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Do the Georgia Bulldogs Get the Credit They Deserve?

Last Friday, BCSBusters left me a comment, in which he made the following point:

[O]ne of the things that has hurt Georgia in the National Championship B(C)S is that they haven't had an outright Heisman candidate to offer up to the BCS Gods (Television Networks, Bowl Officials and Super Conference Commissioners).

I liken Georgia to Texas, with the major difference being Vince Young compared to Georgia's entire team. Penn State was not a good comparison considering they have a sub .500 record in half of their BCS seasons. Texas is the better comparison and maybe one reason why Georgia hasn't gotten that shiny star attention from the networks is the lack of a Heisman, which certainly plays into the BCS malarky. Food for thought or do you disagree?

Last summer, when I was wondering which teams possessed the ingredients for a national championship run, I began with Kevin's criteria for organic success and added a sixth ingredient of my own; namely, a transcendent player on the order of Frank Sinkwich in 1942, Charley Trippi in 1946, or Herschel Walker in 1980.

At the time, I thought "the presence of Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow on the rosters of the S.E.C. East's top two programs likely portends a showdown in Jacksonville in November 2008 that will determine which of two teams, Georgia or Florida, will play for the top spot in the final coaches' poll in January 2009." In retrospect, I overlooked the truly transcendent player on the Bulldogs' roster:

(Photo credit: Josh D. Weiss.)

BCSBusters has his own theory why the 'Dawgs do not get their due, but I'm not terribly worried about the Red and Black being short-changed next season. Georgia already is attracting national media attention, and the problem highlighted by BCSBusters contains the seeds of its own solution. He notes:

I think people across the country, specifically those outside the southeast corridor, think of Florida, LSU and Tennessee  (and even Auburn) as THE POWER schools inside the mighty SEC Conference, and . . . the average fan outside the SEC might overlook a very deserving Bulldog program.

I don't disagree with that assessment, and, in 2008, I welcome it. In case you may have forgotten, these are four of the dates on the Classic City Canines' upcoming slate:
October 11: Tennessee
October 25: at Louisiana State
November 1: Florida (Jacksonville)
November 15: at Auburn

In a 35-day span, the Bulldogs will face all four of the Southeastern Conference squads BCSBusters identifies (probably correctly) as the league's power programs, as they are perceived by the national news media. Any questions left unanswered by the season's opening stanza will be settled during that five-week span.

It is true today, as it has been in the past, that BCSBusters and I have our principled disagreements. For instance, I would quarrel with his assessment that Florida's recent dominance of Florida State is more impressive than Georgia's recent dominance of Georgia Tech. The belief that the Seminoles have been better than the Yellow Jackets in the 21st century is rooted primarily in being overly nostalgic about what Bobby Bowden's teams were in the 1980s and '90s and in being overly forgetful of what Bobby Dodd's teams were in the 1940s and '50s.

That aside, though, I agree with BCSBusters that the Red and Black receive too little credit for being an S.E.C. stalwart and a national power. In the last six seasons, Mark Richt's teams have won two Southeastern Conference championships, attended three Sugar Bowls, finished no worse than tied for first place in the Eastern Division four times, and ended the season ranked in the Associated Press top ten five times, including a No. 3 finish in 2002 and a No. 2 finish in 2007. You simply can't argue with that kind of success.

While I agree with those who have argued that conference crowns and rivalry games matter more than national titles, there is no denying that, after just seven seasons on the job, Coach Richt is where Coach Bowden was after 17 years at the F.S.U. helm, having only one goal yet unmet and facing the question not whether, but when, it would be realized. This team and this schedule provide an exemplary opportunity for the Bulldogs to silence all doubters.

Go 'Dawgs!