Macon, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Five years ago, at the end of the 2010 season, the Georgia Bulldogs were finishing a 6-7 season. They lost to UCF in the Liberty Bowl and were 0-4 against ranked teams. We were told to be patient.
It was Mark Richt’s 10th season as head coach. He had a new defensive coordinator that season, Todd Grantham. He had a first-year quarterback, Aaron Murray. Richt had a great recruiting class coming in, and we were told it was not worth jeopardizing such a great recruiting class by firing Richt. He had to stay. That recruiting class was labeled as “the dream team,” rated as the fourth-best in the country by Scout.com.
Since then, Georgia has had 48 wins and 17 losses. That’s over three losses per season. They finished in the top five in one of those seasons – the year they lost to Alabama in the only season of the five they won the SEC East – and then in the top 10 last year. Now, this season, Georgia is 8-3, with not one win against a ranked opponent – three losses versus the three best teams on the schedule. The best win for Georgia this season was arguably last Saturday, when the Bulldogs beat Georgia Southern – a Sun Belt Conference team – in overtime. Georgia Southern.
Now, we are being told to be patient. It’s Mark Richt’s 15th season as head coach. He had a new offensive coordinator this season, Brian Schottenheimer. He had no quarterback, which is completely his fault. But Richt has a great recruiting class coming in, so we are told, and it’s not worth jeopardizing those players who can turn the program around by firing Richt. Does this sound familiar? Has anything really changed in five years? No – this season, even with an 8-3 record – has been a disaster.
Okay, Georgia Tech fans are probably laughing saying their season – at 3-8 – has been a disaster. But Georgia was picked to win the SEC East. The SEC East is horrible. Yet, once again, for the third year in a row, Georgia is not good enough to win a horrible division. They were blown out by Alabama at home. They lost their best player – Nick Chubb – in Knoxville, but that’s no excuse. Remember, Georgia had a 24-3 lead after Chubb got hurt, but then choked and lost the lead and the game.
Then in Jacksonville, with the SEC East title still a possibility, Mark Richt started his third string quarterback and the Bulldogs got blown out by Florida. They barely beat a bad Auburn team on the road two weeks ago and then last Saturday had to go to overtime to beat Georgia Southern. Georgia Southern. Now, no offense to Georgia Southern, but the Georgia Bulldogs should never – never – have trouble with the Georgia Southern Eagles.
Regardless of what happens this Saturday in Atlanta when Georgia plays Georgia Tech, this needs to stop. We don’t need to be here five years from now saying the same thing – “How long does this have to go on?” Mark Richt has had 15 seasons – 15 chances – to get this right. He’s been a good coach, but not good enough. He’s been good, but not great. Georgia deserves a great coach, and it’s time for them to go find one.