No way Georgia can lose four games? Sure about that?

I understand the process. I get paid to give an opinion, and you’re welcome — encouraged, even — to respond. Usually you tend to agree if I say something nice about a team you like and disagree if I don’t. I grasp that part. But here’s something I don’t get:

The widespread assertion that there’s no way — no way! — Georgia can lose four regular-season games this fall.

I picked Georgia to lose four games. I didn’t do it for shock value. I did it because I looked at the composition of the 2009 Bulldogs and their schedule. You might view well the team more highly, and that’s your prerogative. But to say I’m absolutely crazy — and one or two of you did — for daring to suggest as much made me think, “Am I really so nuts?”

So I thought some more, and here’s what I decided: Not nuts, at least not on this topic.

The day after writing my little forecast, I picked up the Sporting News college yearbook at Borders. I noted that the magazine — the best of its kind, in my longstanding estimation — had Georgia ranked 15th in the nation. (I think that’s a tad high, but not unreasonable.) And then I noticed this:

Florida is ranked No. 1; LSU is ranked No. 8; Oklahoma State is ranked No. 10; Georgia Tech is ranked No. 11. That makes four teams on Georgia’s schedule rated ahead of Georgia and, just as an aside, those were the four games I picked the Bulldogs to lose. Silly me!

Could Georgia win one or two of those? Sure it could. It could also lose all four. I’d also note this is the first time since 2006 Georgia has entered a season with a new quarterback, and how many regular-season games did those Bulldogs lose? Why, four. (Vanderbilt and Kentucky included.)

Do I think Joe Cox is better than Joe Tereshinski III? Yes, I do. But I also think it’s a tough task for a quarterback to make his first start in almost three years on the road against a Top 10 opponent. (FYI, this is only the second time since 1992 the Bulldogs have opened anywhere but Sanford Stadium.)

How many games will Georgia lose?

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I hold Mark Richt in high esteem, and it wouldn’t shock me if he got more from this team. (After the G-Day game I wrote that Georgia would go 9-3, which I rethought after looking harder at the schedule.) I don’t believe the 2009 Bulldogs will be an embarrassment — indeed, I expect them to play harder than the 2008 team did — and in 2010 Georgia should be outstanding.

But this year I look at the Bulldogs and think, “Good but not great. Good but maybe overscheduled. Good enough to win eight.” And lose four. I could well be wrong. (I often am, as you know.) But I don’t think I’m insane.

Then again, if you are crazy, aren’t you usually the last to know?

197 comments Add your comment

The Dust

June 2nd, 2009
3:04 pm

The pups in Athens will be lucky to win 6 games. GOOOO JACKETS!!!

Bernie

June 2nd, 2009
3:30 pm

When “the dust” settles….he’ll realize his algorithms are off. Probably one of those geeks driving around with a “Year One” window decal….

Dawgs win three of those four, but lose one more.

Gotta go finalize travel plans to Stillwater…while “the dust” decides which four game package to buy at historic Grant Field. It comes with free hot dogs! Woohoo!

Capt Caveman

June 2nd, 2009
3:42 pm

I saw where Foxsports has a top 10 list of teams that wont win the BCS and Georgia was ranked number 2 on the list due to it’s schedule. Oklahoma was the only team ranked higher. (If indeed it was done in order) I want my Dawgs to win but cold hard facts say that a 9-3 record would be a good season for them at this point.

They could surprise the nation and win the division with a shot at the SEC and BCS if they play lights out. And you never know, don’t they usually beat Florida in the years when they aren’t supposed to have a chance??

Well, anyway, here’s to me DAWGS !!

Go Georgia !!!!!!!

Rambling Wreck

June 2nd, 2009
3:42 pm

Not only CAN UGA lose four games. They WILL lose five. I bet they lose two out of the first three, regroup, get their annual spanking in Jacksonville and last but not least, surrender 500 yards rushing and lose 45-22 to Tech! Can anyone say Music City?

