A Georgia football Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength
While recounting the origin story of Festivus in the classic “Seinfeld” episode, Frank Costanza shouts to the heavens, “As I rained down blows upon him, I realized there has to be another way!” And thus, the holiday known as Festivus was born.
As depicted in the episode, the made-up holiday consists of the airing of grievances, where you tell people all the problems you’ve had with them. Then there are the feats of strength, which involves wrestling.
The episode is well worth a watch, and I’m absolutely going to use it as content to talk about Georgia football. So to start, we’ll air our grievances with Georgia football, and then show off some feats of strength from this past year.
Grievance: The offense
This was a problem all season. Because the offense struggled to consistently score points, Georgia never had as an easy of a time as it should have. The Georgia defense had a phenomenal season, especially when the offense continued to put in tough positions due to the inability to score points.
And for as much as some want to put the blame on a single entity, the offense struggled for a number of reasons. It wasn’t just the wide receivers, Jake Fromm, James Coley or Kirby Smart’s fault. It was a team effort.
The wide receivers didn’t have much experience, and as injuries mounted it was clear the Bulldogs didn’t have a lot of viable options further down the depth chart. Part of that can be traced back to recruiting misses in the past, which falls at the feet of Smart and Coley.
Fromm didn’t improve this year and at times it felt like the quarterback we’ve seen against Florida or Alabama in 2018, wasn’t the same guy we watched finish with a completion percentage under 50 percent in each of his final five games of the year.
As far as changes go, Smart said that those will come after the bowl game. Given the Bulldogs just signed four wide receivers as a part of the 2020 recruiting cycle, it’s hard to imagine the position being worse in 2020, especially as freshman George Pickens gets more experience.
As for whether this is a grievance next year, that might come down to what Fromm wants to do. Should he declare for the NFL draft, Georgia will have a massive hole at the quarterback position. Georgia’s best shot at success in 2020 comes with Fromm at quarterback. But after a season as trying as this one was, it’s not inconceivable for Fromm to consider jumping to the NFL.
For as great as Georgia’s defense was this season, the loss to LSU showed that with even the best defense, you need a good offense to pair with it. And Georgia didn’t have that in 2019.
Grievance: The growing indifference to bowl games
Last year, Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker announced before the Sugar Bowl that he would not be playing in the game. Baker went on to become the first cornerback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft and he avoided injury in the game, so it’s hard to argue against his decision.
But to say that he was the only one who wasn’t interested in playing in last year’s Sugar Bowl would be unfair to those who did play in the 28-21 loss to Texas. One play into the second quarter, Georgia was down 17-0. That wreaks of a team that didn’t want to be there.
Georgia will once again find itself in the Sugar Bowl this year after losing in the SEC championship game. When the goal is to play in the College Football Playoff, reaching the Sugar Bowl is seen as a disappointment. But that shouldn’t give you the ability to completely mail in a performance in a major bowl game. Especially when you’ve made the College Football Playoff the same number of times as Michigan State, Oregon and Florida State.
Heading into this year’s Sugar Bowl, Georgia will already be without starting offensive tackles Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas. It will also likely be without Ben Cleveland as well according to a report from 247Sports. You can already see the wheels being greased for a similar performance against Baylor, especially as the line for the game has dropped from 8.5 points to 6.5 points.
The end of the 2019 season was joyless. But if the start to 2020 is a repeat to last season’s Sugar Bowl, that lack of joy could turn to anger.
Grievance: The annual, ‘Georgia doesn’t show up at all for a game’ game
It seems like every season there is one game where Georgia doesn’t really show up focused and ready to play. In 2016, it was against Vanderbilt at home. In 2017, Georgia gave up 40 to Auburn. The Bulldogs lost by 20 to LSU in 2018. And this year it was losing to a 4-8 South Carolina team at home.
The LSU loss in 2018 and this year’s loss to South Carolina are big reasons why the Bulldogs haven’t been able to return to the College Football Playoff. If both of those games were wins, maybe Georgia could withstand a loss in the SEC championship game and still sneak into the College Football Playoff.
Alabama and Clemson, teams Georgia considers itself equal to, don’t lose games like that. Georgia has a clear talent advantage over just about every team it plays. And yet there is still a yearly occurrence where the Bulldogs suffer a confounding loss.
Feats of Strength
Below are some of the best individual highlights and moments from the season. Because as disappointing as the LSU defeat was, it’s worth remembering there were still some pretty great moments this season.
First, the game sealing sack by Travon Walker and the chest bump with Kirby Smart that followed: pic.twitter.com/7Avm9774vQ
— Jed May (@JedMay_) November 17, 2019
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) October 6, 2019
The fans in red are very excited, the fans in blue are not. pic.twitter.com/sBUgXBpIxH
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 2, 2019
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!@DAndreSwift
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) September 22, 2019
W H A T A C A T C H !!!!!!!!
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) November 10, 2019
J.R. REED @Jr_Reed1 is the BEST SAFETY in the world!!!
— GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) September 22, 2019