On Friday evening, I listed Georgia's Five Worst Team Performances in Games I Attended.
That posting followed up on my lists of the Bulldogs' Five Best Team Performances in Games I Attended and Five Best Team Performances Overall. For the sake of symmetry, therefore, I now bring you . . . The Five Worst Team Performances Overall:
November 21, 1942: Auburn 27, Georgia 13---The 1942 Bulldog squad was a juggernaut. Led by that year's Heisman Trophy winner, Frank Sinkwich, and future Maxwell Award winner Charley Trippi, Georgia posted an 11-1 record, captured its first Southeastern Conference championship, shut out six opponents, scored 34 or more points seven times, won the Rose Bowl against the hometown Bruins, and finished the campaign ranked No. 1 by six of the polls recognized by the N.C.A.A. (The Associated Press poll voters awarded the national title to Ohio State, which finished 9-1 and played in a conference that sent no teams, including the Buckeyes, to bowl games. The S.E.C. was represented in the Cotton, Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowls, winning three of the four.) The Plainsmen, meanwhile, did not win more than six games in any season from 1937 to 1952. During one stretch between October 1942 and October 1945, Auburn won just twice in nine conference games. One of those rare Tiger victories came against the Red and Black, who stumbled in Columbus against an Auburn team the 'Dawgs should have defeated handily. That loss was the lone blemish on what otherwise probably would have been regarded as the greatest season in Georgia football history.
In the 1940s, we hated Auburn in black and white. It was not until the early 1960s that we began to hate Auburn in color and only in the 21st century did we begin hating Auburn in high def.
October 22, 1977: Kentucky 33, Georgia 0---This game was attended by Prince Charles. If this is the way the Bulldogs play whenever members of the British royal family are on hand, the Declaration of Independence was an even better idea than it seemed like at the time. Between 1939 and 2005, the Bulldogs and the Wildcats met on the gridiron 59 times. U.K. won only 10 of those 59 clashes and only three of the 29 series meetings between the hedges. Six of Georgia's losses to Kentucky have been by margins of seven or fewer points. 1977 is the only season since 1965 in which the 'Cats beat the 'Dawgs by more than a touchdown and no U.K. football team has ever been even remotely that dominant in Sanford Stadium before or since. This game got so out of hand that Prince Charles left at the end of the third quarter, presumably so he could beat traffic while driving on the wrong side of the road.
"He hath sent hither to our shores members of the royal line for the sole purpose of observing our foot ball teams being beaten by their inferiours."
October 2, 1993: Arkansas 20, Georgia 10---I missed this game because I was in South Georgia celebrating my grandmother's 75th birthday. I would not miss another game in Sanford Stadium for exactly six years, until I was asked to be in the wedding of a friend who didn't tell me beforehand that he was getting married on the day of a home game. All things considered, this was a good game to miss. The Razorbacks, having gone 48-13 under Ken Hatfield between 1985 and 1989, were mired in mediocrity: from 1990 to 1994, the Hogs had three head coaches and posted a 21-33-2 record. Future Super Bowl M.V.P. Terrell Davis rushed for 177 yards on 31 carries, yet, despite Davis's best efforts, the Bulldogs were able to muster only one touchdown and were shut out in the second half. The loss dropped Georgia to 0-4 in S.E.C. play for the first time in school history. I listened to this game on the radio and, by the time it was over, I knew Ray Goff would have to be fired. It didn't happen until the end of the 1995 season, but I never wavered in my conviction that a change needed to be made after this pitiful outing.
November 25, 2000: Georgia Tech 27, Georgia 15---Mercifully, the N.C.A.A. later declared that this game didn't actually happen, "vacating" the contest by airbrushing it out of existence like it was a photograph of Leon Trotsky in a Russian history textbook. The deficiencies in the Georgia coaching staff---not the least of these being an inability to do simple math---were made glaringly apparent during the course of the contest. The 'Dawgs trailed 27-3 at the half. When you're down by 24 points, it's a four-score game: you need three touchdowns, three extra points, and a field goal to tie the opposition. Technically, it's true that three touchdowns and three two-point conversions also will tie the game, but the probability of converting three straight two-point tries is too minimal to be treated seriously. In the third quarter, Georgia scored two touchdowns, attempted a pair of two-point conversions, and failed on both attempts. Had the Bulldogs kicked the extra points, the score going into the fourth quarter would have been 27-17. Instead, the 'Dawgs were down 27-15 when, early in the final period, the Red and Black drove to the Ramblin' Wreck's 12 yard line. Cory Phillips's pass to Reggie Brown on fourth down was incomplete. If the 'Dawgs had been behind by 10 instead of trailing by 12, Georgia could have kicked a field goal to make it 27-20 and a one-score game. Had the Red and Black taken three sure kicks rather than attempting two ill-fated two-point conversions, they would have been in a position to have tied the game late in the fourth quarter. A bad game plan had been practiced poorly, the execution was awful, the emotion was nonexistent, the adjustments vacillated between nonexistent and awful, and the game day decisionmaking by the coaching staff was atrocious. Simply stated, this game was so bad that it got Jim Donnan fired and no one in the Empire State of the South---not even the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's resident village idiot, the clueless universal homer Mark Bradley---now doubts that the axing was deserved.
Jim Donnan, shown here hitchhiking out of Athens after the 2000 season ender against Georgia Tech.
January 2, 2006: West Virginia 38, Georgia 35---Those Dawg Sports readers who followed me here from Kyle on Football know already how disgusted I was after the Sugar Bowl. My initial view has been tempered somewhat, but not so much that I am yet ready to claim that this game is not among the five most awful performances in Georgia history. Also, I'm not ready to talk about it yet, so let's leave it at that.
From where I sit, those look like the five worst performances in Georgia football history. Feel free to register your concurrence or dissent in the comments below.
Coming Soon: Various Individual Performances.