Last Year’s Team vs This Year’s
Lost to Florida 27-3 / Lost to Florida 24-10
Lost to Tennessee 38-31 / Lost to Tennessee 34-31
Lost to Alabama 38-10 / Lost to Ole Miss 45-14
Beat Louisiana-Monroe (who cares) / Beat UNC 33-24
Beat Southern (who cares) / Beat Nicholls St (who cares)
Beat S. Carolina 52-20 / Beat S. Carolina 28-14
Beat Missouri 9-6 / Beat Missouri 28-27
Beat Vandy 31-14 / *Lost to Vandy 17-16
Beat Kentucky 27-3 / Play Saturday Night
This year’s football team is one knocked down Hail Mary or a couple first downs and a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal from matching last year’s team performance to-date at the 2/3rd mark of the season. While they didn’t make those plays and losing is contagious, we are at least close to last year’s (weak) pace.
This year we have only one win, at Carolina, since it actually turned autumn, after starting 3-0. But two of those losses were razor close. Last year, we started 4-0 and fell in the middle, and then won out to get to ten wins, again. Sure, 5-3 was just not good enough at the two-thirds mark, just as this year’s 4-4 is wholly unacceptable. But the margin of difference is so slight, and I consider the strength of schedule of both seasons comparable.
What this means is yeah we messed up, but if we can just get some wins now (like say 3-of-4 games before a bowl) the program is not the total garbage that it may currently appear to most people.
A loss Saturday would really give cause for concern, as losing to Kentucky and Vandy in the same year is nearly unforgivable. And our toughest matchup of the back portion of the schedule is the next game up, top ten Auburn. We need a win and we need it now, Dawgs!
Winning out would be nice, but unless we are above .500 I don’t think the guys will have enough confidence to keep the Auburn game close.
One major problem is that Kirby Smart came in openly saying that he intended to win big at Georgia right away, while he had no experience as a head football coach. None. This type of bravado badly backfires when toe meets humble pie leather, in all walks of life.
While Georgia being young in spots is no excuse for a .500 team, real expert analysts looked at the Gators defense (tops in total D in the SEC, #1 in the country in pass defense, two All-American cornerbacks) and knew that unless we could whip them at the point of attack with our offensive line, we would lose. Our offense does not have a reputation for whipping people, folks. And they have a great defense. That was easy money for people betting on Florida this year. The betting line should have been 10 or more. While we had our shots in that game, they were basically long shots. Sooner or later – like say the whole 2nd half – their superior defense was going to wear our struggling offense down, matter of fact.
Every successful GEORGIA Football team in our storied history has run the ball well. Every UGA squad has the talent on hand to run the football effectively. It may take some softening up first with early down completions and some unusually creative running calls to get it done. And you know what, it probably won’t work as well versus the top defenses in the country, especially when we are predictable.
But it can work. We are GEORGIA. Somebody on our team can run in space, some combination of blockers on campus can create enough room to get guys loose on occasion. Experienced head coaches cobble together wins, instead of complaining on their coach’s show that we didn’t make a few more stops on 3rd and 10. Kirby, it is your TEAM. When YOUR team scores 10 total, nothing in the 2nd half, YOU lose.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for anybody in the name of positivity: our experiment in coaching change is simply not going well at UGA. If Richt (or Donnan or Goff or Dooley) were 4-4, I would have to be all over him right now, too. Not because it’s my job, because I fully get what football means at GEORGIA. You gotta win to survive here.
How about getting a win on Saturday versus a 5-3 team that was killed by Florida, killed by Alabama, and lost to Southern Miss?!?! Or will we be talking about the tackles we missed like a defensive coordinator. Let us be led by our head football coach to a 5th win, by executing in all three phases of the game. People’s jobs do depend on it, after all.
~ I will be at Avid Bookshop in Athens on 11/11, from 6:30-7:30p the Friday before Georgia-Auburn, to debut my new book about all the tumult and triumph of the past 15 years of Georgia football. I will have a short reading and we will be discussing the Dawgs. Signed copies of “Richt Era: 15 Years in Athens” will be $17.85 – See you there!