Deeper Inside the Big Game
Han Vance on Georgia football: It’s time…almost.
Last week it was a 2019 BMW with a hard plastic dummy in back named “dude” and a high-speed driver who owes me on some consulting invoices and calls himself “Dug.” This week, a full 24 hours earlier, I’m back to Mega Bus; $15 pops me and my luggage from downtown Atlanta to downtown Athens at sunset. Adventure.
I will be having THU dinner at The World Famous with my should-be-world-famous little sister, who bought and is renovating an old farmhouse 18 miles outside Athens in rural Jackson County. I’m going to Jackson.
Then, the new men’s fashion shop Kempt (next to The Globe) is having me for an in-store Friday from 5-6p and is selling my CANINES vs CATHOLICS shirts, which are dope. “dude” – he’s sleeping at That Bar right now and according to affable proprietor Evan, “enjoying his stay” – and I will be at Myers Quad for College GameDay about 8a, with the show airing from 9a-noon. I’ll be the guy with “dude.”
Let’s talk football…
No less of an interesting experience awaits the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and reigning AP Coach of the Year Brian Kelly. Counting them out in this game would be recipe for utter disaster. Sure, they got clobbered by Clemson 30-3. But Bama, the same Bama that came back to beat a peaking Georgia and had the single best passing offense in SEC history, was later whipped by Clemson 44-16. Similar thrashing.
Coach Kelly softened up some right around the time “A Season With” was following him around. That once-good show lost touch when it went military academy and followed Navy around the next season. I knew the producer from my then-job, during the Notre Dame season, which was after (his) FSU. The kids at Navy hated their lives for so much of the season, and you know you can’t handle the truth. FSU looked fun, even with Jimbo there nagging them all the time. Notre Dame was a visibly much more rigorous academic institution, and you came to really like those good kids. I loved that Brian VanGorder was there as defensive coordinator at the time, Richt’s strong defensive coordinator, Double Thumbs-Up. At Navy, sympathy was what you primarily felt, their dread. It was tough to watch, at best. And done.
The year on-air, the darlings of so much of America, Notre Dame followed an 8-5 mark with a much-improved 10-3. The next year they plummeted to 4-8, somehow, then bounced back to 10-3. Last year, they were on fire. They played the toughest schedule in the country and went 12-0. Then, Clemson happened.
We are point blank not Clemson, y’all. Clemson has won more national championships in the last three years than UGA has in school history, dating all the way back to the first college football game played in the Deep South in 1892, at Herty Field. I plan to bring “dude” there this week… Over the last two years, Georgia has an overall worse record than Notre Dame in fact, at a time when Georgia had the first back-to-back 11 or more win campaigns in storied school history.
Going into the bowls, every know-it-all Georgia fan (except me, I publicly picked the whole CFP right, saying Bama would struggle with Oklahoma’s offense and then lose by double-digits to Clemson) just knew that (in addition to, of course saying, our Dawgs were going to totally kill Texas) neighbor staters Clemson would get through, then mighty Bama was going to crush Clemson for the national title.
Why? That’s how good Georgia was.
Myopic worldview so rarely plays out in the end. Georgia had the single youngest team in the SEC last season and were frankly remarkably poorly coached over the last six quarters of an 0-2 end to the previously 11-1 campaign. Alabama was also extremely overrated based on a lame schedule and pass happy blowouts and for-Bama downright soft, not covering point spreads against: Georgia, Oklahoma or Clemson.
So what I’m saying is just puffing your chest out and saying, Forget Hell, y’all, them there Yankees are going to…get destroyed is simply wishful thinking.
Know the actual football factors. Dig into trends and stats and facts. Don’t necessarily expect Georgia to cover easily, but the Dogs could as well if things red-snowball on the golden-domed Irish. Wearing black, by the way, was the dumbest idea I’ve seen floated anywhere in the Dawg-Nation since the fake punt on 4th-and-long in a tie game with a giant quarterback.
It should look like 1980.
Here’s how Georgia wins: Swift’s Heisman campaign starts Saturday night. #7 Notre Dame is giving up 230 yards rushing a game to New Mexico and Louisville. Rotate less. Run Swift more. I’d give him at least 25 touches, with a bye week upcoming and him basically already assured of being a first round NFL draft pick after this season. Put the last two losses to ranked teams in his rearview. Say go.
This is a lesser ND team: They lost two first round offensive linemen to the NFL draft (McGlinchey and Nelson) and two All-Americans on defense (Tillery and Love). 2018 Georgia could boast nothing close to quantifiably similar. Their third-best defensive player from last year, Drue Tranquill, is gone from a linebacking spot he dominated. Ian Book is one crafty playmaker at QB who can’t get the ball downfield on deep balls consistently so much as controls games with his short passing and improvisation. He’s a great situational runner and scrambles to throw, too. He and I are literally the exact same size right now (6-0, 208), though, not big enough at the position to carry a football team alone.
Dawgs win. Considering the way the CFP committee thinks, I’d personally love to see another 20-19 and then ND go undefeated the rest of the way and us get the vote over them. Any win will work.