Alright. Alright. Alright. Georgia did it again. We somehow found a way to lose another big game. We led the whole game, with the exception of about 2:00. We dominated the line of scrimmage. We resurrected the running game (Which had been assumed dead since Nicholls state). We held Tennessee, and Josh Dobbs, to only about 300 yards of offense (discounting that last play) and 21 points (once again discounting that last play as well as the defensive TD). We forced turnovers. Our receivers actually caught the ball. Even our kicker made a kick. And somehow we still found a way to lose. But hey, we’re used to it. We’ve seen this story many times before. We always have the talent. The schedule always lines up pretty favorably. But time and time again, Georgia fans always end the season with an all too familiar feeling. Disappointment. Which brings me to my point: Georgia fans are the most tormented fan base in college football (For the last 10 years at least).
I’m only 24, so I can’t really speak too much about the program before the Mark Richt Era. But, I’ll touch on what I’ve gathered from the "Old-Timers".
For starters, we blew the 1981 and 1982 Sugar bowls (arguably costing us the national championship in back-to-back seasons). The 81’ game was lost on a last second TD pass, by a guy named Dan Marino, with 35 seconds left in the game. Then the 82’ game was lost by late game heroics from a guy named Todd Blackledge. So basically, Georgia went to two straight national championship games with the best college player of all time (Herschel Walker) and came away with nothing.
Then there was the 90’s, which were a disaster to say the least. From what I’ve gathered, it sounds like Ray Goff was the closest thing to the plague since well…..the plague. Regardless, Georgia had players such as Champ Bailey, Hines Ward, Terrell Davis, Garrison Hearst, and Mo Lewis, and produced a grand total of zero SEC or national championships. I’d say that the 90’s can be defined by one play. The Jasper Sanks "fumble" (worst call in history), in the 1999 Georgia Tech game. Yea, the 90’s were disappointing.
I’m not gonna lie, the majority of the 2000’s were pretty good to us. The beginning of the Mark Richt era produced a couple SEC championships and couple teams that were very close to national championships. The 2002, 2005, and 2007 teams came very close, and were definitely national championship caliber. But, we still suffered our fair share of disappointment during this period as well. Getting upset by Florida, and Ron Zook, in 2002 cost us a national championship. Losing to unranked South Carolina, at home, (Thanks again Spurrier) and unranked Tennessee in 2007 was rough as well. The fact that we had AJ Green, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, Clint Boling, Geno Atkins, and Reshad Jones on the same team and didn’t win anything is just downright sickening.
The 2005 season was, in my opinion, the biggest disappointment of them all though. We were undefeated and ranked no.4 in the country. Under the helm of DJ Shockley, we beat no.18 Boise state by 35, then no.8 Tennessee by 13, and were undefeated heading into the cocktail party. But of course, with Shockley injured and sidelined, Florida upset us again. Then the following week, Auburn beat us by a point after converting a 4th and 10 'hail mary' in the final minute of the game. Georgia fans can’t help but wonder, "What Could’ve been that year." What if Shockley hadn’t missed the Florida game? What if Auburn hadn’t converted that "lucky" 4th and 20? Then to add insult to injury, we chocked in the Sugar bowl game, in the Georgia Dome, and lost to an inferior West Virginia team.
Things got worse after 2007 though. That 2008 season sucked. The Alabama game, "The Blackout", was bad, real bad. Most fans have tried to black that one out of their memory. Then Florida got pay back for the year before. And then we topped it off in typical Georgia fashion, by blowing a double-digit lead at home to Georgia tech. We came into that season as the No.1 team in the country by the way. Mark Richt should never be forgiven for that season. Huge disappointment.
The 2009 LSU game was very reminiscent of last night. AJ Green scored, what seemed to be, a game winning TD with 1:09 remaining in the game. But once again, an excessive celebration penalty, in the Endzone, arguably cost UGA the game. That season went down hill from there, with the low point being the loss to Kentucky at home.
The 2010 and ’11 seasons were filled with disappointment as well. In 2010 alone, we lost to Mississippi St, Colorado, Florida (in OT), and UCF in close games. Then in 2011 we got curb-stomped by Boise State in the dome, upset at home by South Carolina (no doubt we should’ve won that game), embarrassed by LSU in the SEC championship, and then blew yet another lead in a bowl game against Michigan St.
Ok, so if you thought all that was bad, guess what. Believe it or not, over the past 4 seasons, it’s gotten worse.
The 2012 SEC championship game might be the biggest "What could’ve been" game of them all. You all know the story. 5 yards. 5 freakin yards, was the only thing between Georgia and a national championship. Mark Richt, Aaaron Murray, Gurley, Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, that whole team deserved that game. That was a huge disappointment.
The 2013 season was yet another, "Coulda, shoulda, woulda" type of season. To start, we should’ve beaten Clemson at Death Valley. Then Gurley got hurt, and in his absence Missouri snuck into Athens and shocked us. Then we got hosed by the refs on a late targeting call, and blew a significant lead, in Nashville, against Vanderbilt (F**King Vanderbilt). Then the "Prayer at Jordan Hare" happened. I’m not gonna get into that. Oh yea, and then we blew another lead against Nebraska in the bowl game. That season was honestly the biggest disappointment in my opinion.
Then there was the 2014 season. For some reason, we elected to not give the ball to the best player in the country (Todd Gurley) on the 3 yard line, and blew the South Carolina game. Then Florida pumbled us in Jacksonville, days before firing Will Muschamp. And then, in typical Georgia fashion we capped it off by blowing another game to Georgia Tech (Stupid Squib kick).
Then last season we got embarrassed again by Bama, blew another late lead against Tennessee (Thanks Reggie Davis), and then got blown out by Florida (again). Then last night happened.
So, to put this into perspective for everyone, I’ve decided to throw together some statistics, just to show everyone how tormented we have been over the last 8 years in particular. Over the past 8 seasons, we have been upset 21 times, blown 4th quarter leads 14 times, blown double-digit leads 4 times, and lost games in the final minute 7 times. We even have two of the top 5 most improbable losses in College football over the past 10 years (Georgia Tech in 2014 and the Tennessee game last night), with each team having less than a 1% chance of winning the game. We’ve found just about every way to lose in every environment. The life of a Georgia fan has been tough to say the least. We’ve been through it all. I’ve got a feeling that our luck will change soon though. And believe me you, It’ll make that national championship that much sweeter when we win it. But in the meantime, Georgia fans are the most tormented fanbase in the country.
- Harrison Martin (@RealHarryMartin)