The Hot Button: Will UGA win a BCS title under Mark Richt?

What once seemed inevitable remains an unanswered question. In 2002 or 2004 or even 2008, Mark Richt was primed to guide his program to a national championship. But he’s about to enter his ninth season as Georgia’s coach and the Bulldogs haven’t gotten there yet, and only once in 11 years has the BCS title been taken by a coach who’d been in place that long — Bobby Bowden of Florida State in 1999.

That Richt is a good coach is beyond dispute. He has won at least 10 games in six of the past seven seasons. He has led Georgia to three SEC East titles and two conference championships. He recruits at the highest level and just saw two Bulldogs taken among the top dozen in the NFL draft. Georgia has finished in the top 10 of at least one major poll five times and in top five twice. But it hasn’t won, or even played for, the BCS title.

Last season was supposed to be the breakthrough. Georgia had finished No. 2 in the AP poll after the 2007 season and was ranked No. 1 last August. It wound up 10-3, and if ever 10-3 could be considered a rank disappointment this was the time. At season’s end the coach made much of the 10-win season in light of so many injuries — and the Bulldogs did have a bunch — but for the first time under Richt it was possible to look on UGA and think, “That team wasn’t very well coached.”

And now Richt has a new quarterback (and figures to have another new one in 2010) and his team has been given almost no chance to win the East, where Florida reigns, and the question occurs: Have we seen the best of this gifted coach? Or is Richt, who has done much already, capable of more?

To be fair, Richt hasn’t failed so much as he has been unlucky. LSU won the 2003 BCS crown with one loss a year after one loss cost Georgia a berth in the championship game. LSU won the 2007 title with two losses after emerging from a league that also housed Georgia, which likewise had two losses. Sometimes you have the right team at the wrong time.

Will Georgia win a BCS title under Mark Richt?

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But last year’s glaring issues — the rash of penalties and the defensive collapses in Georgia’s three losses — have made some among us wonder if Richt is too nice to finish No. 1. He has vowed to be stricter regarding discipline this time, and it must be noted Georgia didn’t face the same problems with players being arrested this summer as last. And he has promoted John Jancek to co-defensive coordinator alongside Willie Martinez, whom Richt has never once criticized.

Still, it’s worth noting that Steve Spurrier needed six seasons at Florida to win a national championship, and it didn’t happen until he hired Bob Stoops from Kansas State to coordinate the Gator defense. And Mack Brown took Texas to the BCS title in his eighth season in Austin only after importing Gene Chizik from Auburn to lead the Longhorn D. Something similar might need to happen for Georgia and Richt to take the final step.

But would Richt, for whom family and fraternity are of massive import, ever demote or fire Martinez?  Is keeping a longtime friend who’s a solid coach — solid as opposed to inspired — more important to him than taking a risk that might (or might not) lead to a greater reward?

We know Mark Richt can coach football. What we still don’t know after eight years of watching is whether he’s pragmatic enough to be a national championship coach.

446 comments Add your comment

brewdawg

July 30th, 2009
6:30 am

I think you answered your own question in paragraph 5. I don’t think there is any doubt UGA can and will have more years similar to ‘02 and ‘07. And, eventually, the cards will fall into place.

Why am I up so early? For whatever reason, I can never sleep on my off day. Go figure.

saint simons

July 30th, 2009
6:33 am

((((( 45 42 ))))) hahahahahahaha

Woodstock Dawg

July 30th, 2009
6:39 am

saint simons, ((((7 out of 8)))) hahahahahahahah

brewdawg

July 30th, 2009
6:39 am

Congrats on the victory saint simons.

god and greyhound

July 30th, 2009
6:43 am

Rickt will never even sniff the bcs title. he will catch the bus after his fourth loss in a row to tech in 2011. dont miss the bus rickt.

who is asher allen?

July 30th, 2009
6:48 am

No natl titles for mr richt, but the man is a mighty fine dresser.

Bruce Weeks

July 30th, 2009
6:50 am

Will all you Tech nerds please put your sliderules where the sun doesn’t shine. You win ONE GAME and you want to be crowned national champions. Maybe one of you will cross a street at the North Avenue Trade School and be creamed by a bus. Oh, what thrills my heart. Get a life!

Bill

July 30th, 2009
6:55 am

There is debate over a couple of years ago when UGA did not get selected for the BCS Chanp game. Right or wrong, he had us that close. Dooley went much more than nine years.

