Droopy dogs: USA Today features 2 SEC teams in post-Week 7 'Misery Index'
Week 7 was rough on the SEC’s Bulldogs, as Georgia fell to South Carolina at home and Mississippi State lost at Tennessee. UGA and MSU are both featured in the latest “Misery Index,” a weekly feature from USA Today columnist Dan Wolken.
Wolken frames Georgia’s “misery” around wondering whether the Bulldogs’ hitched their wagon to the wrong quarterback.
“At some point, Georgia fans will have to reckon with the biggest what-if of Kirby Smart’s tenure,” Wolken writes. “As much success as Jake Fromm has had as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, this was a program that at one point had Jacob Eason as the starter and Justin Fields coming in as perhaps the most celebrated quarterback recruit the state of Georgia has ever produced. Now there’s just Fromm in that quarterback room, which is good but may not good enough to win a national championship.”
Fromm threw three interceptions against South Carolina, one of those accounting for a Gamecocks touchdown. It was one of only two touchdowns scored by Will Muschamp’s team in the upset.
Wolken continues on Fromm vs. Fields:
If the primary reason he’s your quarterback is because he gets you in the right play and prevents bad ones, as Smart has alluded to many times, then days where he has a lot of bad ones are even more magnified. And as Fields ascends each week for Ohio State, it’s going to be hard for Georgia fans to stop themselves from wondering if they’d have been better off as a program this year had he gotten a legitimate opportunity to play last year, even if he was too raw to supplant Fromm as a starter as a freshman. Now he’s gone, and it may be awhile before Georgia has a quarterback talent like that on its roster again.
On Mississippi State, Wolken writes about Hail Staters’ realization that Joe Moorhead isn’t looking like the right fit for the program:
Joe Moorhead got the job at Mississippi State despite no real ties in the Southeast because athletics director John Cohen wanted someone who was cerebral and innovative offensively, two traits that served Dan Mullen well there even though he was a bit of an odd cultural fit having grown up in New Hampshire. But even though their résumés may be similar, nobody would confuse the quality of football being produced by those two coaches.
After going into MSU’s quarterback troubles, Wolken sums up the state of the Bulldogs program:
Fans already kind of knew this before Saturday, but losing to Tennessee made it official: This is the most disappointing program in the SEC right now.
While Georgia and Mississippi State are the only two SEC programs in “Misery,” Wolken also has Vanderbilt “Trending Toward Misery,” after the Commodores lost to UNLV:
Somehow, Vandy seems to be getting worse as the season goes along, and this pure capitulation to a UNLV team that had previously only beaten Southern Utah suggests that Derek Mason’s message is no longer resonating in that locker room. Vanderbilt is a tough job, but its fan base is fairly reasonable. When you reach the point where you’re getting blown out by UNLV and it doesn’t seem like a fluke, those fans no longer have the same tolerance for ineptitude.
The full column can be read here.