The Process can never fail. It can only be failed.

I think it’s a fairly widespread feeling among our fans that, for whatever reason one might choose, Georgia didn’t show up against Texas in its final game of last season.

My pick would be the disappointment of having to settle for a top tier bowl game instead of the CFP semi-finals.  Georgia went from being a team that most considered one of the nation’s four best to one that couldn’t get past a Texas team that dropped a game to Maryland.  The stakes, in other words, weren’t big enough to hold the players’ attention.

While there’s a certain echo in that to a game earlier in Kirby Smart’s career, Alabama’s embarrassing loss to Utah in the ’09 Sugar Bowl, what’s kind of interesting is how the Tide has gotten to the point where losses on even the biggest stage are blamed on mindset, instead of the quality of the opponent.

In response to that, Dan Wolken makes a good point.

Ohio State beat Alabama, 42-35, in last season’s Sugar Bowl, advancing to the College Football Playoff national title game and eventually winning the national championship.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is obviously still a little sore about that loss, and he’s not too happy with … the NFL Draft?

Saban said Wednesday at SEC Media Days that with his players receiving their NFL Draft grades from the league two and a half weeks before the Sugar Bowl, some of them played not to get hurt in that crucial game against the Buckeyes. He even went as far to say that those draft evaluations screwed with the Tide’s team chemistry.

I don’t know if you should chalk that up to arrogance, being jaded or simply a weird form of player motivation, but, damn, I hope Georgia never reaches that stage.

30 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

30 responses to “The Process can never fail. It can only be failed.

  1. Jared S.

    My father (born and raised in Athens and a life-long Georgia fan) has always deeply admired Bear Bryant. Why? Whether based in fact or not, he has the following impression of the man which he has repeated time and time again throughout my life:

    “Paul Bear Bryant was a great coach. He always took the blame when his team did poorly and always gave credit to his players and the rest of his staff when they did well.”

    I’m only 36-years old and have no living memory of Bryant. But whenever my dad mentions him and his impression of the man I can’t help but think Saban (and Kirbs for that matter) don’t quite fit into that mold.

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  2. Go Dawgs!

    I don’t know, Senator, I feel like Georgia’s always been at that point. Hell, just go back to the 2006 Sugar Bowl (2005 season) and Georgia getting ambushed by a West Virginia squad that genuinely seemed to want it more. There are so many examples of Georgia teams walking out onto a field and expecting to win because they were Georgia and the other team wasn’t. I thought that Kirby had beaten it out of the program, but it reared its ugly head again in the Sugar Bowl. I give Texas credit, but it had also been years since I’ve seen some of the lackadaisical play out of UGA’s guys in a game that I saw in that one. I’d love to know if we could have beaten Texas if we came in with the same laser focus that we played against Alabama with for two games in a row. Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Personally, I hope the Dawgs never forget that game and never get BACK to that point where their focus is on something other than the man in front of them. I hope they’ll always remember that the G on the side of the helmet is a target, not some kind of magical amulet that’s going to render the other team powerless.

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    • There are so many examples of Georgia teams walking out onto a field and expecting to win because they were Georgia and the other team wasn’t.

      That isn’t my point.

      What I’m talking about is the mindset that a team loss is never due to an opponent being better, but only because it didn’t have its mind right.

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  3. addr

    Maybe I’m misremembering, but I don’t believe Kirby tried to explain away the loss, it was the players. That said, you could certainly make an argument that the players’ mindset is an extension of the coach’s, but one way or another, The Process has failed.

    What irks me about this particular narrative is that mental focus and discipline ARE PART OF PLAYING THE GAME, maybe even the most important part. You wouldn’t explain away a loss with an excuse like “we’re the better team, but the other guys were more talented”, yet it is ok to say “we’re the better team, but the other guys were more focused”? It is nonsense.

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    • W Cobb Dawg

      “Maybe I’m misremembering, but I don’t believe Kirby tried to explain away the loss…”

      Agree. Kirby’s had plenty of reasons to bitch after losses, considering things like lousy officiating, Malzahn’s big mouth, some questionable offensive playcalling or Holyfield getting just 8 carries! But the guy doesn’t make excuses. Seems laser focused on moving forward if you ask me.

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  4. Greg

    “Booger” is right, better team always wins…..Texas was the better team that day.

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  5. RevDawg

    One point Booger failed to make (in this clip at least) … Didn’t Clemson (and Ohio St earlier example) also have a boatload of high NFL draft prospects as well?? Didn’t seem to bother their team chemistry. Maybe not the same as with Utah or Texas but in those games mentioned here.

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  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Spurrier also manned up after the Nebraska game in 95.

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  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    The inability to credit the other team is also one of Corch’s many faults.

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  8. Tony Barnfart

    Thanks for reminding me about the sour taste in my mouth I had forgotten about :). And what is it with Sugar Bowls ? I kind of feel sorry for native New Orleanians who love their bowl because this crap happens to enough SEC teams since the advent of the +1/stand-alone championship game that it does feel a tad cursed as the “consolation bowl.” Like a world cup 3rd place game almost.

    The sugar bowl also made me realize the importance of the regular season and how the CFP is swallowing the demand for every bowl. Hell, I wasn’t particularly excited about the sugar bowl—not enough to go and I live within an easy half days drive. I was pissed as hell we shit the bed but not surprised in the least. Nobody gave a shit—I knew from the second it was announced that i’d just play my attendance by ear (not buy in advance)because I knew there would be plenty of $10-20 tickets outside the gates 10 minutes before kickoff (and I had 3 kids 5&under). It’s the (new) curse of the sugar bowl.

