Observations from the goal line, finally, a natty! edition

(Great plays always sound better called in Spanish, don’t they?)

My wife, whose interest in college football can be summed up as asking me if Georgia won when I get back from a game, has been to exactly two college football games.  One was at Vanderbilt when we went to visit my daughter who was in law school there at the time.

The other was the 1981 Sugar Bowl, when the Dawgs won the national championship.  I joke that she’s got a helluva batting average.  It’s been a longstanding bit of mockery among my group to tease those who didn’t go to New Orleans with the fact that she’s seen more national championship wins in person than they have.

Well, not anymore.


I’ve been asked more than a few times about the entirety of my trip and to compare it to other moments of the Smart era.  It’s funny, considering the stakes, but it didn’t have the feeling of the two road highlights of 2017 season, the days surrounding the Notre Dame game and the Rose Bowl.  I think that’s because we were playing with house money then, not to mention getting to take trips to two of the more legendary sites of college football.  Indianapolis is a nice town, but nobody’s going to confuse it with legendary (okay, for auto racing, maybe).  Especially when it’s fourteen degrees outside.

Anyway, I wouldn’t have called it a business trip, exactly, but this time around, we all knew what was at stake and from an emotional standpoint approached it accordingly.  The trip was kept to a two-day affair.  We spent the first night in Louisville, to save a few bucks, and spent less than a day total in Indy.

Not that we didn’t get a few non-football experiences under our belts.  I made my first visit to a Buc-ee’s, the one in Calhoun, and it was quite the experience.  (I crossed off “visit a beef jerky bar” from my bucket list.)  We hit the Jim Beam distillery, missed the tour because we showed up ten minutes late, but made up for it by hitting their bar (excellent, by the way) early and often.

Then came the only pro tip I have for anyone going to Indianapolis for a game at Lucas Oil Stadium.  The parking pass we originally bought before we left turned out to be not such a great idea, but we came up with a splendid Plan B in that regard, Shapiro’s Delicatessen.  We were just looking for a good place to get a bite for lunch, only to discover that Shapiro’s was within walking distance of the stadium and offered game day parking spots for a reasonable price.  Needless to say, sold American.  If you like a great pastrami on rye, Shapiro’s is worth the trip, even if you aren’t going to a game.

The rest of the afternoon was spent bar hopping.  Bar hopping, in our case, didn’t mean drinking necessarily, because it turned out downtown Indy bars were woefully unprepared to handle the horde of fans who descended on them because of sheer numbers and the weather.  After wandering around to various establishments that were packed to the gills and risking frostbite, we finally found a hotel bar to squeeze into where we watched overwhelmed bar staff struggle to serve some Alabama and a lot more Georgia fans for a few hours.  We then embarked for a downtown brewery that was equally crowded.  But it was all good.

The CFP also had a set up for fans to explore downtown, but it wasn’t exactly well attended due to the cold.  I doubt that came as a surprise to the organizers, but college football’s gonna college football, I guess.

I’ve heard a few complaints about the stadium, but I thought it was a good venue, especially in comparison to MBS.  The parking lot is noticeably larger (not that it mattered for us).  The sight lines and view points inside are clearly better.  We sat so high for the SECCG that a portion of the big screen was cut off from view.  That was not the case at LOS.  My only bitch there came after the game, when they shut off the escalators and forced everyone onto the stairs, but even with that, it wasn’t too difficult to exit.

We got back in the cold to celebrate, went to the car for a nip or two (funny, but it never seems that cold after a big win) and wound up nightclubbing at this joint, believe it or not.  A second bucket list item checked off, I definitely felt like a fish out of water.

Amazingly, I didn’t feel bad at all waking up Tuesday morning on less than five hours of sleep.  The low point of the trip was the return home, where it seemed like traffic was backed up from Louisville to Chattanooga.  Tennessee, man.


I feel like I’ve left something out here.  Oh, yeah — the game!  On to the bullet points, the last of the season (sob!):

