What a long, strange trip it's been. If you'd told me at the beginning of the 2015 season that we'd be getting ready to watch a 9-3 Bulldog team in this bowl game I would have easily been able to believe it. That sounded like a reasonable record for a team breaking in a new quarterback and offensive coordinator, with a bunch of new faces on defense, and a schedule with at least one really challenging stretch.
But under no circumstances could you have convinced me that Brice Ramsey would be the Red and Black's most effective punter. Or that Faton Bauta would start one, but only one, game for Georgia. Or that the young Bulldog defense would finish the season as one of the top ten units in the country. Or that Bryan McClendon would be head coaching the 'Dawgs on an interim basis before going to work for new South Carolina boss Will Muschamp I'd have said you were nuts. If you'd gone further and told me that Mark Richt would be securely ensconced in his position as the head coach at the University of Miami, I'd have needed to sit down to quiet my spinning head. Though to be honest if you'd told me all that I would have assumed that Kirby Smart was on his way to Athens. That's really the only part of this that might be termed predictable.
It's against this backdrop that Georgia takes the field in a little over an hour against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mark Richt's busy rebuilding the Hurricanes. Jeremy Pruitt is settling in to help Nick Saban bring another national title to Tuscaloosa. And Brian Schottenheimer is either dead in a ditch, drunk in a bar in Mogadishu, or on tour with the Stones. Who knows.
In short, while it might be a stretch to say that the Georgia Bulldogs are a team in turmoil, it's no stretch to say they're a team in transition. And it's also no great leap to imagine that the team is, like the Bulldog fanbase, just ready for 2015 to be over. I think the best we as fans can hope for is that they come together one last time for the coaches who are still with them. That they dedicate this performance to the coaches who got them this far before moving on. That there still beats within 85 Bulldog chests the Bulldog hearts necessary to hunker down just one more time. So let's do this, once more. With feeling.