Congratulations to My Favorite Team–The Georgia Bulldogs

I don’t often write about sports because there are plenty of journalists who cover this popular subject, but it is not every day my favorite team wins the national championship. I decided to become a Georgia Bulldog fan during 1975 when I found out my father was moving us to Athens, Georgia. My first game as a Georgia Bulldog fan was a good introduction–Georgia scored 6 unanswered touchdowns in the first half against Georgia Tech. Since I have become a fan, the Georgia Bulldogs have had 17 10-win seasons and have won 7 SEC championships but until a few days ago just 1 national championship. On social media fans of other schools have trolled Georgia fans unmercifully, making fun of how long it has been since Georgia last won a national championship. 1980 was a long time ago. This criticism has been unfair. Georgia could have won national championships during 2002 and 2007, if there had been a playoff system in place then. Referees robbed Georgia in the 2017 national championship game. All that chatter means nothing now. The 2021 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs shut the trolls down.

This last season the Georgia Bulldogs fielded the best defense in modern college football history, holding regular season opponents to an average of 6.9 points per game. This is astonishing considering the modern era of explosive high scoring offenses. As a fan, I always felt confident when Georgia was on defense and seldom worried the other team was going to score. The defense was led by Jordan Davis, a 6’5″ 350-pound defensive tackle who often ran down running backs. If he was double-teamed, there was no stopping linebackers Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean and hard-hitting safety Lewis Cine. Georgia was good on offense too with the best tight ends in the nation, a solid running back corps, and former walk-on quarterback Stetson Bennett IV. 4 years ago, I claimed he was the best quarterback on the roster, though he was way down the depth chart. Other fans told me he would never start a game at Georgia. I was right and they were wrong. He is a hero for us short people.

Out of superstition my wife thinks the t-shirt she wears helps Georgia win. I tell her it is not the t-shirt. It is Jordan Davis, the 6’5″ 350 pound defensive tackle who can run down running backs. Photo from
Brock Bowers, a 5 star freshmen tight end who came all the way from California to play for the Dawgs. The difference between a top 3 recruiting class and a top 10 recruiting class is huge, as evidenced in the Orange Bowl this year. Photo from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Georgia crushed all their opponents during the regular season, so it was a deflating shock when Alabama upset them in the SEC championship game. Georgia got back on track and destroyed a very good Michigan Team in the Orange Bowl, setting up a rematch with Alabama in the National Championship game. I didn’t dare get my hopes up. I had picked Georgia to beat Alabama 7 straight times, and I had been wrong 7 times in a row. I always predict the score but declined to make a prediction this time (though the night before the game after 5 glasses of wine I eventually did predict Georgia to win 73-0). My pessimism returned the following day. Georgia’s offense started slowly, but the defense played better this time, pressuring Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and holding Alabama to field goals instead of touchdowns. Georgia’s coaches made an effective halftime adjustment, moving Jamaree Salyer, their best offensive linemen, from left tackle to right guard. Holes started opening in the middle of the line. Georgia blocked a field goal, and the offense, sparked by a 67-yard run from James Cook, finally punched in a touchdown to take the lead. The referees gave Alabama a touchdown on a terrible call, but their final lead was short-lived. Stetson Bennett IV led the Georgia offense to 2 touchdowns, including a 40-yard bomb to AD Mitchell, and a 12-yard strike to Brock Bowers. With time running out, Alabama threw a desperation pass intercepted and returned for a game-clinching touchdown by Kelee Ringo. Georgia will lose many of their defensive starters to the NFL next year, but 3 of their 4 touchdowns were scored by freshmen. The future is bright, now that Georgia finally broke the drought.

Kelee Ringo’s interception clinched the championship game for Georgia. Photo from 247 Sports.
Tralee Hale, Kelee Ringo’s mom. She’s my favorite Georgia Bulldog fan. I don’t know who took this photo.

I am so happy for all the Georgia Bulldog players and fans.

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