OUR VIEW: Let the ‘Dawgs have their day — they earned it

Published 1:02 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Across the various pages of the internet, there were a lot of websites dedicated to counting how long it had been since the University of Georgia had won a national championship in football. Those counters had reached 14,984 days going into Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship game against Alabama, a team that had the Bulldogs’ numbers (and everyone else’s) for the last 15 years.

After Georgia’s 33-18 win Monday, all of those counters were reset. In fact, if you scour the internet to find them now, most have been deleted — no longer to be found.

We know our community is a pretty good mix of Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia Tech fans (and a bunch of other random teams), but even Tide and Tigers fans have to feel pretty good for their Bulldogs fans right now.

Forty-one years is a lot of suffering, a lot of close calls.

When you throw in that the Atlanta Braves also won the World Series this year, there are probably a lot of Georgia sports fans who should stop watching sports entirely right now. Soak up 2021 and the start of 2022 sports-wise and let it be. It’s unlikely anything ever tops the stretch from October through Jan. 10.

Of course, many still dream of an Atlanta Falcons championship, but that’s a discussion for another day — one we’re sure will be the talk around water coolers next week after the NFL playoffs get underway this weekend.

But right now, let’s let the Dawgs have their day.

In a day and age of offensive football, where even the great Nick Saban has adjusted to up-tempo and throwing the ball all around the field, Georgia countered with old school football. The Bulldogs had one of the best defenses in recent memory and they paired it with a ground and pound running game, all led by the steady Stetson Bennett. The former preferred walk-on may not have been flashy, but he reminded us all that the stars by a name in the recruiting rankings don’t always tell the full story.

It was interesting that head coach Kirby Smart appeared to build this Georgia team much in the way Saban’s early championship teams were built in Tuscaloosa. If you ask a good coach, defense will always carry the day on the football field, but the way teams have scored in college football lately, there’s been some discussion as to whether offense was now more important than defense.

It’s not, and Georgia reminded us of that again Monday night.

There will be bigger goals now — two in a row talk will be loud in Athens this fall — but for now, we urge ‘Dawgs fans to savor this moment. You never know what lies ahead, especially in the SEC and the uncertainty of where NIL deals and the transfer portal will take college football.

But at this moment, with Florida welcoming a new coach, the rest of the SEC East relatively down, and Alabama conquered at last, it’s hard not to look at Athens and wonder if college football’s next few years will have a very large red and black theme.

Somehow, some way those 14,000-plus days already seem so long ago.