Tennessee is looking for something, anything to validate their decision to bring Lane Kiffin in as head coach. The Vols have shown consistent improvement in recent weeks and have to be optimistic about facing a Georgia squad searching for an identity. A win over Georgia would be the signature moment of the Kiffin era and provide a solid foundation for the future, both in terms of confidence and recruiting.
A close loss by Tennessee will be spun as further sign of improvement and be taken as another "moral victory" by the Kiffin regime and the Vol Nation. Lane will tell all the recruits they would have been the deciding factor in the game, blah blah blah. Only an outright ass whipping will be perceived as a loss by Tennessee, for they are playing for 2010.
Georgia is quite a different story. Only the aforementioned outright ass whipping will be perceived as a victory by the Bulldog faithful. We are in an almost un-winnable position as far as perceptions go. Should Georgia prevail 24-10 in a game where the Vols play keep away and dominate time of possession, fans will remain disgruntled. Close victories have proved to be no cure for the woes of the Bulldog Nation.
Should Georgia lose, Katie bar the door! Mr. "Anonymous" will be out in full force, but this time it will be different. This time it will not stop with John Fabris, nor with Willie Martinez or Mike Bobo, this time it will go to the top.
We have all seen it. We have seen it compound from week to week. Now we are slowly seeing more dissatisfaction with the coach Mark Richt. He is too loyal, he cares more about his coaches than his players, yada yada yada.
Certainly this space has produced more than its share of the criticism, but let me be clear, Coach Mark Richt is the right man for the job and he will get this fixed. Hopefully, he gets it fixed this week.
I have been a Georgia fan since long before I ever stepped foot on campus, for more than 30 years. The good Lord willing, I have another 30-plus years of bleeding red and black in me. No matter what happens the remainder of this season, there is no way I will stop believing Mark Richt is the man to lead us back to the promised land.
If memory serves, two years ago, in Tim Tebow's first year as a starter, the Gators posted a 7-5 record. Last year, they won the mythical thingy.
Richt has and continues to assemble the talent it takes to compete with anyone in the country. We have suffered more than our share of bad luck (injuries and flu) and far more than our share of poor officiating. Things simply haven't broken our way. Kick coverage aside, we are very close, very close, to being where we want to be.
So hang in there, Bulldog Nation. Please try to keep a little perspective on Saturday's game and the rest of this season. No matter the outcome, it's still great to be a Georgia Bulldog!