CFP National Championship – The Georgia Dynasty Is Just Getting Started

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – For so long, Georgia was the flagship program of the really good but not very good. It produced a few decades of very good seasons that ended in very good bowl games played by very good players dressed in red, white and black. But the Dawgs were always a few steps behind the sport’s elite.

They were always just shy of defeating Alabama. There are always some five-star recruits behind Florida. Always a few inches short when measured against college football’s true ruling class, even the head of that class has won the SEC through various eras and teams, from Miami and Nebraska to Southern California and the one in Athens. I looked at every team. , Georgia.

But on a humid Monday night outside Los Angeles, the Georgia Bulldogs didn’t carve their name on the measuring stick by which all other college football programs are measured, they pulled that stick off the desk and took the TCU Horned Frogs with it. defeated. Now, the conversation about Georgia football isn’t about what it hasn’t been able to do. It’s about whether it’s going to be able to do what few have ever done before: move past building championship seasons and into building a championship era.

“I don’t know that word, era; I don’t even know what an era is,” admitted Kirby Smart as he walked across the confetti-covered SOFi Stadium field to a cigar-smoking locker room. was on the rise, after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship. “But I know what a great program looks like, a program that’s built to last. I was part of four national championships as an assistant coach at Alabama. I know how hard it is to reach the pinnacle of the sport.” is, and I know it’s even harder to be there. I know what the foundation of that looks like. I think we’re building on that foundation. I hope we are.”

Think of it as made. Concrete is poured, cured and seemingly in place for a long time.

UGA won its second consecutive national title, only the fourth team to do so since 1990, and the first in the nine-year College Football Playoff era. It did it via a beatdown the likes of which has not been seen in a college football title game of any format in 152 years of college football. 1971 Orange Bowl no (Nebraska 38, Alabama 6). 1972 Rose Bowl (USC 42, Ohio State 17) no. Oklahoma 1985 (25–10 at Penn State). Nebraska 1995 (62–24 over Florida). USC in 2004 (55–19 over Oklahoma). Florida in 2006 (41–14 over Ohio State). Not even the previous standard-bearer for title game dominance: Alabama over Notre Dame 42-14 in the 2013 BCS Championship. Miami in 2001, LSU in 2019, whatever wafts through the record books…not one of those juggling teams or evenings on the gridiron comes close to coming close to the 65-7 Bulldogs on Monday night. It happened at night. Sophie Stadium.

It demoralized the upstart Horned Frogs and sent shivers into the spirits of any team hoping to stand in TCU’s cleats anytime soon. It was the most lopsided post-season win since bowl games began in Pasadena, California in 1902, with a 17-game winning streak, the longest for Georgia since 1947. span of two seasons and the most ever for an SEC school. Monday’s victory rewrote the college football history book page by page.

“Georgia, obviously you’ve seen them over the last couple of seasons, really, they’ve caught up on college football.” The announcement was made by former Georgia All-American linebacker turned TV analyst David Pollack during ESPN’s halftime coverage of the game when the score was 38–7.

He said this while sitting down with Alabama coach Nick Saban, the network’s guest analyst for the evening.

If it could be called that, the game was worse than the score. It was so throttling that Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, immediately after tying LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow for points attributed to the CFP title game (36), was pulled from the game … 13:25 into the fourth quarter The rest were

This is a team that lost 15 — yes, 15! — players from the 2022 NFL Draft, five more than any other team, and just reloaded. A defense that should have taken a step back after a 2021 unit that was speaking among the greatest of all time instead of a statistically limited TCU — who averaged 474 yards and 41 points per game — averaged 188 yards and a TD alone. After a thrilling comeback win over Ohio State in the CFP semifinals on New Year’s Eve, a team that seemed emotionally and physically exhausted responded by embarking on a week of practice that Bennett conducted in the days leading up to the title game. described it as “a damn rebuilding project”. ,

“You attack every aspect of it as a challenge,” recalled Bennett, 25, quick to admire the UGA scout team that played tough-rail-spikes TCU quarterback Max Duggan. “My work is done now, but I feel that those who are still here, and perhaps those of us who are gone, have a responsibility to make sure that this goes on. Make sure that what has been built is maintained. You feel the pressure of.”

The commentary showed shades of the all-time teams Georgia once chased. The legendary Miami Hurricanes are calling from the NFL locker room to the youngsters who are now in their beloved orange and green, to ask what happened after a loss to an opponent or ending a streak. Saban’s Alabama veterans talk to their successors about maintaining the principles of the Process while practicing until the spring.

Smart said, “That’s what we all have to avoid, complacency, and I’m talking about coaches, players, even fans, should never be taken for granted on a night like this.” Great Bulldogs Teams of the 1990s. “You have to expect to be in these Games and expect to win these Games, but you can’t assume that will happen. And I think that’s why trying to win a third championship in a row will be an even greater challenge.” We lost so many people last year and so many people are coming back next year. It’s more likely complacency.

It’s also more likely to benefit from the experience, to rely on being there, to do that. More than half of the starters this season were redshirt sophomores or younger. He would be tied with Georgia’s seventh consecutive top-three recruiting class.

Smart is only 47 years old. The man sitting awkwardly next to Pollack, his former mentor, is 71. The GOAT’s full attention was on what was in front of it. Saban always is. Saban confessed the morning of the game, “I have a hard time watching football because it’s always working.” “How do we plan against it? How are they accomplishing it? And that’s especially true in the case of what Kirby has done in Georgia. That’s the biggest compliment I can give to any program.” That everyone in our business has to see everything you do.”

Yes, there are a lot of caveats when it comes to the fallout of college football dominance. transfer portal; name, image and likeness (void); An extended playoff – the list of things that could derail the mighty and what could happen with the Dogs in the future is ever-changing. All of the teams listed previously, from Miami to Nebraska and USC, are “they can’t be beaten!” “Whatever happened to those people?” It was just four winters ago when Clemson was playing in its fourth CFP title game in five years, and since then it has slowly begun to slip out of the national conversation.

But even players and coaches from those ruling class programs, which come from everywhere along the timeline of college football history, probably spend their Monday nights like the rest of us, Georgia. The Bulldogs are watching and wondering if we may have seen against TCU much closer to the beginning of something bigger than any conceivable end.

“I want to enjoy tonight, and I will,” said Georgia’s Brock Bowers, the All-American tight end who had seven catches for 152 yards and a TD. He is also one of those sophomores. “But we go back to work as soon as we get home. There’s always work to do.”

That’s what happens when you’re building an empire.

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