I think the world of Mark Richt. He is a great man and example. I was encouraged by the play I saw yesterday out of his team. It stood in stark contrast to the Boise State game. You could tell that the team was better coached and motivated than a week ago. It is clearly an encouraging sign. If I were at the game, I would have been among those fans who applauded the team's effort as they left the field. Here's the trouble ...
The team that scores the most points, wins the game. There are no judges' decisions. Moral victories don't show up in the record books. I'm certainly more encouraged by yesterday, as opposed to when I was waiting two hours on the MARTA platform last week. But, our Dawgs made just enough critical, crippling mistakes to let Carolina win that game, despite looking like the better team.
I've seen a lot of commentary about how the team was better and it should have won, except for a couple of small things that decided the game. The trouble is, the small things are always the difference between winning and losing. A mishandled exchange, a drop, a missed kick, an interception, an untimely penalty. Those are the things that separate teams of approximately equal strength and talent. How many times have we played well enough to win a close game and lost because of a few, well-timed lapses? South Carolina '01, Florida '02, LSU '03 I, ... Colorado '10, Florida '10, South Carolina '11. The small stuff is important and a single mistake can get you beat, much less three big mistakes.
We'll get better, but will it matter? We've lost twice on national TV, once in embarrassing fashion to a team that many casual fans unjustifiably regard as inferior to their chosen team. Thus, at 0-2, we are nationally irrelevant. If we want anyone to notice us again, there are three things the Dawgs have to do. Start winning, keep winning, and beat the Gators. The first won't be hard. Coastal Carolina shouldn't be in the game at halftime. The second is conceivable, but there are some very losable games left before Jacksonville. And the Gators, well, you know how that's been going.
People won't be talking about Kirby or Dan Mullen if they are leaving Jacksonville at 6-2. They'll be scheming ways for us to back into the SEC Championship Game.
Victory cures all. Every game left is winnable, based on the Carolina game. Many of those games, however, are also losable, based on the Boise game. And moral victories still don't count. Go Dawgs.