Only twice in his long Georgia coaching career did Mark Richt lose a game by 30 points or more.
It only took four games for it to happen to new Bulldogs boss Kirby Smart.
Georgia lost 45-14 at Mississippi last week and it was 45-0 midway through the third quarter.
Now this is not to say that Smart won’t be a successful coach at Georgia. For all we know the Bulldogs might beat Tennessee on Saturday and take control of the SEC East, igniting an extended heroic run for the former Alabama defensive coordinator.
Just think, Bobby Bowden lost 47-0 to Miami in his second game as Florida State coach back in 1976 but things worked out pretty well for him over time.
All I’m pointing out is here that winning in the SEC generally or at Georgia specifically is not an easy task. My belief is that Richt’s 145-51 career record in Athens will go down as a standard for others to envy and it shouldn’t have gotten him fired.
Of course, Richt can’t worry about that now. His new team at Miami is opening ACC play on Saturday at Georgia Tech, and after that Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will follow.
Hard to know what will happen. The 3-0 Hurricanes haven’t been challenged yet by overmatched non-conference opponents. Don’t expect Richt to find himself down 45-0 to any team this season, however. His reputation for being consistently competitive was not built on stuff like that.
Richt was in his seventh season at Georgia before he lost a game by 30 or more. That was a 49-10 blowout to Florida in 2008, when Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow were on their way to a second national championship in the space of three seasons.
It happened again in 2010, when LSU rolled Georgia 42-10 in the SEC Championship game. The undefeated Tigers were No. 1 in the polls that day and headed for the BCS title game.
Rare occasions, then, and against outstanding opponents. Smart’s blowout loss last week came against an Ole Miss team that already has two losses against top opponents, FSU and Alabama, but treated Georgia like a sparring partner.
Now probably the folks back in Georgia will be watching to see how Richt does against the Yellow Jackets, looking for another way to measure the coach they fired against the one they’ve got. Georgia Tech is a regular on the Bulldogs’ schedule, and a rival that Richt regularly beat.
In Miami, though, the focus is solely on what Richt can do with this new challenge. So far, so good. He doesn’t have to play Clemson, the team that beat Miami 58-0 last year and got Al Golden fired, and he doesn’t have to play Louisville, another national title contender within the ACC.
All Richt has to do is what he’s always done. Get his teams ready for a strong showing each Saturday, and forget about the fretting of fans and administrators. They haven’t been where he’s been. They haven’t done what he’s done.