Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Expectations

When we started this downward spiral a few years back, I tried to take a step back and ask the honest question, "do we as fans have unrealistic expectations for UGA?" Can we be LSU, Bama, or UF or are we Clemson, West Virginia, Texas A&M, or Wisconsin. College football to me is broken down into about 4-5 groups of teams.
  • teams that suck every year (I mean really suck, like never go to bowl games)
  • teams below average (make a random bowl game every 5-10 yrs, bounce between winning and losing records)
  • average teams (can count the number of 10 win seasons on one hand but often go to bowls and are around .500)
  • above average teams (always goes to bowls, competes for occasional conference title but always out of national picture)
  • elite teams (in national title hunt almost every year or at least every few years)
Obviously teams move in and out of these areas but where should we be. I'd say that under CMR, we have been an above average team mostly but are heading very close to becoming an average team.

Back to the question at hand, "do we as fans have unrealistic expectations for UGA?"
I'm no expert since I didn't play college football, but here's my list of things needed to be an elite program (in no particular order):

  1. Resources - School has to commit to winning. This means paying coaches and having top notch facilities. So Vandy not having an athletic director means to me that they aren't that committed to athletics. Thanks to Mr. Nike, Oregon has ridiculously nice facilities.
  2. Recruiting Base - School has to be located near a recruiting hotbed. It's too hard to be a consistent elite program if you don't have great high school talent close by. This can be called the Dakota rule. From all the years I've been following college football, my list of top high school recruiting states are Texas, California, Florida, Ohio, and Georgia
  3. Location - Let's face it, it's a lot easier to recruit kids to warm weather climates. There are exceptions to this but overall, most kids would rather play in Southern California or Florida than in Nebraska or Minnesota. Also, the northeast is a very hard sell since it's such a pro-team region. College gets no love. I know that if I did play college football and I went to Michigan to watch a game in December and then went to Florida, I'd lean towards the place where girls are still walking around in shorts.
  4. Exposure - The program has to have national exposure. Today's athletes are looking for exposure, they want to know that you play on national TV a lot and that they will get a chance to be seen all over the country. This includes playing the best competition.
  5. Academics - It's very hard for an elite academic institution to maintain an elite football program. It just takes too many below average students to make up great teams year in and year out. You won't see Stanford, Vandy, Duke, Wake Forest, or Northwestern be perennial national title contenders. I'm not saying they can't do it for a few years (currently Stanford) but they just can't sustain it.
With all this being said, I'd have to say that no, it is not unrealistic that UGA could/should be an elite program. I did graduate from UGA (BBA), so don't take offense to the Academic comments, I know it's not that hard.

Sure there are places that are better in every one of these areas but there aren't 15 schools in the country that have everything we have. Does LSU or Alabama? Having one year like Texas just had is understandable but what we are going through is starting to look a lot less like a blip and more like a seismic shift. IMO, we should NEVER have a 3 year stretch like we are having. Maybe I'll be proven wrong about this season, something clicks, and we go on to win the east, but I honestly have lost faith that our leadership can turn it around.

I love CMR as a man but I've never been thrilled with the idea that it at least appears (even if not true) that I care more about the football team than he does.

-Simple




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