It was the low point, in terms of losing, of Georgia’s Mark Richt era. The Bulldogs were young and inconsistent. Aaron Murray was a redshirt freshman quarterback who was up and down; Alec Ogletree was about to move from safety to linebacker; the team didn’t have a nose guard or a real running back to speak of; A.J. Green, Clint Boling and Justin Houston were leaving for the NFL. Isaiah Crowell was not a certain signee, and Jarvis Jones was an uncertain prospect of a player who had a real scare in terms of medical background.
Nothing was guaranteed, and things didn’t look great.
But that was on the surface.
A little over a decade before that night, Georgia Tech, George O'Leary and George Godsey embarrassed Jim Donnan and Georgia 27-15 in Athens. And, yes, it was embarrassing to watch a run-limited Godsey hobble into the end zone from near midfield on one TD run. That was the UGA team Donnan famously said he had waited his entire life to coach. It’s the only time in recent memory Tech defeated UGA in three consecutive contests… Tech should never beat UGA in three consecutive contests.
He was fired a few days after that debacle.
Things didn’t look great, and they weren’t.
But in both situations Georgia turned things around real quick. At places like Georgia, Alabama, Florida and LSU you can turn things around very fast.
In both situations it took exactly two seasons for Georgia to turn what was pure misery into very real shots at winning the national title. That’s not exclusive to UGA. Remember Clemson playing for the national title in 2015? Georgia drilled them 45-21 in Athens in 2014. Remember Ohio State winning the national title in 2014? The Buckeyes were 6-7 in 2011. Oklahoma in 2000? The Sooners were 5-6 in 1998 and 7-5 in 1999. Not sure I need to review Auburn’s heaven/hell relationship in 2010 and 2013 and the seasons surrounding those. USC? Pete Carroll and the Trojans limped to a 6-6 season in 2001. That was good enough for 5th place in the Pac 10 that year.
You get the point - usually there’s some - if not a lot - of pain involved in making a coaching change and climbing to the top. Georgia has now had both. The climbing-to-the-top, quite clearly, shouldn’t be assumed, either.
But it’s difficult to take the 40,000-foot view after a stunning loss like UGA had on Saturday. It’s the fourth time in five seasons Georgia has had either a traumatic or inexplicable loss in the closing moments of a game. That does things to people - it makes them start believing in stupid things like curses.
Curses are for losers - ask a South Carolina fan about their Chicken Curse.
This isn’t about curses or any other silly thing people come up with. There are two things Georgia needs to do - continue to recruit and develop. It is simple, not super sexy and requires the one thing in short order these days - time. Do that and before you know it these Dawgs won’t be so young any more - neither will this program. And that will make all of the difference.