Last Saturday’s loss was a bad one.
As noted before, it was the latest double-digit loss Georgia has incurred since the 2006 season. The Bulldogs, beginning in the second quarter, did not have an answer or a response once the Crimson Tide got out in front of them.
However, the loss counts only once for the Bulldogs. As bad as it was, Georgia still has everything to play for. If the Bulldogs win out, they’ll go to Atlanta and play for an SEC Championship.
Trying to put perspective on the loss, head coach Mark Richt noted how tough it is to go undefeated in conference play.
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“How many SEC teams have won the league undefeated in the last 10 years?” Richt said. “I mean that would be a good stat to check out. Not many. Not many. It's just hard to go undefeated in our league, for sure.”
OK, let’s answer the question for Richt.
Since 2005, three teams have gone undefeated in conference play en route to an SEC title. It happened in consecutive years, too. In 2009, it was Alabama. In 2010, it was Auburn. In 2011, it was LSU. Alabama and Auburn won national titles in those years. LSU ended up losing the national championship game to Alabama in a rematch.
Otherwise, the other seven SEC champions in this span all had at least one loss. Georgia, in 2005, and LSU, in 2007, had two losses -- and that LSU team ended up winning a national title.
Going back a little further: 13 times in the SEC’s first 64 years did a conference champion have a loss. In those days, it was a lot more common for an SEC title team to go undefeated in conference play. Then, beginning in 1988, and including those that shared the conference title before 1992's first championship game, 21 teams won the SEC with a loss. So in the past 27 years, an SEC champion has had a loss 77.8 percent of the time.
The final step, now, is to look at the losses from SEC champions in the past 10 years. Are any as bad as Georgia’s 28-point defeat to Alabama?
2014: Alabama, lost to Mississippi 23-17
2013: Auburn, lost to LSU 35-21
2012: Alabama, lost to Texas A&M 29-24
2008: Florida, lost to Mississippi 31-30
2007: LSU, lost to Kentucky 43-37 (3OT) and to Arkansas 50-48 (3OT)
2006: Florida, lost to Auburn 27-17
2005: Georgia, lost to Florida 14-10 and to Auburn 31-30
Only twice in this span has an SEC champion lost a game by double digits. 2006 Florida went on to win a national title and 2013 Auburn played for one. However, no team had a lopsided loss quite like Georgia’s.
That’s not to say Georgia can’t rebound, make a run and still win a conference title. But doubts have now emerged because last Saturday’s performance was about as far from championship-caliber as possible.
There’s plenty of time for the Bulldogs to get back on the right track. And that starts this week at Tennessee.
Hitting the links
Georgia knows it can't lose another game if it wants to accomplish its goals.
Brian Schottenheimer said the plan is still for Greyson Lambert to start and for Brice Ramsey to play.
Brandon Kublanow returned to practice on Tuesday, Isaiah McKenzie was not present.
If McKenzie is unavailable for the Tennessee game, here are some options to fill in.
Jake Ganus and Joshua Dobbs were once teammates in youth-league football.
The AJC's Chip Towers spoke with D.J. Shockley about what Lambert needs to do to get back on track.
The Athens Banner-Herald's Marc Weiszer gets Malcolm Mitchell to give his take on the Tennessee fight song "Rocky Top."
Dawgs247's Kipp Adams posted a video of an interview with Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity.
Dawg Post's Dean Legge gives his take following Brian Schottenheimer's press conference on Tuesday.
Passing game tough to come by
Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell couldn’t pinpoint one particular area as to why Georgia’s passing game was unable to connect against Alabama.
As documented, quarterback Greyson Lambert went 10-of-24 for 86 yards and an interception, with Brice Ramsey going just 1-of-6 for 20 yards and two picks. However, it went deeper than that, Mitchell said. Receivers didn’t run perfect routes, Alabama’s coverage was outstanding and the heavy rain had some effect when it came to the quarterbacks throwing.
“When we watch film, a couple of times the ball was slipping out of the quarterback’s hand due to certain circumstances,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes, the receivers were covered. There’s not one answer. If you talk about something so specific, there’s a lot of variables that can change the passing game. If you think about it, if the receiver holds a little too long, it changes the timing. If the quarterback holds the ball a little too long, it changes the timing. It’s a split second of decisions can change everything, not only the passing game but the game in general.”
Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer on how difficult the Alabama game was for him in the moment: “It was very hard. I’ve had a few games like that in my career where you sit there and stare at the call sheet going, ‘Man, I don’t know about this call, I don’t know about that call.’ I’m being honest. But in terms of the thing we didn’t do, especially early on, they gave us good field position. We got the turnover, had a short field, we missed a fullback in the flat play. Just some of those momentum plays were the big key for us.”
Song of the day
"C'mon Everybody" by Eddie Cochran