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Georgia Football

Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs See Clear Path to Atlanta Semifinal Game Now

November 30, 2022
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ATHENS - The path to a birth in the Peach Bowl is as clear as we’ve seen this season for the  Georgia Bulldogs and coach Kirby Smart.

Tuesday night’s release of the College Football Playoff rankings revealed the Dawgs at No. 1 with one game to play. Perhaps just as important - it showed Michigan at No. 2. And that was fresh off the biggest win of the college football season - a 45-23 second half landslide over Ohio State. No win over Purdue, not even 222-0, would push Michigan past the Dawgs. 

At one point in the season UGA had the biggest win of the year. But you can forget that now. Georgia’s decisive 27-13 win over the then No. 1 Vols in Athens has become a bit of an afterthought after Tennessee’s fall from grace. That beating - at the hands corrective sunglasses of Shane Beamer and his Cocks - clearly cost the Vols a shot at the national title.

Side note: Who here would pay to watch Ohio State play the Chickens? I might. 

Nonetheless, Georgia “only” has to beat LSU (+18.5) in Atlanta on Saturday to go right back to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve. This opprotunity was the entire point of playing and winning all of the games in front of them this season. 


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In the summer we talked about how it would be a disappointing season if Georgia didn’t get to the SEC Championship Game; how a failure to get to the CFP would also be a disappointment - even with all of the losses from last season’s squad. What we didn’t know is that Georgia would be as good (perhaps not as spectacular as wanted) as anyone in college football. 

Speaking of spectacular it is hard to pinpoint the moment where Georgia was spectacular this year. Meat grinders, which Georgia is, aren’t spectacular - they are ruthless tools that work if used the right way. 

Kirby and his staff know how to use one. The load up the meat during the week, and crank up the machine on the weekend. And 12 weeks of doing so has led to this - a chance to play a home game in a CFP Semifinal. 

That advantage has been rare since 2014. Then again, only a few teams have semifinal games in their state or within an hour of campus. In addition, the semifinal games rotate… we know heading into the year which games are the semifinals, but the team that is No. 1 doesn’t always live in or near a semifinal locaion. Last year there was no real geographic advantage for No. 1 Alabama playing in Dallas or Miami - Dallas was about four hours closer. So you saw the Tide pick Texas. 

Anyway, a quick look back shows that perhaps only No. 1 Alabama’s 24-7 win over No. 4 Washington after the 2016 season stands as a geographical advantage in a CFP semifinal game. That game was played in Atlanta in front of a very partisan Bama crowd. Clemson, which is slightly closer to Atlanta as Tuscaloosa is, has never played in a CFP Peach Bowl. The Taters will try to save their season this Saturday against North Carolina. The winner of that game goes to the Orange Bowl - likely to face Tennessee. The loser... well, the Cheez-It Bowl really can be fun. 👀



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Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and the rest of the Lone State programs have never taken advantage of a Cotton Bowl semifinal. Arizona and Arizona State have been jokes, so the Fiesta has never seen them in a semifinal. UCLA and USC have also never taken advantage of a Rose Bowl Game semifinal. LSU played the 2020 CFP National Championship Game in New Orleans - skull dragging Dabo and the Taters in the Big Easy, but a Sugar Bowl Semifinal has never featured the hometown Tigers. 

That the Noles, Canes and Gators have a combined one appearance in the CFP shows the disfunction down there the last decade. It is unclear which CFP Semifinal UCF played in during its 2017 National TItle run, but it was not the Orange Bowl. 

So here we sit - Kirby’s Dawgs frothing at the mouth to win the program’s 14th SEC title, and with a shot to be at home for the holidays. Kirby will act like it isn’t that big of a deal - the program has its own way of trying to lock things down. 

And there is some truth to that. There is also some reality that flying across the country to play a game isn’t as easy as driving to a game. Could there be distractions in Atlanta? I mean... more distractions than in Miami? Are we really having that conversation? 

What is distracting is Georgia’s defense threatening you on third down with an entire dome is screaming at you.

The time is now, and the moment is here. Georgia can make things a lot easier on itself with a win on Saturday. I expect nothing less. 

 
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