Posted: 10:13 am Friday, September 29th, 2017
By Jay Black
Obviously it’s unclear if UGA has the best team in America, but they certainly had one of the best teams in America last week. In Athens. Against the Fighting Cowbells of Starkville.
That currency is about worthless now.
“Nobody in the SEC cares what you did last week,” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart in his weekly press conference. “Nobody cares. They just care what you do this week.”
A lesson for trolls who throw out that phrase way too much on the internet/Twitter/Facebook/whatever, this is the proper use of “nobody cares.”
This is not an uncommon position for the Dawgs, even though it has been lately. The big win that gets everybody’s attention. It’s like impressing a woman on the first date. That’s not the hard part. It’s that next Saturday night that is the true proving ground.
For No. 7 Georgia, this is the all important second date with greatness (Too corny? Yeah maybe a little. It was an easy line. Sorry everybody).
But why does it have to be in Knoxville? Against a wounded football team? In the loudest stadium in the SEC?
If you need a reminder, UT won the last two meetings. Two meetings UGA shouldn’t have lost. The last six games against Tennessee have been decided by eight points or less.
There should be more buzz for this game. Probably because many of us watched Tennessee beat Georgia Tech in a game they should have lost by about 20. Or we saw that pillow fight against the Gators. Or that other pillow fight against the University of Massachusetts, which is a school that is not in the south or eastern part of the country.
Josh Dobbs is gone. Many Orange People want Butch Jones to be gone.
UGA isn’t walking into a trap is it?
“On paper, we should roll,” UGA color analyst Eric Zeier told me. “But I don’t think this is a trap game because everybody knows it’s Tennessee.”
I was still guarded about jumping on this group’s band wagon as a true contender. I’ll admit after last week, I’m about 95 percent there.
That team had the look. There’s a big difference between good and great and last week we saw the gap.
But it was a home game. It was Mississippi State who may or may not be all that good.
Now, can you do it again?
“Humility is just a week away,” said Smart. “I’ve been saying it all my life.”
This is certainly one of those instances where it applies.
We’ve been here before in the last few falls. 2013 vs LSU. 2014 against Clemson. 2015 against South Carolina (Greyson Lambert set records and then Alabama shut everyone up). Heck you can even put in last year against North Carolina. Games when the Dawgs proved to look a little too good a little too early.
Humility was in fact a week or two away.
Even the great teams drop off, the difference is they don’t fall that far. For Georgia to impress tomorrow, it doesn’t have to win by 80. Or 30. But it is the better team and that needs to show.
Tennessee has an unproven quarterback, but a line that’s allowed two sacks this season. The Dawgs might have the second best defense in the SEC, but the Vols still have the league’s leading rusher. UT’s defense might be giving up more than 380 yards per game, but it’s still got a very strong pass rush, even with Derek Barnett in the NFL.
Oh and Georgia’s QB is a freshman playing his first SEC road game. Yes he’s 4-0 with a win at Notre Dame. But I don’t see 30,000 Tennessee fans turning over their tickets tomorrow.
The Vols have gone 11 years now without beating a Top 10 team. Do you remember the last one? It was No. 10 Georgia losing to 13th ranked Tennessee 51-33. It was a big night game in Athens with Joe Tereshinski keeping Matt Stafford’s seat warm. Hard to believe it’s been that long for the Vols.
Many good Georgia seasons have died in this game. But now Bulldog Nation is starting to think about a great season.
If this team is on its way to being great, then putting Butch Jones and Big Orange out of their misery must be the next step.
Or humility will in fact be one week away.