If you want to talk about giving credit where credit is due, Mark Richt has accrued a ton of it at Georgia: 91 wins, two SEC titles, six 10-win seasons and three trips to the SEC title game.
If Richt retired to his lake house today, he’d jet around on his motorboat knowing he was — at worst — the third most successful coach in UGA’s solid 118-year history.
Yet Richt’s overwhelmingly successful tenure has been dotted with head-scratching losses, with those dots becoming all the more frequent the past five seasons.
Georgia and Richt flopped big time in Starkville in a 24-12 loss to Mississippi State Saturday. It may have been the darkest hour of the Richt era …
Or was it?
Here are the top 10 worst losses by a Richt-coached UGA team.
10. Tennessee 35, Georgia 14 (2007): The Bulldogs were outclassed by a very pedestrian Tennessee team in 2007. The loss cost the Dogs a spot in the SEC title game (the Vols went instead) and perhaps a shot at the BCS championship.
9. Tennessee 45, Georgia 19 (2009): Lane Kiffin said he’d never lose to UGA and he was right. The one-and-done Vols coach obliterated the Bulldogs in his only game against Richt. Making matters worse, the Bulldogs made embattled Vol quarterback Jonathan Crompton look like Aaron Rodgers that day.
8. Kentucky 24, Georgia 20 (2006): If you look at the Bulldogs’ recruiting classes compared to those of Kentucky, Georgia should never lose. Yet they do.
7. Vanderbilt 24, Georgia 22 (2006): Refer to the two sentences above for this one, too. The Bulldogs had a million chances to stop Vandy on its game-winning drive that day but didn’t.
6. Kentucky 34, Georgia 27 (2009): Turnovers and all-out meltdown — all-too-common themes since 2006 — cost the Bulldogs a game they had in hand on Senior Night.
5. Florida 41, Georgia 17 (2009): The only thing worse than the Bulldogs’ on-field performance was the choice to wear those odd black helmets.
4. Georgia Tech 45, Georgia 42 (2008): Turnovers and terrible tackling from Georgia allowed Tech to overcome a 16-point halftime deficit and rip-up the Sanford Stadium hedges afterward. Those mistakes cost Georgia an eighth-straight win over the hated Yellow Jackets.
3. Alabama 41, Georgia 30 (2008): Again, desperate for a motivational tactic, the Bulldogs donned black jerseys for the third time in a nine-game span and trailed 31-0 at the half. College Football Game Day was there to see it all.
2. Florida 49, Georgia 10 (2008): Urban Meyer publicly called out Georgia in his biography for its behavior during the 2007 game (the infamous end zone celebration) and used several needless time outs at the end of the 2008 blowout to rub-in the final score.
1. Mississippi St. 24, Georgia 12 (2010): To answer the question from before, yes, this is the low point. Never have Richt’s Bulldogs seemingly lost more respect in the college football world than they did Saturday. With the program’s honor on the line, Richt’s reputation at stake and the danger of an 0-3 SEC record looming, the Bulldogs played their poorest football of an already poor year.
Still, Richt has at least eight more chances to redeem himself this year — and add to his résumé of victories.
And remember, that list far outnumbers his collection of bad losses.