Mark Richt is officially on the hot seat

University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt walks off the field following a time out during the fourth quarter of their Southeastern Conference NCAA football game against the University of Florida in Jacksonville, Florida October 31, 2009. REUTERS/Daron Dean (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

It’s official, folks, Mark Richt is on the hot seat. An 0-2 start in Georgia (for the first time since 1996) isn’t what the fanbase wants, especially after a losing season a year ago. And no, it doesn’t matter that the Bulldogs opened with two teams that could realistically end the season in the top 10.

Richt is in 11th season as the Bulldogs head coach, and the team is certainly headed in the wrong direction record wise. Since the 11-2 season in 2007, the Bulldogs have gone 10-3, 8-5 and 6-7. That’s not the kind of progression you want to see in a major program this late into a coach’s tenure. And unfortunately for Richt, he doesn’t have a national title or legendary status to fall back on like a Joe Paterno.

The schedule gets easier for the Bulldogs, even in the SEC. They’re fortunate to be in the East, and they just played the divisional favorite down to the wire. It’s not out of the question for Georgia to still find a way to get to nine or 10 wins. I’m serious. They’re young and talented at some key positions, and should only get better as the season goes on.

If they do that, Richt should stay to see what he can do with a junior version of Aaron Murray and a sophomore Isaiah Crowell.

But if they don’t, and end up with a seven-, or six-win season, That young talent won’t be Richt’s to deal with anymore.

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Fade Material: College Football Week 1 Predictions

Oregon Ducks LaMichael James laughs after drawing a personal foul on the Auburn Tigers in the third quarter in the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Glendale, Arizona, January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

I woke up today with an extra spring in my step because I knew it was the first Saturday of the 2011 college football season. But what really got me going was knowing I would once again be providing quality fade material for bettors around the world.

It’s about people helping people, folks.

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU, 8:00PM ET
The last time Jarrett Lee opened a season as a starting quarterback was in 2006…for Brenham High School. LSU was going to have uncertainty at the quarterback position regardless of whether or not Lee or Jordan Jefferson was named the starter. But where the problem comes in is that Jefferson was assumed to be the starter for months. Now, just weeks before the season, they switch to Lee because of Jefferson’s off-field issues. It’s usually unwise to go against the SEC in a non-conference game but I’m not that bright so I’ll assume the risk. I think LSU’s outstanding defense will tire late in the second half after trying to keep up with Darron Thomas and LaMichael James for most of the game. The Tigers’ D figures to be on the field an awful lot tonight.

No. 7 Boise State vs. No. 22 Georgia
All the talk in this one has revolved around Aaron Murray but I expect Kellen Moore to once again play mistake free. He has all new weapons this year but the Broncos’ offense rarely misses a beat from season to season. Never go against Boise State in their opener or in their bowl game. These types of games might as well be their freaking Super Bowl…

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Boise State holds back three players for Georgia game

Boise State Broncos defensive tackle Chase Baker (97) sacks Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Ross Jenkins (11) on fourth down during the first half at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/ Brian Losness (UNITED STATES)

Everyone seems to be hyper-cautious these days, so Boise State is holding back three players from tomorrow night’s showdown with Georgia at the Georgia Dome.

The Broncos announced in a brief statement Friday that senior safety Cedric Febis, sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe and sophomore wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn had not accompanied the team to Atlanta.

“The three are being held out of the game due to a review of their NCAA eligibility,” the statement read. “The review is not academic or violation of team rules.”

The three players all have a few noteworthy things in common. The first is that all three are originally from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where they each played for local football club teams before coming to the U.S. All three played for prep high schools in Boise before joining the Broncos.

The second is that all three are expected to be major contributors for the Broncos this season. A fifth-year senior, Febis was in line to earn a starting safety position following the graduation of Jeron Johnson. He is likely to be replaced by redshirt freshman Jeremy Ioane.

The spread has moved from Boise State by 3.5 to Boise by 3.

ESPN Insider also has a great article about how Aaron Murray is as good as Kellen Moore. One thing to keep in mind is that Murray will be behind a veteran offensive line and Moore will be playing behind three new starters. I remember Mel Kiper making the point that the experience of the offensive line was one of the best predictors of success for a college football team. This should be a great game but I think Georgia might pull this one out.

Don’t worry Georgia fans, Aaron Murray is going to be a star

COLUMBIA - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Aaron Murray  of the Georgia Bulldogs calls out a play during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Georgia may have suffered a home loss today, and fallen to 0-2 in the SEC, but it looks to me like the Bulldogs are in good hands going forward.

Aaron Murray didn’t light up the scoreboard in the Bulldogs 31-24 loss to Arkansas, but he was solid in leading Georgia back from a 24-10 deficit in the fourth quarter of a big game. He threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King midway through the fourth, and led a game-tying drive with about 4 minutes to play.

In the end, Murray was out-dueled by Ryan Mallett, but a lot of older, more experienced quarterbacks are going to suffer the same fate this year. Mallett is, in my mind, the best pro quarterback prospect in college football, so losing to him is nothing to hang your head about.

Georgia fans have to be excited about the fight Murray showed while not just standing in the pocket and making big throws down the field — without arguably the nation’s top receiver, mind you, in A.J. Green — but for also making some tough runs for big first downs, and even a touchdown in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs may go through some growing pains this season, especially while Green continues to serve his suspension. But the future looks bright in Athens, as long as Murray as at the helm.

2009 CFB Preview: Georgia Bulldogs

Check out our other 2009 college football previews.

Preseason Ranking: No. 13 in AP Top 25; No. 13 in USA Today Poll.

Key Returning Players: Caleb King (RB); Joe Cox (QB); A.J. Green (WR); Michael Moore (WR); Justin Anderson (OT); Clint Boling (OT); Rennie Curran (LB); Reshad Jones (S); Geno Atkins (DT); Roderick Battle (DE); Akeem Dent (LB); Prince Miller (CB); Blair Walsh (K).

Key Losses: Matthew Stafford (QB); Knowshown Moreno (RB); Mohamed Massaquoi (WR); Tripp Chandler (TE); Dannell Ellerbe (LB); Jarius Wynn (DE); Corey Irvin (DT).

Player to Watch: Rennie Curran, LB.
The 5-11, 222-pound Curran is coming off a tremendous 2008 season, leading the Bulldogs in both tackles (115) and sacks (3), while also tallying 10 tackles-for-loss. He was named a Butkus Award finalist, selected Fourth-Team All-America by Phil Steele and named First-Team All-SEC. Based on what he did last season, Mark Richt and his coaching staff believe Curran could emerge as one of the best defenders in the country. Given his size, speed and tenacity, Curran could certainly post double-digit tackles in every game this season and become one of the more nationally feared linebackers in college football.

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