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SEC Coaching Rankings: No. 4 Mark Richt

With the SEC season less than four months away, here’s a look at how the conference’s coaches rank in 2015.

Bio: Mark Richt began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Florida State in 1985. He spent one season at East Carolina before returning to Tallahassee as a quarterbacks coach in 1990.

Richt was promoted to offensive coordinator while still overseeing the quarterbacks from 1994-2000. He was hired by Georgia the following season and is tied with Missouri’s Gary Pinkel as the longest tenured active SEC coach. (although Pinkel’s team joined the conference in 2012).

Richt holds a 136-48 overall record and is 9-5 in bowl games. Georgia won two SEC Championships (2002, 2005) and six SEC Eastern Division Titles (2002-03, 2005, 2007, 2011-12) during his 14-year tenure. Richt also earned two SEC Coach of the Year Awards (2002, 2005).

Florida State (GA)
East Carolina (OC)
Florida State (QB)
Florida State (OC/QB)

Reason For Ranking: Richt is one of the SEC’s best coaches, but also one the most debated. His job status always seems to be in jeopardy if not heavily acclaimed.

Georgia has been the most consistent consistent SEC East program since he took over in 2001. Richt has experienced just one losing season (2010) and finished unranked three times in 14 years. The Bulldogs also had double-digit wins in nine seasons since 2001.

However, Richt’s teams have also managed to underachieve on several occasions. Georgia’s recent success is impressive but short of its high preseason rankings in the past few years. In 2014, the Bulldogs fell a game shy of an SEC Championship berth after losses to subpar South Carolina and Florida teams.

Many of Georgia’s struggles were the product of injuries. Todd Gurley — the team’s Heisman candidate running back — missed significant time during his sophomore and junior campaigns. Keith Marshall — who entered with equal, if not more, recruiting buzz — has experienced the same misfortune.

Richt’s biggest flaw may also be his greatest achievement. Georgia’s hype is a product of his coaching and recruiting. The lofty expectations come with years of success in Athens. His ability to keep his team in contention despite injuries to his best players may be his most underrated achievement.

2015 Schedule: 

09/05/15 vs. Louisiana-Monroe Athens, Ga. TBA
09/12/15 at Vanderbilt * Nashville, Tenn. TBA
09/19/15 vs. South Carolina * Athens, Ga. TBA
09/26/15 vs. Southern University Athens, Ga. TBA
10/03/15 vs. Alabama * Athens, Ga. TBA
10/10/15 at Tennessee * Knoxville, Tenn. TBA
10/17/15 vs. Missouri * Athens, Ga. TBA
10/31/15 vs. Florida * Jacksonville, Fla. TBA
11/07/15 vs. Kentucky * Athens, Ga. TBA
11/14/15 at Auburn * Auburn, Ala. TBA
11/21/15 vs. Georgia Southern Athens, Ga. TBA
11/28/15 at Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga. TBA
04/16/16 G-Day Spring Game EX Athens, Ga. TBA

2015 Outlook: 
Georgia enters as the favorite in the SEC East. The Bulldogs should open at 4-0 before hosting Alabama on Oct. 10, a road matchup against a rising Tennessee team on Oct. 10 and a home game against Missouri on Oct. 17.

These games will be crucial in Richt’s quest for his seventh division title. The Vols and Tigers will provide the biggest threat to the Bulldogs in the SEC East. Georgia also has tough road matchups at Auburn (Nov. 14) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 28).

The Bulldogs must survive a difficult schedule as its division foes continue to improve. However, if Georgia survives its matchups against Tennessee and Missouri, it should earn a ticket to Atlanta.

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