Bulldog Nation wonders: Where do we go from here?

Was Georgia's humiliation by South Carolina more than just one loss? (Bob Andres / AJC)

Was Georgia's humiliation by South Carolina more than just one loss? (Bob Andres / AJC)

So, how do the Georgia Bulldogs and their fans bounce back from the debacle in Columbia?

Saturday night, Mark Richt started making his case for shrugging off this disappointment and looking ahead when he said that “whether you lose by 28 or lose in overtime, it counts as one loss.”

True. But sometimes a loss is more than just a loss. This one hurt in a lot more ways than just the won-loss record. Richt’s team looked so bad that even the happy-talk ESPN announcers ripped into them for their disappointing showing in the nationally televised contest. I’ve no idea whether that sort of thing hurts in recruiting, but you’ve got to figure it’s certainly not helpful.

Plus, the manner in which the Dawgs lost and the fact that they once again failed when faced with a ranked opponent has left the UGA fan base pretty demoralized.

That malaise lasting the rest of this season and translating into more empty seats is a distinct possibility.

Richt is right that there are games still to be played and history has shown the Gamecocks are prone to stumble down the stretch. So they certainly could wind up losing two and opening the door for the Dawgs to return to the SEC Championship game if Georgia wins out (though at this point the SEC East playing out exactly the same way as last year seems to defy the odds).

And, of course, that would still be contingent on Georgia beating Florida, which at this juncture looks like a much bigger challenge than was envisioned six weeks ago.

Still, even if the Bulldogs somehow manage to make their way to Atlanta again, the prospect of facing the collegiate buzzsaw known as Alabama brings up visions of last year’s meeting with LSU. There’s a been there, done that feeling to that scenario.

Sure, a season with 10 or 11 wins is definitely preferable to what we went through in 2009-10, but if you’re not realistically playing for a championship, what galvanizes the fan base? What does Georgia have left to play for, if the Gamecocks win out? Finally beating Florida two years in a row for the first time in more than two decades?

It’s not like a win over anyone else on the schedule is going to excite Georgia fans (though losing to one of them probably would mark this as a train wreck of a season in its own right). If Georgia loses to Florida, say, and finishes 10-2, the result would likely be another non-BCS New Year’s Day bowl in Florida. I can hear the collective yawn from the Bulldog Nation now.

But hold on. What if Georgia does regroup, the offensive line improves, Todd Grantham’s defense finally decides to try living up to its offseason hype, and the Dawgs finally blow the Jacksonville jinx to smithereens and beat the Gators? Remember 2007? The Dawgs didn’t make it to the SEC championship, but they finished the season as one of the nation’s hottest teams, got a Sugar Bowl bid and wound up as the No. 2 team in the nation. I remember most Bulldog fans being pretty satisfied with that season. Who doesn’t like a postseason trip to New Orleans?

sugar bowl logoAt least one analyst, CBSsports.com’s Jerry Palm, sees the makings of a similar story this year. Palm has South Carolina winning the SEC East, falling to the Crimson Tide in Atlanta and winding up in that SEC Championship loser’s purgatory known as the Capitol One Bowl.

As for the Dawgs, he sees them beating Florida and finishing the season 11-1. With Alabama playing in the BCS title game, Palm forecasts the Sugar Bowl would take a one-loss Top 10 Georgia team as its SEC replacement to face the Big East champion.

That might sound unfair to Steve Spurrier and Gamecocks fans, but as Palm notes: “Bowls, the BCS games in particular, have a history of passing over teams that lost their league championship game if there is any other decent choice. Bowls fear that those fans, who just traveled to a neutral site game at the beginning of December and went home disappointed, might not venture out in as high of numbers a month later. 11-1 Georgia would qualify as a decent choice. In fact, the Bulldogs might even automatically qualify under BCS rules if they finish in the top 4 of the standings.”

No, it’s not the sort of championship the Bulldog Nation hungers for, but as football seasons go, such an outcome would be not too shabby.

So, yes, as Richt noted, the sun did come up Sunday, the Bulldogs “do still have an awful lot to play for” … and Georgia fans still have a team to cheer on to better days.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

407 comments Add your comment

Now sobered up

October 7th, 2012
10:39 pm

It was a catastrophe for Mark Richt’s future at Georgia.

BravesDawg14

October 7th, 2012
10:41 pm

I was there. and didnt say a single word after the second play of the game. so disappointed.

Now sobered up

October 7th, 2012
10:42 pm

The dogs have “an awful lot to play for”. The problem is they played awful.

Now sobered up

October 7th, 2012
10:46 pm

How can a top-5 team be so unprepared? Yes, Murray’s short, the receivers can’t catch, the line couldn’t block but this is squarely on the head coach and his 2 coordinators.

Pat

October 7th, 2012
10:47 pm

Last night was embarrassing. No doubt. But this team is good and is perfectly capable of running the table (except Bama in the Dome).

