Mark Richt Back on the Hot Seat

Mark Richt

Jim Brown – US Presswire

Well, it doesn’t take long.

After starting the year 5-0, the Georgia Bulldogs looked to be in national championship form.  Jarvis Jones had single-handedly dismantled the Missouri Tigers and earned his way to the top of Mel Kiper, Jr.’s draft board in the process.  The good times rolled, as Georgia enjoyed one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.

The glitz and glamour ended this past Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina, as not only did the Bulldogs lose but looked awful in the process.  So it’s no wonder that the anti-Mark Richt clan is bursting out of the woodwork with pitchforks and “I told you so’s.”

The critics were strong at the beginning of the 2011 season, especially after Richt’s squad began the year with two consecutive losses.  But rattling off ten wins in a row that landed them in the SEC title game sent most of his nay-sayers into hiding.

But after an ugly loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2012, they’re back.  It’s hard to imagine one game putting any head coach’s job in jeopardy, but for his critics, it’s about taking the ingredients he’s been given and turning out fast food quality meals.

Last summer, Rivals.com ranked the overall recruiting in college football over the two previous seasons, with Georgia at No. 2, trailing only the USC Trojans.  Fans feel that they should have something more than an 0-2 start in 2011, and a blowout to South Carolina while Arron Murray was in Heisman form, to show for it.

But is this really fair?  And are Georgia fans willing to take the gamble of bringing in a questionable recruiter to lead the program?  In the case of the previous two coaches, Jim Donnan and Ray Goff, it took at least three consecutive losses to the Florida Gators before they were axed.  Will it only take one for Richt?

With as much hot seat dancing as Richt has been involved in, you’d think he was playing musical chairs.  But this is the current standard of winning and expectation in Athens.  With the SEC East rising, it’s a bad time for Georgia to be falling.  If Georgia can win out the rest of the season, they still don’t control their own destiny, and may be left out of the SEC championship game.  It may be just enough to save Richt’s job however.  If Georgia loses to Florida, you can bet that fans will already have a rough draft of potential coaches made up.

There’s no doubt that Georgia expects to play for championships based on their high levels of recruiting, but it may just take some “Ray Goff seasons” to remind Georgia fans what a great coach they had in Richt.

Dan Irwin is an SEC football writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter @ “danirwin_rant” or on his Facebook page at “facebook.com/danirwin.sports.”

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