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The Georgia Bulldogs football team represents the University of Georgia in the sport of American football. The Bulldogs compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They play their homes games at Sanford Stadium on the university's Athens, Georgia, campus, and are currently coached by Mark Richt. Since their inaugural season in 1892, the Bulldogs have been one of the most successful collegiate football programs of all time. UGA teams have won or shared a part of five NCAA football national championships and 14 conference championships, and have appeared in 48 bowl games, the fifth most all time. The program has also produced two Heisman Trophy winners, two No. 1 NFL draft picks, and many winners of other national awards.
Georgia's football program began in 1892, when Dr. Charles Herty, a chemistry professor and former player at Johns Hopkins, assembled a team and arranged a game against Mercer University on January 30, 1892. This was the first intercollegiate football game played in the deep south. Playing on what would later be called Herty Field, Georgia beat Mercer 50–0. Georgia's second game was on February 20, 1892, against Auburn University, inaugurating what would come to be known as the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.
From 1892–1909, the Georgia changed head coaches frequently, with 14 different coaches in a 17 year period. Their combined records were 47–52–10 (.477 winning percentage). During this period, Georgia's greatest success came during Glenn "Pop" Warner's tenure from 1895-1896 In 1896, Warner's Georgia team recorded the program's first conference championship, winning the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship with a 3-0 conference record. Georgia's overall season record was 4–0, which marked the team's first undefeated season, as well. It is thought that the first forward pass in football occurred in 1895 in a game between Georgia and North Carolina when, out of desperation, the ball was thrown by the North Carolina quarterback instead of punted and a North Carolina player caught the ball.
In 1897, the program was nearly terminated when a Georgia fullback named Richard Vonalbade Gammon died as a result of injuries sustained in a game against the University of Virginia. The Georgia state legislature quickly passed a bill abolishing collegiate football in the state, but the bill was vetoed by then-Governor William Yates Atkinson, based upon an appeal from Gammon's mother, Rosalind Gammon.
The current head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs is Mark Richt, who joined the Bulldogs in 2001 after serving as the offensive coordinator of the Florida State Seminoles under Bobby Bowden. Since Richt's tenure began, Georgia has won two SEC championships – 2002 and 2005 – and 6 of their 7 SEC East Division Championships – 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011, and 2012. (Out of those years Georgia represented the East in the SEC Championship Game in all but 2007.) Including bowl games, Richt's record, as of January 2, 2013, is 118–40–0. His bowl record through 2012 is 8–4. Richt has been a fixture in the recruiting world ending up with top 5 classes the past 3 years. On October 8, 2011 Richt won his 100th career game as UGA's coach against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium 20–12.
Under Richt, Georgia is 9-4 against Tennessee, 5-8 against Florida, 8-5 against Auburn, and 12-1 against Georgia Tech, including games from 2001–13. In 2011, under Richt, Georgia defeated Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech in the same season for the first time since 1981.