INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The aftermath looked like championships often do.
Confetti flew everywhere while fans belted out “We are the Champions” and the locker room was filled with celebratory cigar smoke and rap music. Every single Georgia player knows the words to “Faneto” by Chief Keef and “No Flockin” by Kodak Black.
But what was different about Georgia’s memorably lopsided 65-7 victory over TCU in the College Football Playoff national championship at SoFi Stadium on Monday night was the fact that this win put the Bulldogs in extremely rare company. They are now just the seventh program to repeat as outright national champions since the AP poll began in 1936.
Of course, the last team to do it was Alabama in 2011 and 2012, and Georgia coach Kirby Smart was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at the time.
So now the question must be asked: Is Georgia the new Alabama?
“We don’t want to compare ourselves to anybody else,” cornerback Kelee Ringo said. “We’re starting our own thing over here, and we want to continue to build on that.”
“Nah, we’re Georgia,” added right tackle Warren McClendon. “We don’t want to be like Bama. We’re Georgia.”
That’s fair. But when Smart was hired by his alma mater in December 2015, he began building Georgia in his image, an identity that he developed and honed while working for Saban for 11 years at LSU, with the Miami Dolphins, and then at Alabama, where he helped the program win four national championships as a faithful assistant.
Over the past seven years, Smart has turned the Bulldogs into a team that’s physically imposing and stingy on defense, with a relentless must-win attitude. Before kickoff, he said on the TV broadcast, “We’re gonna hunt tonight.” It sounded kind of like those Alabama teams that strived to make their opponents quit before the game even starts.
While Georgia wants to distinguish itself from its SEC rival, it is basically the next iteration of the Crimson Tide as the new measuring stick in the conference and the sport. The torch has been passed.
Georgia showed no mercy against TCU on Monday night in so many ways. Smart said after the game that he instructed his scout team defense to become the Horned Frogs defense as they prepared to face them this week.
“We said we’re going to do it better than they do it,” Smart said. “You’re going to watch tape, sit in here, learn how to do it. We had guys be their guys and do their defense exactly right. Until the last day we were walking in there, they were giving an unbelievable look. That set our offense up for success.”
This helped Heisman finalist quarterback Stetson Bennett have his way from the start, running for a 21-yard touchdown on the opening drive and finishing with a glowing stat line of completing 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards with four touchdowns, and no sacks or interceptions.
Bennett, whose Hollywood story has been told fondly over the…
Read More: Is Georgia the new Alabama? ‘We’re starting our own thing over here’ 2023-01-10 07:35:01