This post by Senator Blutarsky last week really resonated, and since we’ve come off a bye week we’ve had nothing but time to think about it. Even once you get past the obvious response (winning is more fun than losing), the “chore” description still seems apt. The tie-in to last season is especially appropriate and helps frame how even a 10-win season in 2015 could struggle to move the needle.
Homecoming has always meant a little more to me, and I wondered after last Saturday’s game just what playing at home has meant lately. Georgia’s performance at Sanford Stadium over the past year has left a lot to be desired and, at least for me, has led to many of the sentiments evoked by Blutarsky’s post. Even as we’re asked to do and give more as fans, we haven’t had a lot to cheer about.
There have been eight home games since we celebrated a rout of South Carolina and sent Steve Spurrier riding off into the sunset. Over that stretch the Dawgs are 2-3 at home against SEC opponents and needed second half comebacks to edge past Georgia Southern and Nicholls.
(Sep. 26, 2015) Southern: A rainy day remembered for a tragic injury. Georgia didn’t put the game away until the second half, and the visiting band might’ve been the highlight of the day.
(Oct. 3, 2015) Alabama: Moving along…
(Oct. 17, 2015) Missouri: A 9-6 horror show. Until Eason hit Nauta in the third quarter of last Saturday’s game, Georgia would go six quarters without a Homecoming touchdown.
(Nov. 7, 2015) Kentucky: A clean and business-like 27-3 win was one of the few breathers Georgia had in the last two months of the 2015 season and was arguably the standout of this group of games.
(Nov. 21, 2015) Ga. Southern: Ho boy. A fumble return early in the second half flipped the script in this game and had Georgia playing from behind just to get to overtime.
(Sep. 10, 2016) Nicholls: The Dawgs needed a late 3rd-down conversion to clinch a sleepy win over an average FCS team.
(Oct. 1, 2016) Tennessee: A rare objectively entertaining game for a national audience, but the home team gave up a 17-point lead and lost despite retaking the lead with 10 seconds remaining.
(Oct. 15, 2016) Vanderbilt: Georgia’s first Homecoming loss since 2006. A typical noon crowd was taken out of it right from the opening kickoff.
The good news? Georgia has three more home games this year and two big opportunities against rivals to recapture some homefield advantage. Beating Auburn and Tech at home is always good for morale. The risk of course is if Georgia continues their lackluster play Between the Hedges. Kirby Smart has done plenty of work to lay a foundation for rebuilding the program, but he’ll still need some degree of success in front of the home crowd to avoid having to work against a disengaged or even adversarial fan base.