He argues that Georgia under Mark Richt has only a 1-4 record against the Corch Meyers Gator, plus a bad season in 2008.
My first thought: aren't the fans the ones who actually choose which coaches are on the metaphorical "hot seat?" Why does it seem like there are plenty of sports writers across the nation who love to designate the jobs of coaches as "in danger," while the local media somehow haven't caught wind of it? Do the sports writers who cover primarily Georgia football think Mark Richt is in a lot of trouble? Doesn't seem that way. That's probably because the fans at Georgia aren't really making a lot of noise about it either.
So where did Finebaum go wrong here?
First, I think Georgia fans, despite hating Florida and hating losing to the Gator Superb, have a sort of empathy with the team and the head coach. It isn't like the curse of the Gator began when Mark Richt first stepped foot on the warm, polluted Jacksonville soil. The Dawgs have been pummeled by Florida since Vince Dooley left behind the almighty headset for Ray Goff (1-6 against UF) and Jim Donnan (1-4 against UF).
But that's not all. Sure, Florida rose from the depths in 1990 and have done well ever since, but Mark Richt has faced the Gators in three of their best seasons in history (2006, 2008, and 2009), losing all three contests. His team has played against two national championship Florida squads, and one that was very close to repeating (2009).
Yes, Georgia fans want Richt to beat Florida more than any team, and no one is going to be happy with more losses to the Gators, but I just don't see Georgia fans calling for the firing of their head coach based only on his record versus our top rival.
Second, last season was far from being the "complete disaster" that Finebaum thought it almost was. Georgia went 8-5, beating rivals Auburn and the then #7 Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Not a fantastic season by any means, but still a year that the vast majority of Big-Six FBS teams would love to have.
In fact, in the past decade since Mark Richt has been in Athens, 8-5 in 2009 was likely the worst.
Last year some of the national college football "elites" (along with others) had seasons just as bad or only very slightly better.
-Oklahoma was 8-5
-USC, LSU, and Miami finished 9-4
Is Bob Stoops now on the "hotseat?" Would Pete Carroll have been if he hadn't jumped ship and fled to the NFL?
Yes, Les Miles is under scrutiny, but that's more likely because he makes boneheaded decisions during important games.
So does one "down season" with an 8-5 record put a great coach's job in jeopardy? Georgia fans don't seem to think so.
The Florida game last year was perhaps the lowest I've ever seen Georgia football in the past few years. With three losses, the Dawgs were trying to hang on to a possible successful 10-win season by a thread, looking for a miracle and a turnaround. There was a strange excitement about the Cocktail Party, and Mark Richt appeared to have a confident plan. He told the media and fans that they better be watching, because that Halloween game in Jacksonville was going to be fun. Everyone went to the game or tuned in on their TVs with a hope for maybe the biggest upset of all time.
And then the team came out in black pants and helmets.
It wasn't so much the loss that bothered people, I think. It was the fact that when the Bulldog Nation needed confidence, needed to see the best effort in history from a downtrodden football team, needed to see a spark similar to 2007's end zone celebration from the coach and the players... we were greeted with a uniform change. How could Mark Richt have possibly thought that would be a good idea? Especially after the Alabama blackout the year before.
The fallout was terrible. On the Mark Richt radio show, callers sounded so upset and disappointed, and Mark Richt sounded the same. It really seemed at that moment like something was wrong.
But it didn't take long for the doom and gloom to pass, and you really didn't hear much shouting of "fire Mark Richt!" The cry became "get rid of Willie Martinez!" instead, and so it was done. Coach Richt did what he had to do, he atoned for past mistakes, beat rival Georgia Tech and won yet another bowl game to regain the trust of the Bulldog Nation. The only time you hear about Mark Richt being in trouble is when you read a non-local sports news writer's opinion, or see fans from other parts of the country or rival schools speculating on his imminent firing.
But the feeling in Athens and places where the Bulldog faithful gather? Support for the head coach that the vast majority of Georgia fans have come to love. Optimism for the future. Excitement for the 2010 season.