Monday, November 18, 2013

The BAD Losses as they relate to Auburn Saturday

I feel for Aaron Murray so much, and I encourage you to tweet him or send him a letter this week.  I tried to think of worse (or as bad) losses I experienced in person.

1985 Shula driving Bama to beat us
1986 Treadwell kicking Clemson to victory in Athens
1987 Treadwell part two in Clemson, after being up by 4 late and giving up a safety to cut it to 2
1992 Tennessee.  We fumbled away the first Eastern division
1993 Cocks.  Brandon Bennett over the top as time expired.
1995 Tennessee.  It was a gut-wrenching.  We had them.
1995 Peach Bowl.  That.  Just.  Happened.
1998 Tech.  Joe Hamilton fumbled.  I swear.
1999 Tech.  Boy, when you think about it.  That was bad.
2000 Auburn.  Cory Phillips liked to have won it.
2001 Auburn.  Young Richt mistake
2001 BC in Music City
2002 Florida - Terrance
2003 LSU - That was a miracle, too
2003 Florida - freshman Leak drives them down the field
2004 Tennessee - We couldn't get out of our way and had a shot at the end
2005 Florida - With Joe T, we still had the ball with a shot
2005 Auburn - Pretty painful
2006 Vandy - I still see Andy Bailey missing FGs
2006 Florida - We lost 21-14 to the national champs.  But for Quentin Moses' brush of a facemask, we were about to give the ball back to that gunslinger
2007 South Carolina - GIVE IT TO KNOWSHON!
2008 Tech - Ugh
2009 LSU - Thanks Mark Curles
2009 Kentucky - Oh Joe
2010 Arkansas - Could have been Murray's coming out party
2010 Colorado - I can't believe we lost.  Bennett was about to win it.
2010 Florida - Maybe the most painful of the Florida losses I've seen.  Nah, that was 2002.
2011 South Carolina - Couldn't get out of our own way.
2012 Outback Bowl, MSU - We couldn't stop people back then either, and that was the best D we had under Grantham.
2012 Bama - The worst of all.
2013 Vandy - It still hurts.
2013 Auburn - We were on the wrong end of a miracle.

I've seen some bad ones.  Hope you enjoyed that walk down bad-memory lane.  I think the Counselor is right.  In 10 years we won't remember it like Bama.  We had mostly nothing on the line and lost our season in Nashville, despite our glimmer of division hopes.  The schedule, injuries and a bad, bad D caught up to us.  2 kids tried to make a play at the end and didn't.  Maybe they should be coached to knock it down.  Maybe they should have just caught it.  For whatever reason, the football stars did not aligh for us, starting with Todd Gurley's beautiful 75 yard toss sweep in which we pulled a quad in Clemson, SC.  It was downhill from there.

I hope we can pull it together and play our guts out for Murray, Artie and Garrison these next 3 games.  I can't believe the LSU and Auburn games were in the same season and how I've felt at the end of each of those.  Sometimes you just wonder about life, you know.  It's hard to think about a kid like Murray and the luck he's had, starting with AJ's suspension, through the sure TD drops against LSU in 2011, to Conley's catch vs. Bama, to our injuries and incredibly bad D this year.  To luck like the junk that happened tonight.  Also hard to believe we've been on the losing end of all those games up there, but we've had a bunch of victories.  I will say that Auburn went 53 years between National Titles, so we might have to wait awhile.  It just seems like Lindsey Scott used up all our luck.  That's what's frustrating, and I don't have an answer.  I'm certain there are other teams that feel this way.  We're really blessed to have Richt and to be the kind of program we are.  I mean that.  We've won the east the last 2 years.  We go to a bowl every year.  In our darkest days, we haven't had seasons like Florida this year, Auburn last year, or Bama from about 2003-2006.  We've had some great kids:  Greenie, Shock, Pollack, MoMass, Rennie, AJ, Boykin, Murray and Gurley to name a few.  Man, they've gotten some bad breaks.  That's the part that's a little depressing.  A competent DC will fix a lot, but we just need some breaks.  Would love to seek Murray get some here to close it out.  Go 8-4, get a better bowl than we deserve and play awesome in his last hurrah.  The SEC bowls are going to be crazy.  And for my money…

-I hope Bama crushes Auburn (and they will -- that offense is mickey mouse, we just suck at D)
-I think I hope Clemson beats the snot out of the Cocks.  I'm subject to change this opinion with SEC homer-ism taking over. 
-I hope South Carolina upsets Bama.  They're winning the East.  Might send Spurdog packing.  That'd be something, wouldn't it?  He'd stick it to the Ol' Gators, too, putting Urban vs. FSU in the BCSCG.
-Hope John Football wins out to go 10-2, and the Fiesta or Orange takes A&M over Bama, sending Bama to Orlando
-I hope we can hold Tech under 50

In a moment of levity, just think what our record would be if Marshall Morgan hadn't turned out to be so doggone clutch...