Rabnnod

June 2nd, 2009
3:50 pm

GA is going to be lucky to even be in 3/4 games. They simply out scored people last year while giving up an average of 25.6 points per game. With the departure of the starting QB/RB do you really think they can repeat that performance? Is their D that much better? No and No. They lose 4 easy. If not more. First year starting for your QB + questionable D = recipe for disaster. They should spend more time worrying about next years in state recruits that are slipping away.

1eyedJack

June 2nd, 2009
3:52 pm

I’m a ramblin’ wreck from Georgia Tech, and a helluva yellow queer.

Ted Striker

June 2nd, 2009
3:56 pm

I don’t know how many games UGA will win or lose but I hereby pledge to tailgate with maximum intensity — regardless of final score.

All Dawgs Are Butt Lickers

June 2nd, 2009
3:59 pm

I’m a butt licker! Woof! Woof! Woof! Go Dawgs!

CKDawg65

June 2nd, 2009
4:02 pm

If history is a precedent, those calling for the 5, 6, and 7 losses for UGA may better break out their history books and put away the paraphernalia. Last time UGA lost more than 4 games in a season? 1996…with Jim Donnan coaching a cast of Ray Goff leftovers. As for 4 losses? Yes I think that is a possibility, but then again so is 1 or 2. 10-3 is the probability…and those in gold better enjoy the first 11 months of 2009, because order WILL be restored at Historic Grant bandbox on Thanksgiving weekend. You better worry about your defense that gave up 80 points in the last two games (with a bunch of so-called NFL caliber studs) before focusing on our issues.

Saint Simons

June 2nd, 2009
4:04 pm

45-42!!!!!!!! hahhahhahahahahahahahaha

Ben

June 2nd, 2009
4:04 pm

Seriously, Tech fans, shut the hell up. You guys have won exactly 1 game in 8 friggin years against us. Win your conference just one time for a change, hell, just be relevant for once. You can hate us all you want and make all the outlandish, BS predictions your little hearts desire but in the end you are still inferior. And we’ll prove that once again by beating the piss out of your urine stained uniforms in that toilet you call a stadium in 2009. Cheers bugs, enjoy your victory, savor it.

Captain

June 2nd, 2009
4:06 pm

It is simply amazing what crawls out from under rocks following a win by GT over Georgia. The GT supporters, who never attend games unless of course there are only 22,000 of you, win one game in 7 years you pull the old hats and shirts out of storage, put the stickers on the car, declare yourselves a factor in the world of big time football, and start running your mouths. Christmas came early for you geeks in 2008, Sat following Thanksgiving. The game was more of a gift than an earned win, nonetheless it was a win. The gift we gave you was quickly forgotten by that Chick fil a Bowl vs LSU when the REAL GT re-surfaced. Keep it up boys, I understand, you only get to do this 3 or 4 times every 25 yrs, about as often as you build snowmen in January in Atlanta.

d

June 2nd, 2009
4:12 pm

Its all about winning the battle in the trenches, which we will do better than in ‘08

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2009
4:13 pm

Of course it’s possible. But history, and thats Mark Richt history, says no way Jose’.

Plus, we should have one heck of a line. Whats else can you ask for?

wawel78

June 2nd, 2009
4:15 pm

I’m a UGA fan. I don’t think 4 losses is unreasonable. I’m hoping it won’t happen especially since Richt has done such a good job but it wouldn’t surprise me. My biased thought is this team will be better than next year because of expectation and finish 10-2 or 9-3 but 4 or 5 losses could very well prove to be a more accurate number. Sorry guys, you can now get back to funny gay comments.

Jeff

June 2nd, 2009
4:18 pm

No way Tech is a top 15 team. UGA can easily lose 4 next year. In fact, in the SEC ANY team could easily lose 4 in a year. Its going to come down to 3 things:
1. Joe Cox
2. Pass rush
3. Running back production

If we get these 3 things to perform well, we could very well only lose 1 game. If not, we will definetly lose at least 4. We will see. OK ST is not a guaranteed loss. Dawgs will be up and healthy. Its going to be fun though.

