MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – There is no way to sugarcoat losing. If your team loses a big game, like Georgia did on Monday, it’s going to take a while to get over. You will look back on that game and wonder why the officials made a few bad calls, wonder why Jim Chaney didn’t run Sony Michel more and wonder why Alabama had to make that big play in overtime.
Unfortunately, it won’t change anything. There were reasons Georgia lost Monday, and at the top of the list was Nick Saban’s decision to change quarterback at halftime. Maybe there should be a new rule passed that you can’t change your quarterback unless a big injury. Saban’s decision to pull Jalen Hurts and insert the kid from Hawaii – yes, I’m avoiding trying to pronounce his name – was the difference. Georgia had stopped Hurts completely in the first half. If Alabama had no other option, and if Hurts had been forced to continue, Georgia would have won.
But Alabama was Alabama and just continued to chip away and got back into the game. Then, with a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, Alabama missed a field goal and the game went into overtime. That looked to give Georgia a chance, and the Bulldogs scored a field goal. But after a great sack on the Alabama quarterback to back them up to the 41, Tua made the long pass and the Crimson Tide won the game. It was not easy to watch, as Georgia had a 13-point lead twice.
So, a magical season is now over. There are so many great memories that it’s hard to complain or be disappointed too much. Instead, there is tremendous hope for Georgia’s future. Kirby Smart has made a good program a great program, and even with the talent that is leaving, Georgia is loaded with great players and great prospects are coming in.
Jake Fromm will be back and challenged by Justin Fields. Yes, Michel and Nick Chubb are gone, but they’ve got two five-star running backs coming in as true freshman. The offensive line will be better next year, as a five-star freshman may take over at left guard and two five-star prospects – Isaiah Wilson and Cade Mays – will battle it out for the starting right tackle job. Georgia will lose four linebackers, but the young talent is there to not have a big drop off. That’s the difference that Smart has brought to Athens. Georgia’s talent level is so strong that when a player, even a star, leaves, the next player won’t be that big of a drop off.
That is what allows a team like Alabama to have sustained success. And that’s what Smart is trying to have in Athens. Georgia fans have not had this type of positive energy about this program in decades, and there is no reason that losing the national championship game will bring Georgia down. Instead, it will likely only inspire the Georgia players to work out harder and practice harder so when they get that chance again, they’ll be the ones getting the trophy handed to them.
The future is bright, and we should also truly appreciate the season we experienced this year. Georgia is becoming what some of us always believed it could be – a championship program. And the best seems yet to come.