When you look back at Georgia’s quest to return to the College Football Playoff since its first and only foray in 2017, it’s easy to pinpoint what led to its recent exclusions. Yes, the Dawgs lost the SEC Championship Game in 2018 and 2019, but that’s not it. In both those seasons, the death knell to our playoff dreams came earlier.
I’ve been preaching it for years now: Finish 12-0 in the regular season, and you’re in. Problem being that 12-0 has been elusive, something a Georgia team hasn’t accomplished since 1982. Had we won regular-season contests against LSU in 2018 or South Carolina in 2019, the eventual losses to Alabama and LSU, respectively, in Atlanta wouldn’t have mattered. I’m not saying we would have won a national championship in either of those seasons, because we would still have had two games against the best teams in college football. But we would have had a shot.
That’s where we find ourselves once again. With a game remaining, the Dawgs are 11-0 with only a showdown against Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium (aka Mark Richt Stadium) standing in the way between them and a perfect regular season. No disrespect to Georgia Tech—OK, maybe some disrespect to Georgia Tech—but this one should be a cakewalk. Tech is coming off a 55-0 shellacking at the hands of Notre Dame, and Geoff Collins is on the hot seat. The game is at Tech, but they won’t have a home-field advantage. I expect to see considerably more red than gold at our home away from home.
That doesn’t mean the game isn’t important, though. It’s the most important game we’ve played all year, and it could make the SEC Championship Game a moot point, at least as far as our inclusion in the top four goes.
Of course, there will still be a lot to play for in Atlanta, not least of which is being crowned SEC champs, and we’ll get more into that next week. But, for all intents and purposes, the game against Georgia Tech is a College Football Playoff play-in game, and I expect Kirby Smart will treat it as such.
These Dawgs are taking nothing for granted. Every game, they come in laser-focused and ready to go. By now, you’ve probably heard the leaked audio of Kirby’s halftime speech during the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. If I learned anything from that clip, it’s that there won’t be a game this season when we won’t be prepared.
“Don’t say shit to their undisciplined ass. Because we are,” Smart said in the clip. “WE ARE DISCIPLINED! And our asses are gonna kick the fuckin’ shit out of ‘em.”
That’s what Georgia Tech is up against this week: a team that is bigger, faster, stronger, better coached, more talented and more motivated. I make no guarantees, because college football is weird as hell and anything can happen, but this is as confident as I’ve felt going into a game against Tech.
So my advice while watching on Saturday: Enjoy the moment. I want to see more of what we saw against Charleston Southern against Georgia Tech, both from a football perspective and a human perspective. Because that was one of the most joyous beatdowns I’ve ever watched.
Jordan Davis is one of my favorite Georgia players in many years, and I’m far from alone in that sentiment. So I don’t need to tell you all how cool it was to watch the big man get in on offense and score a touchdown during the game—his final game at Sanford Stadium—then go lead the band and be named an honorary Redcoat afterward. That was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever seen as a Georgia fan.
We’ve had some rough times over the past few years, and we’ve got some tough games ahead of us. So enjoy just how great this team is and has been. It’s about to do something Georgia hasn’t done in almost 40 years, so enjoy it. Don’t take it for granted. Revel in every moment.
Regardless of how the season finishes, this team is special. And I’m going to enjoy every second I get to see them out on the field.
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