Posted: 10:45 pm Thursday, November 17th, 2016
By Jay Black
For the first time in eight years, Georgia will wear it’s black uniforms on Saturday (yay) against….wait for it… the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette (aww).
Listen, I love the black uniforms and I very much look forward to seeing them in person for the first time. One of my biggest regrets in college was giving up my $8.00 student ticket for the original blackout in 2007 because I had to work at WSB that night (thanks Boss Hog).
However, holy smokes. This simple piece of fabric is totally and completely in the head of Bulldog Nation way more than it should be.
You know how good Alabama is? That one blowout half on one night in 2008 can totally and completely screw with a program eight years later.
With national titles hopes on the line, Georgia was embarrassed. A punch line and an easy pun. We’ve never gotten over it. At least when it comes to the wardrobe.
After the Dawgs got their doors blown off, the uniforms took the blame.
“Jerseys don’t help us play better,” now NFL stud Geno Atkins said at the time. “Us the players are supposed to play better.”
“Wearing black was good, but at the end of the day it’s not going to win a football game,” said cornerback Prince Miller.
Evidently they don’t have magic powers. The fans never wanted to see them again. Mark Richt pretty much disowned them (save for that black helmet, black pants thing against Florida).
They were dead to everyone. Except they looked so good. That Auburn game in 2007 was so much fun. We couldn’t resist.
It took a few years, but Bulldog Nation wanted them back. Every big night game, someone would wonder, black out?
Mark Richt tells fans on his show on WSB and to wear black. So black uniforms too?
Inevitably some caller would ask the coach about it. Some rumors would float on the internet. There would be some boot leg pictures on a message board. Black uniforms in the bookstore.
And Georgia still wouldn’t bring them back. “Remember what Alabama did?”
Until this year. Sort of.
Greg McGarity announced at the start of the season that Georgia will wear black for one game every season.
“It won’t be a surprise.”
So the game that was picked this year is….the second most boring game on the schedule.
Why? Because everybody evidently is scared of these uniforms. Still.
It’s a hedge. We all know this is fun, but you know, 31-0 at the half.
Now this thing has become way too big of a deal. Grown men are talking about a black outfit way too much.
The good news about picking the Louisiana-Lafayette game is, well, I get a column out of it and a story line. At least it’s a little bit of juice for an otherwise juiceless game.
Perhaps this is a trial run, to see if a group of kids that were in elementary or middle school the last time Georgia went black will get swept away like the 2008 Bulldogs did against the Tide.
I get why McGarity and Kirby Smart don’t want it to be a surprise, because, well, everybody asks about it. Simple solution, Georgia wears black on senior day, the last SEC game of the season, or night games. Pick one. Even though, people will still ask anyway, no matter what you do.
Just not for this snoozer. Or what should be a snoozer.
Which brings me to the men that will be wearing those little black uniforms on Saturday. The 2016 Bulldogs haven’t blown out anybody all season. Not poor Nicholls State (5-5) or Missouri (3-7) or South Carolina (5-5).
In fact, the 28-14 win over the Gamecocks is Georgia’s biggest of the season. It’s their only double-digit win, and that was thanks to a touchdown on USC’s desperation onside kick to end the game.
It appears Georgia has turned the corner with those big wins of Kentucky and Auburn. Now it needs to show its on the path to being a very good team.
Next step, domination.
Smart and his players are saying what they are supposed to say in the buildup.
“You have to prepare for everybody the same,” says offensive line Dyshon Sims. “I think we all realized that after the Nicholls game.”
“All you have to do is turn the tape on, you’ll be able to show our players, these guys have good players too,” said Smart.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s all true. If Georgia plays like crap, it can lose. But this is a 4-5 team from the Sun Belt conference. Georgia is a 23-point favorite. The Dawgs will win. But they must prove they won’t sleep walk through another patsy.
Georgia needs to cover those 23 points. At least.
The fourth quarter needs to be baseball hat time for the starters.
“I don’t know if a blowout is necessary,” UGA analyst Eric Zeier told me, “but it’s been a grueling year and this team needs a bit of a break with a game in control and in control early.”
There have been a lot of minutes played this season where there has been plenty of doubt if Georgia is a good team. It is slowly starting to be removed, but don’t go backwards now.
This team will be dressed in its best. It needs to play like it.