  • The crowd seemed like it was about 2/3 Dawg fans, which probably explained the loud cheer when Georgia won the toss.  The disastrous middle of the SECCG was as fresh on our minds as it was the team’s, I suspect.
  • While having the fumble call on ‘Bama’s opening drive overturned on review sucked, it was apparent from the beginning that Georgia’s defensive front seven came to play.  There was constant pressure brought to bear on Young and his game was definitely affected.  That he wasn’t completely shut down was a credit to his talent, particularly after Williams’ departure.  The throw he made for the Tide’s only touchdown was fantastic.
  • The defensive line play was outstanding, even if their stats weren’t eye-popping.  Wyatt, as has been the case for most of the season, was the unsung hero, but the play that really flashed was Travon Walker racing across the field to clean up a reception that Ringo whiffed on.  For a big man, that dude is obscenely fast.
  • The linebackers as a group might have been even better.  And as good as Dean was, I thought Walker and Tindall outshone him.  Although Tindall’s finest hour came after Dean chewed his ass out for blowing a coverage at the goal line that Dean fortunately cleaned up.  Next play:  Tindall sacked Young, forcing another field goal attempt.
  • That was the key theme all night for the defense, repeatedly forcing Alabama’s offense to settle for three after being blitzkrieged for five straight scores in the SECCG.
  • That being said, is anybody as sick of those bunch formations as I was?  Kind of reminded me of Florida bubble screening Georgia to death in the 2002 Cocktail Party.  The only difference was, this time Lanning and Smart adjusted by flooding coverage to the side of the bunch.
  • The secondary was the defense’s weakest link, which wasn’t exactly a surprise, given what had come before and given that they were dealing with the Heisman Trophy winner.  Cine and Smith played well throughout.  Kendrick was mostly solid, although I wound up holding back a yell on the play before the pick-six, when he was beaten off the line and by a perfect throw from Young, only to be saved by a half-assed attempt on the catch.
  • Ringo had himself quite the night, and that’s not totally meant as a compliment.  He was beaten badly on a couple of throws.  But he salvaged one of his mistakes, the big gain by Latu, by running him down before he could cross the goal line.  (Result:  another field goal settled for.)  And he made up for the rest of it with the game’s iconic play.
  • The surprise of the game, though, was the play of William Poole, who got roasted in slot coverage throughout the SECCG.  Alabama tested him early, got him on a play or two, until he morphed into Mr. Shutdown.  He broke up passes, made tackles and overall looked like someone who’d been starting for a while, instead of just his third game.
  • If the defense looked like its old self from the get go, that was definitely not the case with the offense, which had the jitters, to say the least.  I almost freaked out when Bennett literally dropped the football; needless to say, the ball bouncing straight back to him was Georgia’s biggest break of the night.
  • I tend to think the biggest challenge an offensive coordinator has is figuring out how to settle his players down when things are completely out of sync.  In this case, when I say “out of sync”, I mean, “Crap, it’s Will Anderson.  Again.”  In the first half, he was unblockable.  Even Salyer had issues.  And Ericson was completely overwhelmed.  I don’t know if he went out because he was hurt, or because he was just ineffective, but moving Salyer inside and playing Jones at left tackle eventually wound up settling down the o-line play considerably.
  • From getting stoned on the goal line seven plays in a row a few years ago by Grantham’s defense to overpowering a stout Alabama defense with a jumbo package, the Dawgs have come a long way with their goal line offense, baby.
  • I don’t know that it was the biggest play of the game, but that deep ball to Pickens was big.  For one thing, it let Monken and the offense know that the Alabama secondary was vulnerable if Stetson had time to throw.  For another, it let the Alabama defense know that Pickens was going to have to be accounted for.
  • White and Cook went out with a bang, didn’t they?  James provided the fireworks with that long run that got things going in the second half.  Zeus provided his patented pounding in the fourth quarter –  and, damn, if it wasn’t fun watching a ‘Bama defense on the receiving end of that.
  • For all the whining we heard from the Alabama contingent about how their receiving corps was crippled, let’s note that Georgia had two true freshman receivers step up with two huge fourth quarter scores.  Mitchell’s catch was simply brilliant.  He’s a talent who’s been a little inconsistent this season, but that reception was nothing but money.  As for Bowers, he blocked and led the team in receptions and scored when it counted.
  • Stetson Bennett finished the game outperforming the Heisman Trophy winner.  Let that percolate through your head for a minute.  He had clearly been coached not to make risky throws and the coaching stuck with him.  Still, he wasn’t at his best in the first half.  Fortunately, the game never got out of hand, as the SECCG had.  (Although I wondered what the coaches would have considered had Alabama gotten up by two scores.)
  • But Bennett’s fourth quarter performance was the stuff of legends.  After the (ahem, questionable?) fumble call, he could easily have forced himself into hero role to make up for it and risk the kind of results he’d gotten with that in the two previous Alabama games.  Instead, he found something inside himself and played mistake-free, killer football the rest of the way.  I can’t say enough about what he pulled off.  Against the Tide!
  • Special teams?  Yeah, they did okay.  Podlesny made all his kicks, Camarda put two punts inside the 20, ‘Bama’s return game did next to nothing… and Jalen Carter had a monster block.
  • Overall, it wasn’t Monken’s best game of the season.  Will Anderson, as I mentioned, had something to do with that.  So did Bennett’s early jitters.  But, man, that’s what a seasoned, effective offensive coordinator gets you.  He didn’t panic.  He stuck with the run game and that paid off.  And the play design of the touchdown throw to Bowers was awesome.  He managed to fool everyone in crimson with that one.  It was Georgia that rolled on offense to wipe out a first-half deficit this time.
  • Dan Lanning showed me something, too.  You never know how split attention will work out, but in this case, he didn’t allow the demands of the new job to interfere with the game prep for the biggest game of his Georgia career.  Alabama ran 85 frigging plays, but only managed one touchdown on the night, and that came on a very short field.  Bend but don’t break doesn’t get any better than that.
  • As far as Kirby goes, he did his best work of the season in the CFP getting his team to refocus after being embarrassed to the point of being written off by many after the SECCG loss.  His players played their asses off and his coaches coached their asses off.  The result was that, finally, a Georgia team didn’t come up short on the big stage.  As fans, that’s all we can ask.

