Coming off of a 6-7 season last year, many in the Bulldog nation were expecting the worst out of this year’s edition of the Georgia Bulldogs. After an 0-2 start, fans were expecting this to be a disastrous season and likely Coach Mark Richt’s last.
Fortunately, for the fans and the team, Coach Richt knew he had a good team, and he managed to keep it together long enough for them to jell and start stringing together wins. Once those wins started rolling, they kept on rolling to the tune of 10 in a row and an SEC East divisional championship.
During that time, we’ve seen the emergence of three very fine freshman wide receivers. We’ve seen Todd Grantham’s defense turn into one of the tops in the nation. We’ve seen Aaron Murray mature into a fine quarterback. He’s already broken Mike Bobo’s single season TD record and will likely break a few more before he’s done.
We’ve also seen struggles, as our normally stellar kicking game has let us down and our running back corps has consisted of half a dozen guys, including a former walk-on.
Even with those struggles, Georgia has prevailed. Yes, we’ve played a relatively weak schedule, but the schedule is what it is, and last year’s team would have found a way to lose at least one of those games.
There is some chance that we win against LSU this Saturday. Vegas feels that it is a pretty slim chance, giving LSU an almost two touchdown points spread. I believe that if we play near error free football and get some early momentum, we can keep it close late and then watch out.
Win or lose, however, these Bulldogs have nothing to be ashamed of. They have a SEC East championship. They’ve lost to two top 10 teams and a division rival with one of the best running backs in the country. Even with that, they still needed several mistakes on our side to seal the deal.
What’s even better is that almost all of the contributors to this year’s team will be returning next year. We’re likely to add the nation’s No. 1 running back to the mix, along with other much-needed young players. Baring a loss in our bowl game, we’ll start next season ranked somewhere in the early teens, and maybe even higher.
Things look good for next year because Coach Mark Richt didn’t give up on his team, and the Bulldog nation didn’t give up on Coach Richt.
For those who wanted him fired after the last two seasons’ sub-par performances, take a look at Tennessee. They fired Phil Fulmer, a coach who led them to a national championship. They replaced him with the supposed next great coach, and they’ve gone into a death spiral that is still showing no signs of stopping.
Florida’s not in any better shape. They’re likely to be rebuilding that team for a few years, too. Granted, they didn’t fire their coach, but they did lose a coach and tried to replace him with the new next best thing.
Sometimes what you’ve got is better than you think. Sometimes, when you’ve been together for a while, a hiccup will occur. Team chemistry isn’t what it needs to be. Luck just doesn’t bounce your way. Sometimes a little patience is needed. I’m glad that we keep that patience.
I’m looking forward to seeing what next year’s team brings. I said it before, I’ll say it again. I think next year’s team will be special, and I think it has every chance to make it to the Promised Land, a place we haven’t seen in 30 years.