On the Beat with Mike Griffith: ESPN analyst nails it, Georgia football a ‘perennial power’
ATHENS — Georgia football fell short of winning the national title last season, but the Bulldogs arrived in another sense.
ESPN football analyst Kirk Herbstreit is entering his 23rd year co-hosting College GameDay, so he has seen programs come and go atop the landscape.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 entering their season-opening game at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday against Austin Peay, have entered rarified air.
“They are now a team regardless of who they lose, a team that most people will automatically put into the top five preseason [rankings],” Herbstreit told DawgNation. “It’s a combination of what they did a year ago, and how they did it.”
Georgia’s march to the College Football Playoff last season included a bevy of oil painting moments.
Herbstreit also went on the Paul Finebaum show and made similar comments, saying he is buying stock in Georgia.
"Georgia is a stock that you want to buy. They're not going to go away….I think Alabama will meet Georgia in Atlanta and we might be saying that for a few years" – @KirkHerbstreit pic.twitter.com/ktZ330KOea
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 28, 2018
The Bulldogs’ victory at Notre Dame was stirring, and Georgia fans reveled in dominating triumphs over rivals Tennessee, Florida and Georgia Tech.
Revenge was served on Auburn in the SEC Championship Game leading up to a historic shootout win over Oklahoma and its Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield.
“I think they were an eyelash away from winning the championship,” Herbstreit said, “and, even though they lost some great players, the two backs in [Nick] Chubb and [Sony] Michel, and Roquan Smith, who was as good a player to me as there was in country and a great player, it’s as if people don’t flinch, no problem, they can lose those guys, and put Georgia back in the top five.”
The Bulldogs were indeed a unanimous top-five pick, No. 3 in the AP Top 25 and FWAA-NFF Super 16 and No. 4 in the Coaches’ Poll.
“That’s, I think, where you become a perennial power, and with the way Kirby is recruiting, that’s where they’re going to be for the foreseeable future,” Herbstreit said.
“Whether or not you win championships, you have to catch a few breaks, you’ve got to stay healthy all those kind of things, but I think they’ve become a perennial power with Kirby there.”
Herbstreit has served as an analyst for ESPN’s College GameDay since 1996, and he’s continuing his work as AllState’s spokesman with the new “Mayhem” program this season. Herbstreit will be picking a mayhem moment each Saturday.
Game Week: Georgia vs. Austin Peay