As I posted in the immediate aftermath of the win, it was a cathartic time for me as a Georgia fan.  Not just in the moment of the Ringo pick-six, as overwhelming as that was (it generated the loudest noise I’ve heard a Georgia crowd sustain as long as it did).

No, it really hit me as hard as the fourteen degrees did as I walked back to the car after the game.  1980 may have been a punchline (note the use of the past tense there) for some of our rival fan bases, but I’m here to tell you that four decades, sometimes ripe with mediocrity, sometimes with the bittersweet feeling of coming oh-so-close, weighed down heavily even without the snark.  A lot of the pain came from the self-inflicted wounds of a proud program that really didn’t have a clue how to set itself up for sustained success.  All that felt lifted away in the cold.

Unlike the coach he beat in Indy, I don’t know where Kirby Smart will fit ultimately in the pantheon of great college football coaches, but right now, I really don’t care.  Smart has done the heavy lifting that I’ve been waiting for someone to do ever since Herschel Walker turned pro.  I’m just glad I was able to last long enough to watch him stick the landing.

To every player and every coach who made it happen, you have my eternal gratitude.  Thanks for the ride this season.  It’s been a real trip.


Filed under Georgia Football

102 responses to “Observations from the goal line, finally, a natty! edition

  1. siskey

    Go DAWGS! Great summary, Senator.

    Liked by 6 people

    • chicagodawgfan

      Senator, great game summary and everything you posted from the cathartic feeling, business trip focus, etc. is exactly what my buddies and I said about the entire trip. When Ringo crossed the goal line, drinks flew up in the air, everyone hugged and high fived and the place went absolutely crazy. It reminded me of the Butler FG and the Sony Michel Rose Bowl atmospheres on steroids! If I die tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man.


  2. You know when da club changes that ‘E’ to an ‘I’ in Envy, you are in for a special evening of music.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. ASEF

    No one really remembers that Tampa Bay last season had the good fortune to face a KC line decimated by injuries. Tony Brady, Super Bowl champion.

    No one remembers Alabama 2015 needed a damn Arkansas miracle to even make the SEC CG, which proved its ticket to the playoffs. A Clemson corner blowing a hammie in warm-ups helped too.

    Bama was down 5 guys by the 2nd half. They’re never going to stop mentioning it. But no one outside Bama Fan is going to remember by Valentine’s Day.

    To paraphrase a popular meme, “Doesn’t matter, won a Natty.”

    Liked by 11 people

    • Russ

      As I said many times to Gumps online, maybe they should have thrown the ball to more than 2 receivers all season.

      Liked by 4 people

    • gastr1

      “You just point at the scoreboard, and laugh.” LOL, Bama… literally no one cares about your troubles, except maybe Colin Cowherd. Have fun with him, he’s a blast.

      Liked by 5 people

      • miltondawg

        Cowherd is a moron. I listed to him rant yesterday about the Cowboys/49ers game and Dallas not throwing it to the sideline when they snapped the ball with 14 seconds play. I wanted to scream at the radio and ask how in the hell they were supposed to throw a sideline route with the 49ers playing 3 DBs on each side of the field up against the sideline to keep everything inbounds.


    • D.N. Nation

      2009 Bama: Colt got hurt.
      2011 Bama: Bogus rematch, Okie State should’ve gotten a crack at LSU.
      2012 Bama: Got lucky with the Chris Conley catch, Notre Dame was a joke opponent.
      2015: Bama: Required an Arkansas miracle to win the division.
      2017 Bama: Shouldn’t have made the playoffs.
      2020 Bama: OK this one’s legit.


      1996 Florida: Bogus rematch.
      2006 Florida: USC should’ve made it.
      2008 Florida: USC should’ve made it.

      2003 LSU: USC should’ve made it.
      2007 LSU: 2 losses after UGA’s last loss.
      2019 LSU: Tua got hurt in the LSU/Bama game.

