The Georgia football team laid an egg Saturday, which left Bulldogs fans in dismay. Eventually the bubble bursts for undefeated teams, but when it happens, you want less humiliation than the Bulldogs suffered before the CBS cameras at Auburn.
Every team has humiliating moments. Think of what life is likely to be with the New England Patriots when Tom Brady succumbs to the ravages of time? When did Tiger Woods win his last major? You know the Hall of Fame highlight of the Atlanta Braves’ Tom Glavine, who won 305 games. Are you aware of how many games he lost?
A friend of his produced golf balls that had two statistics: the number 47, which was Glavine’s jersey number, on one side of the ball and on the other side, the number 203, which represents the total games he lost. That, Glavine said, sure keeps him humble.
We will now find out how this Georgia team handles adversity. When it comes to adversity, nobody is immune. Georgia, like all teams, has laid eggs in the past. Some examples:
- The undefeated “Dream and Wonder” team of 1927 lost 12-0 to Georgia Tech, losing a Rose Bowl opportunity, but won the national championship anyway. The best repercussion of this loss was that Dr. S.V. Sanford vowed to build the classiest stadium in the South so that the Bulldogs would enjoy a home-field advantage between the hedges. Georgia’s record versus the Yellow Jackets at Sanford Stadium is a sparkling 27-15-1.
- In 1942, undefeated and No. 1 ranked Georgia was upset 27-13 in Columbus by Auburn. The good news was a trouncing of Georgia Tech 34-0 to bring about a Rose Bowl invitation, which led to a 9-0 victory over UCLA and a national championship.
- In 1959, the Bulldogs laid an egg at Columbia, losing 30-14 to South Carolina but winning the SEC title, which was followed by a 14-0 victory in the Orange Bowl over Missouri.
- The 1976 team lost 21-17 to Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., but won the SEC title.
- The 1983 Georgia lost Herschel Walker, who signed a contract with the New Jersey Generals, leaving Georgia without a substantial running back. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs came within a game of winning the conference title.
- In 2002, Georgia was on its way to an undefeated season. The Bulldogs lost 20-13 to Florida in Jacksonville but still won the SEC title. Mark Richt defeated his old team, Florida State, in the Sugar Bowl to finish ranked No. 3 in the country.
The 2017 team can finish strong and enjoy a serendipitous season. It, for sure, will play for the SEC title. It is an overachieving team, which, perhaps, is ahead of schedule. It does not have the maturity and physicality to match up favorably with heavyweights. But with cogent coaching and a savvy attitude, the Bulldogs have won the hearts of the Georgia fans. There is unfinished business, but good news could follow this team into January.
The view here is that the No. 1 ranking was fun as long as it lasted, but you are only as good as your last outing. This team is too good to fall on hard times and should enjoy a positive fate. It is a well-coached team with an abundance of talent but without seasoning and depth on the offensive line, which has been said is the toughest place for a freshman to play.
The O-line is well-coached and has given classic effort, but another top-5 recruiting class should enable game-day accountability to mean something. It is a fact, when the Kirby Smart staff arrived, that Georgia essentially had gone through two classes with offensive linemen who couldn’t compete.
In addition to its youth, Georgia is a lightweight — about the “lightest” in the SEC, depending on substitution rotation. That will change, and so will the ability to compete during the long season.
Before you sound the alarm, this season is not over, and the scrambling of top-ranked teams is likely to continue with rivalry games coming up.