The one comment that stood out the most was the one where Richt was asked to compare this team to the one from 2002. That team finished in the Top 3 and ended up playing in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State. Had they beaten Florida that year, an argument can be made that they would have had a case for playing in the National Championship Game.
However, their loss assured a meeting between the two remaining undefeated teams that season—Ohio State and Miami.
Here’s what Richt had to say about how the 2012 team compares to that of 2002.
I think we’re probably more similar to the 2002 team. I felt like as the season went on that year, we just got better and better. I thought we slowly improved as we went, and we weren’t very apt to shoot ourselves in the foot. We seemed to be the kind of team that we were going to make somebody beat us. I don’t know what’s going to happen Saturday, but that’s kind of the direction we’ve gone.
I’d argue that the 2002 team was better not only because of the defense—which really began to clamp down after a heartbreaking loss in Jacksonville—but also because of the presence of quarterback David Greene. Without him, I don’t know that Georgia makes it past Clemson in week one, Alabama in week five, or Auburn in week 11.Greene didn’t have many games that season where he had to come up clutch and didn’t.
I’ve often wondered what would happen if you put the icy cool demeanor of Greene into the preparation and skill of Aaron Murray—that’d be something.
In any event, the 2012 version is the one that will be on the field and, hopefully, they can do what that 2002 team never had the opportunity to do—play for a National Championship.