Mark Bradley think that it's a lack of effort. I generally don't like Herbstreit-ian explanations that rely on momentum and commitment. In this case, Georgia's recent history might make this explanation plausible. The Dawgs were substandard in 2006 (at least by Mark Richt's lofty standards), they were muddling through in 2007 until the end zone stomp in Jacksonville, and then they were substandard (relative to expectations) in 2008. Have the players tuned Richt out? Is he bringing in the wrong type of players? I would guess that the answers to both questions would be "no." If I had to answer the question proffered in the title, I would offer two explanations:
1. There's nothing wrong with the Dawgs. Georgia just lost a road game against a top ten team. The yardage was even. The Dawgs' defense was a big question after last season, but they held an excellent offense to 307 yards. Georgia lost because of a few pivotal plays that could have gone either way. In short, the performance on Saturday should not cause us to break out the sackcloth and ash. Personally, I was optimistic about the Dawgs' chances on Saturday because the game reminded me of the 2003 Clemson game and the 2007 Arizona State game. It seems quite possible that Oklahoma State is simply much better than 2003 Clemson or 2007 Arizona State.
2. Georgia lacks experienced talent at the most important position on the field. As much as we all love his moxie, leadership, and carrot top, Joe Cox was a three-star recruit. He was book-ended in Rivals' rankings between Rob Schoenhoft, who never got off the bench at Ohio State, and Arkelon Hall, who was last seen throwing for 3.7 yards per attempt with two picks for Memphis against Ole Miss. Georgia's offense has a good offensive line, decent running backs, and a potential superstar at wide receiver. They lack a quarterback who can get the ball to A.J. Green and force the safeties to back off. Ask an LSU fan what a difference a quarterback can make. Hell, after a season of watching Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan mangle an offense, ask me. I'm not going to write Cox off completely after one game (especially a game in which he was recovering from the flu), but it might turn out that he just isn't talented enough for this level. If that's the case, then Georgia needs to consider Aaron Murray. This may be 2006 all over again.