[Please SUBSCRIBE to my new culture + sporting travel web series and TV show on YouTube: All College Report]
Han Vance on Georgia football: JT is money. His would-be senior year of high school he started for USC. Imagine the grip he had on his steering wheel at night in the lights on the Strip, knowing he was the starter for such a venerable program.
It didn’t pan out, though only in that he eventually got hurt and was replaced so well, by a passer setting some freshman passing marks, Slovis took over at USC sort of like a Fromm over Eason, it was just clearly in the guy’s court to keep the reins for the Trojans.
Fast forward to now and it’s Saturday night lights on the Piedmont as GEORGIA (#5)
faces (#2/#3) Clemson in the Queen City of Charlotte. Always enjoy spending time in the great state of North Carolina, myself, doubt Daniels has ever even been there. He can make it his own by outdueling a fellow Cali-QB who himself set some school passing marks freshman year. He trailed Boston College before orchestrating a comeback and lost to Notre Dame in a classic shootout with scoring in the 40s. He scored that much on a ranked defense.
But you are in a sweet spot, JT is probably saying to himself. Going 4-0 to close a relatively moribund season with two big blowouts before he started and a global pandemic which caused limited attendance, no tailgating on campus, delay, a cancellation, schedule reshifting to SEC only before the year began. The injury and bench are behind him.
THIS IS FOOTBALL in all its glory.
Had the great comeback not been executed in the Peach, we’d be in a much less confident position, and that was razor close. The Miss State debut was a close home win where JT flung it for four hundred. Georgia easily outclassed Mizzou in myriad ways and whipped a Mike Bobo interim-coached Carolina Chickens simply by running our deep stable of backs.
George Pickens was supposed to be all-SEC this season for JT, but Kearis Jackson returns. They ended up about tied for catches and yards at WR last season for UGA. Kearis made more plays pre-JT, showing a serious connection to the Mailman early against Auburn and Tennessee. He and JT have to get off this season for Georgia to win big. Dominick Blaylock performed as well statistically as George Pickens when the two were starting as true freshmen, Fromm’s final year. When the Marietta-native, who is the son of former Atlanta Hawk guard Mookie Blaylock, returns Georgia should be just fine at wideout. Young guys will be getting shots to make plays, and starter speedsters Jermaine Burton and Arian Smith need to emerge as consistent playmakers. We may see a lot of passes to running backs. Tall talent Darnell Washington and very steady player John FitzPatrick have been dealing with injuries at TE, and undersized for the position super-athlete true frosh Brock Bowers is expected to make a few plays immediately.
Should the underdogs not pull it out Saturday night in Charlotte, Georgia will still have as legit a shot as ever to win the SEC in 2021. The margin for error would have been all but definitely removed for the College Football Playoff, though, as no two-loss team has made a CFP. Could Georgia win Saturday, not win the SEC, and still make the CFP? Possibly, but I wouldn’t bank on that.
I’m taking Georgia and the 3 points, for sure, and think we will win the game. JT for Heisman campaign could begin here. We’re also filming Episode 2 of All College Report.
*Blue skies above the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the site where JT Daniels led Georgia to a Peach Bowl win on January 1st, 2021, and hopes to return for the SECCG.