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  9. Fromm had a bad game and Texas beat us with good O-line play and a tough to tackle QB who got tough yards carrying the ball up the middle when they really needed it…if my memory serves me. I have not bothered to watch that shit show again since, so I am not certain, but in hindsight I think it is weak to blame player motivations on the loss. Sometimes a team is better than you in a specific spot that really hurts, although you outmatch them everywhere else. Kirby has to finally develop an elite defensive front.

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    • GruvenDawg

      I also have not re-watched the game. I have a distinct memory of special teams essentially gifting Texas two touchdowns. We played like crap and our o-line got beat, but I remember thinking the punt unit is going to have to get a lot better to compete for a title in 2019. I’m not going back to see if I remember correctly either.

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  10. I don’t think the Baker saga helped anything at all. And the players clearly stated they thought the Sugar was a let down. Worst part wasn’t the loss, it was the “were back” bullshit. Clearly beating us meant more to them.

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  11. Macallanlover

    I spent the last two days in the car listening to the Sirius XM channel on college sports, man, I wish our players could see what the national hit to UGA was from that slacking effort in a game that “didn’t count”. Texas has spring boarded from that night in national perception, and UGA is now seen as just another overrated pretender. Several hours of that was depressing, and certainly made me diminish my optimism despite my good feelings about our talent edge over all 12 of our regular season opponents. One guy even used our players running their mouth about not getting picked for the Final 4 as a reason ND would have the motivation over UGA since they were deemed as not worthy of being elected. As I said, our players might need a good taste of humility before suiting up, and certainly get a little peeved about how lowly they are regarded.

    Hate that CFB has come to that, but this craziness over “playoff or bust” is getting out of hand. Basically, it is Top 4 or you are just another loser to the Top 10 teams during the season. Teams trying to make themselves relevant again are the only ones who should play in bowls as they are the ones who benefit from the games at all.

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    • Hate that CFB has come to that, but this craziness over “playoff or bust” is getting out of hand. Basically, it is Top 4 or you are just another loser to the Top 10 teams during the season.

      Playoff expansion will take care of that, amirite, Mac? 😉

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      • Got Cowdog

        Of course it will! If you put the 5 conference champs in, Whoever has the best record in the group of 5, and undefeated D2 team, Notre Dame perennially and everybody will be happy! See? Problem solved.

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      • Macallanlover

        Absolutely, of course it will. And the regular season will become more meaningful too. You gonna love it. I won’t last long enough for you to admit I was right all along. 🙂

        CFB will reach an all time high in popularity. But players/teams who don’t go all out any time they suit up might not make it to the Elite 8, bad habit to ever play half ass…and we did that night. Credit to Texas for showing up ready to play.

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        • Macallanlover

          BTW, closest I can ever remember a UGA team not taking winning seriously was the Music City Bowl in Nashville against Florida Central. Partial blame to the SEC for us even being there.

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          • Gaskilldawg

            We never have played “Florida Central” in the Music City Bowl. We played Boston College in our only Music City Bowl appearance.
            We lost to Central Florida in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.

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  12. Saban is a master at setting it up to where the blame falls on the players not executing and Kirby is the same way. The whole impose your will thing comes to mind- it’s great and can work most of the time but not always. If your coaches aren’t prepared with some kind of alternative then you lose games that you probably shouldn’t or even get thrashed.

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  13. WNCDawg

    I am not sure playoff expansion helps any kids that get False Positives from Draft Ratings…. to me before the Dawgs even got to the Sugar Bowl, Baker says he’s playing, then IDK, then taking Fields who everyone outside the locker room + the kids that still were there, texting might I add about the outcome of the Top 2 Games being a blow out, to quote one player saying I remember “Is that the Best you got “?
    The cows got out of the barn and perhaps the real loss is the importance of the Sugar Bowl……as well….. more is not better. You can have just have so many luxury cars in your garage before you wonder why on the hell it’s sitting there, empty and then you better figure how to maintain it, that’s work
    Mickey needs to cut and slide the 6 win bowl games sponsored by your local lawn mower dealer…… the Bowl games need to be a focus off the Best teams across the country. Not the Belk, Weed Eater, Vitamin, tie in bowls for JUST conference monies where tickets are practically given away….. Conference Tie ins to Bowls is Corporate Horse Shit.
    …….. add 8 add 12 add18…… people are only gonna watch…. if I remember correctly the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Rose…..and if you
    Wanna throw in the Frito-Lay Fiesta…… and mind you there will be a gaining majority not watch some of those. Fans are fed up, used, abused and the goose that laid the golden egg is shot….. tickets, parking, travel, gouged motel rates……. and probably the ones most ignored is the school students in 10-20 years will be the donors that try to keep up the pace of these corporate deals with AD’s……..Good Luck we saw the Best; It’s down hill from here………. actually most of the Normal folks fell off the sled before WE hit the tree.
    I’ll never be convinced that Texas…… let alone the debauchery in LSU was better teams……if the Dawgs had their heads screwed on…. Larry Munson turned in his grave cause instead of “Sugar Falling From the Sky”, it was septic….one player had a reason to leave for the NFL, besides graduation…..I hope it get better but in reality, promote the schedule, play 9 conference games after you lose one…..Watch out for the Tree…..there coming off the sled.

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