Dean Legge/Dawg Post

The Seven-Year Itch

ATHENS - What is the difference between Georgia and Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan State, West Virginia, Miami, Oregon, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and other so-called “football schools”?

Right now fans at those schools are dreaming big, watching their teams play huge games and planning for their future in the NCAA Tournament. After tonight, Georgia is just wondering how far Jacob Eason can throw a football in the spring game on April 16th. 

Sadly, fans at Georgia should no longer concern themselves with making the NCAAs. The discussion now is if Mark Fox is the right person to guide this program moving forward.

I don’t think he should be - not any more. It is time to move on. Things are just not working the way that they should seven years into a coaching tenure. Perhaps this has been building, but tonight’s 57-53 loss to Florida’s was predictable.  

Fox didn’t inherit a gold mine at UGA, but he’s only made it to the NCAAs twice in seven seasons. And to put it in context, Fox coaches in one of the top states in basketball skill and talent in the country. But he’s failed to take advantage of his geography. 

Seven years later that shouldn’t be a problem. Instead, the best player on the team right now is from Michigan. 

Sure, the optimists among us will still try to figure out how the Bulldogs can make an unlikely run to get into the Big Dance. But that’s a complicated path that will have to involve a major-league run that this team seems incapable of. 

First, UGA would have to get three wins on the road. Of note: This team only won twice on the road this season. Second, UGA needs multiple wins (no fewer than two) in Nashville at the SEC Tournament. 

Both of those things seem improbable. 

Why?

Georgia just doesn’t score enough - this season or the last seven seasons. The Bulldogs have not once finished a season under Fox where the team has scored more than 70 points per game. Right now UGA ranks 266th in the country in scoring. Only Alabama (1,620) has scored fewer points than UGA (1,647) in the SEC. 

That’s a problem on multiple levels:   A. The more points you score the more likely you are to win. B. The more points you score the more likely people are going to watch to score; fans like offense. 

But those are outputs and results that show up on the scoreboard; the reason UGA doesn’t score well is because UGA doesn’t recruit well. After a while it all adds up, and that’s where we are at right now. 

Georgia is an average SEC team in a below-average conference. For a long time that’s been ok. It shouldn’t be ok any more.

But at what point is enough enough with the melancholy nature of this program?

Sure, football is always going to be the big man on campus around here - and in Gainesville, Austin, Norman and South Bend - but that’s far too often used as a convenient excuse in Athens. Basketball should be a much bigger deal than it is. 

Georgia needs to dream big. VERY BIG. It needs to understand that the right fit in Athens could have a Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio State or Michigan-type basketball run in it. All of those institutions have had basketball programs that have played for or won a national title in the last decade. 

They’ve done it, and now Georgia should try to as well. 

It’s time. Shoot, it’s past time.


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