Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One Goal

This season began with promise: an experienced team with a high ranking and an easy schedule.  Many of the players talked about an ultimate goal, making it to Miami for the National Championship game.  But as we watched the debacle that took place on Saturday night, all of those lofty dreams quickly died to the sound of Sandstorm over the loud speaker.  Maybe the players were not focused, the coaching staff ill-prepared, or maybe South Carolina is just that good.  We’ll never truly know why the game went so bad on Saturday.  But one thing has become abundantly clear: Georgia must beat Florida.

The coaching staff may mention other goals.  They’ll say we still have a chance at the East, that we can beat Auburn for 6th time in 7 years and Georgia Tech for the 11th time in 12.  They’ll say we can return to a New Year’s Bowl game and potentially a BCS game if we win out.  NONE OF THIS MATTERS.
The only goal the coaching staff and the team should be focused on is beating Florida.  The rest of the schedule is filled with scrubs (Kentucky, Ole Miss) and teams that clearly have no idea what they are doing right now (Auburn and Georgia Tech).  Beating them should be expected (and no, that does not mean overlook them, it just means Georgia clearly has more talent).  After two down years, the Florida Gators are trying to reintroduce themselves to the nation.  Their second season under Will Muschamp is beginning to bear a resemblance to Mark Richt’s second season at Georgia, with a strong defense, a reliable running back, and a quickly improving quarterback.  If the Dawgs hope to reclaim what was once a bright season, they must return the favor that the Gators gave them back in 2002.

Florida is still the team that I want to beat more than anyone, and I think most of the Dawg Nation would agree.  South Carolina appears to have turned the corner as an upper echelon team in the East and if the Dawgs don’t want to get left behind, they must take back control of the series in Jacksonville.  We all know the numbers over the last 20 some odd years, but let’s just look at the years under Richt.  Since 2001, Georgia has gone 3-8 against the Gators.  And while that number is still horrendous, it is much better than the one win in the ten previous seasons.  And that record is better when you look at the last 5 years, where Georgia has gone 2-3.  Getting to .500 over the last six would be huge.

The season is not lost, but it sure feels like it.  The fans are angry and some are acting really stupid.  To salvage the season, we need to feel good about something.  Beating Florida (I believe) is what the doctor ordered.  So forget our time, our team, no regrets.  It’s time to embrace the only goal that matters:  BEAT FLORIDA.