I really appreciate Tim Pollock's article on why UGA won't win the National Championship or the SEC found here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/34958-five-reasons-georgia-wont-win-the-national-championship-or-the-sec
The only thing is that, while he thinks these are reasons for Georgia's downfall, I think that they are stepping stones to an exciting 2008 season culminating in UGA winning the National Championship.
It's time to make like Michael Keaton on SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy and break it down:
1. The Hype
There's hype, sure, plenty of it. This argument works against any team in the top five preseason as to why they won't be there at the end of the season.
Let's put it in high school terms: Getting an A is easy. Keeping it is hard. Having the A grade involve an organized fist fight against people who want nothing more than to beat the tar out of the most popular/best athlete/straight A student in the High school is another thing entirely.
Really all "the Hype" means is that it's yours to lose. This still means it's yours though. The Dawgs will act accordingly.
2. The Schedule
He's right and he's wrong here. The schedule is tough. More importantly, it's tough on paper. In the words of the Ultimate Warrior, "How should I train for this? Should I jump off the tallest building in the world? Should I go out to the yard and have people run over me with lawn mowers? Should I go to Africa and be run over by raging elephants?"
A national champ will be able to manage a hard schedule and laugh in the face of adversity.
Look at Hawaii or Ohio State. Their schedules are so loaded with cupcakes that Wilford Brimley is coming to talk to them about "Diabeetus." They get to their big games and we then realize the emperor has no clothes. The schedule is a reason we will win the national championships, not a reason we won't.
Tell them to bring it. It's not like Georgia doesn't have its share of bad blood in this game. Mr. Pollack's states are sadly correct about recent rival history.
Over the past several years the number of wins on the Georgia side has been disproportionately low. Mark Richt has plenty of footage of his own to show his team, including that same celebratory dance cited by Mr. Pollock, to get his team riled up and ready to lay waste to the Gators. As if they needed the motivation.
One of the things this team does well is having fun. The Mongolians grinned as they rode into battle and took joy in combat. The Bulldogs were having a problem last year confusing "class" with "zombie like lack of enthusiasm." Those days are gone.
Another reason Georgia will beat Florida is their ho-hum defense. Mr. Pollock mentions it in his article in why Florida won't win the National Championship either yet doesn't apply it to the full-on attack that is Georgia's offense. An absolutely brutal ground game combined with strategic air support means that your defense had best be firing on all cylinders to have a shot at beating UGA this year.
Florida couldn't stop our blitzes last year. While everyone's a year older that's the problem for Florida. Take a scale of one to ten. One player is a nine out of ten and one is an eight. Both players improve one up the scale in a year, the guy that was the nine is still better on this scale.
The last time the Dawgs won back to back games against the Gators was almost twenty years ago. This means they're due.
4. Inexperience in Big Games
It's true that they barely escaped Alabama with an OT win because the fourth quarter went to pot, so I'll concede the fourth quarter of Bama. Saying they struggled to put away Troy and Kentucky in back-to-back weekends is simply wrong. First, they weren't back to back. Secondly, double digit margins aren't what most people call struggling.
I also wouldn't call Troy a "big game". Kentucky is a worthy conference rival at its best. Now that Andre Woodson is gone, so is the challenge they represented.
So, while the Dawgs don't have the "big game" victory experience, they do have plenty in the arena of coming from behind. I don't care if your linemen are hewn from living marble and your running backs were descended from Mercury himself, you will never be ahead the entire season. Learning how to come from behind with a decisive victory is imperative if a team wants to contend for the national title.
It's also true that UGA didn't even win the East. The loss to UT was a disgusting spectacle of watching an uninspired defense trying to stop UT in their own house.
It was also the beginning of a turning point in the season for Georgia. From flat and emotionless (which was what the Dawgs mistook for being "professional") to being told to get an excessive celebration penalty on their first touch down and accomplished the task in a manner that will have Dawg fans telling tales of it to our great-grandchildren.
The metamorphosis complete, Georgia went on to play with a fire and intensity rarely seen, and they have not lost since.
Two words: Blair Walsh. The second most highly recruited kicker in the country. Pulling off 50+ yarders routinely as a junior in high school.
Want more proof?
More footage from our friends at Dawgpost.com which elude to the fact that he's already preparing for his role as UGA's main man by listening to Crank Dat!
He'll do fine.
And now two more reasons to boot:
UGA VI is gone to that great kennel in the sky. There's a "Win one for the Gipper" type speech right there.
It's also looking like Larry Munson's last season. His voice is a Jack and Coke for the ears, a cross between gravel and gold. The Bulldog Nation utilized his oratory talents for longer than I've been alive.
Time has caught up with our dear friend. While we are saddened that we can't be granted a double portion of his spirit, we all agree that he's earned his respite and hope he enjoys it to the fullest for the remainder of his days. Count on that one being worked into another "Win one for the Gipper" type speech as well.
Two potential Heisman candidates in Moreno and Stafford. Caleb King and Israel Troupe at the ready.
The best part though is that Brannan Southerland looks like he'll be healing faster than previously thought. It's looking like he'll be back three weeks into the season, rather than five. I'm certain someone with his work ethic is already doing everything he possibly can to get back into playing condition.
Why is this such a big deal? You need a large back to pound it through in those third-and-three, third-and-two, and fourth-and-inches situations. You don't win football games without converting on the third and fourth downs, to say nothing of a coveted National Title.