Friday, February 09, 2007

What’s wrong with Georgia?

In compiling our listing of the top recruiting classes for the 2004-2007 period, and in looking at the past 2 studies on the relationship of recruiting to success, one team in particular seems to have become a chronic underachiever – the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Now at first blush, it may seem incorrect to call a team that finished 10-2 in 2004, 10-3 in 2005, and 9-4 this past year an underachiever. However, according to the recruiting services, Georgia has consistently been pulling in one of the top classes over the past several years. Georgia’s classes by year (as ranked by Scout.com) are –

2002 – 9th
2003 – 11th
2004 – 6th
2005 – 4th
2006 – 4th

On a trailing 4 year average –

2002-2005 – 6th
2003-2006 – 5th

The problem Georgia seems to be suffering from is counter intuitive in that the better their recruiting has become, the worse they have performed. Records for the past five seasons –

2002 13-1 (SEC Champ)
2003 11-3
2004 10-2
2005 10-3 (SEC Champ)
2006 9-4

During the time span, Georgia has bested Florida a single time in – 2004, with just fired Ron Zook coaching the Gators.

Georgia’s final Coach’s Polls rankings –

2002 – 4th
2003 – 11th
2004 – 6th
2005 – 10th
2006 – Not Ranked

Clearly the trend is in the wrong direction.

When you look at the 2006 year, UGA’s average recruiting classes for the 4 prior years was 5th nationally. Yet, of the top 6 average recruiting classes, they were the only team to finish unranked.

Interestingly, Richt seems to have been more successful with the players recruited by his predecessor, Jim Donnan, than he has with his own.

In firing Larry Coker, much of the talk at Miami was that Coker had “won with Butch’s players”. In other words, Larry could coach – he just could not recruit well enough to keep Miami competitive. Richt’s problem – and Georiga’s – seems much more complex. He was able to win with, and thus presumably coach, Donnan’s players, but it becoming less successful with his own players. Yet, according to the rating services, he has consistently recruited top talent.

It doesn’t make sense to say he could coach another’s players, yet not his own, but that seems to be what the evidence suggests. Which raises many questions, including whether the recruiting ratings are incorrect, or whether Georgia is not recruiting its needs.

This year Georgia had one of its poorer more recent recruiting efforts, coming in 17th on Scout.com. Their trailing 4 year average however remains strong at 5th.

This past year was painful for Georgia, with losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt. With Tennessee apparently getting back on track, Florida showing no signs of weakening, and South Carolina rising, the challenge for Georgia will get worse, if anything.

And one wonders how long the Bulldog faithful will continue to support a coach who is 1-5 against their archrival.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Georgia? The answer is simple- Florida.

From '02 to '06 Georgia has only lost 13 games (winning 53)

5-0 over Ga Tech
5-0 over SC
3-2 over Tennessee
3-2 over Auburn
2-2 tied with LSU
Only one loss out of conference (Sugar against West Va)

Georgia has done everything expected of top programs over this five-year span except:

Beat Florida.

It is hard to consider a program elite (despite the statistical success) when one of its top traditional rivals has such a long developed streak of wins over them.

Florida also ruined Georgia's best chance at a MNC- It was losing the Florida in '02 and the fact that Ohio State and Miami both went undefeated that kept them #3. Kind of what could have happened this season had USC not slept walked through the UCLA game.

But as you have pointed out in your analysis, Georgia has recruited the players to make the Florida series competitive (like the UT, Aub, and LSU series for them.)

Whether they can turn the corner is another question. Texas went through the same type problems with Oklahoma recently and managed to shake the monkey off its back. Georgia really needs the '07 game.

Anonymous said...

It's not going to be a problem, see mark richt is most consistant winning coach in the sec since he came to georgia. florida had One and only One good year now they think they are god it takes more than just winning one game a year to become an elite program. after losing 9 out of 11 starters on defense and one being out until fall with injuries I don't even think the miss. st. bulldogs are going to have a problem agiants the humble reptiles this year.

Henry Gomez said...

Anonymous, step away from the crack pipe.

Anonymous said...

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