So here we are. Our collective ass is raw from another beatdown 'tween the hedges at the hands of Nick Saban. The "Richt apologists" and the "Anti-Richt" crowd are once again divided both cleanly and perfectly.
Where do I sit amongst this menagerie?
It's a question I get tired of asking myself. But when the other choices are to put on a pair of jorts or stick a funnel up my ass, well...it's my cross to bear. Yes, I understand Georgia still controls its own destiny. But first we must clear the Joaquin soaked air in two steps. One painfully hard and excruciatingly difficult. And the other both necessary and urgently needed.
1. Let's start with a question - What is different between the 2008 Bama game and Saturday night? Or if you prefer, What is different between the 2011 season opener against Boise State and Saturday night? Really, just insert any and all past losses that stick in your own personal craw as well as divided the fan base and just ask - What is different now?
The answer is not much. Other teams have lost tackle football games, even the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. Other teams have struggled to find a quarterback. Ok, yes...even the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. Other teams have epically failed at competing which lit a damn bonfire under the fan base. Yup, even Saban's mighty LSU defending national champion Tigers on a much drier Sanford Stadium turf.
Yes, not much has changed in Athens, except for one thing - support. I've danced with the Richt Apologists before. We even had some drinks at times and got awfully sloppy together back in the day. But for the most part, like many of you (I hope), I'm a program first guy. Yet while past losses, both the hard ones and the inexplicable ones, agitated me, I could never lay the blame entirely at one man's feet. Even if those feet belong to one Mark Richt at a time when it was popular to find buses to throw his name under.
And that's because the program was never invested in like other programs were invested in. To compare the Georgia Bulldogs to the Alabamas and the Ohio States and even the Auburns and the Floridas, was not a completely fair comparison. I don't need a stapler to do my job, but it sure does help sometimes that my boss provides me with one. That may come across as a crude example, but the point is Georgia's coaches deserve as level a playing field against the SEC competition as they can get.
And that support is coming around, quickly. Here's a portion of what I wrote back in August leading up to the start of the season:
Coach Richt bashers and Coach Richt apologists alike have to agree that the level of support for the football program in Athens is at a level that is unprecedented. Gone are the days of those that put Richt on a pedestal saying things like "Well, if only they'd let the man have the support staff he deserves..." or, "I mean jeez, Richt got caught paying his own staff out of his own bank account!"I'm still not willing to say this season had to be a CFB Playoffs season. But there's a reason yesterday's question has been rattling off in my head since Saturday. Again, the investment should show some measure of return, no?
In short, it's time to put up or shut up. No excuses. Morehead helped McGarity open the coffers. And now there's a lot less office space in Butts-Mehre.
No, I'm not declaring 2015 a Natty or bust season. But the investment should show some measure of return, no?
In the very least, I'm anxious to see how our team performs with all of this influx of support. We've all been patient. Let's see what happens the next couple seasons now that UGA is finally all in.
But also, the last sentence from that August post - particularly the "next couple of seasons" part - is what separates at least some of the fog for me. Saturday was really, really painful to watch, but now that the program has both investors on campus as well as off of it, both public and private, both with UGA office emails and without, it seems too knee-jerk to expect immediate results and just haphazardly lay everything at Coach Richt's feet today.
But that's just me.
2. So Georgia Football remains a riddle to me. I'm perplexed as to the answer, but am more than willing to see how this team responds to adversity as it sets its aim on laying waste to the SEC East.* Because laying waste to the SEC East is what is needed, and what is deserved.
Yes, it's time to take a step forward. Despite what some have said, the Dawgs do control their own standing in the SEC East and I'm ready to watch them fight for it.
In short, Saturday was painful, but another one looms.
* And before you tell me the answer is as simple as firing the head coach, understand that the earliest that happens is late November and the actual year is as yet undetermined. Change out of your
rain soaked chinos and find some more big boy pants.