As soon as the final whistle blew on the 2010-2011 season I started counting down the days until the Georgia Bulldog football season opener against Boise State. However, instead of the usual excitement that I love seeing each year around Athens, I continue to notice a different vibe. As a fellow Georgia Bulldog “fan” put it, “They ain’t got no team this year.” When I asked him to elaborate, he declared, “They gon’ win 3 games.”
Fair weather fans are like cockroaches who scatter when you turn on the lights. When the program and the coach really need their support, they say that the team sucks and the coach needs to be fired. Georgia head coach Mark Richt has earned one more season to turn things around. He has the fourth best record of any active coach in college football.
Following the first losing season in the Mark Richt era of Georgia Football, the Dogs need their loyal fan base more than ever. If the “Dream Team” led by Isaiah Crowell is going to lead Georgia back to prominence, then opposing teams need to genuinely be weary of being Between The Hedges on a Saturday afternoon.
College football has become the ultimate what have you done for me lately sport. However, Mark Richt has a better winning percentage (.738) than the legendary Vince Dooley. (.715) Furthermore, Dooley’s record the year before the Dawgs won the national championship was 6-5. Richt is also making an effort to clean up the amount of arrests and off the field issues that have plagued the program in recent years.
The above point is not to diminish the incomparable career of a UGA legend. Instead, it is a reminder to all of the fair weather fans not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Richt’s critics are always quick to point out that Georgia has not won the SEC since 2005. However, in 2007 they decimated Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl (remember the image of a dejected Colt Brennan crying in his towel on the sideline?
Before Mark Richt’s arrival, Georgia was a consistent performer in the outback, Oahu, and Peach Bowl. Upon his arrival in 2001, Georgia has played in three SEC championship games and three BCS bowls. Prior to Richt becoming the head coach of Georgia, the football program had not won an SEC title since 1982.
Led by preseason all SEC quarterback Aaron Murray, the Georgia Bulldogs are entering their second year in the 3-4 defense , and they have a new strength and conditioning coach, Tony Gilbert. Their is a lot to be optimistic about going into the 2011 season and the fair weather fans should just wait and see what happens on September 3rd and beyond as opposed to keeping track of the temperature on Mark Richt’s seat.
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