Georgia football fans have been spurned by hope before, but its time to embrace it.
The last 40 years have been frustrating for every Georgia football fan that has gone through it. However, there is new hope this season. Now, that may not be a welcome sight for all Georgia fans, but it should be. Hope in the past has led to some pretty heavy heartache. To illustrate how different this hope is let’s compare what Georgia fans have gone through the last 40 years to another streak that was just as frustrating for the team and its fans.
Dale Earnhardt was a seven-time Winston Cup Champion, but he struggled for two decades to win the Daytona 500. Over those 20 years, he lost the race in every conceivable way possible. Engine trouble would take him out of the race in 1982, 1983, and 1985. He would run out of gas in 1986. In 1990 he cut down a tire on the final lap when he ran over some debris while in the lead. In 1991 he hit a seagull that had flown into the race track. A late wreck would cost him the 1997 Daytona 500.
This level of frustration is something Georgia football fans are very familiar with. They’ve been waiting for four decades to win a National Title but have missed doing so in the most frustrating of ways. The two most recent coming in 2012 and 2017. In 2012 Georgia lost to Alabama in the SEC Conference Championship Game because of terrible clock management. In 2017 it was Alabama again breaking Georgia fans’ hearts on a last-second touchdown to win the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game.
This is why it is understandable why some Georgia fans have taken a “wait and see” approach to the 2021 Georgia football season. Outside of stats and analytics, this isn’t anything fans of the last four decades haven’t seen. Georgia began the 2008 season as the number one team in the nation, only to lose it the very next week. So if some fans choose to be reserved and not emotionally invested quite yet that makes sense.
There were similar feelings in Earnhardt’s fanbase going into 1998. However, everything changed for Earnhardt that year. Before the race, he met with a little girl from Make A Wish Foundation. She gave him a lucky penny and told him “you’re going to win the Daytona 500.” Earnhardt put that penny on his dashboard and wouldn’t you know it, the caution flag flew with less than 2 laps left in the race. Earnhardt had done it, “20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration.” He had finally done it, Earnhardt had won the Daytona 500.
In a similar fashion 2021 is different for Georgia. The Bulldogs haven’t been ranked number one in the nation midway through the season since 1982. This Georgia defense is unlike anything Athens has seen either. In fact, Georgia’s defense is playing at a higher level than some of the best defenses of the last two decades. This isn’t your father’s Georgia football team, this team is different. The culture is different. The only thing that is the same is the goal.
As you can see from this tweet from Jon, this Georgia football team isn’t just different it is historically different.
This Georgia football defense really has that “Intimidator” factor. Kirby Smart is proving that you can still win with defense in College Football. No team has scored more than 13 points on this team and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to be able to. Right now Georiga is holding opposing offenses to three scores under their average. That is insane. Nobody in College Football right now can brag about a defense that is that dominant.
This team is set up to finally get over the hump. Just as Earnhardt’s luck changed in 1998, 2021 could be the year for Georgia. Embrace it, enjoy it, you deserve it. Georgia fans have been heartbroken long enough. Let yourself enjoy what is transpiring this season. Trust your eyes that you are seeing something special because you are. The College Football landscape hasn’t seen a Georgia defense like this and it very well could finally get Georgia football into victory lane.