Boise State 35, Georgia 21: Will Mark Richt's Seat Go Thermonuclear?

Few people will be surprised, or at least should be surprised, that Georgia lost to Boise State in the Georgia Dome this weekend. For all the weakness in its resume, Boise has consistently been a high-caliber team over the last several years. And Georgia has a bigger fish to fry next week, when the defending SEC East champion South Carolina Gamecocks roll into town for a critical showdown for both teams.

But the way in which Georgia lost, falling behind by three touchdowns after a 28-point Boise romp that chewed up nearly half the game, was what made the game look so bad. Georgia would fight back to within two touchdowns, but even that seems like cold consolation for losing the latest in a line of games where the Dawgs have come up short against the toughest teams on the schedule.

Statistically, Georgia didn't do all that bad. They were almost even with Boise on total yardage (373-390) and passing yardage (236-261) and actually outdid the Broncos in rushing yardage (137-129). But when the yardage comes also matters; the Dawgs had 13 first downs to Boise's 24 and went a combined 3-of-17 on third- and fourth-down conversion attempts.

The results were also uneven for Aaron Murray, the quarterback who is supposed to take Georgia as far as they're going to go this year. He was sacked six times and pressured more. He went 16-of-29 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and an interception (139.39 rating). That's not bad against a high-caliber opponent, but it's also not the stuff of which Heisman campaigns are made. And it might not be enough to salvage Georgia's season.

Which brings us back to the question we've been asking for almost two years now: At what point does Mark Richt's position at Georgia become untenable? Even if Georgia follows up its Saturday loss with another against South Carolina next weekend, there are four solidly winnable games over the next five weeks (Coastal Carolina, at Ole Miss, the hardest of the bunch against Mississippi State, at Tennessee and at Vanderbilt). If he can rebound to 5-2 or 4-3, it might be enough to buy Richt until the end of the season. Anything less, and he could find himself unemployed over the bye week following the Vanderbilt game or facing a make-or-break showdown with Florida.

In any case, it's clear that Mark Richt will have a date with destiny some time this season. What we don't know is whether it's a turning point or an expiration date.

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