Context Matters in the Mark Richt, Kirby Smart Comparison

The graphics have been heard and the comparisons seen between Mark Richt and Kirby Smart, but often times context between the two is left out.
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Revisionist history. 

It's something everyone has to deal with in their everyday life. Wondering what could have been, or looking back on the "good ole times." However, what is often left out of comparing the old to the new or the current to the past is context. 

That's exactly what's missing in these monotonous comparisons between Kirby Smart and Mark Richt. By now, the graphic has probably been seen; the one that simply puts the two coach's records on the screen with no added context. 

This is the equivalent of simply looking at the box score and claiming to know how a quarterback played. This is the equivalent of reading the Wikipedia summary of a critically acclaimed movie and giving an opinion. 

So, let's really take a look: 

Mark Richt First Five Years

When Richt took the head coaching job at Georgia in 2001, the SEC as a conference had won four of the last 20 national titles, dating back to Georgia's national title in 1980. The Southeastern Conference was a footnote on college football. That was until 2006. Starting then, the SEC won eight of the next 10 national titles during Richt's time at Georgia. 

It's true that Richt experienced headway in his first five years. He did win 80 percent of his games during his first five years. But as soon as the SEC began its reign on college football, where was Georgia? 

Well, in 2006 Richt went 9-4, in 2007 it was 11-2, 2008, 10-3; 2009, 8-5 and 6-7 in 2010. 

As the SEC was slowly becoming the dominating force it is today, Richt was quickly sliding into an abyss. 

Kirby Smart's First Five Years

Smart didn't enter a middling SEC. During his five years at Georgia, the SEC has not only played for the national title each and every year, but they've also won it three times. Yet, Smart has placed his team in the national title discussion each and every year for four straight seasons, including top-four finishes every one of those seasons. 

Context matters in these discussions. The wins and losses can't only be examined to evaluate the scene for what college football and particularly the SEC looked like. 

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