The Road to .500 Has Not Been Easy

It’s now Tuesday, and I am finally not feeling bummed-out about the meltdown that happened in Starkville last weekend.  With a huge home game against the #8 Tennessee Volunteers looming on the horizon, it’s time to move forward.

The Georgia Bulldogs record sits at 8-8 (0-3 in SEC play), which is probably perceived nationally as being fairly unimpressive.  However, as I mentioned last week this team (especially Coach Fox) is being recognized by people like Dick Vitale as a team that is overachieving.  The Dawgs even snuck into ESPN’s “Weekly Watch” again this week (look at the “Conference Headlines” section), being referred to as a “tough out” in the SEC (if you watched the MSU game, Jimmy Dykes must have referred to Georgia as a “tough out” at least 3 times).

In my opinion, the Dawgs’ 8-8 record deserves to have an asterisks next to it.  As of January 19, 2010, CBS Sportsline’s RPI Ranking has Georgia’s Strength of Schedule (SOS) as the 13th hardest in the country!  Only 5 teams in the latest AP Top 25 poll had a higher SOS rating than UGA.  Georgia has already played 4 teams ranked in the AP (make it 5 after Saturday), and 2 others are receiving votes (UAB & Missouri).

The Dawgs have gone up against 7 teams (beat 2 – GT, Illinois) listed in Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of Bracketology.

Mark Fox’s squad is literally 7 points away from being 10-6 (2-1 in SEC), and having a legitimate NCAA Tournament resume (assuming they had beaten Ole Miss and Miss St).

An 8-8 record won’t jump out off the computer screen to the casual sports fan outside of Georgia, but to me it looks pretty good.

Spotlight on Fox

It appears that CMF and his upset-minded Georgia Bulldogs have caught the attention of a few of ESPN’s more prominent basketball analysts.

Dick Vitale, also known as “Dicky V” in the college basketball world, awarded Fox with his  Co-Coach of the Week award (sharing it with Arizona State’s Herb Sendek).

Fox also got a “shout out” from ESPN college basketball analyst Andy Katz in his “Weekly Watch” edition (check it out here – middle of the page under Coaching Props To…).

CBS Sportsline now has the Dawgs at #89 on its RPI ranking, which for Georgia is a tremendous improvement from prior seasons.  Hopefully UGA can continue to climb that ladder over the rest of the season.

One last note – I made reference to the difficulty of this year’s schedule in an earlier blog and CBS apparently agrees, ranking the Dawgs’ strength of schedule (SOS) at #34 in the country!