Was UGA’s Victory Over South Carolina the Most Important of Mark Richt’s Career?
If you’re familiar with the site you know that I am prone to a slew of ridiculous opinions. I make no apologies for this fact.
But I think you should hear me out on this one.
Last Saturday’s victory over South Carolina may be the most important of Mark Richt’s career. Here’s my thinking:
The first reason has gradually begun to dawn on most UGA fans after the dust and hangovers have dissipated: that loss will probably force Steve Spurrier out of coaching and into the eternal purgatory of tee times and sweet tea that he’s been wanting to melt into ever since he was booted from the NFL.
In other words, Mark Richt probably (I think) ended Steve Spurrier’s coaching career last Saturday, which is arguably the single greatest achievement of any person associated with the University of Georgia. I don’t think there is any way that South Carolina fires him, though they might if pushed hard enough (read: if they lose to Vandy). But this loss, coupled with the abysmal season that is surely to come for the Cocks, will probably raise the heat enough that Spurrier steps aside.
Speaking of ghosts, there is one spectre that looms largest in Spurrier’s wake a catastrophic loss to Florida in 1995. Just a year before Spurrier would win his national title the Gators traveled to Sanford Stadium while the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville was being renovated. Spurrier hung a Ulysses S. Grant on the Dawgs, spanking them to the tune of 52-17.
Nearly 20 years later, Mark Richt saw Spurrier arrive between the hedges yet again, only this time it was Richt hanging 52 on the HBC. Sure, its just a coincidence, but it certainly seems the most fitting way to exorcize the sickness that has been hanging over Sanford stadium since 1995. No opponent has ever hung most points on UGA at Sanford Stadium than Spurrier did that day. And yet until last Saturday Georgia had never scored more than 45 points against a team coached by Steve Spurrier.
Mark gave the 52 right back to him.
Yes, you may balk at the idea of fate being involved or at the notion that symbolic coincidences are anything other than symbolic.
But I would only answer that there has never been a single individual more responsible for hindering football success at the University of Georgia than Steven Spurrier. And it seems that his time in the SEC Eastern Division may be at an end.
Could South Carolina hire the next Urban Meyer once Spurrier leaves?
Maybe. But, my god, isn’t that a risk the entire Dawg Nation would be willing to take?
I’m not saying this victory will finish over the Hobnail Boot, or the Blackout Game, or the Michael Johnson Catch, or the demolition of Florida in 2007 in the final rankings of Richt Era victories. But if Steven Spurrier retires at the end of the year as a result of a fan base finally turning on him and his golf game, then last weekend’s win over South Carolina damn well should be included early and often in the debate over most important win of the Richt Era.