It was at Auburn in 2002 where Mark Richt lifted the lid, to use to his metaphor of the breathless moment, from the Georgia program by clinching the SEC East. It was at Auburn four years later where Richt broke the first drought of his career as a head coach, upsetting the nation’s No. 5 team. And now, four more years on, it is to Auburn where the Bulldogs go, trying to rise above .500.
Think of the three Auburn games, four years apart, as referendums. In 2002 Richt was the People’s Choice. (Indeed, when he spoke at the Touchdown Club of Atlanta the Monday after the famous victory, the folks there — or at least their caterers — baked him a cake.) In 2006 he was the proven steward of a championship-caliber program. But here it is 2010, and we need ask: What is Mark Richt today?
Seven SEC teams are ranked in this week’s Associated Press poll, the Georgia Bulldogs not among them. The team that under Richt finished in