38-3 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2009
4:18 pm

The Dust said “The pups in Athens will be lucky to win 6 games. GOOOO JACKETS!!!”

Haha, so you agree we will be undefeated in our home games this year. It’s good to see your coming to your senses.

voIman

June 2nd, 2009
4:24 pm

I have condos for sale if anyone is interested.

Mark Bradley

June 2nd, 2009
4:27 pm

OK, Volman, I confess. I laughed.

PMC

June 2nd, 2009
4:32 pm

Oklahoma State is overrated. We’ve seen this game before Mark.. If Georgia is healthy Georgia is a better team…they just are. Much of any season depends on health preseason rankings are largely based on last year and with LSU I’d imaging getting rid of that guy they had under center last season. Florida is the only team on the schedule I don’t think Georgia has more than a good chance to beat.

They smashed LSU last year with a wounded team… we should worry why? Georgia Tech was beaten 7 years in a row and they won by 3 pts last year and they lost 3 tremendous players on thier defensive front…. again… the worry because of what?

Florida is the only probable L on that schedule if they are healthy and play to their talent level. Period.

They are more talented than every other team you are projecting as a loss except LSU.

PMC

June 2nd, 2009
4:33 pm

I think Georgia Tech could win the ACC this year. I’m still not concerned if I’m a Georgia fan… I’d expect to win that every year.

PMC

June 2nd, 2009
4:36 pm

How many times under Mark Richt have they lost 4 games?

Mark Bradley

June 2nd, 2009
4:38 pm

They lost four games in 2001 counting the Music City Bowl to Boston College, and they lost four regular-season games in 2006.

give me a break

June 2nd, 2009
4:42 pm

I like being in more of an under dog role than a high expectations position like last year. We seem to do better.

I know that expectations are high every year but we seem to do best when least expected.

With all of our losses to graduation and early exits we still do have much talent left on the roster.

Granted many have to step up or mature but still it could be an interesting year. I like how one commentor put it. We have all those high school all american rbs but maybe not one start college one. Hopefully by committee works. Another point is just getting the injured players back is like another recruiting bonanza. Go Dawgs!

TybeeDawg

June 2nd, 2009
4:43 pm

The triple option will not be nearly as effective the second time around the ACC and against UGA.

wawel78

June 2nd, 2009
4:43 pm

I will say that I expect the loss of Stafford and Moreno to help them because they won’t be a distraction and they can focus on being a team.

Mark Bradley

June 2nd, 2009
4:45 pm

I kind of agree about the team-building part, Wawel. But clearly the Bulldogs won’t be as talented without those two. How could they?

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 2nd, 2009
4:49 pm

Mark, most of the UGA fans are idiots. You have lived here long enough to know that.

They will have 4 loses by the time GT beats them down again.

That’s why they pay 1 million dollars to the cupcakes they schedule every year. Got to get those easy wins. They thought they were getting another cupcake with OSU when they scheduled them.

wawel78

June 2nd, 2009
4:50 pm

Right on, Ramble On. Maybe one day Gardner Webb will answer the call for a date with the lowly bulldawgs.

Chop Suey

June 2nd, 2009
4:50 pm

The title of this blog, “No way Georgia can lose four games? Sure about that?” is reminiscent of a favorite Chop Chick blog from way back in April . . . but still posted.

Chop Chick – A Fan’s View of the Atlanta Braves Can one disastrous inning overshadow two great games?
1:04 pm April 9, 2009, by Chop Chick

Throw some color on the page and maybe it will pass. Did Chop Chick not survive the cuts? Did her editor get the axe, too? Do you clowns ever look at how dated the pages have become? The answer is a new Chop Suey blog. I will replace Chop Chick and will post relevant blogs daily. If I were posting today the topic would be, “will the Braves still be in it when the AJC folds?” Oh, the print edition comes folded, right? Never mind.

Mac

June 2nd, 2009
4:52 pm

Joe Cox’s Bulldogs could be like John Lastinger’s. That’s what I’m going to hope for anyway.

