It usually seems like the first day of spring football practice is big news. This year, the coverage appears to be lacking, and so does the interest. Granted, usually the basketball team isn't actually in contention for the NCAA tournament, and there is a 2 week hiatus between the first practice and the next. But is it possible that there's a lower excitement level in general toward Georgia football at the moment? Did a 6-7 season bring a feeling of cautiousness, perhaps even nervousness, about the coming year in Georgia football?
I started thinking about the type of season that produces the most excitement from a college football fan base, and that would have to be a nearly undefeated season, with a win in a BCS bowl, and returning stars. In other words, 2008 was the optimal year for excitement in UGA football. They were coming off an 11-2 season, a blowout win in the Sugar Bowl, and returning huge names in Stafford and Moreno. Add to that the recruiting hype of a player like AJ Green, a #1 pre-season ranking, and the cover of Sports Illustrated, and you have about the maximum excitement level attainable.
A down year can bring excitement too: the excitement for change, improvements, and (obviously) doing better than the year before. I got that feeling after 2009's 8-5 year, which was followed by a QB battle in the spring and the implementation of a new defense. It wasn't the excitement of going into 2008, but it was still decent. But is there a point where the losses become too many, and it's difficult for fans to feel the usual self-induced hype of a coming season?
We might have reached that point. There's still anticipation, a growing star at quarterback, new recruits, and plenty of improving to do. But the general feeling for now might be a cautious optimism. Great things can happen in 2011, but we'll have to wait and see.