… Beginning in 1998, the first year of the BCS and the dawn of the era when national championships are decided on the field and not in the polls, six teams have combined to win 74% of the championships: Alabama (6), LSU (3), Clemson (2), Florida State (2), Florida (2) and Ohio State (2). In the last 23 years, just 17 teams have qualified for the 46 spots in championship games.
The Playoff era, which began with the 2014 season, has been even more exclusive. Four teams—Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma—have accounted for 20 of the 28 playoff spots (71%), and the Tide, Tigers and Buckeyes have combined for 11 of the possible 14 championship game berths. Last season marked a new extreme in the imbalance of the sport. For the first time in the seven years of the Playoff, none of the four participants were making their first appearance in the four-team bracket.
Of those six teams that have won three-quarters of the national titles since 1998, five rank in the top 12 nationally in athletic department budgets, according to 2019 figures from USA Today. (Clemson is the outlier at No. 22.) And of those six schools, five are part of a group that has reeled in the best talent in the nation over the last decade. In a study from MaxPreps, seven programs have signed 55% of the five-star prospects since 2011. They include LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State, as well as USC and Georgia.
Quite simply, after years of relative neglect, Georgia has upped its game. It’s spending the money and signing recruits at a level it needs to be at in order to be included consistently among the elite. More importantly,
As for football, Brooks said he senses fans want to win it all now, but they are also happy with the program’s direction, how Smart and staff recruit and develop talent and the support campus-wise including from president Jere Morehead.
“I think they’re happy with the alignment of the full program and the athletic department and the university,” Brooks said. “We’re moving in the same direction. We’ve been able to really grow this program and I think we’re in great position. One of the most important things when you talk about a program like this is the continuity. We have a great president who supports us, a great coach with a vision, and I believe in my vision and my support of the program that as we’re in alignment we can keep the continuity growing this program where there can be a lot of success for a long time.”
There were moments here and there under Richt when it seemed like the program was about to take that leap, only to recede in the face of questionable roster management and general dysfunction that seemed to overtake the program in Richt’s last years. That all seems to be in the rear view mirror now.
On being asked on Marty & McGee about about what it would be like to win a national title at Georgia.
He said “It will be special and it’s coming. It’s a matter of time for our players.”
Why do you feel that it’s coming?
“Well, it has to be coming, right? If it’s not coming then what are we doing? I don’t look at it in perspective of when. I look at in the perspective of what’s important now, what are we doing now. I know the people in this organization, I know the administration, I know the people in this state, I know the people that love Georgia and the energy and enthusiasm they have, it’s always long overdue, right? I don’t care if you won one three years ago, it’s overdue. For me, that’s the end game, that’s the goal, that’s what you’re always trying to work towards. It doesn’t make it a successful season or a failure if you don’t. I just don’t look at things that way. I don’t let that control my thought process in my life. But I certainly pursue excellence and that’s what excellence is.”
When, not if.