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October 13, 2015

Blowing It

In no attempt to "pile on" with the Mark Richt naysayers, I want to post a portion of my "Daily Dawg Caller" at UGASports.com from yesterday. 

For "Pat's Weekly Stat (You Won't Find Anywhere Else)," I hated to bring up the debacle from Saturday afternoon in Knoxville. But, beginning late in the second quarter, Georgia enthusiasts began to witness a historical milestone unfold right before their very eyes—not historically good, but historically bad.

The Bulldogs’ 21-point blown lead marked the second-largest lead in the history of UGA football which resulted in an eventual loss—and, we’re talking a lot of history. In 122 seasons of football and 1,251 games, including 413 losses, Georgia has lost just nine games in its history when it led by at least 14 points during the game:

22—1978 Bluebonnet Bowl (vs. Stanford): led 22-0 in 3Q, lost 25-22
21—2015 vs. Tennessee: led 24-3 in 2Q, lost 38-31
17—2006 vs. Tennessee: led 24-7 in 2Q, lost 51-33
16—2008 vs. Georgia Tech: led 28-12 in 3Q, lost 45-42
16—2012 Outback Bowl (vs. Michigan State): led 16-0 in 3Q, lost 33-30
14—1967 vs. Houston: led 14-0 in 4Q, lost 15-14
14—1991 vs. Vanderbilt: led 17-3 in 2Q, lost 27-25
14—1994 vs. Alabama: led 21-7 in 2Q, lost 29-28
14—2009 vs. Kentucky: led 20-6 in 3Q, lost 34-27

Notably, five of Georgia’s nine blown leads of two touchdowns or more, which are in bold, have resulted during the Coach Richt era. Granted, an argument could be made that teams seemingly score more points nowadays than before, thus it’s easier for a team to allow its opponent to rally from a large deficit. And, indeed, scoring in major college football in 2015 is up more than 15% from 20 years ago in 1995, roughly 45% from 1975, and more than 80% than 1945.

However, another argument could be made that if it’s easier to score nowadays, and a team is more susceptible in allowing points, it should have an easier time counteracting its opponents’ scores by scoring points of its own. More so, whether it’s 2015, 1945, or 1895, routinely blowing a big lead when it rarely occurred in the past is head-scratching, and perhaps inexcusable.