I mentioned earlier that several Georgia players took to social media in the wake of yesterday’s lopsided results to express being miffed about their exclusion from the CFP. Does that count as a pre-bowl distraction?
A loss to the Longhorns now makes UGA look like a fraud, but a win, especially a convincing one, might prove their point. The pressure is on but the players insist that they don’t feel it.
“I don’t think we have to go out and prove anything,” sophomore running back D’Andre Swift said. “I think we’re going to play to our standard, which we always do and everything will take care of itself.”
Swift went on to say that he thought the tweets were harmless, that the fact of the matter is that they simply felt quite strongly that the Bulldogs were one of the nation’s top programs.
None of the players expressed any regret about the actions of the teammates. While they may not have participated, the Bulldogs feel that they already put a lot of pressure on themselves to play well. When toe meets leather in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a couple of days, they won’t be looking at the scoreboard or thinking about the collective decision of the CFP committee. They’ll be trying to do their job to the best of their ability on every play.
This game doesn’t become more important all of a sudden. The UGA player believe they’ve been locked in during Sugar Bowl preparation from the jump.
“I don’t think it’s any extra pressure. As a team, we understand the meaning of the game and the importance of this game,” sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “We already understand how we need to play to be successful.”
I do think (and Vegas concurs) that on paper, Georgia is the better team. The question is how much of the game gets played on paper and how much comes down to what’s between the ears of Georgia’s players. For better or worse, Kirby’s motivational skills will be on display as much as his prep and scheme work is.