The road to greatness for Georgia goes like this. Control the state, i.e. Beat Tech. Dominate Sanford Stadium. Win In Jacksonville. That’s the path to Atlanta, a shot at the Southeastern Conference championship and the playoff.
Well the Tech game is a month away and here come the Gators in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, the second part of that equation has undone the Bulldogs in 2016. The Hail Mary Heartbreak against Tennessee derailed any championship dreams, and then a 17-16 loss to Vanderbilt has put this team into a valley (the two home games previous to that were the 23-17 overtime win over Georgia Southern last year and the 26-24 squeaker over 50 point underdog Nicholls State in this season’s second game).
Georgia’s myriad of penalties and horrendous execution on special teams doomed the Bulldogs against the Commodores and reinforced a point that is far too clear, one that Kirby Smart has continuously preached to his team. Georgia is nowhere near good enough to survive substantial self-inflicted wounds. Now at 4-3, any shot at a special season is out the door. There are still goals to accomplish, like winning the state championship against Tech for the 14th time in 16 years, posting a winning record and earning a bowl invite. And pulling off an upset of the Gators to begin the Smart era with a win over the arch-rival, hopefully shifting the series and setting a tone that will pay off in a year, two and then more.
What makes the last two home games extra painful is what could be for Georgia? There are numerous teams around the country asking that very question. The Bulldogs are 4-3, but could so easily be 6-1. On the other hand, Nicholls State and Missouri could have gone the other way as well.
There’s one way to put heartbreaking losses in the rear view mirror and subsequently march forward, that’s to start winning them.
Georgia fans, the players, the staff, everyone in red and black, would agree, that Saturday against the Gators in Jacksonville would be a great foe and place to get heading back in that direction for 2016, while helping shape something special in the near future.