In a season kissed with magic, Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs finally ran out of fairy dust.
Georgia and Alabama played a title game for the ages, but in the end the ‘Dawgs simply ran out of gas, falling 26-23 in overtime. There’ll be plenty of time for cutting analysis. And a play-by-play recap seems a bit unnecessary since you watched every single snap and lived and died 16 times over in the process.
So in lieu of that, a few random thoughts:
- Whoever starts at corner for Georgia next season is unlikely to be victimized as frequently and savagely as Malkom Parrish was tonight. Holy geez. The thing is, the coaches really didn’t have anyone else they felt confident in in that situation.
- Hearing a true freshman quarterback nonchalantly talk about seeing the disguised cover 2, looking off the safety, then coming back to the open backside wide receiver in overtime of a national title game is amazing.
- That blocked punt on which Tyler Simmons was absolutely not offsides was a big break for the Tide. But Georgia had its own breaks. In the end you have to be able to handle adversity and down the stretch Alabama did a better job of that.
- Nick Saban made the decision to bench a guy who was 25-2 as a starter for a freshman quarterback while down 13-0 at halftime. Had things gone south it would have looked like the nation’s premier college football coach was in a blind panic. But clearly the guy knew what he was doing. It felt as if Georgia had a plan for Jalen Hurts but not #13.
- Poor Nick Saban now has to answer eight months of questions about why Tagavailoa hasn’t been starting for the past four.
- I now have to spend eight months practicing spelling “Tagavailoa.”
- Early in the fourth quarter it appeared that Sony Michel was about to take over the ballgame. He then didn’t touch the ball for the final eight minutes of the game. I don’t know if he was injured or what.
- This felt a lot like the 2016 title game. A Clemson team behind a wunderkind quarterback and a veteran defense in its first title appearance in recent memory. An Alabama team that had been there before. Same result.
- Does this hurt? You bet your ass it does. And I’m not going to be the guy who tells you that Georgia’s going to be right back here next year. The ‘Dawgs lose 31 seniors and that’s a lot of leadership out the door. But there’s also a temptation to believe that players are irreplaceable, and there are very few truly irreplaceable players. Which is to say that Georgia may in fact reload in 2018. Or our injury luck may regress to the mean and we may finish 9-3. But no matter what it’s pretty hard to argue that this Georgia team isn’t an entirely new creature compared to what it was in 2015. I’m not saying Georgia’s going to win a national championship in 2018. But I like our odds about as well as anyone’s. Georgia fans have a lot to look forward to. We hope you’ll look forward to it with us here at Dawg Sports.
So, let’s congratulate the Tide on a heckuva great game. And remember this truly special senior class. And get ready for the next one. G Day’s right around the corner. Until later . . .