From The Field: 2023 SEC Championship Game

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From The Field: 2023 SEC Championship Game

The SEC Championship game has been analyzed up and down and inside out. The bottom line is simple: the Dawgs let one get away. An Alabama fan or analyst might say that Bama beat Georgia, but I think it is more accurate to say that Georgia beat Georgia.

UGA Football is a different team than since the SEC title game. The Bulldogs’ annual portal and draft personnel turnover started early this year due to the loss in Atlanta. Alabama and the other College Football Playoff teams will see their rosters change as they fall in the Playoff or win it all. Win or lose, everyone will have transfers and players declaring for the NFL draft.





Smart will be selective, but he will use the transfer market to replace the young men who will look elsewhere for their next step athletically. Contrary to popular belief, modern recruiting isn’t simply a bidding war but a market. Schools try to attract the athletes that they believe fit the team’s skill needs and culture within the framework of the school’s NIL structure. I am not privy to any information on NIL deals secured by UGA athletes, but I see evidence of their existence all around town. Georgia’s approach under Coach Smart emphasizes development for future fortune and fame in the NFL while offering substantial, if not astronomical, earnings to the many rather than fortunes to the few.

Florida State is the consolation prize for Georgia’s undefeated regular season. At least, the Dawgs fell from the Playoff club with a loss; FSU won their conference championship game, remained undefeated and was bumped from the party because their quarterback was injured. Not that I have sympathy for the Noles, just that the snub could have them breathing fire and spitting venom at being disrespected in the Playoff ranking, or the longer they wallow in the committee’s snub, the better for Georgia when the teams meet in Miami.

This time, we will see a restructured team take the field for Georgia. Of course, many fans will have lessened interest in the Bowl after back-to-back national championships, transfer defections, and draft declarations. Still, hardcore Dawgs will be riveted to the broadcast or their Orange Bowl seats to see the young pups who will now have the opportunity to step up and make their cases for playing time and leadership before recruits and transfers see the practice fields in March.





The SEC Championship loss is not signaling the end of an era. Instead, it is more of a footnote on Kirby Smart’s career record. With the expanded Playoff beginning in 2024 and Kirby Smart at the helm, Georgia will not miss future postseason shows.





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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.