A large percentage of the college football world believed that this year was the year that the Georgia Bulldogs would finally win the BCS National Championship. But as we all know, that expectation may have very well been shattered last Saturday against Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers.
Georgia, despite a close game, fell just three points short resulting in a 0-1 record to start the season. While Aaron Murray and the rest of team are preparing for their matchup against Jadeveon Clowney and the South Carolina Gamecocks, Bulldog fans are already calling for the firing of head coach Mark Richt. Despite Richt’s successful twelve seasons at Georgia, fans are becoming impatient at the thought of having another let down of a season, being that close to the National Championship yet again.
While everyone in Athens is ready for a change immediately, college football fans have to wonder, “Why would anyone want to get rid of Mark Richt?” To some degree, it’s understandable that Georgia fans are upset. If there was ever a season that Georgia had a legitimate shot at winning it all, it was arguably this season. A strong defense, a veteran Heisman hopeful at quarterback, and a seasoned coaching staff, were to be some of the perfect ingredients to produce a championship team. Georgia fans have been waiting for a National Championship ever since Richt landed in Athens, and to their demise, they may be waiting a lot longer than desired.
Still, the reality is that the Bulldogs lost, and a large portion of the alumni wants a coaching change effective yesterday. But there is also the reality that Mark Richt is a great coach and has done a wonderful job with his time in Georgia. In his time in Athens, Richt and the Bulldogs have accounted for two SEC championships, been counted SEC Eastern Division champs six times, and captured eight bowl victories. Yes, I understand that the opening loss to Clemson is an upsetting way to start the season, but what Bulldog fans have to understand is that their loss came from a team that has an unbelievable chance at getting to the National Championship.
Clemson, backed by Dabo Swinney, has all the same ingredients that Georgia possessed to find themselves in the National spotlight come January, if not more. Tajh Boyd leads an exploding offense that not only sits well with the BCS but could also sit very well with his personal road to New York in December. The point here is this: Georgia fans still can claim hope in their season because they only have one loss; which means there is still hope that they could win out the season. If the Georgia alum want more of a headache than they are already feeling, then by all means fire Richt. But if they want to make a BCS bowl this year then their hopes lay with Richt and the insane recruiting classes that always seem to follow him.
Great recruits make great teams, and if Richt departs from Athens so will the players that could help build a future championship team. Mark Richt is a huge reason Georgia’s program is where it is today, so if he goes, who could match his success? For anyone to duplicate his achievements at Georgia would be a hurdle of its own, but anyone taking over a program after the season has already begun is an entirely larger task.