Georgia’s greatest eras were the ’40s with Wallace Butts, the ’80s with Vince Dooley and NOW with Kirby Smart.
World War II ended the Butts’ juggernaut, which began with Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi. Internal issues along with the Jan Kemp debacle and Herschel leaving early for the old United States Football League compromised things but there still was noteworthy success as the Dooley era played out.
The Smart era could become the greatest era. A championship year in 2023 would bring about UGA’s three greatest years without question. Back-to-back-to-back glory would eclipse the Herschel years of 1980-82 in which the Bulldogs won 33 games and three consecutive SEC championships in addition to the national championship of 1980.
Already, there are those who are predicting pratfalls for the Dawgs this fall. Nobody really knows and prognosticating is as unpredictable as the weather.
It is like a road race with everybody entering Ferrari’s. That means everybody has an opportunity to win but the winner becomes the survivor. The best driver with the best performing car should win, but it doesn’t always work out so simple and easy.
If you keep a box score on the game day forecasters, you notice that they are far from perfect. The only clear winner is Las Vegas. Percentage guesses among the prognosticators sometimes hit the mark, sometimes they don’t.
Perhaps the best-known gambler in sport is golfer Phil Mickelson who in the pre-season once picked the winner of the Super Bowl. Way to go Phil, but if you have noticed, he has lost millions gambling.
That means that the forecasters are having fun throwing darts out there and Georgia partisans should not be offended with any of that. If nobody has won the national championship of college football three years in a row since the ’30s, that tells you that it is a monumental challenge.
I have taken the position that pulling off a three-peat is possible but not probable but if anybody can, Kirby can. We have to play the games and find out.
If Georgia does not pull off a third consecutive national championship this fall, likely it still will be the Bulldogs three greatest years. One factor that bodes well for the home team is that there is the greatest “can do” mentality that is needed to win championships amongst these Dawgs.
Lately, I have been reflecting on the past and am concerned, like so many other fans, about where we are with the grand old game. It is like the nuclear age. Technology can drive cars without a driver. Technology’s autopilots can fly planes without pilots, and we can send spaceships in outer space, but sadly we can destroy ourselves. One nuclear weapon fired in anger could do us in.
College football should not abandon the classroom and fans should never lose that deep and abiding love of alma mater. We now have the capability, owing to greed, to kill the game’s golden goose.
College football is now a national game, and nobody can find fault with that. Or can we? When it was more of a regional game, there was a lot of fun about for a lot of teams.
Lesser schools could score an upset in a bowl game. Or a rivalry game. The pro influence was not there to accommodate greed. Kids were drafted and nobody knew it until some well-read fan told them at the Varsity.
There were no CTE and brain issues. Kids expected to play for a free education and made sure that they got their degree. If NFL success came along fine, but either way they would be prepared to make it in life with a degree ushering them to success.
Now football players today go to college to get rich in the NFL. While I have many friends in the NFL and appreciate what a fat pro contract can do for a needy kid, but the colleges train prospects for the NFL at no cost to pro football franchises. The colleges annually send countless talent to the league which pays ZERO for this well-trained talent.
Baseball, as we all know, pays for its player development at a cost of multi-millions.
Having said that, I always conclude that the NIL era is just the latest challenge facing college football. Though the years, we seem to find a way to keep this grand old game viable.
However, there is that reminder that we are at a point with the game as we are with nuclear arms. One stupid move by some idiot could wreak havoc all over the world.
The first step in keeping football like we have always had it, we should never take the degree out of the mix. The campus experience should not be only about NFL preparation.