When Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa tossed a 41 yard touchdown pass, just one play after the Georgia defense had sacked him for a 16 yard loss, you could feel the air being sucked out of the Bulldog nation collectively. After all, the 'Dawgs had taken a three point lead in overtime and that sack had put the Crimson Tide out of field goal range. Georgia was three plays away from their first NCAA Championship in more than 36 years. Even Coach Vince Dooley and Herschel Walker were probably feeling good about the 'Dawgs chances as they sat together in a private box in the Mercedes-Benz Dome. I'm sure that Georgia wasn't expecting the play that won the game on the very next snap but boy you talk about ways to lose a ball game that really hurt.
That one did.
Some of the Bulldog faithful have blamed the officiating, which is utterly ridiculous. But they now simply must face facts. Alabama was the best team in the country when the season started and they're the best team in the country at season's end.
So, where does Coach Kirby Smart and his staff go from here? They lose one of the best running back tandems in SEC history in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and even though Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith hasn't made up his mind yet about leaving early for the NFL draft, it's likely he will be gone as well. That's a lot to lose, but with a top ranked recruiting class coming into Athens this year, things are looking good for the Bulldogs to be back in the hunt.
That positive scenario doesn't really ease the pain of Monday night's 26-23 defeat. When you lose a game the way they lost it, it's hard to get over. It was almost like the "Dobb-Nail Boot" loss to Tennessee in 2016. Remember.....Jacon Eason had tossed a touchdown pass with just seconds remaining giving Georgia the lead; a lead that lasted just long enough to give Josh Dobbs a chance at a "Hail Mary" toss to JuJuan Jennings with no time left giving Tennessee a huge come from behind win. It hurts that much or maybe more. It has left Bulldog fans everywhere hungry for the start of the 2017 season.
The 2018 SEC East race should be easy pickins for Georgia. Tennessee is trying to rebuild, Florida is down, and I don't see any other team being able to slip past the Bulldogs. Guess which team is in the same position in the SEC West? Alabama. The Tide's dominance in the SEC and all of college football will continue for a few more years; at least until Nick Saban either retires or returns to the NFL.( Rumors have Saban extremely interested in the vacant N.Y. Giants job )
Until then Georgia must deal with the pain of Monday night's loss. It will take some time and hopefully Mark Fox's Bulldog basketball team can have a good run the next few weeks. That should take it off the minds of the Bulldog faithful. Just remember that Tennessee endured 47 years of suffering between national titles. ( 1951-1998 ) As you put that in perspective, 38 years and counting isn't really that bad is it?