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Georgia Football

Legge's Thoughts: Georgia Winning it the National Title Was No Surprise at All

January 11, 2023

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LOS ANGELES - The rain was spitting on the field during the second half of the Georgia Bulldogs’ 65-7 win over No. 3 TCU. It is hard to believe a building with a roof over it would have rain inside. Perhaps not as hard to believe that Stetson Bennett, a forgotten about walk-on Junior College transfer, would lead a program that went 41 years without a national title to two in a row. 

Sports is undefeated. These Dawgs are, too. 

The result Monday night wasn’t a surprise. That Georgia totally dominated a Cinderella who was way past midnight should have been expected. All week talking heads were trying to figure out how TCU could win this game. ESPN’s Lee Corso, probably on purpose because he knows how Georgia folks are, picked TCU. 

Desmond Howard picked TCU for what reason I can’t explain. There was no scenario that made sense where someone would pick a 14-point dog to win straight up without a heck of an explanation. 

Machines don’t have feelings. They don’t believe in “teams of destiny”. 

That whole narrative is bullshit. What isn’t is recruiting the best possible players that fit the program that’s being run at Georgia right now; then grinding in practice and during development; then going an executing on gameday. 

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It sounds simple. Maybe too simple. But doing the same simple thing over and over again requires skill, persistence and discipline.. That’s one something that’s easy to do each day. Georgia does that. TCU might do that as well. I don’t know. The Horned Frogs weren’t in LA by accident. They earned their way to California. 

But they were only there for the coronation of the best team in college football - Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs.

This wasn’t about luck. There is no luck. Nothing is left to chance. By the end of the first quarter it was clear who the best team in the stadium was. By the end of the game it was clear who the best program in the country was and is. 

Again, none of this is by chance. This was all planned. Kirby forced Georgia to get serious about something that isn’t life or death, but it is critical to an institution like Georgia. This isn’t going to stop. This isn’t about winning a title with a generational quarterback. Auburn’s Cam Newton, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson; LSU’s Joe Burrow were great players. They were. 

But as we have seen in the case of both of those programs - so much of the success of those programs and teams were driven by the success of the quarterback, specifically. What I am trying to say is nuanced. It sure seems like those teams were predicated on having really good quarterbacks… and once they left things really really changed. 

Georgia has won without a generational quarterback. As great as Stetson has been, and he is one of the best college football quarterbacks of all time, this two-year run has not been exclusively about him. 

You have to stop more than just one player at Georgia. That goes for the entire team. It sure feels like that’s the case at Georgia more than any other program out there right now. Alabama is a great example of really being quarterback-heavy in terms of the results-driven world of college football. 

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Who is Georgia’s best running back? Is there a superstar in the group? Would you rather stop the running backs, who slash you for 200-plus yards each game, or deal with exceptional tight ends? Who is Georgia’s best receiver? Usually the one that seems to be wide freaking open once a game. 

It is hard to beat Georgia. Only a handful of teams can do it. Ohio State is one of them, but the Buckeyes couldn’t. And they couldn’t because Georgia was and is tougher than them mentally. The Dawgs could have rolled over and died in Atlanta. 

They refused. Their refusal won them a national title. That game was for all the marbles. TCU would have been fortunate to lose by two touchdowns to the Buckeyes. Maybe Ryan Day should have called the final drive of the game without fear. Maybe Ohio State could have recruited and developed some defenders that didn’t wilt at the sight of the other team having the ball.

Maybe having a run game would have helped Ohio State to grind out some time in the second half. I don’t know. Sometimes you just lose. Sometimes you choose to win. If you want a team of destiny, Georgia sure seemed to fit that mold when they stormed the field after the win over Ohio State. 

Defenders were aggravated when I talked with them on Media Day on Saturday that they didn’t block the attempted game-winning kick. They felt like they let that opportunity out there. That the Buckeyes pulled the ball to Marietta was irrelevant. 

Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett after his second national title. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

The screeching you heard wasn’t the sound of joy from Ohio State fans - it was the sound of Georgia fans knowing they had just won it all… again. The game in LA was just a three-hour celebration of what this program has become. 

Much has changed since that freezing night in Indianapolis. Alabama is trying to find its footing in a college football world where they are no longer at the top of the heap. The Gumps look to Athens and are concerned that 2021 wasn’t just a one-hit wonder where losses can be blamed on any one player not playing in a game. 

Now Bama has to worry about LSU catching them from the rear as David Pollack, who can’t help but share his view of the world right next to Nick Saban, is making sure everyone knows that Georgia is the best program in the nation. 

Ohio State and Michigan, locked in their heavily-watched, but usually inconsequential battle for  Big Ten supremacy, had their shots to win it all this year and dribbled it off their collective feet into playoff losses. 

South Carolina ruined Tennessee’s best chance to matter in two decades. The Gamecocks followed that up by going on the road and topping the Taters. South Carolina will be the new hot team of the offseason. I will believe South Carolina winning in a big way under Shane Beamer when I see him hosting trophies that matter rather than getting dunked by mayonnaise. 

Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early college football Top 25 has the Dawgs at one; then Ohio State, Michigan and FSU… Alabama is at the five. 

The team I am most interested to watch in the future is USC; the Trojans and LSU are the two teams that could storm back to the national scene in 2023. But, generally speaking, which program should Georgia be most concerned about? 

Is there one? Ohio State and Michigan are going to be there… Florida State at No. 4? I don’t think a third national title in a row is impossible. Georgia might be the best program in the sport right now, but we can’t really know if it will have the best team in 2023. 

My guess, however, is that it will be one of the best, and that’s because there is no luck. Larry Munson was a great creator of entertainment, but Old Lady Luck was only a figment of his imagination.

But what we saw in Los Angeles wasn’t made up in our heads. It was very much real.

Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart celebrates with fans after winning the national title over TCU Monday night in Los Angeles. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)


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