      1991 Duke: Nearly blew a last-minute lead, weren’t the best team in the ACC.
      1992 Duke: Required a miracle to beat Kentucky, looked like crap for a half in the national championship game.
      2001 Duke: Gilbert Arenas was hurt, Jason Williams should’ve fouled out.
      2010 Duke: Didn’t have to play Kentucky.
      2015 Duke: Didn’t have to play Kentucky.

      And on and on and on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • miltondawg

        I just went and re-watched the 2015 Arkansas miracle to beat Ole Miss. I had forgotten how absolutely absurd the 4th and 25 play was. Dude getting tackled, heaved a lateral, tipped by a few players (including an Ole Miss defender), bounces off the turf, and is picked up for a 30+ yard run off the bounce for a first down.

        Legit question…how did they score that in the run/pass category? Ball was snapped on the Ole Miss 40 yard line. QB completes a pass to the Ole Miss 25 (still 10 yards short). Lateral that gets tipped and picked up by Arkansas at about the Ole Miss 42 or 43 yard line. Run to just inside the 10 yard line.


      • Dawg19

        I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring Duke Basketball into this but I’ll counter:

        1991: Duke beat undefeated UNLV in the Final Four. They deserved the championship. End of story.

        1992: Duke only lost two games all year by six points total; both while Bobby Hurley had a broken foot. They were the best team that got an A+ effort from the SEC champions and still found a way to win. And, yeah, they played a bad first half against Michigan in the championship game and were still only down three at half. Then they boat-raced the Fab Five in the second half and won by 20.

        2001: Duke beat all of their opponents in the NCAA tournament by double digits. Sounds like sour grapes to me. They were definitely the best team.

        2010: Kentucky blew it. Sound familiar?

        2015: See 2010.


  4. miltondawg

    Great post, Senator. I mentioned this last week, but Travon Walker might have done more for his draft stock between the Orange Bowl and Indy than any other player on the Dawgs. Lots of players had a great two game stretch between those two games, but Travon Walker was amazing. Who knows how Indy plays out if he doesn’t run down the Bama receiver that got Ringo to whiff (and had a blocker) on Bama’s last possession before the half.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. lincolndawg

    I’m not crying, you’re crying.

    Seriously, thanks for the insight. I look forward to the blog every morning. What a season!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great writeup, and I’m glad you got to see it in person. Maybe I’ll get to go to a Georgia national title win one of these days—I’m guessing we might have one or two more before too terribly long.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. jsun7

    Strong recap, Senator. Outstanding.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. voxdawg


    Liked by 15 people

  9. gastr1

    Great recap of a great game and experience. Thanks for being there and offering such great insight pretty much every day of every year, Senator. You rock!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. 69Dawg

    Amen and Amen!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. cowetadawg

    An observations post well worth waiting for; thanks Senator. When the running game picked up steam in the 4th you just felt the momentum swinging. Dawgs out man-balling Bama? Who’d a thunk? Yeah, the O-line and Stetson will have some PTSD over Anderson, but the natty is quite the salve for that ailment. Future’s looking all right from this vantage point.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. SlobberKnocker

    God, that play leaves me with such a huge grin on my face every time I see it (And I’ve seen it a bunch at this point).


    Liked by 4 people

  13. argondawg

    Shapiro’s saved our asses. We parked and were looking for food and it was damn cold. My wife who is always a good planner had staked out Shaprios pre trip. Its a huge amazing oasis in a sea of parking lots. Food was fantastic and the place was warm and I knew walking in that the DAWGS had taken over Indy. It was at least 80% Dawg. Hands down the day and game were the single greatest sporting event I have ever attended. It was nothing short of electric. the number of grown men crying around me when Ringo returned that INT was startling til I noitced I was one of them. I shall never see it’s equal and I will go to my grave being just fine with that.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Bulldawg Bill

      …..Shapiro’s was good, but I gotta tell ya’ we had better deli in Miami. At least they didn’t call the cops when we Called the Dawgs!!!


  14. aim260

    Not to go out on a tangent, but… agree with your critique of MBS. The architects and design team seem to have been so enamored with the halo screen, that they forgot what a modern seating bowl should look like. Compare the complexities of the seating bowl design at SoFi in L.A. to MBS; it isn’t even close.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. 86bone

    Amen brother Bluto! Best summary I have read to date. It was my greatest experience as a Bulldog since the ‘81 NC.
    Let’s all raise a glass together at some point today and toast the Senator and our Champion Dawgs🍻

    Liked by 4 people

  16. 79dawg

    Who said MBS was better than Lucas Oil? It is not even close. The stadium was easy to get into (and out of), around in, and the sitelines from the upper deck were good (and no obstructed views of the replay board). The bars and restaurants around the stadium and in downtown Indy were woefully unprepared…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. thenewandimprovedtronan

    Excellent recap. The only things I’ll add is that 1) Zeus seemed quicker than I can recall at any point in the past. Hopefully he’s fully recovered from the ACL tears. 2) Upon a closer look, Kendrick wasn’t quite as shutdown as I originally thought (though was still pretty good).