This is a stupid question – Jounalism at it’s worst, the Jouornal – Constitution at it’s norm.

SuperB

July 30th, 2009
6:57 am

Mark Richt is a first-clss coach. All he needs to do is have a first-class defensive coach, which Willie Martinez is not. Had Brian Van Gorder stayed at Georgia we would have won a national championship. But Martinez is not that strong and neither is our defensive backs coach. It was obvious in the GT debacle that our DB’s didn’t know how to tackle.

BDAWG

July 30th, 2009
7:00 am

We were a dropped pass away from being undefeated in 2002 and a turnover away from being a one loss team in 2007. If either of those two things happen there is at least one BCS banner hanging at Sanford Stadium, possibly two. Everything had to fall perfectly into place for LSU to be in the N.C. game in 07 and for FLA to be there in 2006. So it is all how the cards fall and who is in the right place at the right time and who loses when and to whom they lose to. That being said, I am extremely excited and anxious for Sept 5 and everything that is in store for UGA football in 09. I think we have one heck of a leader (how many arrest have we had this off-season) who is ready to show what he can do. GO DAWGS and go to hell St. Simons

DawgSpanky!

July 30th, 2009
7:01 am

The only way we will ever have a shot at a measely second MNC, is if we can pay Herschel again to come back and play for us. Maybe we could have some plastic surgery performed on him (before OTaxya taxes this too), so the lazy fools at the ncaa won’t notice? Has anyone seen Coach Richt lately sportin’ his sexy short-shorts around Athens? He’s so dreamy!!!

SickandTired

July 30th, 2009
7:02 am

Ahh Bruce, we’re living in an advanced society now, they don’t use slide rules just like Herschel isn’t at Georgia any more. Tech has won a championship since Georgia won one. Your hated Gators have won three and are poised to win more. LSU has won two, Alabama & Tennessee have won one as well. Face it, you’ve got the makings of a championship caliber school and deserve to win multiple championships but Mark Richt isn’t the guy to get the job done. He’s soft and doesn’t have the killer instinct of Meyer, Saban and yes even Les Miles. Be happy in the fact you’ve got a good solid program….just like Wisconsin. Georgia: The Wisconsin of the SEC. Nothing to be ashamed of but certainly enough to be disappointed in.

GatorBait

July 30th, 2009
7:04 am

no but UGA fans seem to be so focused on SEC championships that they don’t care. expecatations aren’t so high for this program. UGA fans used to talk so much smack about winning sec championships and us gator fans always laughed about this. now it is even more humorous. go gators and no you won’t even be winning sec champioships for quite a while.

NEGACommunityCollege

July 30th, 2009
7:07 am

Weak Bruce- The intellectually superior grads from Tech don’t use sliderules anymore. From your jealous comments, it sounds like you need to “Get a life!”.

Sowegadawg

July 30th, 2009
7:08 am

Richt would have a better shot if he would fire Martinez and hire Will Muschamp away from the Longhorns and make him the Head Coach in waiting. Bring the dawg home!!

Dawg4Life

July 30th, 2009
7:09 am

(((( 7 of 8 )))) (((( 38 3))))) hahahahahahahahah.

dd

July 30th, 2009
7:14 am

Saint married one of tech’s ugly women

Dawg4Life

July 30th, 2009
7:16 am

They problem with Tech fans is low standards. Georgia wins 10 games, but looses 3 and we are “upset”. Tech wins 9 games, gets humiliated in their own backyard at a bowl game and you guys talk smack. Your “smart” coach is so good he goes for it against LSU from inside his own 30 on 4th and 4 and runs a fake punt with a defensive end and then yells at his players as they exit. What a coach! No defense whatsoever either. I hate idiots like St. Simons who post daily. Tech’s fan base sucks so bad they have had to start having rap concerts at halftime to fill the stands so people wouldn’t notice they horrible program on the field. When is the last time Tech won 10 games? hahahahahahahah, idiot!

mitch

July 30th, 2009
7:17 am

Dear Mr. MB–one of the nice things about Richt is he’s so nice. He believes in God and stuff like that. Know what I mean? Probably prays all the time. He also knows how to celebrate. Like in end zones. Your pal, Mitch

bull-gator

July 30th, 2009
7:18 am

To make it to the BCS championship game a team needs to be not only good in all phases of the game, but lucky as well. Luck is the wild card. UGA has all the tools in place, they just need a bit of good luck. You never know what might happen…

god and greyhound

July 30th, 2009
7:19 am

Fumbles and close games go both ways. like in 2007 when uga needed a lucky fumble to beat vanderbilt, and the their players proceded to dance all over the logo at midfield. a program changing win to be sure

DAMN!!

