The Sun Also Rises
ATLANTA, Ga.-Han Vance on Georgia football: Cue the chicken sounds, as the nearly unfathomable has happened. Yet, I awakened to an optimistic sunrise atop a soggy Historic Druid Hills in the undeniable World Capital of American College Football, in America’s only true urban forest.
I had blessings in abundance and could see the trees and the forest, so to speak.
For the first time since Georgia-born alumnus Ray Goff was a soon-to-be-retired head football coach and Alabama-born current head football coach Kirby Smart was an underclassman football player at UGA, Ol’ Georgia has been upset in a football game in which the Bulldogs were favored by 20-or-more points. It was right before the cool “Donnan of a New Era” T-shirts were seen around the Classic City.
This never happened to Mark Richt, Kirby’s former short-term employer before the bounding striver moved on to better coattails, and this never happened to the coach Kirby by far most reminds me of, his for-longer other former head football coach at Georgia, Jim Donnan.
The CEO is solely and wholly to blame here. This is not o.k.
Kirby Smart’s hand-selected offensive coordinator James Coley, who reminds me of Mark Richt and then-DC Jeremy Pruitt’s ultimate undoing, the Richt selection of “Schitty Hire”…probably could not have professionally survived the presser or the justified wrath of the fans. But he was not available to the media. Kirby was, saying, “We opened it up and threw it over the middle to George a couple of times and took a shot one time.” Three plays, y’all.
On the 3s: That was all the big-play aggressiveness his football team – he has to own it – had shown on a grand total of the 54 times beleaguered, amazing team leader Jake Fromm had dropped back. Fromm had been sacked three times, after one total sack in the first five games and was picked three times, his first three of this his junior year, only one of which was actually his fault. And Georgia loves to settle for three, unless it is a game-winner. Then, a Hail Mary feels smart.
The muffed center exchange was perhaps Jake’s fault but we will never know for sure. The first pick Jake was trying to throw away off his back foot. The second pick was a bad route by Matt Landers. The third pick was a drop by – why is he starting still – Tyler Simmons which could have cost his team the game. But, God shined on Georgia even still. We had to find a way to lose this game.
I’m saying a little prayer under my breath here. Mark Richt had a great second year (13 wins, one close loss). Jim Donnan had a very good second year. Ray Goff had a good third year and near-great fourth. Kirby Smart has had one good-to-great, all-too-near-great second year (13-2), only losing twice.
Recruiting-over-reality? You may be going to voicemail today, Coach. No seemingly superiorly talented seventeen-year-olds are going to ever be able to fix this, the mental issues that have carried on with Georgia football since January 2nd of 1981. The chest swelling at essence wishful ego-filled bragging nature that ultimately ends in sour heartache. Life is humbling. As Davin Bellamy said to Baker Mayfield before Davin got humbled: “Humble yourself.”
Factually, Georgia was more talented in 2017: Fromm, Eason, Sony, Chubb, Swift, Holyfield, Roquan (UGA’s only Butkus Award), Baker (UGA’s only Thorpe Award), LoCarter, Bellamy, Galliard, Wynn (1st rounder), Thomas, Wimms, Hardman, Ridley, Nauta and Rodrigo. Plus, Jim Chaney and Mel Tucker.
Sharp UGA product A-Payne of That Bar – and here I am speaking of a grown young man, fan of 22 not a wee baby man-giant of 17 – was listening intently as I explained that a riding too high Georgia ALWAYS falls on our fat faces in Athens when we get too, ahem, cocky.
“Do they party?” he asked. “Do we?” I answered.
“This has been brewing for Georgia,” Seth Emerson of the Athletic said. Earlier, he had explained that he was expressly not a Georgia Bulldogs football fan. But he has cogently analyzed the program as a (probably not so well-) paid scribe media member for many years and for very many outlets. He has all the loyalty of a pencil, he could have said. I like Seth. I like his writing.
I bleed red-and-black. So, this hurts. …This hurts.
Others see a path to the CFP. I see a team that looks like any other 10-3 team in America. I could even see US win out and get locked out. We’d be just like Ohio State of last year, coming off the Purdue loss and winning a Power 5 conference, except that was an away loss to a bowl team. Carolina was 2-3.
If LSU beats Bama close and say loses elsewhere, one game, and wins the SEC West while Georgia wins out, I have Bama getting in the College Football Playoff and winning it all or losing to an Ohio State who will not be locked out again. Nobody can beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 and nobody can beat Clemson in the ACC. Could the Chickens – winners of their only conference crown in 1969 in the ACC – beat their Palmetto State rivals and shock the world again? Nah, Clemson will be too coached up for the game.
Notre Dame is ranked two spots ahead of Georgia with both having the same record. When the CFP committee ranks teams, the polls become meaningless. The CFP most highly values quality wins, the so-called “eye test” and bad losses (where and to whom). This a bad lingering loss that burns the eye.
It’s just one game, but Kirby is now 5-3 in his last eight games at Georgia. Easy to see the difference between 3-3 or something more similar: Greg McGarity scheduled little Murray State and Arkansas State.
Quit drinking the Kool-Aid, fans. Kirby needs to look in the mirror and quit worshipping at the altar of the false idol coach he will never be. That guy has never-ever lost to a former assistant and does not plan on Kirby ending the long trend. Ever. Bear Bryant couldn’t get past General Neyland but I’m not ready to see a Kirby statue. Maybe I just don’t trust millionaires who go to Great Clips.
Georgia lost a football game in which the opposition scored one total offensive touchdown, while MVP D’Andre Swift scored a TD and had 113 yards on 23 attempts. South Carolina did not score in the 3rd quarter, 4th quarter, or first overtime and won on the road behind a third-string quarterback by kicking a field goal in the second overtime. It reminded me of my time at the Rose Bowl…
The rivalry is back on, at least. Cue the chicken sounds.
Dawgs had won 16 straight at home, had won 15 straight against the East. Both streaks gone in one truly pathetic coaching decision. LET RODRIGO KICK THE GAME-WINNING FIELD GOAL (from 55…or 60), instead of shaking the whole team’s confidence so badly, having him miss a 42-yarder to tie.
WE were beyond lucky to still have any chance at that point of the game’s mismanagement.