Jump to content

CMR and UGA News

DKW 86

Recommended Posts


All is right with Richt

By Mark Bradley | Sunday, July 23, 2006, 06:08 PM

Georgia has played for the conference title three times in four seasons and has won it twice. The 2002 season was a long-sought breakthrough; last year was simply the re-affirmation. The program that couldn’t rise above Florida and Tennessee in the SEC East has risen above all its brethren in the nation’s toughest neighborhood.

You can make a case for LSU as Georgia’s co-equal, the Tigers having won two SEC titles and part of one national championship over the past five years. But LSU has changed coaches along the way, and consensus holds that Les (Fake Kick) Miles isn’t quite Nick (No Nonsense) Saban. Certainly Miles did himself no favors by taking what seemed to be the better team and losing to Georgia by 20 points in the Dome last December. And yes, Auburn took the best SEC team of the last decade and had that massive undefeated season in 2004, but that was one big year amid an array of slightly lesser ones.

Mark Richt, who’s nothing if not smooth, has built a program that runs as smoothly as a Rolls. (Ray Goff used to ride a tractor. Jim Donnan once drove a steamroller. You get the contrast.) Richt has won the SEC with David Greene and David Pollack and Brian VanGorder, and last year he won it without them. He’s without a No. 1 quarterback at the moment, but history suggests that when one emerges he’ll win big.

Nothing about Georgia bears the hint of a team on the decline. Recruiting moves from strength to strength. Last season stands as a reminder that the Bulldogs have grown stout enough to win big in any given year, not just once when the stars are aligned.

With the new season 6 1/2 weeks away, every other SEC program faces a bigger burden of proof. LSU has to prove Miles can do what Saban did. Auburn has to prove it can get past its latest tempest, the front-page-of-The-New-York-Times academic kerfuffle. Meyer has to prove his spread offense will work in a conference laden with speed. Steve Spurrier has to prove his stylized expertise isn’t site-specific. Alabama has to prove it can again beat Auburn. Tennessee has to prove it can again beat Vanderbilt.

And Georgia? It demonstrably has the right coach, and he seems to be recruiting the right players. This summer has been free of the ring-auctioning of 2003 and the arrests of last year. There’s a greater peace — “peace,” you should know, is about Richt’s favorite word — across Bulldog Nation than at any time since the middle year of Herschel, and there remains for Richt only one thing to prove: That the new king of the SEC can take his team to the national championship game.

Georgia has finished in the top 10 four years running, marking only the second time in school history that has happened. (Presumably, you know about the first.) Georgia has posted the sixth-best winning percentage in the land over Richt’s five seasons, and of the other teams heading that list — Texas, Miami, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Boise State, Ohio State and LSU — only the Bulldogs and Boise didn’t grace a BCS title game over that span. Boise won’t get there. Georgia will.

For two decades Georgia fans gathered in their Bulldog Clubs and wondered if it could ever again be as sweet as when Herschel Walker stalked collegiate end zones. They’ve gotten their answer, and this new era of good feeling carries an extra benefit. Great as he was, Herschel eventually had to leave. Mark Richt gets to stay as long as he likes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dunno, the SEC East race is wide open.

I think :uk: and :vandy: are the only two that are guaranteed of not winning it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...