    Otherwise, it’s been more than a week since the game and I’m still feeling damn good.


  18. We can, have, and will continue to analyze every little aspect of this game. It’s the best way to savor it. But the bottom-line is that Kirby needed his finest coaching job by letting these guys believe and cut loose. Maybe not a masterpiece of X’s and O’s, but he definitely got the most from his Jimmies and Joe’s. The “Kirby can’t…” has been removed from his resume.

    Until next year! 😆

    P.S. The Senator is charmed! Witnesses a Natty and finds a hot dance club. I’m still wet and miserable from the ‘82 fiasco that resulted in taking shelter in a nasty dive/strip club where the girls were so ugly we got yelled at for not watching.

    Liked by 9 people

  19. SouthsideDawg

    Man, this blog was fun this season. Cheers to you guys and GO DAWGS! National Champs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. akascuba

    Wonderful summary of events and personal feelings Senator.

    Thank you was my first thought after the unbridled joy of victory. My game day buddy of 32 years cried. I felt overwhelming relief more than joy at that moment.
    Comparing LOS home of my new lucky field to my 2017 experience at the Benz was night and day. The cold beat standing for hours in the almost freezing rain trying to get in. My MB $100 parking pass was no good because the lot access was blocked by the president’s security detail. Parked in the CNN lot for less than half price. Last time Arthur Blank gets my money. The thrill of taking over Norte Dame’s stadium then making the CFP with a RB trip can’t be replaced.. A game that too seemed lost only to have the most glorious ending. For a game without a championship the Rose Bowl victory will always be truly special. For a couple is seconds I actually celebrated 2 and 26 knowing we were about to win a NC. Fate again ripped out my football heart moments later as I heard the roar start from the bama sidelines I knew we were fucked again.

    2021 I felt all summer this was the team to start Kirby’s legacy. The weekly QB drama ending with crushing disaster again at the Benz in the SECG took at the time some of the joy from the ride. Destroying the B10 champion restored my faith. As our host said stated the 1980 jokes are buried. An enormous weight lifted from my football heart. Finally all is right with the world one of our own brought the NC back to Athens. Glory Glory to Kirby, his staff and most importantly a bunch of Dawgs that refused to lose.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. godawgs1701

    Georgia beat Alabama for a national championship. This coming a few years after Kirby damn near beat an Alabama team that had been recruiting at a number one level for a decade for a national championship in just his second season as head coach. Georgia hung in tight with Alabama in an SEC championship, too. Meanwhile, Georgia has beaten Big 12 champion Oklahoma in a playoff semifinal Rose Bowl, beaten Big Ten champion Michigan in a semifinal Orange Bowl, beaten top ten Notre Dame twice, and the list goes on an on. From here forward let the “Kirby/Georgia can’t win the big game” narrative die – it was never all that justified to begin with.

    Liked by 8 people

  22. SlobberKnocker

    I collect pics from various sources after each game and have a collection of 174 from this season loaded on a Goggle drive. If you’d like access, please send me an e-mail at tcnii@yahoo.com.

    Senator if you don’t want this post here, I understand if you delete it (like you need my permission 🙂 ).

    Liked by 2 people

  23. bucketheridge

    Thanks for the summary and for the great coverage this season. We’re lucky to have this blog and for all of the work that you put into this place.


  24. Whiskey Dawg

    That was a joy to read.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Jack Klompus

    Well put. Go Dawgs!


  26. Terry McCullers

    Wished I could have been in Indy. What a glorious season or the Dawgs! They always say the first one is the hardest to win, so glad we got that one. Looking for many more opportunities for Kirby and company. Go DAWGS!


  27. beatarmy92

    I care as little about Kirby’s ultimate legacy as I do about how NFL fans do about Herschel’s NFL career.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. PTC DAWG

    Excellent recap…


  29. Derek

    I don’t know what you call this but I literally can not remember a play in that game before the Ringo interception. I’ve watched a replay since so I know now everything that went down. Some sort of trauma-related amnesia I suppose. I just fucking broke when that ball hit Ringo’s hands and he scored it…. Whatever my nervous system needed to process that moment required a “delete” button I suppose.

    I hope all of the hundreds upon hundreds of players that have rolled that rock up the mountain as far as they could only to watch it roll back each and every time, and for 4/5ths of my life, enjoy this as much as I do.