CHOKE...THE DRINK OF THE UGA DAWGS

June 2nd, 2009
4:54 pm

It’s a known fact that UGA Mutts always choke!

Mac

June 2nd, 2009
4:54 pm

There are a lot of Chinese dishes I like, but I hate chop suey.

Chop Suey

June 2nd, 2009
4:58 pm

Mark, I mostly post with Jeff but I thought I’d pay you a visit. I am looking to replace Chop Chick. It will be less costly to use me (only have to change Chick to Suey) than to hire a real journalist. Do you think Kovach might take over for Chop Chick? I heard he’s back in town. If not, I stand ready. Julia is on board but I want approval from my peers – and that would be you and Jeff. We can be the three musketeers. Bradley, Schultz, and Suey. Might even open a law office. If things go like I expect it will soon be Suey and (take your pick). Have a nice day.

Sanford Drive

June 2nd, 2009
5:10 pm

The Dawgs could absolutely lose 4 games next year. I have to admit, I’ll be happy with only 3 losses this year. I think OK State and UF will beat us, and we will also lose to another SEC team. Of course, we could lose to Tech as well, though for some reason, we tend to play better on the road.

Cap

June 2nd, 2009
5:12 pm

I think the team will play harder this year than last but Willie Martinez will find a way to lose at least two games on his own. Georgia gives up 45 to Tech who then gets shut down by LSU in the bowl game and what happens? Let’s see, Willie keeps his job and LSU says goodbye to their entire defensive staff. Until he is gone, UGA will be a second tier team in the ultra competitive SEC. Four losses is certainly not out of the question.

Tech75

June 2nd, 2009
5:23 pm

Mark, you got it right. Can’t refute the logic.

And heaven help them if Cox or Green get injured.

I would also remind all those who think that seeing the GT offense last year will help its opponents this year – last year we were just learning it, we were slow and uncertain in executing it, and basically ran only a few plays – and it still was highly successful.

This year, it will be executed faster and more crisply, with much better A-back blocking, and CPJ will be able to open up the playbook a little more.

How long did he run that offense at Ga Southern? How many people stopped it, regardless of how many times they saw it, saw films of it, etc.?

Do your homework. This is a great offense, and by the time you hit Atlanta you won’t be sleeping at night….you will be quivering Chihuahuas…then what will your excuse be when we run up 600 yds in offense on you? Your only hope is that we have poor ball security, or that you score a touchdown every possession….because we just might!

But, that’s why they play the games, right? I can’t wait!

I presume that if you’ve already lost 3 or 4 games by that time you will already have fired Martinez…

Jeff

June 2nd, 2009
5:30 pm

How many teams did CPJ play that played the same defenses that GT has to play every year? 38-3! Thats what could happen any game GT steps on the field with that offense. 7-8 wins a year just like every other Tech team. Along with a loss to UGA.

Tech75

June 2nd, 2009
5:51 pm

Jeff, you don’t get it. At all.

CPJ had good but not superior talent at Ga Southern and beat all types of defenses with equivalent talent. Beat them like a drum. At Navy, he beat ND. With INFERIOR talent.

With well-executed blocking technique, even average talent can get superior athleticism on the ground, and that’s why this offense works.

GT has enough equivalent talent. You saw it last year. You’ll see it again this year. No one stopped the offense unless the offense stopped itself through bad execution, penalties, or poor ball security.

Da King

June 2nd, 2009
5:52 pm

We schedule cupcakes. Who da hell is Jacksonville State look at ur own schedule before criticizing ours. And Georgia will win 9 games at least and maybe 10 if we’re not bitten by the injury bug. With Trinton Sturdivant coming back we will control da line of scrimmage better and watch out for Carlton Thomas and Wayshaun Ealey at the runningbacks. And defense will be way better with Jeff Owens and Marcus Washington coming back.It going to be a normal good season ending with a bug stomping to finish the year off. Go Dawgs !!

