I have a few things on my mind tonight, so instead of taking up a bunch of stuff in the snap judgement thread tomorrow, I’ve decided to pour my heart out here. I want to be clear that this is an opinion piece, so while I may speak pretty strongly about some things, I’m not going to ask all of you to agree with me.
Props to Georgia
First things first: Georgia is a really good football team, and they outclassed* Auburn tonight. Their offensive line held up to our pass rush, and their defensive line was in the backfield all night. Fromm was strong, if not great, but as a freshman he did more than enough tonight. Their running backs found plenty of room. Yadda yadda yadda, I don’t think I have to break this game down for you. For as much as we dominated in the first game, UGA had all the answers in this one.
Kirby Smart, for as much as we like to rail on former Saban assistants, is a heck of a coach. Not only is he bringing even MORE talent into the program than Richt was, he’s also getting his guys to play at an elite level in just his second season in Athens. It’s too early to be sure if this is the beginning of a big-time run for UGA over the next few years, but the early results are there. Also, he seems (at least so far) to not be a total jerk like a lot of football coaches.
One last thing about Georgia... I’ve put up with more than my fair share of Georgia fans in my lifetime. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Lawrenceville, Georgia, about 45 minutes from Athens, where everyone and their cousin is a Georgia fan. I’ll complain just as much as the next guy (if not more) about how much of a pain in the ass some of them can be to deal with. I’ve been yelled at, barked at by grown men and children alike, and straight up harassed by Georgia fans before. All of that being said, there are people in my life I can be happy for. Don’t get me wrong, I will never actually cheer for Georgia to do anything positive in a football game, but I just don’t have the time or energy to spend this whole offseason hating the Dogs**. I guess all I’m saying is, there’s enough hate everywhere else in this country. Find someone you know who is a Georgia fan, and just be happy they are happy. Their team sure as heck earned it.
Enough about Georgia. Let’s talk about us.
A few facts for everyone...
- We were predicted to be a top 10 team this season.
- Per S&P+, with our schedule, we were projected to go 8-4.
- It was pretty much universally agreed that Gus needed to beat at least one of UGA or Alabama this year.
Now, how did this year turn out?
- We were a top 10 team.
- We ended up 10-2 and went to the SECCG.
- Gus beat both UGA and Alabama.
Too often these days, in football and in everything else, we make everything a referendum. After the Clemson and LSU games and tonight, Gus is one of the worst coaches in the SEC. After the the Georgia and Alabama games, he’s one of the best coaches in the country. The truth (obviously) lies somewhere in the middle. The fact of the matter is, this team exceeded all realistic expectations and was a game away from the playoff. Were we perfect this year? Definitely not. But that’s just college football. That’s the fun of it. If you were told that this team not have a healthy Pettway the entire season, lose Sean White and Kyle Davis, and would still go 10-2, beat Georgia and Bama, and go to the SECCG, you would have been over the moon. Don’t move the goalposts on your own happiness.
If Gus really does decide he wants to be home in Arkansas, then more power to him. Family and home can mean a lot to people, and that’s respectable. However, there’s no professional or football reason to take that job. It’s a state with less high-school talent, a worse overall roster, worse facilities, and an athletics administration that is at least as messy as Auburn’s, and likely a lower salary than he would make through an extension with Auburn.
Gus has taken this program to a good place. There’s consistent talent and depth, no NCAA issues (which is extremely underrated these days), and some of the most memorable moments in Auburn football history over the last few years. Has he put it all together and won it all as a head coach? No, but neither did Pat Dye or Tommy Tuberville.
That’s all I’ve got to say for tonight, Tiger fans. The sun will rise tomorrow.
War Eagle always.
* On the field. I’m not starting any “class” arguments with Georgia fans, because we all know how that goes.
** That’s how it’s spelled. Sorry.