Georgia Football: Is Mark Richt Unlucky or a Choke Artist?

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor IDecember 10, 2012

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 17: Head Coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Sanford Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Mark Richt has accomplished a lot during his time in Athens.

He has won the SEC East title five times, won the SEC twice and has been to the Sugar Bowl three times, winning two of them.

But the one thing that Richt needs to make his resume complete is a national championship, and Richt has been close a few times to reaching that goal.

But here’s a question concerning him and winning a national title, is Richt unlucky or a choke artist?

It could be a little bit of both, because when the Bulldogs have been good enough to win the national championship, they either underperform against a team that is not better than them, or there is a team or two that has a slightly better season and makes their way into the BCS Championship.

The first opportunity for Richt to win a BCS title came in 2002 when the Bulldogs went 12-1 and won the SEC title. That would have been good enough to put them in the BCS title game if Miami and Ohio State did not finish the season undefeated.

The loss for Georgia that year came against Florida, and it was a game where the Bulldogs led 13-12 going into the fourth quarter. But, Gators quarterback Rex Grossman led the Gators on an 89-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth, which would be more than enough to wreck the Bulldogs chances of a national title shot.

Richt’s Bulldogs would come close again in 2007, where they would have early losses to South Carolina and Tennessee but would rattle off six straight wins and would come in No. 4 in the BCS. At the end of that season, they would beat Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl and would finish No. 2 in the AP rankings, which would be the highest ranking for the Bulldogs since 1982.

Then, there is this season, where the Bulldogs would win the SEC East and would face Alabama for the right to face Notre Dame in the BCS title game.

We all know what happened after that.

So is it Richt’s fault that the Bulldogs have not won a national title, or is it just the fact that the ball doesn’t bounce his way?

When it comes to winning the national title, so many things have to happen in order for a team to reach the championship game. For example, Alabama is playing in the title game this year because Oregon and Kansas Stare both lost towards the end of the season, opening the door for the Crimson Tide to get back in the picture, despite losing to Texas A&M.

Richt should not apologize for not winning a national championship, because for any SEC team, the goal is to win the conference, and what comes afterwards will be up to the powers-that-be.

Richt is not a choke artist or unlucky. He is the best coach in all of college football not to win a national championship.

But if he continues to put in the work and the players continue to buy into the system, he will break through sooner than later.


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