This time of year there are plenty of gums a-flappin’ about teams that are or are not “pretending”. The national media falls in love with a few of the so-called “contenders”—in this case, Auburn and TCU are high on the list of those receiving plenty of love—while the usual suspects continue to see adoration of an almost spiritual nature (bow down to the genius that is Nick Saban and Urban Meyer).
In keeping with that love of all things chit-chat though, there are also tons of debate topics on the table—also known as, ‘lets find a way to kill time until it’s time to kickoff and commentate’ topics—and E$PN is very good at producing tons of gems in that regard.
This particular list projects the Top 25 Teams for the next three years, starting with the 2015 season. It’s an interesting list (hidden behind the INSIDER pay wall), and it gives the highlight and lowlight of each team’s trajectory. As far as SEC contenders go, Auburn and Alabama get a ton of love for their talent and recruiting, respective, but while the Georgia Bulldogs recruiting gets props, as usual, the coaching is considered a lowlight—can you guess why? I bet you can, by now, because that conversation is hardly new by now.
However, I won’t make you guess. Take a gander at what the bottom-line analysis on Mark Richt turned out to be:
Is there any way to explain why Richt seems to underachieve more seasons than not at Georgia?
“It’s really hard to say,” Rittenberg said. “It’s almost like you can count on it every year that they’re going to have a game or two where they don’t show up. It was Florida last year. I wonder if he manages emotions well enough from week to week. It’s bizarre because they’re so well-located for recruiting and produce so many great NFL players. They just don’t seem to maybe have the mental makeup of some of these other teams in the league. There’s too many games that they don’t show up for.”
I wish I could say Rittenberg’s opinion is complete dog doo (after all he is a Penn State homer with a Big 10 slant), but the truth is I have been at the emotional tail end of enough head-scratching losses, with Richt at the helm, to understand why the national media has that impression of Georgia.
There is always one loss where you’re wondering, what the hell happened? A defensive breakdown, a communication issue, a special teams gaffe, an offensive disappearance, etc., it’s always something, and it drives me—and I am sure a million other fans—absolutely nuts.
To be honest, I have still not fully recovered from that Georgia Tech loss last season…*sigh*.
That said, I am sick of is this idea that Richt is willfully underachieving.
I won’t bother quoting his career record, we should all know that very well by now, but to suggest the lack of a National Title should somehow negate his relevance as a good football coach, who can win big games, is silly.
Now, before you go believing that I am one of those fans who is okay with only seeing 10-win seasons and seeing a bowl game invite, calm yourself. I want to see the Bulldogs win a title. Period. My allegiance is to the football program; do I also support Mark Richt? Yes, of course I do. If that makes me a disloyal alumnus, so be it, but I will support the coach of my alma mater’s football team until a better option is chosen to lead them.
No, my issue is totally about perception: the perception that Georgia is in a weak division, being led by a weak coach, and incapable of ever playing with the big boys is getting older than Hugh Hefner’s smoking jacket.
Find a new one.
To be fair, Richt could change the tone of this conversation simply by hoisting that crystal football over his head but, then again, if that’s the measure of how good of a coach he truly is, and how much of a killer instinct he has, then he should hardly be alone at the top of the underachiever’s list, wouldn’t you think?