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Georgia Football

Legge's Thoughts: This Next Ten Days for the Georgia Bulldogs Will Be Fun

January 1, 2022

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MIAMI - This time the confetti that fell on the Georgia Bulldogs was red and black. 

The sticky South Florida night ended with Kirby Smart and his wrecking crew headed back to the national championship game to face Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

Who else?

And who else would be a better fit for the Tide to earn another title against? Georgia and Bama are, right now, the top two programs in the country. What we’ve not seen is one program (Georgia) beat the other (Alabama) since they’ve both reached this moment. 

Georgia, installed as a slight 2.5-point favorite by FanDuel, will have to play as well as it did Friday night in order to beat Alabama. If they play the way they did against everyone save the Tide they will hoist the only trophy that’s eluded them for decades. 

Alabama is good, but Georgia is better (I apologize if that makes you nervous, or hits your Larry Munson nerve). Alabama is the standard, but it past time for the Dawgs to prove to everyone (and themselves) that they are champions. In the thick South Florida air after the dismantling of poor Michigan, Georgia players went easy on celebrating because they want to “really” celebrate”.

Nolan Smith asked a cheerleader why she was so happy if the job had not been completed. Nakobe Dean seemed pissed off, or something like that, after the game. He certainly was celebrating. Kirby Smart must have set the tone from the start in Miami. 

Not that he needed to. The long looks at the end of the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta were something we’ve seen before - Georgia players glancing at their foes in Crimson and White celebrating as they leave the field asking what just happened, or a season-concluding terminal loss.

But this time the loss to Bama wasn’t season ending. It looks like it might have been a recalibration - time will tell. 

Georgia won’t lose to Alabama forever - nothing is forever. But this month’s all-or-nothing showdown in Indy isn’t like most Georgia-Bama showdowns. Not only is the game a national title game - Georgia is favored to win. 


In 2015, bettors recklessly gave the Dawgs a one-point edge to win in the rain Between the Hedges. That made no sense. In Atlanta earlier this season, oddsmakers placed Georgia as a touchdown favorite. One team was clearly better than the other. 

Then the second quarter happened, and we are at where we are at. 

Now Georgia has been installed as a field goal favorite to win. That’s probably about right. If you take into consideration the entire season, and what happened Friday night Georgia has been the better team. 

That they lost four weeks ago doesn’t mean they will lose again. It also doesn’t mean they will win. The discussion of it being difficult to beat a team twice in a season - perhaps that’s true. FSU couldn’t quite shake the Gators in 1996, and it cost them a national title as Steve Spurrier and company backed their way into that year’s Sugar Bowl. 

Saban and Alabama took out LSU in New Orleans in 2011 after eating an overtime loss in Tuscaloosa. That game was described as one of the greatest games of all time in the moment. I have to admit that I barely remember anything about that game besides it being at night, and the slew of missed field goals by Alabama. Beyond that I don’t recall a moment that matters ten years later. 

But we are prisoners of the moment - as a society we have become very good at it. That’s what happened in 2011, and that’s what’s happening in 2021. We can’t vision something we’ve never seen before (never is a relative term) actually happening. 

However, from the start I have asserted that Kirby Smart is a visionary. That is his most valuable trait at Georgia. He knew where things needed to go in order to have the success he’s on the precipice of having. As always, there are things to criticize Kirby about. We can all grow from realistic criticism. 

And, beating the drum once more: it is time.

Kirby needs to hammer down and complete what he’s worked so hard for for so many years. Think about the time he’s spent away from his children because he’s driven to win for Georgia. 

Is there a coach in college who wants to win for his school more than Kirby? I mean, he actually slipped on Silver Britches. He would whisper to folks behind the scenes at Georgia when he wasn’t on staff about the potential of UGA. He was right then, and he has the opportunity to prove it now if he hasn’t already. 

Alabama has been, and will continue to be one of the great powers in sport - like all of sports. What Nick Saban has done at Bama matches the ego that goes along with that football program. The difference, of course, is that with Saban, Alabama actually is a power that matches its oversized ego - unlike the vast era at Bama with a few great seasons between the Bear and Saban. 

Now Kirby Smart can give back to Georgia only a small part of what Georgia has given him. His wife played at Georgia - they met there when she planned travel for the athletic department in the early 2000s. His children are growing up in Athens. His legacy is incomplete, but Kirby can do what only one coach in most of our lifetimes has done at UGA - win it all.

It’s time. 

Everyone knows it. Kirby. Jere Morehead. The players. Georgia’s long-suffering, and yet insufferable fan base. And Nick Saban knows it too, and he will do all he can to make sure Kirby doesn’t take off. 

Alabama seems to save its best for Kirby’s Georgia teams. It is time for the Dawgs to return the favor with all 60 minutes off the clock. 

Confetti will fall next Monday - will Georgia’s players glare with contempt as the Tide adds to its record-breaking run, or gaze into the cold Indiana night sky as red and black finally falls on them?





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