HOOVER, Ala. -- Something we’ll do on a regular basis this season is tackle a burning question or topic in the SEC.
We’ll call it “Take Two” (Yes, we’re stealing the idea from our Big Ten brethren), and we’ll kick it off today. We'll give our takes. Sometimes, we’ll agree. Other times, we won’t.
We’ll let you decide who’s right.
Today’s topic: Does Georgia coach Mark Richt have to at least make it to the SEC championship game this season to keep his job?
Take 1: Chris Low
I don’t think there are any cookie-cutter requirements for Richt this season to keep his job, nor do I think there should be. He’s entering his 11th season at Georgia, and there’s no denying that the program has dipped the last couple of years. At a place like Georgia, 6-7 is never going to be acceptable. For that matter, neither is 8-4. To me, what’s more important for Richt this season is to elevate the program back to that level where Georgia is playing for something important come November -- an SEC championship game berth, an at-large BCS bowl berth or a 10-win season or better. Equally important is beating the teams that count -- Florida, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Tennessee. Even if the Bulldogs win nine games this season, but lose to Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, nobody in Athens is going to be very happy. Even so, I really don’t see a scenario where the Bulldogs win nine games in the regular season and Richt fails to keep his job. I think it gets dicey at eight wins. Getting to the SEC championship game would ensure that he’s back in 2012. At the same time, not getting there isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket out of town, either.
Take 2: Edward Aschoff
In order for Mark Richt to keep his job in Athens, the Bulldogs will have to stay in contention for the SEC East until the very end of the season. A trip to the SEC championship game in Atlanta would secure his job, but it's not a must this season -- not with the injuries and defections Georgia suffered this year.
I agree that nine wins should be enough to keep Richt around for next year, but he does need to show that the Bulldogs can stay at that level for years to come. Every year, Georgia is equipped with a slew of talent, but lately, the Bulldogs have failed to live up to expectations. Richt went to three SEC championships in his first five years at Georgia, winning two. Georgia's win in 2005 was the last time the Bulldogs played in Atlanta for the SEC title, and the Bulldogs' win total has decreased every year since 2007.
We aren't sure what sort of leash new athletic director Greg McGarity has on Richt, but McGarity comes from a school of winning in Florida and he'd like to see the same thing repeated at Georgia.
There is no question that Richt is a total class act and his 96-34 record at Georgia is nothing to scoff at, but in a "what have you done for me lately world?" Richt needs to show that he can do more, immediately.