July 30th, 2009
7:21 am

what a dumb blog…all you are trying to do is stir up the UGA haters (you know the ones: jealous to the bone, eager to wake up at 6 am to post on a UGA blog). Georgia is doing just fine and will continue to do so. There are atleast 100 college football programs who would die to be where UGA is year after year. The chips will fall into place soon enough.

Not Disappointed

July 30th, 2009
7:21 am

<————- Loyal Jacket and Alumni.

Coach Mark Richt is an excellent coach; moreover as a person he’s hard not to like. That being said, I feel he will have to make a change at Defensive cordinator if things doesn’t improve this fall.

It doesn’t matter if you like Georgia Bulldogs or not. They have had top tier teams that should’ve come away with a shot a the title……
enough said.

See you in November pups!!!! Ramblin Wreck!!!!!!!

Frank M. Davis, Jr.

July 30th, 2009
7:22 am

What an idiotic waste of newsprint and web space. Is it Bradley’s job to report the news and comment on it? Or, is it to “stir the pot” in hopes of stirring up circulation/readership? Are you becoming the Rush Limbaugh of sports columnists? Richt has had the Dawgs in the national conversation more than once. That consistency will continue as long as Richt is in Athens. Scores of schools across the nation would be absolutely ecstatic to have a coach that positions his team to be in the BCS conversation more often than not.

G 7 G is a jealous idiot

July 30th, 2009
7:26 am

Uh, dummy, UGA did not dance on the Vandy logo. How many times does this have to be explained to you? Coutu’s FG was kicked from near midfield and the players were just celebrating the made, winning FG. I can recall Tech players going absolutely giddy after the Gardner Webb missed FG at the end of the game last year. I know that if there were a GW logo at midfield, all of your long headed players would have danced a jig on it!

FLDAWG

July 30th, 2009
7:28 am

We need to just not mind the Tech fans. Let’s let them enjoy this game since it was the only game of meaning that they have won this decade. Let CPJ have one more good season ad you can count on him jumping ship. Nothing personnel, it’s just the fact that if Tech can’t even sell out their own stadium, how are they going to keep a high profile coach there? Tech is a mid level program in the ACC and is used for a stepping stone for bigger and better programs. Enjoy the trend guys, get a coach you hate and lose 7 in a row, get a coach you love, win a few, and count on him bouncing when the big boy programs come calling.

78 DAWG

July 30th, 2009
7:30 am

WAKE UP! We weren’t that good in 07! We “upset” the gayturds when they were 8-4, beat bad awbarn and ners, then Hawaii…….
Was that really a great run, sacking a bad Hawaii team 10 times. Who did we beat last year, that was any good? Martinez better get it right this year. With these recruits beating the bottom half ain’t good enough.

Frankly

July 30th, 2009
7:31 am

Kind of a dumb article meant to stir the pot I suppose.

Brock D

July 30th, 2009
7:33 am

Georgia has articles about disappointment from not winning the bcs. GT? Let’s write an article on their inability to win the Peach Bowl.

THWG

July 30th, 2009
7:34 am

BDWAG, you’re an idiot and ignorant of recent football history. u[sic]ga couldn’t have gotten into the national title game in 2002 because there was AN UNDEFEATED OHIO STATE and an UNDEFEATED MIAMI in the spots above them, who happened to play the best BCS title game other than 2005. you’re gonna tell me u[sic]ga had a better team than either ohio state or miami that year? and they didn’t go in 2007 because they didn’t win the SEC title.

u[sic]ga is indeed the wisconsin of the SEC. they think they’re bigger than they actually are. they also seem to forget that there’s this little business about having to get past FLORIDA every year in order to have any chance of fulfilling those pipe dreams. hey u[sic]ga fans – try winning your division before even dreaming about SEC and national titles.