I support Coach Richt and think people that don’t should have their heads examined.

M

October 7th, 2012
10:49 pm

Winning the East by hoping others trip is not the way I want to see the Dawgs win it. How about actually beating a good team to earn it.

UGA Alum

October 7th, 2012
10:50 pm

Aaron Murray must have felt like a dog in heat the way he was chased and knocked around all night long.

LakeDawg

October 7th, 2012
10:52 pm

Sorry, I’m not buying in. I’ve had my fill.

UGA Alum

October 7th, 2012
10:52 pm

Pat, there’s no one standing in the way of them running the table save Florida. And we know what happens in Jacksonville 9′times out of 10.

funny...

October 7th, 2012
10:52 pm

Jon Gruden whatever he wants

funny...

October 7th, 2012
10:53 pm

Richt has fallen to Jim Donnan status, beat the cupcakes and lesser teams, lose to the big teams and lose in big games.

Matt

October 7th, 2012
10:53 pm

I would love nothing more than to see South Carolina run the table and take the east. What they do from there is their own prerogative, but I definitely don’t want to back door our way in the SEC Championship game. One year, not thrilled but ok, but back to back, there’s no pride in that.

ATLNative

October 7th, 2012
10:54 pm

I love the Dawgs but that was an epic fail. Every fan must admit they were afraid that would happen. SC is a very good team, but it should have been a 3 point game if coaching and motivation was equal. Simple as that. McGarity must feel the pain I hope.

Pat

October 7th, 2012
10:54 pm

I hear ya, Alum. Just saying we can get this straightened out.

funny...

October 7th, 2012
10:55 pm

Change happens when the alumni are finally sick of this mediocrity.

How Bobo is still a D1 OC is beyond me.

UGA Alum

October 7th, 2012
10:55 pm

Dogs probably will wind up losing to Florida and whatever bowl opponent they play. Shades of 2011. Beat weak teams and collapse against good ones.

DAWG with two bags over head

October 7th, 2012
10:56 pm

Expecting a similar beatdown from FL. Bill, you were right on point at the start of the article, but it appears you took a great big swig of Richt Koolaide near the end of the article. Several seasons past a time for a change. 0-10 is not worth $3 million/year. Total embarrassed by this coaching staff, on national TV no less.

dawggirl

October 7th, 2012
11:00 pm

Bill, when fans take things into their own hands, they need a reality check. I hope that the police arrest the ones that vandalized Christian Robinson’s and Aaron Murray’s house. Completely classless. I’m not even sure what to say. This fanbase is being ripped to shreds all over social media, and they don’t even care. Disgusting.

DAWG with two bags over head

October 7th, 2012
11:01 pm

Good point UGA Alum, should also be expecting a bowl game beatdown. Dawgs will likely mail it in a la the Liberty Bowl.

Macclenny_dawg

October 7th, 2012
11:04 pm

Fact is a lot of us have known for years Richt is not gonna lead us to a national championship. The games we win are not because of coaching its because of our talent is just better. But put a team with 1 notch lower of talent and we lose. Richt would make a good nfl coach but college games are won on emotion and momentum. Richt has no emotion. These are college kids who are starving to show emotion but Richt want let them show it. He has even toned Grantham down. Grantham sent no blitzes to try and fool the offense. Bobo well should have been fired 2 years ago. Gata left years ago. Because we get after nobody!!! For most of us fans are new slogan is SICK OF RICHT!!!

SSIgator

October 7th, 2012
11:07 pm

It is one thing to speculate as fans @ the state of UGA’s football program, but when a national broadcasting crew calls it out during the broadcast on tv, that is a pretty good indicator of where things stand.

SAWFLEAFLICKER

October 7th, 2012
11:09 pm

Could happen finishing season with one to two loses. And then the same thing next year. Just think…only 2 to 4 loses for two full seasons. Not bad…that is how it is with CMR. Is what it is!
I do not mind losing, but we got whipped. There is history of this, but good record.
Is this good nuff for ya’ll?

Chris

October 7th, 2012
11:10 pm

We finished 6-7 in 2010, and even though we finished 10-4 last year, we beat the teams we were supposed to, and lost to the best teams we played, even though 3 of the 4 were not as talented as us. Again, this year we will probably finish the regular season 10-2 after we loose to Florida, and again every team we will beat will be mediocre and will not finish in the top 25.

If Georgia fans are fine with this, then you are what is wrong with Georgia. We, as fans should demand better results, and I can promise you Mark Richt will never take us there.

dawggirl

October 7th, 2012
11:12 pm

So go root for Alabama then. Bye.

SSIgator

October 7th, 2012
11:15 pm

dawggirl -

Hey maybe it was the altitude. Give Al Gore a call and check it out.

