This is Georgia's year. This is the time when everything has to come together for a national championship. An SEC title would be nice, another BCS appearance would be solid, but unless Richt is holding that crystal football in Miami at around 11:30 p.m. on January 8, 2009, this season will be a failure. While that might seem harsh, with the level of excellence set by the rest of the SEC when it comes to winning national titles, it's an all or nothing year for a Dawg team that's really that good.
See, this is the attitude I don't much care for from national media, even national media I otherwise like, such as Pete Fiutak at CFN.
How can a season be a failure if it falls short of a mythical national championship? First, Georgia has, as has been heavily documented, a hell of a schedule. Road trips to Arizona State, LSU, and Auburn plus a neutral site game against Florida is a gauntlet that the Detroit Lions (random mediocre NFL team that is nonetheless much better than any college football team) would be mildly pleased to escape unblemished. And then they have to beat Tennessee at home, South Carolina on the road, and if they make it that far, another quality opponent (possibly in a rematch) in the SEC Championship Game. That's tough. And that's just to get to the winner take all game at the end, against ANOTHER good team (or possibly Ohio State).*
Second, so much of the equation that puts a team into the BCSNCG is uncontrollable. I think many people believe, rightly IMO, that the winner of the Ohio State-USC matchup has at least a 50-50 shot of making it to the national championship game, and heck the loser might make it. They BOTH might make it, regardless of who wins. If Georgia survives its schedule but has a loss, and there are two undefeated BCS-conference teams out there, Georgia (or whoever else wins the SEC) is out of luck.
This is why, and stop me if I've said this before, even really good teams should have as their goal to win the conference. Let everything else fall where it may. If you win your conference, no one should complain that you didn't do more, because doing more requires a measure of luck. Even an undefeated team can miss the BCSNCG if they don't get the right luck (though Georgia appears to be a situation where they would be assured of making it if they win out, possibly squeezing out some other deserving undefeated team).
So, Georgia fans, if you listen to me at all (and I'm not going to delude myself into thinking you do), don't buy into this media hype. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that anything short of a national championship is a failure. If you get your hotly anticipated conference championship, consider the rest lagniappe. After all, the national championship is just for fun anyway.
*I kid. I kid.