Whatever your response, it wasn’t Monday, when the No. 1 Bulldogs won their second consecutive College Football Playoff National Championship, depriving not just their opponent but the whole sport of hope.
What else are you meant to say in what has to be the worst national championship game ever?
Georgia scored nine touchdowns, defeated outmanned No. 3 TCU by more than eight touchdowns, and sent shivers down the spines of the other 129 FBS teams that read something like this: Don’t even consider it.
Georgia left little question despite losing a record 15 players to the NFL Draft, surviving a trip to Missouri (of all places), and trailing by two scores in the CFP semifinal. That, along with a 17-game winning run, is the longest in the country.
None of it even comes close to describing what happened in Los Angeles on Monday night. The end outcome was so comprehensive that quarterback Stetson Bennett IV was virtually a footnote. Almost. The sixth-year former walk-on capped his unusual career with an all-time performance that included four throwing touchdowns, two running touchdowns, and a well-deserved fourth-quarter curtain call.
Talk about a protest. Georgia coach Kirby Smart used a break to let his ageing quarterback for the ages to do exactly that in front of an enthusiastic SoFi Stadium crowd.
Even Bennett had to defend the major headline following Georgia’s 65-7 thrashing of TCU: Georgia became the first team in a decade and the first in the CFP era to win consecutive national titles, winning the second by a record margin in an FBS bowl game (58 points). Smart was Nick Saban’s coordinator for the previous back-to-back championship teams (Alabama, 2011-12).
What is the future of college football? For the time being, the solution to that question passes via Athens, Georgia.
“‘You have to eat from the floor,’ we say around here. You may be extraordinary if you’re prepared to eat from the floor.’ “Smart disclosed.
Gross, but appropriate. These Dawgs were of the junkyard kind as well as the dominant breed. Smart harped on his players after they won the 2021 championship, telling them that they weren’t defending anything. This was the start of a new year. Bennett did not play a single snap in 2021 spring practise 20 months ago. He became the sixth quarterback since the 1970s to win consecutive national crowns on Monday.
Bennett’s lone complaint this week was about the early start to practise and not having enough leisure time. Smart’s reaction: “You only have one shot at becoming famous. I’m not going to leave any regrets behind.”
So, in the city that coined the three-peat, Georgia set out to become the first school to win three consecutive indisputable college football national titles. Minnesota was the latest to do so, splitting its championships as awarded by the media in 1934-36.
According to his postgame remarks, Smart was already considering the option.
“Entitlement is the illness that seeps into your programme,” Smart said. “I’ve experienced it personally, and you can remain hungry if you can stamp it out with leadership.”
That winning run may as well go on forever. At this time, neither Alabama nor Clemson are remotely close. Georgia has become the sport’s new gold standard.
“I would say it sends the message that Georgia is the new superpower in college football,” running back Kendall Milton said.
New? Hardly. Georgia is 33-1 in its previous 34 games. Its 29 victories in the previous two seasons are a major collegiate record. Smart is 73-10 since 2017. Bennett exits after six seasons, five of them at Georgia, and 15 touchdowns in four playoff games. There was a time when he didn’t receive four snaps in a session.
Georgia’s 65 points were the most in the championship game’s history (1998). The 58-point margin of victory was the most in any bowl game in history.
This despite the fact that the Dawgs entered as the favourite in CFP history (13.5 points, according to Caesars Sportsbook). They won by 44 points. UGA had ran 45 plays and scored 45 points at one point early in the third quarter.
But, if a watershed moment is required, maybe it was eight years ago when Smart departed one dynasty at Alabama to start another at his beloved school. That’s why Monday was more of a continuation than a watershed moment.
Win or lose, there was going to be a dynasty debate about these Dawgs. The letter “D” is now engraved in the bushes of Sanford Stadium. Smart has a better record at Georgia after seven years than Saban had at the same time (81-15 v. 79-15). Smart lags Saban by 3-2 titles after seven years, although that’s a small point considering that Smart is 24 years younger than Saban.
Georgia’s grasp over the sport seems to be as strong as Alabama’s. Georgia pushed Cinderella into a ditch on Monday.
“You know how people say we’re being hunted?” RB Kenny McIntosh inquired. “We’re the scavengers. We are not hounded.”
Every team in the nation wants the blueprint and will do everything in their power to get it. Smart, on the other hand, has already bolstered the roster, and even his assistants seem to be staying around.