    I hope all of the doubters and the boo birds and the bandwagoners lost their tickets or their tvs broke.

    We did it in the most Georgia way possible. It was a mix of the 1980 Florida game and that year’s Sugar Bowl. We needed a play from our qb when we were down. We needed a great play from a wr. We needed great special teams play. We needed a scrappy defense that produced TO’s and just refused to break.

    Whatever entered Stetson’s body after that “fumble” I hope he keeps it. That shit was fucking epic. Historical. Legendary. 4 of 4 for 83 and 2 tds?

    For the similar reasons that Theron “The Drought-Breaker” Sapp’s jersey is retired, no one other than Stetson Bennett should ever wear 13 again.

    I also have a design idea for a statue. Just replace the sling with a football and maybe some clothes. The hair is pretty close already. The themes are fucking dead on:

    Just a miraculous display of courage. Long-earned perseverance put to its greatest use at the optimal moment. I don’t think you can find a comparable circumstance.

    Go DAWGS!!!!

    And fuck your fucking Rudy ND….

    Liked by 19 people

  30. Russ

    Great summary of a fantastic season, Senator! Thanks for posting this. Also liked hearing about the overall trip and seems to match what I suspected about a college football game in Indianapolis in winter.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. jcdawg83

    I watched the game in Panama and the only option for announcers was the Spanish version. While I couldn’t understand much at all of what they said, I have to admit they did a good job of relaying the excitement of the game. I also freely admit I really didn’t miss the Herbstreet blather.

    Liked by 5 people

  32. 81Dog

    I laughingly told my crew last summer, as we plotted road trips to various places, and maybe even a CFP trip to Miami, where one of us lives, “the universe kind of owes us a season of fun after 2020.” OK, universe, you came through and I consider that account paid in full. 2017 was an unexpected gift, even if it ended wrong. This year, especially after 2018,19,20, felt a lot more like unfinished business, but it is finished in style.

    I think that I appreciate this year more than I did 1980. Back then, I looked at our freshman star, and all the returning talent, and assumed we were just getting started. There would be plenty more to follow in short order! 41 years of assorted misses, mishaps, and mistakes have made me appreciate just how special this experience is. Maybe we are are on the way to more, maybe not. But, even though I realize at some point, I am going to have to adjust back to some semblance of reality, today is not that day. I’m going to be savoring it and appreciating being here for it for a good little while.

    Liked by 6 people

  33. Harold Miller

    “They” can Dawg grade all “they” want, but that flag is still flying above the east end zone. The hardware will still be in the Butts-Mehre building. That’s really all that matters.

    Liked by 9 people

  34. Texas Dawg

    Ringo whiffing then running the tight end down. Travon Walker coming across the field to stop an almost sure score. Zeus continuing to drive and fight after contact. Dan Jackson’s block on the pick 6. Just a couple of examples of EFFORT. To me that is what will define this team. There are a lot of talented teams out there, but the non stop GATA is what made this bunch special.

    Liked by 13 people

    • DawgFlan

      In a game of inches, that team rose to Kirby’s challenge and found the extra inches when it mattered most.


    • Russ

      I’ll add one more. AD Mitchell’s TD catch was spectacular after watching it 47 times. It was contested. The DB even had his arm in there, but AD high points the catch (over the DB’s helmet) and wrestles it away for the score. Just a beautiful catch in a clutch situation. Pretty good throw by Stetson, too. 😉

      Liked by 5 people

  35. Dawg in Austin

    I only have one addition. The symmetry of 3 freshman having the biggest moments in the game beating Bama for the title was a chef’s kiss. Just like Tua, Devonta Smith and Leatherwood broke our hearts in 2017 and promised more in the future, Mitchell, Bowers and Ringo destroyed the Tide and will continue to do so going forward. That’s pretty sweet.

    Liked by 11 people

  36. Bulldawg Bill

    …and what was with that BS closing down the FanFest at 3:00 before a 8:00 kick? Their press said open till 5:00. They need to work on their event management.


  37. Glenn Chandler

    Spot on Senator. Thanks for all the hard work and insight you provide during the season. Always a pleasure!


  38. armydawg

    Never will have to hear the “if not now, when?” crap again. Instead of the SEC network showing 2nd & 26, they can show Ringo’s pick 6. Rub some salt in Bama’s wounds like they’ve been doing to us for years.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Biggen

      My Bama father in-law texted me on Tuesday (day after the win) saying how he didn’t necessarily mind the loss so much as he hated seeing replays of the game on literally every channel he flipped to the day after. I held my tongue and didn’t say anything about 2nd and 26th. I bet I have seen that replay over 100 times since that fateful game.

      I’m going to enjoy seeing the Ringo replay last now for a long, long time.

