|Coach, as Pink Floyd once said, |
the dream is gone...
Yesterday, a friend of mine jokingly asked what possible "historical viewpoint" did I have in regards to Georgia's 35-7 debacle in Columbia. After some consideration, my response concerning the defeat, historically speaking:
In my lifetime, likely never had a Bulldog football team, which was at least expected to play competitively, been beaten so soundly by an opponent from start to finish like that Georgia squad was last night.
Aaron Murray is now 0-10 in "big games," the Bulldog once-vaunted defense is obviously overrated, and the special teams continues to give away points. After Saturday's loss, what some hoped for as a "dream" season is now gone, and with it, likely even a mere divisional title. And, to make matters worse, the rout came to a school that had never defeated Georgia three times in a row and, until only several years ago, had actually more all-time losses in its history than victories.
Even our head coach called the loss "embarrassing."
Indeed, the 28-point loss was embarrassing – historically embarrassing – ranking as the fourth-worst defeat by a modern-day Georgia team (beginning in 1973) when it was expected to win, or at least be competitive (an underdog of less than 7 points):
33- Kentucky in 1977 (lost 33-0 as 2-pt fav)
31- Virginia in 1979 (lost 31-0 as 8-pt fav)
31- Alabama in 1995 (lost 31-0 as 3-pt dog)
28- South Carolina in 2012 (lost 35-7 as 1-pt dog)
27- Florida in 1984 (lost 27-0 as 3-pt dog)
26- Tennessee in 2009 (lost 45-19 as 1-pt fav)
24- Miss. State in 1974 (lost 38-14 as 4-pt fav)
24- Pittsburgh in 1977 Sugar Bowl (lost 27-3 as 3-pt dog)
I'm rather familiar with the top three historically bad losses – the stunning shutout to the 'Cats 35 years ago in front of Prince Charles, the drubbing Virginia game us two years later on Homecoming, and the last shutout the Bulldogs endured resulting in Coach Goff's final season – and, from what I recall, at least Georgia was "in" all three games for at least a quarter or so. That wasn't the case the other night; remove "likely" from my response above.
But, I thought this year's team was suppose to be different from that of the last several campaigns – one with some leadership. Instead, it appeared quite similar to the soft, undisciplined Georgia teams lacking heart and discipline of recent seasons.
You can now officially forget that old argument by some local Bulldog apologists as recently as a year or two ago that Georgia simply is not as talented as it was during the early-2000s compared to other schools. That argument was ridiculous to begin with; now, it's just plain ignorant. Personally, and as I have often voiced here the last several years (as many of you), I place little blame on the players, but the problems start at the top.
Besides declaring Georgia's poor performance "shocking," analyst Kirk Herbstreit keenly identified the Bulldogs' disheartening response to a pep talk from the top Dawg entering the fourth quarter. Coach Richt's message obviously fell on deaf ears as the Gamecocks began the final stanza from their 13-yard line, marching through our defense to a touchdown in 13 plays – all rushing. South Carolina was aided on the drive by three Georgia penalties, including an offsides by Jarvis Jones on 4th-and-1 and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike by Bacarri Rambo.
Speaking of defense, on a side note, I saw Todd Grantham last Thursday in the early evening at Prince Avenue Christian School's football stadium; his son and my nephew play on the same 5th-6th grade football team. From the stands just prior to the game, I overheard someone mumble, "Grantham should probably be in his office, watching film on the Gamecocks..." Everyone within earshot, including myself, found it humorous.
I'm no longer snickering, but think there might be some truth to the statement. I bet none of Nick Saban's top assistants were at a pee wee football game within 48 hours of Saturday... and Alabama had an open date this past weekend.
Look, I'm certainly not advocating Bulldog coaches shouldn't attend the school functions of their children, or even arguing that there should be some sort of coaching change. But, as another friend of mine said to me yesterday, simply put, "the culture of the program stinks." And when the culture stinks, it's likely that impressionable 18 to 22-year-olds within that culture are going to stink on occasion, as well.
And, until the surrounding culture of the University of Georgia football program is totally changed, or at least slightly altered, the Bulldogs will often continue to appear unprepared and unmotivated whenever they face a formidable opponent.