The Georgia Bulldogs enter this weekend at a crossroads. The good news is the Bulldogs are still in the SEC East hunt and a win on Saturday would be twofold: on one hand it gives Georgia another SEC win and on the other it will hand Missouri its third SEC East lost. Two birds, one stone, you get it.
The bad news is the Bulldogs are coming off back-to-back losses in a single season for the eighth time under Mark Richt — 2001, '05, '06, ‘09-11, '13 and now 2015. Of the previous seven seasons only one ended in a 10-win regular season. (Georgia did win 10 games in 2005 but the tenth came in the SEC Championship Game.) So if we go on history alone, we can pretty much count Georgia in for at least one more loss. Furthermore, Richt has been head coach at Georgia for 15 seasons including this year. And in eight of those seasons the Bulldogs have lost back-to-back games.
That’s unbelievable to me.
For a team and a coach that has been so successful in the past 15 years, to see, first, eight of your seasons as a coach feature back-to-back losses is one thing but that only one of those seasons resulted in a 10-win season blows my freakin’ mind. Those numbers are worse than my betting numbers. And I’ve had some really bad weeks this season.
Georgia is coming off of its second loss in devastating fashion after losing star running back Nick Chubb on the very first play of the game. After the injury, Georgia answered by jumping out to a 24-3 lead on a Tennessee team that I was completely convinced might lose seven games this season. Butch Jones was being compared to Derek Dooley but with worse hair. Man, that’s brutal.
But this is college football and as you know, anything goes. Literally anything.
The Vols answered by scoring 28 straight points and finishing the game on a 35-7 run to upset the Bulldogs in Knoxville 38-31.
I know Chubb is a great player and his loss will be felt throughout the year and I wish him the best on his recovery. But Chubb didn’t allow Alabama and Tennessee both to put 38 points on the board. The point I am making here is that we have all seen this play out during the Richt era. Georgia losses a couple of games and it seems like the Bulldogs can’t get over that hump the rest of the year. Why is that? Why is a team that is so talented each and every year creating stats like the one I used at the beginning of this article? I wish I had the answer. But it’s becoming predictable when watching these Bulldogs and knowing that if back-to-back losses come, the chances of a 10-win season are almost impossible.
Georgia fans have gotten so used to almost having a great season that they now respond to losses with GIFs and Memes that utter sayings such as “Win, lose, or tie Imma Dawg fan Till I die!”
And I didn’t even make that up. I literally Googled “Georgia Bulldogs GIF after a loss quotes” and it’s one of the first images that popped up.
Georgia fans are getting used to this because their coach is a “good guy” and “does it the right way.” You’ve heard all of the dumb sayings. Growing up in Georgia and seeing the entire Richt era, I’ve heard them all. And it’s all true. Richt gave me goose bumps when I heard him on a radio interview a couple of days before the Alabama game. He told a touching story about his father finding money on the floor and returning it to a front desk clerk instead of pocketing the money. You know, things people with half a moral fiber will do.
I’m not debating the fact that Richt is a great guy. I’m a football fan. I’m simply confused by a fan base that can’t stop talking about the “Herschel” days and all of the what-ifs that followed after Herschel Walker left. Georgia fans haven’t seen an undefeated season since 1980 and haven’t seen a one loss team in the regular season since 2012 (the one loss during the regular season was a 35-7 blowout loss to South Carolina).
Look familiar? It should. It happens almost every year. And now in 2015 this Bulldogs team is at a crossroads. They have a chance to win out and, with a little help, and get back to Atlanta. The problem is history says that won’t happen. History says at least one more loss is on the schedule and a return trip to Atlanta is almost certainly out of the picture.
Here’s to you, history. Let’s see if this Georgia team makes it or allows it to be collected for future use.
— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.