What leaves me saddest is luck.  It seems like we're really unlucky.  Do you make your own luck?  I don't know.  I don't know how you 'make' happen to you what happened on that play Saturday?  I don't know how we 'lucked' into 2 of the most egregious penalties of the last 10 years.
  • AJ's celebration penalty single-handedly changed the way the flag was thrown.  You almose never see it flagged anymore.  Almost never.  The ensuing outrage changed the game, but we 'lucked' into being the team it was called against, and it may have cost Joe Cox his moment.  And who knows what happens with that season?
  • Ramik's targeting penalty obviously changed the way it's been called in the SEC.  Essentially, they've almost decided to not call it anymore.  We 'lucked' into it being the most egregious call of the season.  It essentially cost us the game in Nashville.  That was on the possession Swann fumbled.  We had stopped the bleeding and made the stop.
Ohio St. won multiple miracle games in 2002, and Mark Richt had no luck.  We don't seem to get the onside kick when we need it (and that's almost all luck).  In 2007, South Carolina, UK and Vandy should have all beaten Tennessee.  They didn't.  No luck.  Still, the improbably happened, with 1 & 2 losing.  We were number 4…but ended up #5 the next day.  No luck.  In 2004, Reggie Brown's toe was out of bounds by 2 inches vs. UT.  Missed FG followed.  No luck.  In 2012, it seemed it was changing.  Oregon's kicker plunked one off the upright.  Aaron Murray stormed us down the field in the dome.  Moseley's tip.  Conley's catch.  No luck.  Have you ever thought about what happens if Conley keeps his feet?  He might score, or he's out at the 1 with 2 seconds left, after which we hand it to #3.  But, no luck.  2013 injuries.  No luck.  A bobbled snap in Clemson.  Bad luck (it was extra point distance).  Auburn's miracle.

That's my sadness for us.  We've got issues to fix.  We need a new DC.  We need to continue to recruit more depth so injuries take less of a toll.  But, Good Lord, it seems we have to earn everything.  I fully expect us to win the SEC at 12-1 in the new playoff format one year and Ohio St, USC, Texas, and FSU will all be undefeated that year.  I don't know the answer.  I don't think praying helps because I'm not sure God cares about who wins games.

We do things right.  We don't oversign and cut kids, a practice I think is abhorent.  We have the strictest drug policies in the country, which I think is noble.  We kick kids off our team when they break the rules, which I think is the right thing to do.  But these things don't equate to luck.

Interestingly, I thought about Corch today.  Foley runs UF much like we run UGA.  They don't oversign.  They kick kids off when they deviate, though their leash is probably a little longer.  Corch left after the 2010 season.  I think he's an arrogant prick.  But, you wonder what it did to him in 2010 watching Cam light up scoreboards while his team languished without Tebow, knowing that if he'd had his way, he'd have kept that kid and won another title in Gainesville.  Meyer cares about winning more than Richt, and you wonder how much of a factor that played.  Like UGA, UF is cheap.  They hired the cheapest coach they could find and got Muschamp, bottom line. 

Mark Richt's a fine man.  I just wish he had a little more luck and fate smiled on him a little more.  Good guys don't always win.  We've got the best man of them all, and it seems like the world (and Penn Wagers) is against him.  That's all hard to figure.  Hard to watch other teams win with kids you kicked off, knowing that we'd never sign a kid that was kicked out of LSU, Miss St, Auburn or Florida or Bama.  We just wouldn't do it. 

In the end, we'll remember this game like Tech 1999.  It was a blown season due to some crazy injuries and circumstances.  We had a brutal schedule that caught up with a young defense.  We lost on a miracle like the 1999 tech game.  One was a tipped pass, one was a referee error.  It probably didn't cost us a championship.  But it cost us some pride and sending Murray out on an awesome note.  And that makes me sad.  Sad for Aaron.  Sad for Richt, who just can't seem to buy a break in a business where it seems like the jerks get all the breaks.