Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What do Georgia Fans Have a 'Right' to Expect?

The Georgia Bulldogs have now gone four consecutive seasons without winning the SEC, or even just the SEC East (although, they finished the 2007 season ranked #2, which is not too shabby). They've also had what should be considered below-par years for two of those four seasons. After finishing out a recruiting class that was less than stellar according to the 'experts,' there continues to be a slow and steady increase in the volume and pervasiveness of rumblings around Athens that Georgia is not where it should be in the overall conference/national pecking order of college football programs.

While last season would not be considered a great success by any measure of Georgia football, the overall performance of Richt's teams begs the question, "How good is Georgia really supposed to be?"

Looking at it from a competition standpoint, there are, in my estimation, six teams that have a "right" (the quotes imply a bit of sarcasm, in that many fans of many schools believe it's their right) to win the SEC: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, and Tennessee. By that rationale alone, Georgia should average one SEC Championship every six years. They have two in nine years under Richt, so they're still ahead of the game there. Georgia should also average one SEC East Championship every three years. With three in nine years, they're right on pace there.

Obviously, there's an ebb and flow of the overall strength of competition throughout the SEC in a given year, and teams go through both upturns and downturns (clearly, Tennessee has not been a powerhouse the last few years). On the flip side, Georgia hadn't won the SEC in 20 years before Richt arrived, a fact his proponents are happy to acknowledge.

Look, the Bulldogs had one of the all time greatest 4 year runs from '80-'83 of any program in history, but to suggest that two SEC Championships, three SEC East Championships, and six top-ten finishes since 2002 is below Georgia standards is completely ridiculous.

People have also cited the pattern or trend that seemed to be forming lately, but with a revamped defensive coaching staff, and one of two highly touted redshirted freshmen quarterbacks taking the reigns this fall, there is at least a reasonable chance that the Dawgs will be competing for more SEC Championships and top 10 finishes very soon.

The bottom line is, Georgia is as good (probably better) than they have been during just about any time during their storied history. More to the point, either live in the past or don't. If you think the 'real' Georgia is the incarnations of the early 80's, then acknowledge the successes of the past 10 years.

Whatever the case, tempering expectations as a Georgia fan does not a loser make. The fans aren't playing anyway.

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