I’ve thought about this “hate” article for a while. I’d like to claim I started thinking about it as soon as the abomination against Ohio State concluded, but I wasn’t capable of thinking about anything after a liquor soaked second half of self loathing. I would also like to claim that I started thinking about it the next day, but all I could concentrate on was my throbbing head and the desperate urge to vomit that accompanied any eye movement. The next day, however, the hate started creeping into my still pickled, but semi-functioning brain, but it wasn’t my usual hate. This hate was directed inward.
I write these for fun but Clemson is turning into the thing I love to mock. The Tigers have gone from a lovable underdog to a pretentious bully. There’s nothing worse than a team that runs their mouth in the press, but fails to back it up on the field. In what I consider “big games” Clemson is 1-3 since knocking off the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl, including two embarrassing beat downs, one by the hands of those same Buckeyes a year later. I’m not sure my normal confident, dismissive tone is right for this game. LSU and Ohio State both exploited the same flaws in the Clemson offense and defense.
Clemson can’t run the ball against elite teams.
Brent Venables is so determined to call the perfect defense, he forgets that the other team can snap the ball whenever they want.
Kirby and the Georgia staff spent the entire offseason game-planning for the Tigers, and I’m not confident either of the above mentioned problems are solved on Clemson’s end. If Georgia takes Clemson behind the woodshed, I’ll be disappointed but not surprised. For the first time in this incredible Clemson run, I’m shook.
To further compound matters, I spent the summer moving from Manhattan, Kansas to Athens, Georgia. The University of Georgia pays my mortgage and folks here have been nothing but welcoming to my Clemson-centric family. I have nothing but good things to say about Athens. The food/beer situation in the town is top notch. I’ve already procured tickets to numerous concerts in and around town. The town is teaming with shaded parks perfect for walking my dogs despite the oppressive heat. I would be insincere if I didn’t admit that Athens is an amazing college town.
I look at this Georgia roster, and there is no way around it, they are elite. I know it’s a cliché, but they’ve got SEC speed and size at every position, and Kirby Smart, despite what some of you believe, is an amazing head coach. Sure, he hasn’t knocked Nick Saban off his lofty perch... yet, but “oh, you haven’t beaten the best coach in the history of college football, you must suck” is a weak, short-sighted take. This man has taken the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship game 3 out of the last 4 years, and is an Alabama miracle comeback away from bringing the National Championship trophy back to Athens for the first time since 1980. I think he finishes the job this season, and the Bulldogs will finally get the unfair “doing less with more” monkey off their back.
The fact that he’s doing all this in the college football meat grinder that is the SEC East makes it even more impressive. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Georgia football, in fact, I may have a new second favorite team.
Ok folks, I think everyone that could potentially burn my house down has stopped reading this article...
You want to know what I really think about Georgia Football?
Georgia hired Nick Saban’s best line cook to run their restaurant, but Nick left a little something out of each recipe, and Kirby can’t figure out why his food is bland. He’s stacking talent from floor to ceiling (the ingredients, if you will) but can’t assemble them with the same finesse, the same exacting eye for detail, that Master Chef Saban is capable of bringing to the table. Georgia hired a line cook to run their Michelin Star restaurant, and wonders why it continues to get “good, but not great” reviews.
To be fair, Georgia and Kirby deserve each other. He’s a former Bulldog player afterall. If you want to hire a coach that can’t seem to get over the hump and win the big game, bringing in a guy that graduated from a program that hasn’t managed to get over the hump since 1980 is a match made in heaven. Who better to walk a team through the emotional rollercoaster of coming up short in big games than a man who spent his playing career in Athens doing exactly that?
“Ok y’all, I know that was a tough loss, but have I told you about my junior year when we went into Neyland stadium undefeated and got dog walked [Kirby is quick with a dog pun] by the Vols? How about my senior season when the same Vol team traveled down the mountain and beat us 22-3 between the hedges. Y’all, I played on a team that lost to Florida 38-7, this is nothing.”
Georgia didn’t hire a head coach capable of beating Alabama, but they did hire one capable of making the inevitable losing easier on the players. Kirby may not be an elite coach, but he’s a sympathetic ear who understands what it feels like to play for a team that never lives up to the impossibly high expectations set by the fan base.
Speaking of which....
People say that dogs end up looking and acting like their masters. This is never more true than at Georgia. I can’t think of a better representative of the Georgia fan base than a drooling, floppy jowled, perpetually overheated, bulldog. Don’t get me wrong, there are no bad dogs. If Uga rolled over at my feet, I would scratch his belly and tell him he’s a good boy, but the truth is, I can’t think of many dog breeds less suited for the blazing hot, oppressively muggy weather in Athens. Those poor dogs struggle to regulate their body temperature when it’s 70 degrees and cloudy, much less when it’s 95 degrees, with 100% humidity, in the full sun of a football stadium...but I digress.
These morbidly obese, face painted, plastic shoulder pad wearing, neckless, sweaty ass cracked, imbeciles think they’re college football royalty because they beat up on the SEC East? The same people that proudly arose from their rascal scooters, clutching their value bag of pork rinds, to stand defiantly behind Kirby Smart while he cried that “losing to Bama is the same thing as winning” think they’re better than Clemson?
The very idea is disrespectful, and yet, here we are again, listening to Georgia fans write checks with their mouths that their players can never cash on the field. Please, don’t think I’m not empathetic to their plight. They’re a simple people incapable of understanding that the media “rat poison” Nick Saban rails against is served up to Georgia fans in old school orange 50 gallon Gatorade jugs. The sports media machine tells them they’re great. It tells them they have the most talented roster in the nation. It tells them they’re going to walk into Charlotte and overwhelm the Tigers.
Every year is “finally the year” they break their 40 year championship drought, and the rubes head out to the nearest outlet mall to purchase new Bulldog merch to replace the dingy, pit stained, ammonia smelling, collar stretched gear from the previous year. You’ve got to show up at Sanford Stadium and pass out in the concourse from heat exhaustion during a September game against a bottom feeder like South Carolina, because you’ll be able to tell your grandkids that you watched the first two series of a game in 2021 before being stretchered out of the stadium, and that was finally the year Georgia retuned to greatness. Sure, it’s delusional thinking, but that hope keeps the coffers full in Athens for the inevitable firing of Kirby Smart and hiring of the next Bama assistant coach. PT Barnum said “there’s a sucker born every minute” but I fear he vastly underestimated the Georgia fanbase.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Clemson is who Georgia dreams of being. The Tigers have been a tier above the Bulldogs in the college football hierarchy for the last decade. They’ll never admit it, but deep down in their little Bulldog hearts, they know.
When they face off against the Tigers in Charlotte on Saturday, they’ll outwardly look like the most confident team in college football, while inwardly knowing they’re about to choke away another golden opportunity. Their buddies at ESPN have their “why losing to Clemson won’t stop Georgia from reaching the CFP” articles drafted and ready to fire off the second the game ends. The excuses about Georgia coming into the game “banged up” are already flowing. This thing is set up perfectly for Georgia to do what Georgia does best...lose when it matters most.
Oh, and for any Georgia fans that made it to this part of the article, no hard feelings friends. To show y’all the type of guy I am, I’ll happily make the 90 minute drive to Clemson with you in order for you to see what a National Championship trophy from this Millennium looks like.
See y’all next week and stay safe.