Sam Burnham, Curator
The season is approaching rapidly. The teams are back in pads and on the practice field. In Athens, the Dawgs are coming off another successful season under Coach Kirby Smart.
Georgia sits at #3 in the preseason Coaches Poll. A preseason poll is worthless but this does indicate the amount of faith the coaches have in the program.
On the other hand, there are several stories appearing online as well as in print publications pointing out that Georgia’s elephant in the room, nemesis, bugaboo, thorn in the side, whatever they want to call Alabama. The theme at the center of it all is that Georgia has to beat Alabama if they plan to win a National Championship.
Call it speculation. Because that’s all it is at this point.
Georgia and Alabama would meet in the SEC Championship Game at the earliest. Bama still has to survive a grueling schedule in the West - A&M, Auburn, LSU, even Mississippi State are all looking to upset the Tide. Honestly, I expect Alabama to survive the challenge and make it to Atlanta, but they still have to do it.
So going on the plausible assumption that Georgia and Alabama meet in Atlanta or even in the playoff, there’s one major thing that Georgia has to do to beat Alabama. That thing has nothing to do with Xs or Os. It has nothing to do with talent, nothing to do with play calling. Georgia is Bama’s equal in all those categories. The thing Georgia has to do to beat Alabama is forget.
Georgia has to put the past in the past. They have to forget the series history. They have to play Alabama as if there is no history. For one game they have to forget that Alabama is Alabama. Football is far more psychological than many fans realize. Games are most often won in the minds of players long before they are played on the field. Georgia has to beat Alabama in their own minds.
Even more importantly for now, they need to be Georgia. They can’t get so focused on a theoretical match up with Alabama that they neglect Florida, South Carolina, Auburn or Tennessee. They have to win the one game that lies before them. For them the task at hand is simple. “Just win, baby.”
Sportswriters, prognosticators, and fans have the luxury of worrying about how Georgia and Alabama will handle their expected match up. But neither the Dawgs nor the Tide have that luxury. They still have to get to that point. For them, the focus must remain closer to their nose.
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