Is the Pressure Facing University of Georgia's Mark Richt Justified?

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst IMay 19, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 31:  Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during the game against the Florida Gators at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alot of the off season discussion surrounding the Georgia Bulldogs football program has been focused on the head coach and his job security after an 8-5 campaign in 2009.

The fact that the question is being asked is a far cry from where Mark Richt sat this time two years ago.

Coming off an 11-2 2007 season where the finished No. 2 in the AP Poll, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 in the preseason rankings heading into 2008. But after two seasons of not meeting expectations, some are questioning whether the longest tenured coach in the SEC can get UGA back to the top of the SEC.

I'll attempt to break down the case on both sides.

Why Mark Richt Should Be On The Hot Seat

-8-5 record in 2009
-2-7 against Florida in nine seasons including losses of 49-10 and 41-17 the last two seasons
-Losing two of the last three to a down Tennessee program including a 45-19 loss last year
-Three other SEC schools were less tenured coaches have won BCS titles in the Richt era.
-UGA has not played in the SEC Championship Game since 2005

Why Mark Richt Should Not Be On The Hot Seat

-90 wins in nine seasons, average of 10 wins per season
-Two SEC titles in nine seasons when UGA had not won a title in 20 seasons previously
-8-1 vs Georgia Tech
-Georgia has never finished below third in the SEC East
-He made necessary changes on the defensive staff after last season

It is pretty clear that Richt is under pressure to win this season, but just how much? I think his fate will be determined by how well he does this season in competing for an SEC title and to a lesser extent how he fares against three key opponents: Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia Tech.

So if Richt is on the hot seat what does he need to do to get of it? And if he's safe what could turn the heat up in Athens?

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