ATHENS — Georgia football fans will take comfort in knowing where the No. 1 vote the Bulldogs received came from in the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll.
Two-time Super Bowl combatant Reggie Williams is more than just the only African-American Ivy League player in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Williams, a former NFL linebacker and World Football League general manager, is a visionary.
Why Georgia football?
So why did Williams vote the Bulldogs No. 1 on his preseason ballot?
“I’ve been believing the Alabama hype every year since I’ve been voting, and it’s time in the SEC for a change of Alpha Dawgs,” Williams, a member of the FWAA-Super 16 voting panel since its inception five years ago, told DawgNation on Monday.
“This is going to be a year where Georgia has the teeth to maybe get it done,” Williams said. “You just don’t know how the quarterback situation will unravel at Alabama. I don’t see lightning striking twice there.”
Williams is a former NFL Man of the Year Award recipient who played in two Super Bowls during his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals (1976-1989).
As impressive as his football career was and is, Williams off-field work is even more fascinating.
Williams was the director of community relations for the NFL for Super Bowl 27 in Pasadena, Calif., working as an ambassador amid tensions the year of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
It was while working and fundraising in Los Angeles for an NFL youth education project (YET) in the early 1990s that Williams met Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney from 1984-2005 and owner of the then-expansion Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
The relationship blossomed, and Williams was named vice president of Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, spearheading the concept, building and operations of the one-of-a-kind facility.
“I told Michael Eisner, ‘I lost two Super Bowls, that should not be what is remembered in your greatest sports events,’ “ Williams said. “Competing at Walt Disney World is unique, because even if you lose, you are at the happiest place on earth. Spitting that out made Michael Eisner beam, and he said, ‘We’re gonna do this.’ “
Indeed, and on Monday Williams dared to share a vision that Georgia football fans can only hope comes to fruition.
Reggie Williams’ complete FWAA-Super 16 ballot
4. Ohio State
8. Penn State
9. Michigan State
10. Miami (FL)
15. Notre Dame
16. Florida State