SEC team or not, many Georgia fans likely took great pleasure in seeing Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators take an absolute thrashing at the hands of Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners. Yes, everyone knew that Florida had a ton of players out, including All-American Tight End Kyle Pitts, but goodness, I think most people expected the Gators to look like they had played organized football before in the Cotton Bowl. Kyle Trask got a does of reality without a smorgasbord of weapons to help him out at the receiver position. Not only did the performance end any fledgling hopes Trask had at Heisman votes, but it also likely hurt his NFL draft stock. Oklahoma’s defense improved tremendously throughout the season no doubt, but they aren’t the 85′ Bears. All that aside, let’s look at how this game and result helps Georgia and how maybe it some ways it makes like harder.
HELPS: In Recruiting
Georgia has the opportunity to flip the script on the Gators and show that they have the dynamic, fun to play in offense. The Dawgs have built up a ton of depth on the offensive side of the football thanks to the recruiting during the Kirby Smart era. A lot of that has to do with Georgia being able to pluck skill position players away from SEC East rivals in particular. If Georgia can come out behind JT Daniels and look strong offensively on a national stage against Cincinnati, it will bode extremely well for the sales pitch on the recruiting trail, especially in head to head battles with Florida going forward. In the world of COVID, with a lack of campus and in-home visits, on the field product is your word and your bond as a coach. Florida’s looks shaky at the moment, Georgia can take advantage.
DOESN’T HELP: Added Scrutiny and Anti-SEC Bias Against Georgia
The loss by Florida got the memes, gifs, and tik toks flying around social media by those who are in the anti-SEC crew. You know, the Danny Kanells of this world. You best believe that when Georgia takes the field in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon, the majority of those tuned in are going to be pulling for Cincinnati and another SEC flop on the national stage. So yes, perception wise and media narrative wise, Florida’s loss and how they lost does not do Georgia any favors here in the short term. However, as recent press conference confrontations with the media and Kirby Smart have shown, only 1 person controls the internal narrative for UGA football, and it’s up to Smart to take this potential negative factor into a positive one.
HELPS: Kirby Smart’s Messaging and Motivation For the Team
Like I just mentioned, Kirby Smart dictates the narrative at UGA. Much like his longtime mentor over in Tuscaloosa, Smart and his players have built a culture in which they care not about outside opinions, but they do have a tremendous amount of pride in the ‘G’ they dawn on their helmet and chest, and even more loyalty to those they strive for greatness with inside the building. So yes, Florida has given Smart the gift of a cautionary tale, one that Smart and some players on the team lived themselves to a lesser degree a couple years ago against Texas. Thanks to the Gators’ embarrassment, you can bet the pregame prep and speeches just got a little crisper and a little more meaningful, because despite Georgia and Smart’s ability to insulate themselves in their culture and block out outside noise, they are human and it’s the 21st Century and they known exactly what is going on here national media wise.
Other than those factors, what happened in Dallas obviously has no direct impact on the outcome between the Bearcats and the Bulldogs. The poking of rivals and their misery, the weird element of pulling for those in your conference, and the constant measurement of momentum are all elements that make college football great and something that we all love and are intrigued by so much. The fact is, perception is reality in today’s world. Georgia has a major opportunity to help themselves as a program in the momentum department on the first day of the new year. Will they take advantage? Can Kirby Smart and company come out of this one holding the SEC banner high and also touting their depth and program culture? A lot to be decided by those who will like up in the black jerseys Friday in Atlanta.