidently you nerds never learn either!! This is a UGA blog, yet here you are again with absolutely nothing of value to say,..just random antagonistic defications of the mouth!! Take it somewhere else!

Columbus Dawg

June 13th, 2012
11:43 am

Insider, last year’s Auburn game was the first complete game that I have seen the Dawgs play in a long time against a rival, or any decent team for that matter.. They were able to run the ball successfully in the second half with Crowell leading the way. Actually with the OL leading the way. This type of play will be absolutely necessary to win the tough games in the conference, and I even mean against teams like Vandy who will come to Athens with a log, not just a chip on their shoulders. When turnovers are limited, and overall special teams play is adequate, good things can happen.

So, what you are saying is that Hines is trying to teach Bobo the O used by the Steelers? I guess we’ll see how that works out.

harold

June 13th, 2012
11:43 am

SEE THE 10:18 AND THE 10:44 POST.

gbal

June 13th, 2012
11:45 am

Observations – The piece on the GT kid getting arrested over the weekend… Guess what, NO BLOG COMMENTS. Thats fair journalism AJC!!!

Vance Duly

June 13th, 2012
11:46 am

As long as Coach Bobo sticks to his bad play-calling habits and the 2nd half “turtle shell” that he crawls into, we will be in a position to lose several games this year that we have no business losing. If we would play 4 quarters of aggressive offense, and never take the foot off of the gas, we could avoid some of these close calls……… (This doesn’t mean passing 50 times – it means being unpredictable at times, and sticking with what is working instead of stopping what is working). Toss sweeps, fullback runs, screen passes, 8 yard routes on 3rd and 7, etc…. Go for the kill when we have a chance to put the other team away, instead of letting them back into the game by sitting on a lead. ………GO DAWGS!

Richt's Combover

June 13th, 2012
11:47 am

Will someone please tell me what makes the O-Line so special? As a non-biased observer, I think the O-Line has been the achilles heel of the dawgs. Please enlighten me.

Mobile Dawg

June 13th, 2012
11:54 am

How can the Oline be the achilles heel? We keep sending them to the NFL….