There’s been an inordinate amount of attention paid in the media this week to who’s talking (Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings, Alabama’s Kenyan Drake) and to who’s not (Aaron Murray).
Really, though, I think Mark Richt struck the right tone on this issue when talking about the bravado displayed by some of his defensive players in advance of the SEC Championship Game: “You know what? They’re all young and excited, and they say what they want to say sometimes. And I don’t think it’s going to matter much what everybody says before the game. I think it’s going to matter what happens when we kick it off. So I’m not too worried about that.”
Let’s be honest, at this stage of the season giving the other team so-called “bulletin board material” isn’t really a major concern. This is ultimate big-time college football, and a bit of swagger is pretty much expected.
Both teams know they can move the football and score points. And on defense, as usual, Alabama knows it’s good. I think the Georgia defense lost a bit of its mojo amid suspensions and position changes earlier in the fall but has finally caught up with its offseason hype.
As Amarlo Herrera said in backing up Rambo’s assertion that the Bulldogs have the best defense, “I haven’t seen anyone play better than us the second half of the season.”
Added Damian Swann: “This team is way more confident and has way more swagger than last year. That is what’s going to help us this weekend, because we’ve got to play like we’re the best team on the field.”
“I think both teams have confidence,” Todd Grantham said. “It’s going to come down to who executes and plays on the field, and we all understand that.”
And with this being essentially a BCS national championship semi-final, the stakes have never been bigger for the Georgia Bulldogs. “It’s all or nothing,” as Herrera put it.
The eyes of the football nation will be on the Georgia Dome Saturday. Heck, football is even back on the front page of the AJC!
Naturally, this has Bulldogs fandom pretty wired. Many UGA fans are fretting about how well the Dogs will stand up in the spotlight, considering Georgia teams have been known to wilt in situations not quite approaching the intensity of this one.
“I’m finding this whole week nerve-wracking,” is how one fan summed it up to me this week. “I just want it over with.”
To which I say: Relax. Enjoy it. Moments like this don’t come around all that often — well, unless you’re a Crimson Tide fan.
As Bama’s Drake, who sounds more than a bit jaded, noted on Twitter, the Crimson Tide does this stuff just about every year. But it’s been three decades since the Georgia Bulldogs were in the national championship conversation this late in the season.
Big “Motel 6,” John Jenkins, has the right attitude.
“I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.” Jenkins said in talking with the Athens Banner-Herald about all the hype surrounding this game. “You’ve always got to think about the journey. It was a long journey here. A lot of people took us out when we lost to South Carolina and now we’re in one of the biggest shows in America right now, close to the Super Bowl.”
Win or lose, the Dogs are a major player this season in college football. And if they manage to beat Bama, the hype is only going to get bigger and more intense.
The journey isn’t quite over yet. Let’s have fun while we’re still on it!
Got some thoughts on the upcoming game with Alabama or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find me on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg