Fresh off of their first national championship victory in 41 years, the Georgia Bulldogs had finally vanquished the demons that had plagued them for a generation. The team then proceeded to set records with its incredible draft night success (15 players drafted, including the top overall selection). Things couldn't get much better for Georgia football.
So how could a program like that be playing with a chip on its shoulder?
Brandon Adams joined College Football Gametime on Saturday morning ahead of the program's fifth SEC Championship in the last six years to discuss.
"It started in the summertime because when you looked at all the kind of ‘way too early top-25s’ that came out, and then the official polls themselves, it was seemingly unanimous that both Alabama and Ohio State were better than UGA," Brandon Adams explained to the guys on Saturday morning. "The point we made at the time was, hey, I don't have any issue with anybody picking Ohio State to win the national championship -- and by the way, that's a more relevant topic now because of last night’s result -- or Alabama. I don’t have a problem with an individual making that choice [of picking either Ohio State or Alabama over Georgia], but the idea that it's unanimous, I do believe is a little bit of disrespect to a UGA team that was the reigning national champion. I don't care how many players they had drafted off their roster."
The thought that those two programs were primed for a dominant season was completely understandable. Both teams had quarterbacks that made the trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony and a boat-load of talent surrounding them on their respective rosters. On the other hand, Georgia lost a large portion of its roster to the draft and was looking to reload.
The Bulldogs heard the noise and made their opponents pay. They crushed their first three opponents -- including a top-ranked Oregon team -- by a cumulative score of 130 to 10 and the naysayers went back into the woodwork.
Then came a sleeping-walking phase with narrow victories over Missouri and Kent State, and the doubters re-emerged.
"But prior to the Tennessee game once again, it was amazing to me that even though Georgia remained a point-spread favorite in the game that a lot of the media chatter and a lot of the fan chatter going into that Tennessee game was about it being some sort of coronation for the [Tennessee] Volunteers," Brandon Adams continued. "People were just so enamored by this high-powered Tennessee offense and the question was always ‘Ooh, can Georgia keep pace with this?’ The question was never can Tennessee actually score against the defense that’s going to punch them in the mouth? No one ever asked that question. People ask the more critical question of Georgia; can you get keep pace? We found out the answer that day.
"And so here we are now going to the playoff and once again, from the same voices that have doubted Georgia in a pretty aggressive fashion a couple times already, it sort of seems like there's this attempt to shop around for anybody else other than UGA to win the national championship. Its infatuation with teams right now like Ohio State and Alabama that entered the weekend with no chance of being in the playoff -- and in Alabama's case it’s still pretty remote that they could actually make it -- but there's this infatuation with the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide because the results of the season haven't matched the preseason opinion."