Is it finally the year?
That has been the question of what it feels like every season after Georgia first appeared in a National Championship game under Kirby Smart. In his second season at the helm of the University of Georgia, Kirby Smart helped the Bulldogs win their first national title game since 1982, when Vince Dooley’s Georgia Bulldogs lost to Penn State.
Although Georgia failed in 2017, losing heartbreakingly to Alabama after Crimson Tide came back from a 13-0 halftime loss, to force the game into overtime, Nick’s infamous decision Saban’s changing quarterback after being shut out in the first half made all the difference for Alabama. Tua Tagovalioa would step off the bench and throw the winning touchdown to future Heisman winner Devonta Smith.
After that national championship loss to Alabama, the dominant idea was that Georgia was going nowhere. Elite recruiting under Kirby Smart would be enough to keep Georgia in the running, even without Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Roquan Smith.
The question has never been about the talent for Georgia; it was always a question of timing. So far this season, the talent is evident; many believe this is the best list Smart has had since his time in Georgia. So the only question left is, what about the timing? Is it time for Kirby Smart to win his first national title with the Bulldogs?
After a regular season full of injuries and minor setbacks for many of Georgia’s key contributors, the squad last Friday looked to be the healthiest of the year. The return of junior wide receiver George Pickens couldn’t have come at a better time. The product Hoover, Alabama has been a full month into becoming one of Georgia’s top receivers and continues to gain confidence in his knee.
While Pickens wasn’t much in the game plan against Michigan, Georgia’s offense didn’t need him. Starting quarterback Stetson Bennett was in full swing with one of his performances to date. Bennett completed 20 of 30 passes for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
The Georgian defense answered many questions after the embarrassing 41-24 loss to Alabama a month ago. The defense was flying towards the ball, showing physicality in the trenches, stopping Michigan’s running game and chasing the quarterback; the same thing posted on tape all year round.
Georgia now has a chance to prove a lot of people wrong, the 34-11 win over Michigan was a start, but as many in Athens reiterated after the game, the job is unfinished. With a talented and healthy team behind their backs, now is the right time for Georgia and Kirby Smart.
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