      Liked by 6 people

  39. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    les Dawgs l’ont fait! nous sommes champions. nous avons battu l’homme donc nous sommes l’homme maintenant!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. LCUGA

    Every great trip starts with Buc-ee’s! The brutal cold had us hopping around on game day for a long lunch and some sips of brews and finally coffee before heading in before 6. Everyone we encountered was like, “Where the Hell do we go?”
    I think Radi retweeted that a waitress said she had seen a Super Bowl crowd and a Final Four crowd, but nothing like this. Well done, Dawg Nation!
    That 4th quarter was a sight to behold and I agree on the decibel level and length on the Pick 6. Wow. HBTFD!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. olddawg22

    Excellent Senator! Finally a team worthy of the excellence you bring every year!
    Perfect recap and be very glad you didn’t spend 3 days (or was it weeks) in Indy! That day of the game lasted f o r e v e r ! ! Totally worth the wait. You are correct that it was the loudest ovation for a coin toss I have ever heard, so glad our D got out there first and showed they came to GATA!
    Didn’t cry after the game ( saved that for later with friends)
    Senator you talked about comparing to 1981 very few things compare! But walking out in Indy at almost single digits was nothing compared to the craziness on Bourbon Street in 81 That was EPIC!
    Maybe the best thing about this victory is that now discussing the 2017 season with friends that wonderful year has gone from being the best joy ride you ever took with your girl (Hope) everything is going your way, then suddenly you drive your car into the ditch! Game Over!
    Now 2017 is fine it was just a building block to get to the top of the mountain!
    Damn the view is fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. We didn’t have any site line problems at MB in 2018 (or at LOS in 2022) so I can’t compare the stadiums in that regard, but I don’t completely agree that Lucas Oil is that much better. Getting into the stadium was much easier; however, a lot of that had to do with Trump’s presence in 2018. For example, our bag checker there pulled everything out of my wallet looking for a knife that somehow could have been used from my upper deck seats. 🙄 While there were lots of celebrities at this year’s game, none required Secret Service, so bag check was infinitely easier. We found lots of CFP volunteers throughout Indy to help you get around … until we got to the stadium. The signage inside LOS was terrible as we walked almost around the building trying to find a way up to the terrace-level seats even though we went in the gate specified for our section. We were also disappointed with concessions. Not only were the options quite limited, but my husband finally gave up on the credit card machine after trying to swipe two different cards at least 5 times each and gave the cashier $40 for $24 worth of food just to get back to the game. Indy didn’t have the problems of getting people out after the game, but they also weren’t relying on mass transit that was a total cluster.

    All of this pales in comparison to our general experience in Indy, though. We got there on Friday and stayed until Wednesday (to avoid the crazy crowds at the airport), experiencing Hoosier Hospitality on display the entire time. Totally agree that the restaurants/bars weren’t prepared, but the locals told us that while the temps were not completely out of line, they weren’t usual either, and I think they were counting on the food trucks at the Tailgate party at Memorial Circle to help with the crowds looking for food on game day. I also think the staffing issues and local ordinances on crowding that Covid brought to bear had something to do with it. We enjoyed Indy and look forward to going back sometime when the weather is warmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. ciddawg

    Thank you for being our eyes and carrying our heart…
    Dam Good Dawg!!!


  44. Michael Flinn

    I disagree about your stadium comparison. MBS is a superior stadium in my book. More food and drink sources Much more space in the concourses and many more bathrooms than LOS. My set in the 400 level was difficult to get to and didnt have the best sight lines.


  45. silverbritches02

    . . . now if he could only maximize the team’s potential . . .

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I have watched the game several times on different telecasts. On the Skycast version (far and away my preference – I wish they offered it more often) you got looks into the stands and heard the bands, and it looked to me like most of the upper decks were empty. Is that right? Maybe it was not well lit and I couldn’t tell, but that’s the way it looked to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. TripleB

    Great recap to end a great year!


  48. theotherdoug

    Great write up. Especially when you explained the weight lifted. A couple random thoughts…

    I think post early signing day allowed Lanning to focus on winning a championship. The best thing he could do for Oregon was show up with a ring.

    Great point about Pickens’ catch. We missed him this year and need a replacement. An elite WR shifts the defense in CFB because guys that can cover them a rare. Once the defense shifts to help the guy on Pickens everything else opens up. We haven’t had a guy like that since AJ Green.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Biggen

    Great writeup Senator.

    What do you guys think about the official National Championship logo?

    My swag is starting to filter in and I’m not real crazy about the city skyline in the logo. The frozen tundra that it Indianapolis? Meh. Maybe had I gone I may have liked it much better. Also, I don’t understand the 2 black spikes. They are supposed to represent the two playoff appearances. But, we have 4 playoff appearances, right (3 losses and a 1 win)?

