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Kirby Smart is looking to lead Georgia to a national championship this season.

Why it is a good thing that Georgia is under pressure to win a national title

Connor Riley

Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Georgia football under pressure to win it all in 2019

To be blunt, the way the last two seasons have ended for the Georgia football program have stunk. The Bulldogs blew fourth-quarter leads to Alabama twice and then failed to show up for a Sugar Bowl game against Texas.

More so, those endings overshadow what were incredibly successful seasons. The Bulldogs have not dropped an SEC East game in that span and have multiple victories over every traditional rival as well as national powers like Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

But when talking about the Georgia football program, most in the national media tend to focus on the shortcomings rather than all that has been built in the past two seasons under Kirby Smart. Such is life when you’re near the top of the mountain but still waiting to ascend to the summit.

Georgia once again figures to be one of the teams capable of being the best in all of college football come the end of the 2019 season. The Bulldogs return a host of contributors from both sides of the ball and bring in one of the best recruiting classes in country this year. Georgia is widely seen as the No. 3 team entering this upcoming season, behind only Clemson and Alabama.

All that hype once again brings pressure to the Georgia football program. Smart has often called these types of pressure a privilege. He’s made it an armor of sorts so that the Georgia football program won’t be crushed by expectations.

And according to those over at the Paul Finebaum show, only Alabama enters this upcoming season with more pressure to win a national championship than Georgia.

To some, this might actually be a surprise. Alabama has won five national championships this past decade and made it to every edition of the College Football Playoff. Georgia has been to just one and has to constantly hear chirps about how it hasn’t a national title since 1980, whether it be from trolling fan bases or even opposing coaches. 

And while Alabama did get boat-raced by Clemson in the most recent title game, it does have a history of beating the Tigers. The two teams have met in each of the last four seasons, with both sides winning twice.

Georgia meanwhile has to yet to get over the Alabama hump. The Bulldogs have lost the last five times they played the Crimson Tide. Georgia last beat Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban’s first year in Tuscaloosa. Smart was still only a defensive backs coach and had yet to become Alabama’s defensive coordinator.

If there’s a justification for why Alabama could be ahead of Georgia, perhaps it is because Tua Tagovailoa will almost certainly go down as the best Alabama quarterback of all-time and to leave Tuscaloosa with just one title given the rest of the talent on the team would feel like a letdown. Especially when you consider some of the other quarterbacks Saban has been able to win with.

But there’s a very good argument to be made that Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm could end up being the greatest Georgia quarterback of all-time by the end of this season. And despite the recruiting success experienced by the Bulldogs, it is very easy to envision a world where the Bulldogs lose a number of key pieces from the offense this year, such as offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, running back D’Andre Swift and Fromm

Related: Where does Jake Fromm already rate among Georgia’s all-time QBs?

Until Georgia wins a national title, it is always going to be under pressure and scrutiny to do so. You can’t call yourself an elite college football program and continue to come up just inches short of winning the most important title.

Smart and his team know this. It’s why they’ve chosen to embrace the pressure. And given the talent and oppurtunity the 2019 team has, Georgia will once again be under pressure to win it all.

Georgia commit Tate Ratledge receives 5-star bump

Rivals.com updated its 2020 recruiting rankings on Tuesday. And one of the beneficiaries of the update is offensive tackle Tate Ratledge. The offensive tackle from Rome, Ga. is now rated as a 5-star prospect per Rivals, and the No. 13 prospect in the country. He is also rated as Georgia’s highest commit per the recruiting service, jumping linebacker Mekhail Sherman and offensive tackle Broderick Jones in the process.

Ratledge committed to Georgia last month, picking the Bulldogs over Tennessee. He and Jones are two of the top offensive tackle prospects in the entire 2020 cycle, meaning the future of the Georgia offensive line is in very good shape.

The Rivals re-rank also rejiggered the 247Sports Composite rankings as well. Ratledge only rose one spot, as he now rates as the No. 38 prospect across all recruiting services. Per the Composite, Sherman is still the top-rated commit, coming in at No. 10 overall. Jordan Burch, a major Georgia target, is now the No. 1 overall prospect in the rankings, jumping Bryan Bresee and Zachary Evans.

Shortly following the announcement of his new status, Ratledge took the opportunity to recruit another 5-star prospect, this time it being running back Kendall Milton. He rates as the No. 21 prospect in the country and the No. 3 running back. He is set to visit Georgia later this month as part of an official visit.

Georgia is one of the four finalists for Milton, along with  Ohio State, Alabama and LSU.

Georgia has 11 commitments in its 2020 recruiting cycle. Five of them rank inside the top 100, as Ratledge and Sherman are joined by Jones (20), defensive tackle Jalen Carter (75) and quarterback Carson Beck.

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