It’s OK. You can love UGA and hate this season at the same time. As a matter of fact, you should embrace that feeling. It’s an easier way to accept the 2016 campaign.
Full disclosure… I’m a UGA homer. I bleed red & black, but I’m not such a fanatic that I can’t criticize. This season has been an emotional ride that deserves plenty of it.
We started the season with 93K Day. Kirby Smart called for Dawg Nation to fill up Sanford Stadium for the spring practice & we did. Not surprisingly, UGA provided a little controversy thanks to our musical guest & his rider.
2016 was off to a great start.
So here we go. New coach – a Saban disciple, the best high school QB in the country and a healthy Nick Chubb complimented by Sony Michel. Surely, 2016 is gonna be the best, ever. Right?
Flash to around 3:30 Saturday afternoon, after the most recent version of “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” What started as an historical season wrapped with a 7-5 record and a shameful limp to a lower-tier bowl appearance.
Reality is, our expectations were over the top to begin with. I was hoping for a 9-3 season and looking forward to watching Eason grow as our future stud QB while Smart began his transition from assistant coach to legend. What I got was a high school QB still finding his arm with a head coach still finding his feet.
Credit is due to Coach Smart for starting the season strong in the Georgia Dome with a win over UNC and his first signature win over Auburn. But past that, my positive takeaways are few. Rodrigo Blankenshhip was a great story, Eason showed moments of maturity & we got to know future stars like Isaac Nauta, Brian Herrien and Riley Ridley. Combine that with Mel Tucker’s defensive line that had to play every game like the season was on the line. Yes, there were some bright spots.
However for every fist pump, there was a dropped pass, overthrown ball, stupid penalty, missed field goal & head-scratching coaching decision.
I’ve heard fans say that we were one blocked Hail Mary (UT), one yard (Vandy) and one tipped pass (GT) from being 10-2. However we were also one missed field goal (KY) and one dropped pass (Mizzou) from being 5-7. The 2016 Georgia Bulldogs looked like a new team every week.
I love this team, but hated this season. After whatever bowl we get “rewarded” with, we will spend the next eight months over-analyzing, over-thinking and planning the 2017 season, and I can’t wait. However, let’s slow our roll and keep our expectations realistic.
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