Georgia Bulldogs hope to continue winning streak

By Greg Romagna

Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel
This Georgia Bulldogs will have a chance to win their ninth straight game and will also have a chance to punch their ticket to the SEC Championship Game as the representative for the SEC East. This all seemed like wishful thinking back in September when the team started out 0-2 against Boise State and South Carolina. A renewed sense of purpose and the luck of not having to face any of the top three teams in the SEC West (LSU, Alabama, Arkansas) has helped turn this season around for Georgia. 

After a 6-7 season just a year ago that culminated with an embarrassing loss to UCF in the Liberty Bowl, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt found himself on the hot seat for the first time in Athens. During the offseason, Richt had a sense of urgency on the recruiting trail and made personnel changes in the strength and conditioning program that have seemed to have made a difference. His urgency on the recruiting trail landed him a top 10 recruiting class that has seen many players make contributions to the team as true freshmen. The revamped strength and conditioning program has seen the Bulldogs fourth quarter performances improve dramatically, a point of concern in the past.

Even with all the good luck and efforts of the offseason, the season got off to a lackluster 0-2 start much to the chagrin of the Bulldog Nation. Richt’s seat grew even hotter, and many were wondering when the dean of SEC coaches would be fired. Luckily for Richt, Athletic Director Greg McGarity did not make any hasty decisions, a move Richt rewarded with nine straight victories and a possible trip to the SEC Championship game.

The ‘Dawgs suddenly had a revered defense thanks to the coaching of fiery defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, and the offense was doing just enough to win games, including a come-from-behind victory over arch-rival Florida. Last week, Georgia played its most complete game of the year, dismantling defending National Champion Auburn, 45-7. With the win, the Bulldogs not only defeated another rival, but they also moved one game closer to an SEC Championship berth. With a victory against listless Kentucky, a game in which Georgia is favored by about 30 points, Richt would have his team in the championship game for the first time since 2005. Not bad for a guy was on the hot seat just two months prior.

Georgia is playing its best football of the season at just the right time and is one of the hottest teams in the country. The defense has been in sync for most of the season but the offense is just starting to fire on all cylinders. If the Bulldogs do get into the SEC Championship, you may want to tune in because they just may have what it takes to come away with a victory.

Gregory Romagna can be reached for comment at [email protected]