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Georgia football lost 37-10 against LSU.

Georgia football winners and losers following 2019 SEC Championship game defeat

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Georgia football winners and losers following 2019 SEC Championship game defeat

Winner: Jackson Smith

Jackson Smith made the world a better place. I am incredibly lucky to be able to call him a friend. I met Jackson during my time in college, at first through volunteering at Grady Newsource. I’m not great at meeting new people but Jackson was always welcoming.

We shared a bond over our love of college football. In addition to being a Georgia fan, he was also a big Alabama fan due to family ties. We’d always joke that the Crimson Tide needed to go ahead and get its killer missed field goal out of the way in big games. Or that, “PAWWWWWWLLLL, THEM BARNERS IS CHEATIN’.”

But he always loved and understood the trials of being a Georgia sports fan. Some of his best content always came from Georgia’s trip down to DUVAAALLLL to take on Florida. 

The more I got to hang out with Jackson, the better my life got. Whether it be one of many trips to Cane’s or Mags, I never had a bad time with him. If you got to know him, he probably brought an incredible amount of joy into your life as well.

Whether it be performing Taylor Swift’s “22″ for a friend’s birthday or turning the phrase “u up” — no question mark — into a wonderful inside joke among our growing friend group, Jackson was a true gift to the world.

Which makes the news of his sudden passing this weekend all the more gutting. He was 27-year-olds and teaching English in South Korea.

For his parents, twin sister and the rest of his extended family, I truly cannot imagine what you are going through. Jackson was truly an amazing person and in talking with many of his friends this weekend it’s undeniable that he left a positive impact on the world. I wish that I could better articulate how much Jackson to everyone.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers that any donations be made to Camp Twin Lakes at 1100 Spring Street, Suite 406, Atlanta, GA 30309. To make a gift by phone call 404-231-9887.

Don’t ever hesitate to tell someone how much they mean to you, as weird as it might seem. Because you never know when the day will come when you can’t do that anymore. I’d give just about anything to sing “Buy U A Drank” or hang out in Athens one more time with him.

To open “Free Bird”, Ronnie Van Zant begins by asking, “If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?” For anyone that had the pleasure of getting to know Jackson, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

Loser: Kirby Smart’s Mark Fox impression

When Mark Fox was the Georgia basketball head coach, he would from time to time bring up the players who were no longer on the team. Most often, it would be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who declared early for the 2013 NBA Draft. It was often done to reinforce that he had a very talented player and didn’t anymore.

The problem with this was that given Caldwell-Pope’s talents, he was never going to be a four-year player in Athens. Fox had to know he was going to have to replace Caldwell-Pope’s production sooner rather than later.

This is what makes Smart’s comments about losing four pass-catchers to the NFL as a reason for the wide receiver struggles so maddening.

After the loss to LSU on Saturday, a game in which the Georgia wide receivers once again struggled, Smart brought up the fact that Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley, Isaac Nauta and Terry Godwin were all drafted last year.

“The first two years, Jake’s numbers were better,” Smart said. “So the indicator of that was four wide receivers were on our sideline that were drafted that are playing in the NFL. So right now, I don’t know if we have four wide receivers that are going to be playing in the NFL at this time next year.”

Hardman was a 5-star recruit. So was Nauta. Godwin was a senior last season. It should not have come as a surprise that these guys would all be in the NFL following the 2018 season. In Smart’s time, Georgia has lost plenty of players to the NFL under Smart and the Bulldogs didn’t have as much of a problem replacing the likes of Isaiah Wynn, Roquan Smith and Deandre Baker.

For the LSU game specifically, the Georgia wide receiver core was decimated. Lawrence Cager was out with an ankle injury. George Pickens was suspended for the first half. Then Dominick Blaylock and Kearis Jackson both picked up injuries. For the LSU game alone, those losses are going to be hard to overcome and that’s understandable.

But the wide receiver position was a concern all season. It got worse toward the end of the season, but the problems with the position group were years in the making. And that falls at the feet of Smart.

Loser: Georgia football 2020 wide receiver room

And it’s not like the wide receiver room is going to be fixed next year. Yes, it’s fair to assume the likes of Pickens, Jackson and Robertson get better. But this position group suffered a significant loss when Blaylock tore his ACL on Saturday.

Blaylock had shown a lot of promise as a freshman, as he was second on the team in touchdowns and third in yards prior to Saturday’s game.

Now he’ll spend all of the spring and offseason rehabbing, instead of getting strictly better as a receiver.

Related: Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock won’t be back during his freshman season

And one only has to look at Nick Chubb and Zamir White as far as the difficulties from coming back from ACL injuries. It took Chubb years to regain the form he showed prior to his ACL injury in 2015. The same can be said for White this season, who has 316 rushing yards to this point in his redshirt freshman season.

Georgia currently has two wide receiver commits in the 2020 class in 4-star Marcus Rosemy and 4-star Justin Robinson. Only Robinson will be able to enroll early and play right away. Georgia is also heavily recruiting the likes of Arian Smith, Jermaine Burton and Marcus Flemming.

The Blaylock loss is a significant blow to a room that simply cannot afford any of those.

Loser: Those hoping for the return of Mike Bobo

Georgia has to make some changes on the offensive side of the ball. A name that many think could be the guy to initiate them would be former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. He was fired from Colorado State last week and has stated he would like to continue coaching.

But it appears as if Georgia is going to be beaten to the punch for Bobo’s services, as reports seem to indicate that he will be the offensive coordinator at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks will now have an even heavier presence on their staff. In addition to UGA alum Will Muschamp, the Gamecocks will have the likes of Bryan McClendon and Thomas Brown on the coaching roster.

The Bulldogs also appear will be losing one of their own assistants, Arkansas hired offensive line coach Sam Pittman to be its next head coach. This is a significant loss given the work Pittman has done with the group. Of all the position coaches on Georgia’s staff, Pittman might be the most valuable.

Loser: The Sugar Bowl

For the second straight season, Georgia will be ending its season in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs will take on the Baylor Bears on Jan. 1.

In years past, this would be a big deal for Georgia. This is one of the marquee bowl games in college football and it give Georgia a chance to right the wrongs of the 2019 SEC championship game.

But when the goal is national championships, it’s hard to get up for a game against an opponent like Baylor. One only has to look at last year’s 28-21 loss to Texas to see why a Georgia team might not be motivated.

I do think there’s a real chance Georgia will not want to have a repeat performance from last year. Smart did indicate that he will notice of who wants to play and get better and which players want to possibly protect their futures.

But for a second straight season, Georgia will be playing in the Sugar Bowl and it will be a disappointment.

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