Georgia Bulldogs Football: Finding It Hard To Believe in "Dream Team"
I don't know about you, but when I dream about Georgia Bulldogs football, I usually dream of the team, you know, winning.
And not just winning. The way I draw it up in my wildest fantasies, the team drives the ball down the Gators' throats for a game-winning touchdown to win the national championship.
Sure, Georgia and Florida play in the same division and would therefore never meet in a national championship. But this is my dream, remember?
So excuse me if I'm a little skeptical of head coach Mark Richt's "dream team" recruiting pitch.
As he recruits for the 2011 season, Richt has been trying to convince his potential players to join Georgia as part of a class that will be destined for greatness. A national championship, perchance?
I hate to say it, but this bowl of Alpo he's feeding us just doesn't smell right.
Let me lay out the scenario the way I see it:
The 2007 season marks one of the best Georgia teams of the Richt era. It lost two games—neither of which should have been a loss—and missed out on a national championship appearance on a technicality that didn't even exist.
In 2008, the team began the season as the No. 1 team in the country, only to lose three games—including one to in-state rival Georgia Tech—and finish with just a decent victory in the Capital One Bowl.
A season ago, the Bulldogs looked more like chihuahuas, putting forth an effort worthy of a preteen cheerleading camp on its way to its worst finish under Richt. It finished with five losses and avoided embarrassment against Texas A&M with strong special teams play in the Independence Bowl.
To add insult to injury, the team missed out on a number of prized recruits—including in-state blue chip Da'Rick Rogers—and fell to No. 15 on Scout.com's recruiting rankings. Ahead in the rankings were Florida (No. 2), Auburn (No. 4), Alabama (No. 5), LSU (No. 6), and Tennessee (No. 9).
And Richt is telling his recruits that they're going to win a national championship?
Sorry hoss, but I think you're going to have to do better than that.
With those rankings, it's going to be difficult just to win the division.
If I'm a recruit, I'm questioning how he and the Georgia staff expect one recruiting class to bring the team from second-tier SEC to best in the country.
If I'm a recruit, I'm questioning why I should even care. There are plenty of other teams in the country that can provide this same perk.
To me, more than a pitch to potential recruits, Richt's speech sounds laden with propaganda—meant to win back a fanbase that was beginning to question his fitness for Georgia's head coaching position.
No recruit is going to be swayed simply by a coach's indication of future success. That's obvious.
Fans, however, hear "dream team" and think "championship" and give Richt an automatic four-year leash for success.
If Richt's "dream team" strategy works, then great. More power to him.
But for my money, I would like to see Georgia win over recruits by showing their system can turn good players into the best players in the country and bring a player from the edge of the NFL's radar to first-round pick potential.
Recent history hasn't indicated that, as the past few squads have underachieved mightily.
The Bulldogs' shortcomings over the past few seasons haven't been on the level of talent, just the level of discipline and work ethic.
They have ranked near the bottom in the country in penalties and turnover ratio and have allowed at least 30 points in nine different games over the past two seasons.
Big plays against them have become a regularity as the defense has often forgotten things as simple as tackling the player carrying the ball.
These are the things that need to be stressed in recruits, not the fact that they want to win a national championship. Every player wants that. Not every player wants to work.
And if Richt can change that in his players, then a national championship won't be far behind.
And, to Georgia fans, that would be a dream come true.
David is a member of the Bleacher Report Writing Internship. For news, opinions, and spirited discussion anything sports, you can follow David on Twitter.
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