Bama (Natl Champ)
Alabama Crimson Tide (National Championship)
L, 23-26

2009: the Year of the Opinion. It seems everyone has a comment about Georgia football. I've heard a lot of them over the past few months and everyone knows I've given my useless perspective before and after every game this season, too. Some supporters say a season like this is expected at times. Many say a program like Georgia should never expect a 6-win season. A few will say that Mark Richt and his coaching staff are just going through an uncharacteristic season of miscues and bad luck, while most opine about the lack of discipline in player development and play-calling. Whatever the reasoning, Mark Richt must make some coaching changes and/or find ways to stir up the program or his tenure in Athens may come to a very abrupt end.

I'm not a Mark Richt detractor and this isn't an indictment on the program as I think CMR is undoubtedly the right coach for the Bulldog program. However, I cannot sit here and write another sentence without explaining the small amount of worry that I'm starting to experience in that statement now. Since beating Arizona State last year, Georgia has gone 12-8 and the expectations of losing are becoming more of a reality than the possibility of winning. This is the first time in the Richt Era that I've actually started praying to the Football Gods for a Bulldog victory. It used to be expected but I guess this devil is now getting his due.

A .500 season seems deplorable right now but I wonder how much of a stain this season will leave if Georgia pulls off the unthinkable against 10-1 Georgia Tech this weekend. Someone asked me, "Will a victory over Tech complete your season?" That's a good question. I mean, I know everyone has said in passing conversation, "if Georgia goes 1-11 but beats Tech, then the season was a success." Sure, we never thought we would ever have to test this theory after going 82-22 with two SEC Titles, two Sugar Bowl victories, and a final season top 3 ranking on two occasions since CMR took the helm in Athens. But in a lot of ways, we Georgia fans have to revisit that alcohol-induced comment in a few days and find whether or not this season puts an exclamation mark on our season or an extra question mark behind it. It's time to put our money where our mouth is and find out how memorable 2009 will be if we pull off the upset in Bobby Dodd Stadium. I may crack a smile similar to something out of Slingblade but I'm still going to have a lot of questions about next year and one big question about this year: "if we beat 10-1 Georgia Tech, why couldn't we beat a few other teams this season, too?"

I'm not sure I buy into the "win now" attitude that sports has now undertaken but I do know that no job is safe, even after one year of disappointment. If you don't believe me, check the LSU blogs about National Championship Coach Les Miles after an end-of-the-game blunder against Ole Miss last Saturday. Everyone has an opinion on a coaching job and now the phrase "the power of the pen is mightier than the sword" seems sharper than ever before. I'm wondering how many critics give Richt a pass after an upset win over Tech and/or how many ask him to trade in his SkyMiles on Saturday night after another defeat. I don't have the answers because for the first time in the Mark Richt Era we are having to be honest about our past statements and transgressions.

It used to be a rivalry win kept your job in the eyes of the fans but after hearing the strife on, I'm thinking a BCS National Title is no longer safe, either. Does a win over Georgia Tech somehow make this digestible? That's for you to decide but in this day and age, be careful what you say on the way back up. You may to answer it again on the way back down.