I hate to lose. I always have and I always will and I make no apologies for that. This hatred includes games I played, coached and those in which I am simply a fan, though I'm probably more critic than fan. I still remember when I was 7 years old and my granddaddy, Frank Nunnally, who lived in Madison, kidded me unmercifully when his Morgan County Bulldogs beat our Thomson Bulldogs 20-6 in 1964.
I took great pleasure when we pounded Morgan County 41-0 the next year and let him know it. I still remember sitting on the bench as an 8-year-old Little Leaguer when my Exchange Club-sponsored team lost to Standard Oil, 7-2, in my first experience with organized sports. You might say that losing stays with me.
I'm a Georgia fan. It's been more difficult to be that lately. Given Georgia's recruiting base, facilities and tradition, it shouldn't be that tough, and there have been losses that shouldn't have been. Georgia is 14-14 in its last 28 games. They have lost 15 out of 16 to ranked opponents. This shouldn't be, but it is. Assistants have been fired, another left for Texas, and there was a change in the strength and conditioning coach.
Still, Georgia is 0-2 and Mark Richt is on the hot seat. I hate that he's in this position. I've met coach Richt on a few occasions and recently talked to him on the phone to tell him our own Johnathon Atkins had publicly announced his intentions to change colors, but not mascots, and be a Georgia Bulldog.
He is a man of faith and genuinely appreciative of what high school coaches try to do. He wants his players to be better men when they leave him than when they arrived. Still, he has to win and win quickly to keep his job. There has been talk about how many wins it will take for him to still be wearing red and black next fall. I've heard 8, but others say 9. Some say he's already decided to leave and be a missionary in Honduras. One wild rumor has him resigning to take over the beleaguered North Carolina program.
While this season has started with two disappointing losses, there is still time to right the ship. I knew Georgia wasn't ready to take on Boise State. I blame Athletic Director Greg McGarity for that. Face it, money talks, and that bad decision was primarily about money. I know coach Richt publically signed off on that decision, but how many of us have gone along with our boss publically when we disagreed with him. I loved Coach Welsh, but I vehemently opposed his decision to play a metro Atlanta all-star team disguised as a AA city school in Buford.
I knew we didn't have the players to compete with them in 2008 and 2009, but he said we had to have a tenth game and in his defense we couldn't find one for the weeks we had open. I would have just played nine, but he was the boss. It was the most heated argument we ever had and I lost because he was the boss.
I wish Georgia had been able to play two weaker opponents before taking on a good South Carolina team to open SEC play, but it was not to be. Still, Georgia, other than falling victim to the fake punt, was well prepared.
While they showed resilience time and again to come back from mistakes, there were simply too many to overcome. Blair Walsh is one of the top kickers in the nation, but the missed 33-yard field goal hurt.
Aaron Murray was brilliant at times, but that interception that went for a Gamecock TD was an ill-advised throw.
It wasn't his fault that he was about to take a sack, but he's got to protect the ball and that fumble return for a TD was a killer.
Isaiah Crowell was brilliant, but that fumble was just careless. You can't beat a bad team when your offense and special teams give up four scores and you certainly won't beat South Carolina.
Every remaining game on Georgia's schedule is winnable. I know there is no quit in Richt or his staff because I've seen them bounce back before.
There is no room for error among the powers that be that will decide the fate of Richt and his coaching staff, and every SEC game is a potential loss.
I'm hoping for the best. I'm hoping that things turn out positively for a good and decent man whose body of work is impressive. I hope you are, too.