If you stood on the outside and looked in at Georgia’s final three football games it would be easy to rave about the success of the team. From the outside in:
- The Bulldogs went 2-1 against their closest rival, the eventual National Champion, and top-25 team that was supposed to win the Big 10.
- Georgia dismantled Georgia Tech for the 11th time in 12 years, this time by a margin of 42-10.
- Georgia overcame a sloppy 2.5 quarters to defeat Nebraska (then ranked 16th) by fourteen points.
- Georgia’s lone loss during this stretch was sandwiched between the Tech and Nebraska games and was by four points (of a few yards) to the eventual National Champion.
From the outside looking in, it was one heck of an ending for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs.
But this was no fairytale for Georgia fans, players or coaches. The points above don’t accurately represent the following facts:
- Georgia was a few short yards (or a number of other breaks) from going 3-0 and beating Notre Dame for the National Championship instead of beating Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
- The Georgia Tech rivalry means next to nothing these days as almost every Bulldog fan under the age of 40 would rather beat Florida and Auburn than GT. Yes, Tech fans would still rather see Georgia lose on any given week than see the Yellow Jackets win, but that’s just how annoying little nerdy brothers are. A 32 point win over GT was nice to have, but didn’t add much value to the season.
- The Nebraska game was a harsh reminder of how ugly the season had been at times. Bo Pellini and his staff did a heck of a job with the gameplan, but Georgia came out largely unenthused. Talent and speed ultimately won out late in the game, but the first half was rough.
So, while I’ll always look back on this season with fondness, I’ll look back at it as somewhat incomplete. I can’t take away the accomplishments of this team (namely the impressive 12 wins), and I wouldn’t dare do so, but I also can’t fully be satisfied with the season. I’d love to redo the South Carolina game, I guarantee we wouldn’t see another outcome so favorable for the Cocks. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to redo the Alabama game; I don’t think the Dawgs would be that close again.
But maybe next year. Right?
Yesterday Kwame Geathers confirmed what was long expected – he’s keeping with the Geathers family tradition and leaving college early for the NFL.
I don’t necessarily agree with his decision (especially after what I thought was a poor showing in the Capital One Bowl), but I wish him all the best.
Here is a photo of the three-headed monster now known as Jarlecme Geatreenes (Copyright: DudeYouCrazy.net) discussing the NFL.
That’s all I got/
I’ve put off writing this post-Capital One Bowl recap for a number of reasons. For one, it marks the finale of just the third 12-win season in Georgia history – why would I want that to end? In many ways this season had everything: highs (Florida), lows (South Carolina), thrills (Tennessee) and crushing disappointment (Alabama) all wrapped up in a successful season-long effort. I don’t want that to end. Why would I want to write about that ending – even if it ended in winning fashion?
On the other hand, Tuesday’s game was – at least on the field – largely uneventful. The Bulldogs defense underperformed. Aaron Murray shuffled between atrocious and amazing in as little time as possible before settling down to set a number of Bowl and Georgia records. Gurley racked up yards, Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones made plays. In the end, Georgia – the more talented team – pulled away. The Capital One Bowl was everything good and maddening that the 2012 season was. We had seen this game before.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the game. It was fair and good. I would have preferred a blowout, and Georgia was certainly capable of such. And, for a while I almost thought I wanted the back-and-forthness to match the Tennessee game. But in the end, I was OK with it as all of the things above happened and the game seemed an oddly anticlimactic, but appropriate, final note for the 2013 season.
And I didn’t want that. I didn’t – and I still don’t – want that, because I don’t want the season to end. Alas, the season is gone. And so is Alec Ogletree. Based on his teary-eyed late entry at the post-game Press Conference (and obvious general knowledge), Jarvis Jones is gone. Aaron Murray could not have been more non-committal if he was running for public office. A host of seniors and several other juniors are gone.
The 2012 season is gone, and so are many – if not most – of the figures who made it worth clinging to. And that’s not something I want to write about.
That’s all I got/
I’m about to begin the trek home and will have a full recap of the Capital One Bowl up tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. In the mean time here is some footage I captured yesterday following the game. Enjoy.
Georgia players celebrate as Geno Smith begins to frantically look for the hats and t-shirts.
Aaron Murray high-fives the crowd on his way out of the stadium.
Jarvis Jones explains Alec Olgetree’s big play during the post-game press conference.
Aaron Murray talks about Georgia’s high-powered offense.
Mark Richt discusses the future of Georgia football.
Is this the end of an era? Mark Richt, Aaron Murray and Jarvis Jones leave the Bulldogs’ final press conference of the season.
That’s all I got/
A few random thoughts and feelings from the Press Box at halftime:
- Aaron Murray’s accuracy has been off this game in the same way it often is in those “big” games that he typically underperforms in. His passes are high and behind more often than not. He’s not leading receivers consistently and he’s knocking heads off on what should be “touch” passes. I don’t know anything that you don’t know, but I wonder if in Murray’s mind this was his “last” game as a Georgia Bulldog. I don’t know that a game of this nature necessitates him coming back – but it certainly isn’t the note that I would think he’d want to leave on. But I’m not Aaron Murray, so what do I really know.
- The defense is furthering my belief that losing all this talent may not result in a statistical drop-off next season. Nebraska has 246 yards of offense, but more concerning is the drives in which Georgia seems to refuse to make plays. It is beyond frustrating as we all know what the Dawgs are capable of and we even see spurts of it, but there is no rhyme or reason to when they execute. And, I refuse to believe that Nebraska has the talent to negate Georgia’s abilities and render them inconsistent – especially when I’ve seen Kentucky do the same thing.
- The loss of Malcolm Mitchell hurts. Rhett McGowan is not a go-to receiver. Ever. Mitchell got knocked on the head and I’m betting that he’s experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He will not return, that much is sure.
- Georgia needs to capitalize on long runs by the backs. Gurley and Marshall each broke a 19-yard drive on two consecutive possessions and put the Dawgs near mid-field. The Dawgs got zero points from those drives. The holes aren’t there everytime. When one opens the backs are finding it, but the offense needs to capitalize off of that momentum better.
- In general, the first half is about what I would expect from Georgia in a bowl game given recent history. Nebraska came in with a little bit more of a chip on their shoulder and the Cornhuskers are making a case to be the better team, at least today. Hopefully that turns around.
- Jarvis Jones is now the single-season record holder for sacks by a Georgia Bulldog thanks to one play in which Martinez rolled out and then fell down and a play in which Martinez was called for intentional grounding. They may be “cheap” sacks but had Martine played each play out according to the rules both would have been sacks any way.
- Aaron Murray now has the single-season passing yardage record for UGA. He also is the holder of most passing yards by a freshman, by a sophomore and by a junior titles.
- Murray needs to complete passes at a higher rate (he was just 11 of 23) to capture the highest single-season passing completion percentage mark held by Mike Bobo.
- Georgia’s 318 yards of offense put the Dawgs at 6,276 for the season – that’s 557 more than the previous school record.
- If the offense keeps moving the ball they could also close in on the highest yards-per-game mark in school history.
How many third-and-longs have the Bulldogs had? I lost count around a thousand. Just kidding, but Georgia did have eight third downs in which they needed more than six yards to convert.
This feels a whole lot like the Tennessee game. And that’s not a good thing. It’s not inherently bad and may mean that a few players want to come back for more as they’re left hungry. But, it is a far cry from a dominant performance. Granted, it’s a blast to cover up here in the booth, especially when the team I root for has no direct consequence for a poor performance.
Keep watching, keep reading and Go Dawgs.
That’s all I got/