122621 Miami: Buses wait outside Miami International Airport Signature Flight Support for the arrival of the Georgia football team on Sunday, Dec 26, 2021, in Miami. Georgia will play Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Georgia football confidential: Thoughts on Bulldogs comings, goings and scene setting

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Just call it “CFP Confidential” with players making covert arrivals, coaches holding secret meetings, and veiled injury reports emerging from closed practices.

Michigan put the squeeze on its players even before the Orange Bowl, cutting out a holiday break to apply a “bubble” effect amid the most recent COVID-19 surge.

RELATED: Georgia masks player availability, late-policy change to practices

Georgia, meanwhile, has kept coach Kirby Smart away from any live media for more than a week, avoiding the many questions the Bulldogs’ loyal fans have about the team’s health and mentality with a CFP Semifinal fast approaching.

RELATED: Georgia gets much-needed boost with late player arrivals in Miami

There was a time the bowl games were considered a reward for the players and fanbases, with feel-good team outings and events revealing the personalities and unique stories from emerging young stars.

“Masks up,” is the new rule of the day at each outing, with some of the players choosing not to attend, and exposure largely limited to 30-second social media clips with music overlays.

Is it an outing, or is it a commercial?

For most, all that matters are the games, and specifically the four-team College Football Playoff.

Alabama plays Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and Georgia plays Michigan at 7:30 p.nm. on Dec. 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

For all the distractions, there’s still plenty of football to talk about.

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (12-1) and the No. 2-ranked Wolverines (12-1) are two of the more compelling teams in college football, and there are no shortage of opinions on the game.

Here is an update and some thoughts from South Florida.

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