The situations with injuries is beyond joking in Athens; its now just plain sad. But if injuries were the only thing to be concerned about at Georgia things might not be so bad (they'd still be pretty bad, however).
The Bulldogs' special teams are not just the worst in the NCAA – they are the worst in college football… every level from the SEC all the way down to Division III. There is no team worst than Georgia.
It is an embarrassment.
Dropped punt return? You got it.
Another goofed snapper-to-punter exchange? Yep.
Things that were once taken for granted are mighty struggles in Bulldog Land these days.
The game on Saturday was heading to its usual conclusion – Vanderbilt was not as good as Georgia (even the black and blue Bulldogs who showed up), and the Commadores were ready to roll over and die.
Georgia was up 13, and had stopped Vanderbilt… the game was all but over.
That was certainly the case when Ramik Wilson was called for "targeting" a Vanderbilt player – this time we were are to believe that targeting means breaking up pass.
At minimum it was a curious call. Most in red and black saw it for what it was: A clown show Bozo would have been envious of; circus animal material.
It was a horrible, horrible call. It was one of the worst calls I've seen in a long time. Georgia should make certain to scream and yell that the call cost them the game – because it did.
But the Georgia defense didn't force a turnover or a field goal attempt. Instead, they were scored on a few minutes later. What also happened after that horrendous call was the failed punt attempt, which set up Vanderbilt on the doorstep of the end zone.
Making a team drive the field to win is difficult for any team. Giving them three cracks from the ten-yard line is asking way too much of this defense right now. Georgia defense can only handle so much to begin with after all.
Don't get confused: Vanderbilt is not a good football team – not at all. But the best way to give teams who are not good the ability to beat you is by making mistakes – game-changing mistakes, and Georgia has mastered that art this season.
This is not a good Georgia team right now – not nearly. It is a shell of itself. It lets little things bother itself too much. It can't run the ball when it has to. Every special teams play is a 100% ride on a Disney roller coaster. Much of the talent on the offense is not dressed, and the defense is still an experiment – but did play better today (pick six; got off the field more).
Georgia is the most exciting team in America, but no longer for a good reason.
Things will change – that is clear. Georgia, with Todd Gurley, is a totally different team than without him. No team can go without its best players forever, and that's certainly caught up with these Bulldogs. Georgia isn't just playing without its best offensive player – it's playing without a lot of its skill players, and players matter – players always matter.
But nothing, nothing at all, has been easy for these Bulldogs this season. From Malcolm Mitchell's ACL in the first quarter of the first game, to the goofed up punt attempt against Vanderbilt – its been a roller coaster each week. Each game they have played has been in doubt in the fourth quarter – in only two of those fourth quarters have the Bulldogs put the other team away… South Carolina and North Texas.
Tennessee could have been put away; Vanderbilt should have been put away; the chance to give Clemson a lot to think about in the second quarter came and went with that opportunity untaken. You can thank Aaron Murray for the win over LSU.
2013 is going to go down as the nuttiest season of Mark Richt's time at Georgia. If someone were to tell you Georgia beat South Carolina and LSU, but lose to Missouri and Vanderbilt in the season you would not believe them. But that's where we are at – the SEC East is Missouri's to lose, and it doesn't look like the division is very good at all. It's more like the wheel-of-destiny we've come to expect in the ACC Coastal… or is it Atlantic? I can't keep them straight.
The injuries inside the division are also starting to resemble the cast of the Walking Dead.
But Georgia had its chance and wasted it. Sure, the officiating was down right horrible. And the injuries at Georgia make you wonder what in the hell these guys did to deserve such a rash of injuries. I mean it is as astonishing as it is unfair.
However, the games have all been winnable, and yet they have not all been won. It's predictable for fans to want everyone fired after a loss to Vanderbilt. That's not happening.
Georgia is in this spot because it got itself here. The Bulldogs should take a very, very long look in the mirror and decide if they want to finish this season out the way it should be – winning every game the rest of the way – or if they are going to want to throw in the towel like a bunch of three-year olds who don't get their way.
Georgia won't be the only ones who will be questioned over the next two weeks. Florida is as bad or worse than these Bulldogs, and that's a must-win game for both programs now. The pressure is on in Jacksonville, but in a totally different way than a season ago when the SEC East was on the line.
This year, blackened and blue, the Gators and Dawgs are just trying to salvage seasons of "what could have been" while trying to avoid a total fanbase meltdown that will ensue after the game for one of these two programs.
The Bulldogs just had better hope it's not them.