It’s weird. The only issue I’m consumed with angst about is how easily I’m getting in the stadium. The prospects of the game itself haven’t tied my stomach in knots. My head and heart haven’t been doing battle today as they have over much of the season.
Maybe that’s because I’m still on a Rose Bowl high. (Every time I watch the replay of Sony’s run to end the game, I’m reminded of how similar the way I felt when I saw it live was to the way I felt watching Robert Edward’s cathartic touchdown run in the 1997 Georgia-Florida game. Woo!)
More likely it goes back to the feeling I’ve had ever since Georgia eviscerated Auburn in the SECCG, that feeling that I’m playing with house money. It’s crazy to process how far this program has come in such a short time — if you for some strange reason don’t believe that, go back and read this post of mine from October, 2016 to put what’s happened this season in perspective — and what that says about where it’s going. I’ve already gotten way more out of 2017 and the first week of 2018 than I expected before this season got underway. So whatever happens tonight is cool with me.
Okay, that’s not totally true.
No, it’s not that I expect a Georgia win and will be disappointed with the second loss of the season. If I’m honest about the title game, my head thinks that you can’t go against a Saban team that knows what to do in a momentous game like tonight’s and my heart isn’t really putting up much of an argument in response.
However, believe it or not, that isn’t the main thing I’m hoping for when I watch. What I really want is to feel that same flash, that same instant realization that hit me midway through the 2002 Georgia-Florida game, when it suddenly struck me that for the first time in over a decade, Georgia belonged on the same field with the Gators as equals. Don’t get me wrong; the loss was disappointing, but it was such in a very different way than I’d been used to for so many years.
Alabama has been college football’s gold standard for a decade now and, even in the wake of the 2012 heavyweight match that was the SECCG, no one has looked at the Dawgs as being on equal footing with Saban’s teams since the disastrous 2008 blackout meeting between the two programs. That’s the thunderbolt I want to be hit with tonight. Give me a true sense that a new sheriff’s in town and even if Georgia walks out on the short end of a field goal difference (which happens to be my prediction, by the way), I’ll feel elated in a way I haven’t felt in many a year.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if Athens has turned elite in less than two years, I can handle that. At least I think I’d like to try.
As always, feel free to jump in with your thoughts in the comments. I’ll see you guys and gals on the other side.