Macclenny_dawg

October 7th, 2012
11:17 pm

Those of you koolaid drinkers that want to blame Murray because he hasn’t beat anybody and he is 2 short. Who has kept him the starting Qb??????? The same person that refuses to name a special team coach. The same person who let Martinez stay around 2 long. The same person who let’s Bobo call plays!!! We might not find a coach that can do any better maybe even worse. But maybe just maybe we might find one better than Saban!!! I would take my chances!!! SICK OF RICHT!!!

dawggirl

October 7th, 2012
11:19 pm

LakeDawg

October 7th, 2012
11:24 pm

dawggirl

You need to grow up.

Uga

October 7th, 2012
11:27 pm

All mt GT friends called me laughing. At least we are not Georgia Tech!

Iloveuga

October 7th, 2012
11:35 pm

Hey-uga fans are right up there with Alabama fans, Kentucky fans now (think bill curry).
That’s great.
Stay classy, uga fans!
Go Dawgs!

Natureboy809

October 7th, 2012
11:40 pm

I love the way you list all of the things we still have to play for “if this, this, and this happen”. UGA’s basketball team will win a NC if “this, this, and this” happen. I will win the lottery if “this, this, and this” happen. “These” aren’t happening. I have no idea what anyone has seen from our offensive line to think that we can do anything against Florida.

Jon

October 7th, 2012
11:42 pm

Well folks. It could be a lot worse. We could be coached by someone like Ray again. Mark my word. Loads of good will come out of this sorry losing effort. Be happy we have the kind of program that we have. We could be like Mississippi,Vanderbilt,Missouri or Arkansas.

GADevildawg

October 7th, 2012
11:43 pm

Correction…UGA played in the Outback (vs Mich St) not Cap One Bowl….SC played in that bowl against Nebraska. I realize that you were pointing out Jerry Palms prediction but didn’t know if it was Jerry who was wrong about who played in what bowl.

Dawgs

October 7th, 2012
11:44 pm

Natureboy-i love the way you say “we”-i wasn’t aware you were actually a member of the team.

SSIgator

October 7th, 2012
11:48 pm

Natureboy -

Ric Flair is still alive?

Ed

October 7th, 2012
11:50 pm

We’re not man enough to beat Florida.

GATA= Get After That @ss

October 7th, 2012
11:51 pm

Tech fans are laughing? Wevr not that bad

Dawgs88

October 7th, 2012
11:52 pm

DroopyDawg

October 7th, 2012
11:55 pm

Prayers going out to A. Murray and his family in this time of need and crisis for them….shame on the coaches…0-10 against ranked opponents…I think what some people fail to realize is that most UGA fans aren’t down on the players…we realize they are 17-21 yr old kids…but the coaches should know better and lead by example…Mark Richt looks like his face is paralyzed from Botox on the sidelines at games….and then he actually jokes and laughs at the post game interview??? Wow, just wow…if I was a CEO making over 3 million a year and laughed after my company’s stock collapsed because of a bad business decision I made, I wouldn’t laugh, but hey, that’s just me…..anyway…again I’ll say I hope Mr. Murray the best and will keep him in my prayers…GO DAWGS.

Hairy Dawg

October 8th, 2012
12:02 am

Obama vs. Romney = 2008 Georgia vs. 2012 Georgia

Both of ‘em are bums.

x

October 8th, 2012
12:16 am

Where is my post? Youins are screwing with my koolaid.

x

October 8th, 2012
12:17 am

So I cant post my CMRPONG comments. unAmerican.

Tim Worley

October 8th, 2012
12:30 am

Yep, dogs end up in another mediocre bowl game and lay down to another mediocre opponent. I think we have to realize UGA gets a lot of mileage out of their history and not really their present. This was not a top five team and barely a top 20 one. UGA is a mid-level SEC team and we better get accustomed to beating GA Tech as our seasonal highlight. I just hope we can stay good enough to do that…

ARdawg

October 8th, 2012
12:34 am

Bill
Looking ahead to a 11-1 season is about as optimistic and lame as you could possibly get. We just got our collective azzes handed to us in THE most embarrassing fashion. This column should have been about the work to be done to beat Kentucky which, at this point certainly isn’t a given. There is nothing beyond Kentucky. Yes, we are that bad

Tim Worley

October 8th, 2012
12:34 am

Enter your comments here

Tim Worley

October 8th, 2012
12:35 am

Also, why late in the game after the beating had been administered did I see Number 9 celebrating after a USC receiver dropped a pass as if he had actually done something? Geez…

rlm

October 8th, 2012
12:35 am

Better slogan is, “Ditch Richt”

SSIgator

October 8th, 2012
12:44 am

ARdawg -

Well, I see the KoolAid has worn off – welcome back to earth.

Dawg Man

October 8th, 2012
12:52 am

I am a UGA alum and I am sick of this. We need to move in a new direction and ditch Richt, Bobo, and Grantham. Being embarrassed on National Television year in and year out has got to stop!

old school

October 8th, 2012
12:59 am

Can’t wait to hear CMRs comments on his radio show tonight or will it be damage control spin with an hour of kool aid commentary.