ATHENS - For months now, Mark Richt has told a story to fan groups about how the scheduling of the Boise State came about:
As the Georgia head coach told it, he was first informed by his boss, athletics director Greg McGarity, that Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was a senior and would be gone by the game this September. But when Richt looked at the depth chart this spring, boom, there was Moore, and all of a sudden he regretted it.
It made for a good punchline with fan groups, who took it the same way those of us in the media who heard it umpteen times: As a joke.
But on Friday - after Richt repeated the Moore to an Atlanta radio station - it was picked up by several national sites. A headline on Deadpin, a sports gossip site, read: "Georgia scheduled Boise State because they thought Kellen Moore had graduated."
Well, that's distorting it a bit.
Richt clarified the Moore bit on Saturday, admitting he "embellished it a little bit," and he knew when the final contract was signed last year that Moore would be playing, unless he entered the NFL draft. (Which Moore did not.)
"The first time when I heard Boise State, that first conversation, I think Greg mentioned, 'Well that quarterback's a senior anyway.' I said, 'Well that's good. Let's set it up,' " Richt said. "By the time we made the final decision, we knew."
That may sound kind of convenient now for Richt to say. But even if he was serious, it's pretty far-fetched to think that the game wouldn't have been scheduled if Richt knew Moore was going to be Boise State's quarterback. There were a lot of factors that went into Georgia scheduling that game:
- Wanting to have that season-opening date in the Georgia Dome rather than ceding it to Alabama, Tennessee or another SEC school.
- Feeling they needed a high-profile opener to get the program back on the map.
- Money. Really, really, good money.
Plus, while Moore is a very good quarterback, Boise State has other good players too and a strong track record the past few years. It's not like we're talking about a basketball coach looking to avoid scheduling Kevin Durant.
That said, Richt has been known to admit things that don't make him look great in retrospect: Remember last year, when on the eve of the Auburn game he volunteered that he and his staff had recruited Cam Newton as a tight end?
But on this point, it seems clear that Richt was aiming for a punchline with the Moore story, and he liked it so much he kept repeating it.
I'm not sure he will anymore, however.