Be a Proud Bulldog in a Pandemic

I haven’t written a post for fun in some time.  We all know the last 10 or so months have been real taxing, and so far, 2021 hasn’t changed things very much.  I am so tired of all the things that divide us being spread like the virus through our news, our social media, and our politicians.  It absolutely has to stop.  With that sentiment in mind, I really wanted to talk some Georgia football.  I have been thinking about it for a while, but I wanted to see just how the season finished before I wrote anything. And now that we have some news from the program on players and recruits, it seems like the right time.

First, let me say how grateful I am that there was a college football season.  It is one of the few sports that I am truly passionate about.  Years ago, my wife told me I could either be a Bulldog fan or a Falcons fan, but I couldn’t be both.  She said there was no way she could let me ruin a Saturday and a Sunday if both teams lost on the same weekend.  I like the Braves, but I don’t love them.  I don’t follow the NBA at all anymore, and as a Georgia fan college basketball just isn’t much fun.  So, Georgia football is really the only sport I truly love. I can’t believe how hard so many people worked and sacrificed so that these kids could compete and have a chance to fulfill their dreams while also entertaining us.  That leads me to my overall thoughts on the Georgia Football Program right now which is overwhelming pride.  The job that our program has done through this pandemic is outstanding!  Outstanding I tell you!  It goes without saying that the UGA medical staff did a great job throughout all of it.  The players had to make a lot of sacrifices as well.  I can’t imagine being told to make those sacrifices when I was 19 or 20 years old.  I know there were some disappointments in the season with the Bama and Florida games.  But we picked a great year to let Florida represent the East, and we got to watch as they lost three games in a row which was a lot of fun for me. So, allow me to expound a little more on why I feel all this pride.

The Way They Finished

After the Florida game, things looked bleak.  This team could have packed it in and quit.  A lot of other teams did this year.  But not our team.  Our team kept fighting, kept practicing, and kept working to get better.  Obviously, JT Daniels playing helped a lot, but it takes more than one player to do what they did to end the season. 

The Bowl Game

This was a classic example of a lose/lose situation.  Cincinnati had everything to play for and Georgia had players leaving, players hurt, and one with a sudden death in the family.  If Georgia were to lose, they would be laughed at, and if they were to win no one would care because their supposed to win.  That is just the way it is, but instead this team fought through and gave themselves a good foundation for 2021, and you got to love that ending!

The Stability

Take a moment and look around the SEC or the rest of college football for that matter.  There are only a handful of programs doing better than Georgia which are Bama, Clemson, and Ohio State.  Frankly, Ohio State and Clemson just have the benefit of their conference and I can’t wait for the Clemson game next August.  There are new coaches at South Carolina and Auburn, and there is speculation that Jeremy Pruitt might be fired at Tennessee due to recruiting violations. At this point, I think Tennessee may never get back.  Even the Gators are having some issues. Dan Mullen is rumored to be interested in leaving and they are on recruiting probation along with a three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, our players are opting to stay for their senior year.

The Recruiting

Recruiting is difficult in any climate, but this year presented new challenges.  No in person visits, no visits for home games, and for that matter Georgia only played three home games.  Regardless, they once again brought in a Top 3 class and the number 1 class according to 247 Sports. 

The Culture

Kirby and staff are doing something right over on Selig Circle.  This season has proven that the players are buying in to the program.  Like I mentioned before, they never quit on their coaches, themselves, or their season.  And right now, you can see a hashtag trending, #unfiinishedbusiness.  As of today, the following players have announced they are staying:   JT Daniels, James Cook, Justin Shaffer, Jordan Davis, and Devante Wyatt with more announcements possible.  This is a sign of a healthy team culture.  I know that I am always optimistic on the Bulldogs (well at least in the Kirby era), but this looks, feels, and sounds a lot like January 2017, and we all know how that season went. 

Bottom Line

I just want us to realize how good we actually have it over here in Athens.  No one has done what Bama has done, but it will come to an end one day and when it does, I like our chances with the current administration.  Go Dawgs!  

A Few Highlights From the End of the Year

The Game Winning Kick

When We Found Our Quarterback