Georgia’s Orange Bowl victory brought back memories of 2021 regular season predictions. Remember Kentucky, Auburn, and Florida? According to the pundits, each of them would cage the Dawgs and show the college football world that Georgia had been lucky under Kirby Smart. Many also predicted that Jim Harbaugh would show the college football world that UGA’s attempt to compete for a national championship with a former walk-on quarterback was a recipe for disaster.
Michigan! The storied program that reclaimed prominence in the Big 10 would announce to the college football world that Blue was back by destroying Georgia and its walk-on quarterback. Wrong! Michigan may be back in the B1G but would have to strain to finish second in the SEC East.
Most Dawgs have strong opinions about Stetson Bennett. There has been a strong (often loud) voice about Smart’s quarterback decisions in my house, and I admit to harboring doubt about Bennett’s ability to lead the Bulldogs to college football’s promised land in Indianapolis. Strong opinions do not die quietly, and I should never have discussed the subject with my wife after the game. I learned my lesson – sleeping Dawgs should always remain undisturbed. Here’s hoping she doesn’t read this.
What matters in sports is winning, and Stetson Bennett guided the Dawgs to 13 wins in 2021. The SEC Championship disaster gave hope to the Michigan’s of the world and convinced a sizable percentage of Dawg Nation that there could be no national title as long as number 13 led the offense. I remain unconvinced.
Georgia can beat Alabama with Stetson Bennett at quarterback. The Bulldog quarterback did not lose the SEC Championship game. There is plenty of blame to be shared; neither Mr. Bennett nor the Dawgs’ staff is immune – but that game is over. The question is whether Georgia has the talent (on the field and the sideline) to beat Alabama? I believe that answer is a resounding YES!
Nick Saban has the notches on his belt, but Kirby Smart is the young gun. Wounded in the first showdown of the year, Smart will re-challenge the Master in Indy. The Tide is their usual selves, exceptionally talented, this time with their quarterback polishing his newly awarded Heisman Trophy. The battle shapes up as a classic David and Goliath matchup. The reigning Heisman winner, coached by the universally acknowledged king of college football, opposed by his protege and his David.
Just remember that after propelling that rock with pinpoint accuracy, David left the field with Goliath’s head.