When Georgia's season ended this year with a 24-12 win over Michigan State, I was beginning to become highly optimistic that Georgia's chances of a national championship were still in front of them.
Mainly, because of Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford. I thought, despite common word, that surely the dynamic duo would return and pursue a national title.
And boy was I wrong to think that.
Had the two decided to return, Georgia would likely be a top five team again this year heading into the opening week. Instead, Georgia is at best a top fifteen team and has fallen off the media's very selective radar.
It is disappointing to see the two leave seemingly before their time, but now that I have thought about it, I feel like the move they both made will make a drastic impact on how their legend settles in between the hedges.
Stafford to this point is the most talented quarterback to ever play at Georgia in their history. Knowshon Moreno was a hidden gem that will likely never have a counterpart worthy of comparison again--at any level.
But they failed to bring to college football fans here in Georgia what they desire most. The college football market is so much different than the NBA, and other professional sports.
Individual success is nothing without reaching the top--winning a national championship.
Knowshon and Stafford's Georgia team never even made it into the SEC championship game. Neither won the Heisman.
And I feel like there is a strange sense of comfort in Athens right now, despite losing two of the most talented and iconic players this program has ever seen.
I do not think there is heartbreak. I do not think anyone really...cared, to be honest.
One of the main reasons why is because frankly, Knowshon and Stafford proved to fans that they did not care.
Lets face it. Stafford was the golden boy out of Dallas, Texas. Knowshon came from New Jersey.
We all knew Stafford had the NFL ahead of him, and Knowshon was the greatest thing to hit turf in Athens since No. 34. Knowshon even admitted that he did not really pay attention to football, and knew nothing about the SEC.
That is right. Knowshon's favorite sport is basketball, and he could care less about SEC pride and tradition.
I do not think Stafford or Knowshon's minds were ever really that focused on universal success more than they were focused on individual performance. I think that the 2008 Georgia Bulldogs supporting cast kind of just fell asleep and thought everything was going to come to them—they were told they were greater than they really were.
And their leaders just did not seem to fit the mold for Georgia football. Sure, Moreno's playmaking ability was amazing. Stafford was a great quarterback.
However, I do not think that the individual is important at all at the college level, and I think the true fans get that.
I think that the second we heard that Stafford and Moreno were heading out of town, he readily accepted it and pushed it aside as if it was nothing.
Once again, they did not care enough about the Georgia Bulldogs.
I find it funny that when talking UGA football with anyone, that it is the players who showed true commitment and spirit that grasp the attention and heart of the fans.
David Greene and David Pollack are prime examples. Greene had a changeup for an arm and Pollack was the smallest and goofiest defensive end I have ever seen.
Even though Greene was the winningest quarterback in college football history when it was all said and done, nobody outside of Georgia was chanting his name. Neither have had NFL careers (of course, you cannot blame Pollack as much on that matter).
Even though the world has forgotten about those two, Georgia fans never will. Greene and Pollack never won the national championship, but they made sure to fight for it until it was no longer possible—until graduation.
They got close too. In 2002 Georgia went 13-1 with a lone 21-14 loss to Florida. They were as national championship ready as they could get, and will probably go down as the best Georgia team we have ever had.
I will never forget David Greene or David Pollack.
And, I will never blame Stafford or Moreno for going in a different direction, however I will not miss them nearly as much.
Right now I think all Georgia fans have done a great job at quickly discarding Stafford and Moreno's departure, and continuing to think championship without them.
No matter what outside sources say about UGA football coming into 2009, every Bulldog fan believes this year can be the year. Lets face it, that is how UGA football works.
When under the spotlight and the hype, Georgia crumbles. When off the page and with unproven players, Georgia seems to start kicking at the heels of college footballs center stage.
In 2009 we will have a fifth year senior quarterback in Joe Cox. He is no prospect like Stafford, but he is a Georgia boy and hates to lose. The last time we had that was with some guy named DJ Shockley, who just happened to win an SEC title.
Is Cox just as good as a fit for a championship than Stafford? Is a bunch of unproven tailbacks a better fit than Knowshon? I think history between the hedges answers with a "yes."
It is the type of players that embrace Georgia spirit and tradition, as well as the common goal that tuck into Georgia lore, and I question whether or not Stafford or Moreno fit into that frame.