The Fire Mark Richt Debate… Expectations Outpace Mark Richt

Read the opposing argument from Optimist Prime.

Mark Richt is no longer able to compete in the SEC.

Yes, he HAS led the Georgia Bulldogs to nine consecutive bowl appearances, and boasts a bowl record of 7-2 in those nine games. He has maintained exceptionally strong recruiting classes during his tenure, and has twice been named the SEC Coach of the Year. And if he were head coach of a Big East or ACC program, that would be considered a wildly successful performance, and Richt would be at the front of the line for the next “elite” coaching job in college football.

The only problem is he already HAS that elite coaching job in the nation’s top football conference. And when you look at his performance, specifically over the past four years as the SEC has completely dominated college football, Richt has actually UNDER-performed.

BCS Shortcomings

In the nine full seasons since Richt became head coach at Georgia, he has coached his squad to a 2-1 BCS record, with no national championship game appearances.

Now, let’s compare that to some of his SEC colleagues:

Les Miles is 2-0 in BCS games since 2005, including a national championship with LSU.

Nick Saban is 3-1 in BCS games, with two national championships for two different SEC programs (LSU and Alabama).

Urban Meyer is 3-0 in BCS games, with two national championships.

Pop quiz, what is Mark Richt lacking? That’s right! A national championship, DESPITE being at the head of one of the supposed powerhouses in the SEC.

As for those two BCS wins, one came in 2002, back before the SEC had really developed into the conference powerhouse it is today, and the other came in 2007 against a Hawaii team that had no business being in the BCS, DESPITE an undefeated regular season record (don’t forget that Hawaii earned their record by playing the WAC, two different FCS teams, and the only team they played from a BCS-caliber conference was the 4-8 Washington Huskies).

While the SEC has improved, Georgia has declined

There is clearly a gap in talent between Mark Richt and the other premier coaches of the SEC. And with each passing year the irrefutable evidence indicates that the gap is widening.

Since Georgia’s last BCS win in 2007, while the SEC has improved as a conference, the Bulldogs have been on a steady and sharp decline.

Entering into the 2008 season Georgia was ranked as the top team in the country. How did Richt respond to that ranking? By losing not once, but THREE times that season.

Again, a 10-3 record (with a win in the Capital One Bowl) is not bad, but as the pre-season favorite to win the national championship, three losses equals to a HUGE disappointment.

Then in 2009, Georgia (who still managed a top-ten recruiting class) was ranked in the pre-season as the 13th best team in the nation, and they played on to a record of only 8-5… falling COMPLETELY out of the top-25 by season’s end.

Somehow, despite that slide even deeper out of SEC relevance, Georgia managed ANOTHER solid recruiting class and found itself once more ranked in the 2010 pre-season as one of the 25 best teams in the country.

And once again, Richt has failed.

So far this season he has managed to win only one game (against Louisiana-Lafayette), and his three losses (all of which have come against SEC competition) have him sitting in dead last as the worst team in the conference.

It is time for Richt to go

During his tenure, Richt’s performance at the University of Georgia has been good, but as far as the University of Georgia’s expectations are concerned, “good” in the SEC simply isn’t good enough. This is a program that has recruited some of the top talent in the country, but has failed miserably on the field.

Since 2007, Mark Richt has had top-ten caliber talent coming into each season, and has progressively dropped further and further out of contention. He has lost 11 times in the SEC during that time (compared to only four losses each by Florida and Alabama during that same period). This season, he has the Bulldogs off to their worst start in 20 years (they also started at 1-3 during the 1993 season).

The SEC has progressed to a level at which Mark Richt can no longer compete.

Three different head coaches have won national championships in the SEC over the last four years. Each one has progressively improved their program’s stature, elevating the conference in the process. All the while Georgia fans have been left on the sidelines with nothing but disappointment.

Mark Richt has had all the tools, and every opportunity, to improve his program right alongside the likes of Saban, Miles, and Meyer. But unlike those three, Richt has failed to capitalize on his opportunities.

While the SEC has gotten better, Mark Richt has gotten worse. The only way that Georgia can progress as a football program is if they leave Richt behind.

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7 Responses to The Fire Mark Richt Debate… Expectations Outpace Mark Richt

  1. GoldenDawg says:

    This is got to be the dumbest article I have ever tried to read. You need to do research before posting trash. Just because you have a solid class doesn’t mean you had a class that filled your needs. The main reason we lost some of our top prospects right before signing day mainly because of crap talk like this. Stop playing ncaa football 2011 and learn your facts before running your computer. I’m so tired of hearing people like you run their mouth.

