Welcome to your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, we look at a Georgia coach who was named coach of the year, Maurice Smith’s development as he tries to make the Miami Dolphins, and Greg McGarity’s lowered expectations for UGA athletics.
Has UGA athletics lowered expectations?
With the college sports year ending after the College World Series, it’s time to take stock of where Georgia will finish in the Directors’ Cup standings, which rank college athletics programs based on how they perform in all sports.
At the moment, the Bulldogs sit in 13th place, but that should change soon. Texas A&M and Florida State both are competing in the College World Series and should move ahead of the Bulldogs. That likely will put UGA in 15th place in the final standings. UGA also finished 15th in 2016, following a 14th-place finish in 2015 and a 16th-place showing in 2014. The Florida Gators, who beat the Bulldogs in the biggest sports on campus this academic year, sit in fifth place.
Georgia sports fans have generally been disappointed with the state of the athletics program this year, with a chunk of the fan base pointing fingers at athletic director Greg McGarity and his leadership. McGarity has obviously sensed this, and made that clear in recent comments to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald:
“I think the narrative early on was we were not going to have a very good year,” McGarity said. “You never make that assumption until all the sports have concluded.”
From these comments, you’d think this 15th-place finish in the Directors’ Cup makes McGarity feel vindicated from all the criticisms from fans who expect better from UGA sports. But it shouldn’t. And he should know that.
Let’s take a look back to four years ago, the last time Georgia finished in the top 10 of the Directors’ Cup. Once again from Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald:
“We haven’t been in the top 10 as much as we’d like, but that is our goal,” McGarity said. “If you’re top 10, you have a chance to finish even higher.”
What a difference four years make. In that time, McGarity has gone from shooting for top-10 finishes on a regular basis to simply being happy that everything isn’t as bad as the fans might think it is. That’s quite a leap.
McGarity’s recent comment about the “narrative” of fans believing this has been a “very bad year” for Georgia sports doesn’t give Bulldogs fans enough credit. I don’t think most fans who follow UGA sports as a whole, not just football, are delusional about what this athletics program has going for it. The tennis and swim teams were as good as ever. The women’s track team showed major strides on its way to securing a national runner-up finish, which helped UGA advance in the Directors’ Cup standings late in the season. Most importantly, there’s lots of hope and belief surrounding the football program, even after a frustrating 2016 season.