Tech75

June 2nd, 2009
5:58 pm

Bug stomping, Duh King?

45-42.

And last year, we weren’t totally comfortable running the offense, still picking it up, still executing it too slowly.

It’ll be worse this year now that 90% of your last year’s offense is in the NFL…

Then what will you say? “We were hurt…” “The refs stole it…” “The dawg ate my playbook” “It’s Martinez’s fault”

“Waaaa”

Beat the rush! – start making your excuses now.

Sanford Drive

June 2nd, 2009
5:58 pm

Tech75,

Maybe your offense was awesome. Or maybe our defense was terrible. Or perhaps it was a little of both. It can easily be argued either way. I guess we’ll know for sure after a handful of games under CPJ.

Gravy Train

June 2nd, 2009
6:00 pm

Mark,

I don’t think you’re crazy. Most of your projections are logical to some degree. The thing is, and any engineer knows this, there are always unknown and random variables that go into the equation. For example: Does Jeff Owens provide enough force in the middle of the line to free up the ends? If he does than Georgia’s defense will be much better. Second example: Does Joe Cox’s patience result in fewer offensive turnovers? If so, then Georgia will greatly improve time of possession and field position ratios. That last stat increases even more by being able to force touch-backs on kick-offs.
Just curious as to if any of this has been noted by you before making predictions.

Bob

June 2nd, 2009
6:22 pm

Mark: Everybody wants to talk about MS and KM but let’s talk about where things really get done… The offensive line. UGA will have Sturdy back and lots of experience. They will give Cox time to throw and open running lanes for whoever is back there. Similar to Bama last year. And please, Oklahoma State has no defense. The DAWGS will run all over them, book it. And back to the UGA O-line… doesn’t Tech have to replace most of the D-line this year? Tech can run if they don’t have the ball.

Houdawg

June 2nd, 2009
6:25 pm

Could we lose four ? Yep, it could happen ….. or we might win 9 – 10. The whole key starts in Stillwater ….. if we get to 4 – 0 , it could be a great season. If not , all bets are off.

You Tech fans are absolutely pathetic ….. if we could switch SEC & ACC schedules …. you’d only WIN 4 games, MAYBE. With your little ACC sched, we’d win 10(or more) … guaranteed.

DirtyDawg

June 2nd, 2009
6:47 pm

I am genuinely amazed…well maybe not amazed but amused that Bradley would have fallen for the hype of Paul Johnson and climbed aboard the GT bandwagon. True to form, Paul’s offense will become less and less effective as teams decide they have to take the time to practice against it often enough – even in pre-season – in order to employ the discipline and athleticism to stop it. It can be done, and I’m told easily by folks that should know, and as demonstrated by LSU in last year’s Peach Bowl (they don’t pay me any money so I’ll call it what I want).

True, we could lose four, or maybe more, but Tech won’t be one of ‘em. Shoot, by the end of that game next November, the West Stands will be back to saying ‘I told you so about this gimmick offense’…

larryhmunsonthe3rd

June 2nd, 2009
6:51 pm

I thinhk your still crazy and you drink to much

Mac

June 2nd, 2009
6:56 pm

How naive. Did practice help the foes of Alabama, Nebraska or Oklahoma in the days of Bryant, Osborne and Switzer? No. Those were great football coaches who won running the offense they wanted to. Paul Johnson is a dang good coach and he’s going to beat people – a lot of them – running whatever he wants to.

He’s one of those who could take the other coaches players and beat him with them.

TechDan

June 2nd, 2009
7:04 pm

“True to form, Paul’s offense will become less and less effective as teams decide they have to take the time to practice against it often enough – even in pre-season – in order to employ the discipline and athleticism to stop it.”

Congratulations. You have somehow managed to completely disregard all of the historical stats surround Paul Johnson and his preferred offense.

Really. Good job.

Ken

June 2nd, 2009
7:04 pm

This schedule is downright scary! There isn’t a single layup in the first 8 games. I can’t remember ever seeing one through eight being tougher.