    • Bleacher Fan says:

      First of all…

      This HAS got to be the dumbest article you have ever tried to read. Not “This IS got to be…”

      If you are going to criticize something as being dumb, you should use good grammar. Otherwise, you lose credibility.

      Second, what part of this is trash, or requires research? Is it the FACT that Richt has consistently turned in solid recruiting classes, or is it the FACT that Richt has underperformed to expectations with those classes?

      In fact, your comment that “Just because you have a solid class doesn’t mean you had a class that filled your needs.” only proves my point!

      What you are basically saying is that Richt is a bad recruiter, because he is getting the wrong guys for the program.

      Tom-AY-to, Tom-AHH-to

      We are both saying that Richt is bringing in good talent, but is not using them properly on the field.

      And while I appreciate the credit that I and others like me are the reasons that guys like James Wilder decided not to sign with Georgia, I think it has more to do with the fact that Wilder liked his prospects at Florida State a little better than what Richt had to offer.

      Realistically, the only news that has come out of Georgia football in recent years has been injury, arrest, or losing… tell me, what part of that would be attractive to a kid who hopes to one day play in the NFL?

      And don’t try and tell me that guys like Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, or Mohamed Massaquoi prove that Georgia is churning out NFL caliber talent, because those guys will end up being average at best for their positions.

      The Mid-American Conference’s Kent State can put out better NFL caliber talent than those three guys (Josh Cribbs, Julian Edelman, James Harrison)!

      At the end of the day, Mark Richt has underperformed as head coach of a major program in the best conference in college football. For a team that was SUPPOSED to be in contention for National Championships, finishing the season outside of the top 10 in 2008, then unranked in 2009, is completely unacceptable.

      He has drawn in some of the best prospects in the country, but cannot translate that into wins on the field.

      Now, he’s in dead last in the SEC.

      It’s time to get rid of him.

      If you want to try and argue that he should stay at Georgia, I would LOVE to hear your reasons why. But comments like “Stop playing ncaa 2011″ bring nothing to an INTELLIGENT debate. So if you CAN’T argue why the Bulldogs should keep Richt, then stop wasting my time!

  2. Bloodhound says:

    Mark Richt’s big issue is what Bobby Bowen said when Richt left FSU: he may be too nice. The early years were a nice change of pace from the Jim Donnan era, but Richt’s SEC winning percentage over the past 4 years is 6 percentage points lower than Donnan’s last 4 years (63 vs. 69). Richt’s mild, passive demeanor along with his outspoken religious faith as the central point in his life works well while recruiting Ma and GrandMa, but it has not shown to be an influence on his players’ discipline on and off the field. Clearly, the players do not respect his leadership. The coaching staff, particularly the new defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, is finding it difficult to work under a man who is out of the mainstream of reasonable societal norms. With his meek personality, it is a difficult task to get players to be mentally tough and aggressive enough to consistently play SEC-level football and yet not resort to the anger and violence which have repeatedly resulted in personal foul penalties. Richt could never be an effective company commander, leading men into war. That is a near-perfect analogy to football played at the highest level.

  3. Loyal Homer says:

    Bloodhound, thanks for the comment.

    One of the biggest criticisms from UGA fans I know is that Richt is not emotional enough. Remember how all UGA fans got excited when he had all the players do that celebration routine after the first touchdown against Florida three years ago?

    Then again, I got a feeling if he turns the program around, then people will credit his sense of calmness as a reason for getting through the tough times.

    Winning cures a lot and I think thats the bottom line with this situation.

  4. Rosezeee says:

    THIS is CMR a/k/a Willowbee – – start at the one minute mark

  5. Rosezeee says:

    The reality is, this is Georgia football – – total lack of discipline, arrests, penalties, turnovers, sloppy play, bad decisions like going for it on fourth and one on your own 25 yard line in the second quarter when your down by 7 points (remember arkansas). Until someone at the top brings in a top coach, this is what it is. Any wonder why the first three DCs offered the job last year turned it down?

    Just look at the difference between the Shula and Saban eras at Bama.

    • Bleacher Fan says:

      Great points Rosezeee!

      When the entire program is falling apart, that starts at the top. And winning a lot of games in the regular season (which Richt apparently can’t even do THAT this year) just isn’t enough when you are supposed to be a coach at a MAJOR football program.

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