    I know, first world problems. I’d have much preferred just a simple Power G with a date or something. Less is more!


    • Personally, as a former graphic designer/advertising art director, I like it very much. So much thought went into every aspect of it. Just using the power G with the year would have been lazy design, IMHO. The Indy skyline makes it specific to this championship game and adds to the memories of those of us who were there, as does all the other aspects of it. You can probably nitpick the black spikes in either direction; the Dawgs have played in four playoff games, but they have been part of two playoffs.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Russ

      Thanks for the explanation. I heard they put some meaning into it but hadn’t seen it spelled out. I like the “National Champions” part the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  50. originaluglydawg

    Thank you, Senator!


  51. gurkhadawg

    Great post Senator. I enjoyed reading every word. Of course, I enjoy pretty much everything in life right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. NotMyCrossToBear

    Best observations post ever. Go Dawgs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  53. otto1980

    I had posted in the past if you expect to win a championship game, you better show up to score 30. UGA did that this time. It was a battle of field goals early not a high scoring offense but the only back to back 3 and out were the first 2 possessions. After that the offense did their part to give the D some time between possessions, moving the ball, and keeping up on the scoreboard. Special teams was also doing a good job at giving the D long fields.


  54. flydawg

    Great writeup Bluto!!! Total team effort. So many huge plays by so many players that with out them could have changed the out come. Poole and Walker were awesome. The O line in the 2nd half imposed their will.
    One puzzling thing to me was the lack of quick passes to the flat to challenge bamas db’s and wear down their front chasing them down. Also to slow Anderson down. We killed UM with this


  55. otto1980

    Also on the town, I have been to Indy a few times for F1 races. They handled the traffic very well and were very nice. Hotel prices did not job anywhere near what they did for Austin, The people were very nice I used to work on a team that had an office in Indy, yes it can get cold up there but they can also have years with very mild winters. The weather this past weekend wasn’t shocking but not expected as it would be in upstate NY or Ohio. I enjoyed my time there for a race but I’m not going there without a sports oriented reason. However if I had to move North, I’ll take over the 2 locations above, Michigan etc basically any of the other BIg10 states.


  56. RangerRuss

    Shiiiiiit y’all, I told you we’d look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. The Dawgs had this all the way.

    But seriously, this, “I’m just glad I was able to last long enough…” almost made me start leaking.
    You bunch of sniveling bitches.

    GO DAWGS !!!

    Liked by 4 people

  57. waltergeiger

    simply superb, senator. thank you for all you do for the dawgnation!


  58. thosebigthighs

    I said it before and I’ll say again, thank you players and coaches for this Natty. Made all those long seasons and 2nd and 26 a distant memory. I’ll have 2nd and 18, plus a clinch 6 burned into my memory for years!!!


  59. waterswv

    Beautiful Senator, a perfect summation.


  60. iusedtopostasmikecooley

    Been looking forward to this post and it still exceeded my expectations.

    All through the Richt years I always thought any year it might be our year until those last couple when it was clear something had gone wrong.

    When Kirby was hired I was excited. 2017 was such a thrill. ‘18 made it seem like glory was inevitable. ‘19 was disappointing but I thought we were on our way. Then ‘20 happened. I won’t go into it but it just about made me decide to move on from college football. Among all the wonderful things this team did, it gave me college football back. I’ll never stop being thankful for that.

    Every few years a team comes along that just has something special. Something beyond talent that has a feeling about it that you can’t define. The ‘02 team had it. The ‘07 team did too. The ‘12 and the ‘17 teams had it. But this ‘21 team beat them all and I thought that before last Monday. There was and is just something special about this team and it’s sad knowing we will never see them together again and that we will lose track of a lot of these guys and will wonder one day whatever happened to some of them.

    Senator I’ve been a reader and commenter since ‘10. I used to access this site through dawgbone and I don’t even know if that site still exists because after Bernie at Bernie’s Dawg Blog and The Grit Tree both called it a day I just started coming straight here and skipped dawgbone. Thanks for all that you do. I don’t know what my Georgia football fandom would have been like without this site but it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable. All of us have been through a lot together over the years and it’s nice to see so many of the same names here and know that this exciting ride isn’t over. Go Dawgs. National Champions!

    Liked by 3 people

  61. I can’t add much of substance that has not been written already. I’ll just leave a ‘Sic ‘Em Dawgs’ in here to get my name down for posterity.


  62. Comin' Down The Track

    I don’t just like a great pastrami on rye. I love like a great pastrami on rye. Man… now I want pastrami on rye. Great summary, Senator, to cap off a great season-long ride. How ’bout them Dawgs, eh?


  63. I would just like to add FTMF!