Florida-Georgia: Condemning Mark RichtOctober 28, 2007
I can sum up the Florida-Georgia game in one sentence:
Georgia dominated the Gators in every facet from start to finish.
But that's not my focus here. Instead, I'm going to write about the most classless act in college football history.
After Georgia scored their first touchdown, the entire Bulldog team stormed the field as if they'd won the SEC Championship.
They danced and taunted the Florida Gators as the scoreboard flashed to 6-0—and penalty flags flew from all corners of the field.
Mark Richt's reaction?
He laughed—and made no move to restrain his players.
The Georgia head coach later admitted that he'd told his team to get flagged for unsportsmanslike conduct after their first touchdown.
Are you serious?
I understand that emotion is what separates college football from the NFL. I understand that Richt wanted his team to play loose and get the crowd involved in the game.
But this was inexcusable.
Imagine what would have happened if one Gator player had lost his composure and pushed a Bulldog dancing in his face. There could have been a full-on brawl, à la last year's fight between Miami and Florida International.
Do you think any high school teams in Georgia are going to storm the field this coming Friday night after a touchdown?
I bet it happens.
Mark Richt outcoached Urban Meyer and got the victory. But Urban Meyer outclassed Mark Richt.
Meyer got his players fired up after the Bulldogs' celebration—off the field. And on the next drive, the Gators scored on a long touchdown pass.
In the end, the early spectacle wasn't the reason the Bulldogs won. It didn't take the Gators out of the game or intimidate them.
On the contrary, the Bulldogs won because Knowshon Moreno played like a senior Heisman candidate, not a freshman.
As it stands, Mark Richt has lost my respect. He ordered his team to mock the opponent. And then he laughed about it.
I don't imagine that Meyer and this young Gators defense will forget about what happened. That said, I trust that next year's game won't see the same kind of behavior from the Gators.