Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith, center, celebrates as he holds the trophy next to defensive back Christopher Smith, left, and quarterback Stetson Bennett, right, after their win against TCU in the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship at SoFi Stadium, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Inglewood, Ca. Georgia won 65-7. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Even if no one actually picked Georgia football to go 7-5, public doubt fueled championship run

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Even if no one actually picked Georgia football to go 7-5, public doubt fueled championship run

LOS ANGELES — Of the many great lines to come from George Costanza on Seinfeld, one of the most memorable was, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

Georgia players embodied that line with some of their postgame comments on Monday night.

Of course, no one in the preseason said this team would have that poor of a season. For all the very real public doubt Georgia received, no unbiased reporter or media member predicted a 7-5 falloff for the Bulldogs. Georgia still opened the season as the No. 3 team in the country. It was favored in every game, including being the biggest national championship favorite since they began tracking point spreads.

Related: Georgia football opens 2023 as national title betting favorites

But the thing is, it doesn’t matter whether a reporter or anyone credible said Georgia would have a sub-standard season. Because the players believed it, and that fuel very much powered Georgia to a perfect record.

While Georgia wasn’t doubted to the level of going 7-5 this season, there were some doubts about it going into the year. Alabama and Ohio State were overwhelming favorites to win the national championship. At SEC media days, 158 members of the media picked Alabama to win the league. Only 18 picked Georgia.

Even into December, members of this team were still very much being doubted. None more than Bennett, whose Heisman finalist nomination was met with heavy criticism.

“You know, there was a lot of people who doubted us, a lot of people who – I know people are going to be, like, no, we didn’t. No, yeah, you did,” Bennett said. “Maybe not doubted us as far as unranked doubted us, but it wasn’t – there wasn’t a consensus, and it seems as if people have forgotten that storyline and forgotten what this team has done as a collective.”

Related: Stetson Bennett releases classy statement on being a Heisman finalist amid social media outrage

All Bennett did was come out and play two excellent games in the College Football Playoff. He accounted for 10 touchdowns while throwing just one interception. Georgia averaged 53.5 points per game in the College Football Playoff.

Bennett and Smith will both be gone next season. So it seems will Georgia’s ability to run on doubt. The Bulldogs are very clearly in a tier of their own at this point and there’s already plenty of talk of winning again next season.

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