I'll take Richt

July 30th, 2009
7:38 am

It will happen. A national championship is inevitable. Richt will learn that style points DO count. As soon as he stops being so nice and conservative and pulling up in the 4th quarter and starts increasing the margin of victory, UGA will start getting the attention they deserve.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 30th, 2009
7:40 am

Mark you hit the nail on the head. Luckis totally involved. UGA has had a couple of 1 loss seasons when there were 2 even 3 undefeated teams. How bout Auburn, they go undefeated in the SEC and don’t go to the BCS. Now thats unlucky. It’s just a matter of time before they get their shot.

rocksteadyfreddie

July 30th, 2009
7:40 am

It is not a matter of when Mark Richt will win a BCS title, but how many more Urban Meyer will win before he does. Definately one, probably two.

dawg fan

July 30th, 2009
7:41 am

Mark, your thinly veiled Tech loyalty comes out again. You love to stir up the UGA haters.

god and greyhound

July 30th, 2009
7:42 am

Uog is a nice 2nd tier program that cleans up in its weak division and took advantage of gomer at tech. they might beat out sc for 3rd this year, but at least they cant get any worse than 2nd in the state

Mark Richt is a Hypocrite

July 30th, 2009
7:43 am

UGA will ask Mark to fire Willie, which CMR will not,CMR + Willie= many more yrs at UGA with never ever a chance of playing for or winning a national championship mutts.

Brock D

July 30th, 2009
7:47 am

Mark, didn’t you go to a little SEC school up north?

It's Great to be a Gator!

July 30th, 2009
7:47 am

Georgia Dawgs are Gator Bait!

UGA89

July 30th, 2009
7:48 am

Not only will UGA never win a BCS title under Richt –UGA will never win the SEC East again under Richt. UGA cannot beat Florida.

barneyb

July 30th, 2009
7:51 am

It will NEVER happen as long as Martinez & Fabris are still on staff.

m for gt fan blogger

July 30th, 2009
7:52 am

Richt wont win a title, but he should win against vandy more times than not. uk too

Zorro

July 30th, 2009
7:54 am

Georgia will never get to the BCS with Willie Martinez as DC. He chokes in tight games. As far as having a “co-defensive coordinator”, how the heck is that going to work? You can’t have two captains steering the ship at the same time.

bamaguy

July 30th, 2009
7:55 am

I like Coach Richt, I would want my son to play for him. But, being a nice guy doesn’t win national championships. After Nick Saban retires and Urban Meyer moves on, maybe. Until then, no way UGA beats Florida in the regular season then Alabama in the SEC championship game.

NEGACommunityCollege

July 30th, 2009
7:59 am

Yes indeed, another article about ugaY’s fruitless quest for a paltry second MNC and many of the same intellectually deficient ugaY grads are on here acting like they actually have a big-time program. Isn’t it about time for you dollar-menuaires to leave your trailer parks and make a selection from your favorite McDonald’s breakfast menu?

Lance

July 30th, 2009
8:00 am

DD – All the women at Tech are ugly so that was obvious. I have a feeling he swings the other direction as he continues to post the same Gay message.

gatorman770

July 30th, 2009
8:01 am

When the curs give Charlie Strong a couple of million to coach defense and the Gators take a year off!

J Moore

July 30th, 2009
8:02 am

The problem is UGA recruits players of great athletic skills but low moral character and limited brain power. I get so giddy each year the Dators send them back to the drawing board much like Wily Coyote in the cartoons. It is almost monthly an article appears about some former dog in legal trouble. Is it true they have a fulll-time bail bondsman on the team bus? Maybe Dog The Bounty Hunter could relocate to Athens. Now, about that JUCO schedule…does Barnesville Military Academy have an open date this year?

Joe "Tiny" Cox

July 30th, 2009
8:03 am

Coach Richt has a very nice spray tan. But, no, he won’t win a national title at UGA.

chiefdawg

July 30th, 2009
8:04 am

Unfortunately, in my opnion UGA will never win a MNC under Coach Richt or perhaps any other coach. There is a bias in sports against UGA. Even if UGA gets ranked high there are people just sitting and waiting for them to fall. Winning is not enough. You have to demolish teams and Mark Richt will never do that. Unlike other coaches who have won MNC he does not have a killer instinct. He is too lyal to his coaches. He does not demand enought from them. He is content to just hold a lead and that sometimes gets him into trouble by allowing other teams back into games. That is one of the major reasons why Joe Cox played very little last year. If you can’t win MNC with the talent that UGA had last year, then you don’t have much of a shot. but, hey it’s kinda hard to fire a coach with a record like Mark Richt has. I guess us UGA fans will just have to get use to it.

dawgs

July 30th, 2009
8:05 am

Why dont we have as many titles as tech?