Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Seasons

NFL Playoffs begin next week. Saints are in. Falcons are in. Patriots and Ravens await at the end of any road to the Superbowl. Playoffs rarely get better than this.

A host of college teams have yet to play. Even with TCU's epic Rose Bowl win, Auburn & Oregon are still on tap to light up a scoreboard down in the desert. The Bayou Bengals and the Aggies are still on stage in Dallas, and there is a game still to be played in the Superdome.

But football season ended in sackcloth and ashes for my beloved Georgia Bulldawgs. As DADvocate mentioned in an earlier comment, both of the previously elite SEC programs that each of us hold dear have finished this season with more losses than wins.

And if you had told me any time since 1997 that Georgia AND Tennessee would have losing seasons AT THE SAME TIME, I'd have told you how much oceanfront real estate I could sell you in Oconee County, Georgia.

At least DADv gets to enter the new season knowing his team was legitimately robbed of a winning effort by a rule loophole. His team was overmatched in Nashville and still had enough in the tank to notch a win, barring the official buffoonery. His team has a solid coach that got more effort out of that group of players all year long than could reasonably be expected, considering recent events at the flagship university of the Volunteer state. Those players wanted to win that game.

Contrast that to the Georgia Bulldawgs, who obviously had something else on their minds, as they have seemed to so often in recent history. In the past, I have called the 2009 and 2010 seasons of UGA football "rebuilding years," meaning 2010 is the rebuilding year we should have undergone in 2009. But that doesn't seem to be the case. "Rebuilding" at least suggests that there is a blueprint, or a plan of some type; perhaps the laying of a foundation for later success. I'm not sure if our current architects actually have such a plan, or are just winging it as they go along.

This is a significant change from all my earlier opinions, save one. Though he WILL be coach of the Georgia Bulldawgs in 2011, I wonder if Mark Richt WANTS to be coach of the Georgia Bulldawgs in 2011. The new season will answer that question, finally.

And it will do so rather swiftly. Georgia's next opponent is Boise State, in Atlanta, for the Chick-fil-a College Football Kickoff Game.

Not only will we know the answer, swiftly, so will the rest of the college football watching public.



alli said...

And yet Notre Dame ended the year with a bowl victory over an old rival, an undefeated November despite losing many (young!) starters to injuries - including the quarterback, and finally, FINALLY, beating Southern Cal.

Rebuilding year, indeed. I can see great progress from the beginning of the year. Can't wait to tackle that 2011 schedule! 9/3/11 vs South Florida!

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I can remember much gnashing of teeth when it came to the Irish's early season woes. Who was it who calmly and consistently explained that Notre Dame was undergoing a deep turnaround?

Notre Dame wasn't facing a rebuilding year, and have not for some time. They were facing a reconstruction year - the product of many, many years of "rebuilding" forced upon them by Willingham, Weis and the program's own unreasonable expectations.

Kelly & the Irish finished strong, of that there is no doubt. Utah, USCw and Miami do not lack for talent or motivation.

But he has much work yet to do - this will likely be ND's most important recruiting season in a generation. It will be followed by the program's most important spring ball in a generation. With some speed on defense, some strength on offensive line and some true believers in the program the Irish can finally regain their footing among the nation's elite.

On the other hand, UGA is currently undergoing their second consecutive rebuilding year, while undergoing a process artificially lengthened by winning seasons while palpably regressing on defense in 2007 and 2008. Changes that should have been made early in 2009 are only now being examined, which is maddening.

But CMR has earned his 2011 Season. We will find out if Georgia's problem program DNA has been corrected or if it really exists all the way to the top.

And after witnessing 4 straight seasons of regression, it can never be said that UGA lacks patience with their coaches. I sincerely hope CMR turns this thing around, but if he is unable to do so in 2011, UGA will have to move on.