Georgia doesn't have to go through Alabama to prove it's the champ
Blame Robert Neyland. The Tennessee football coaching legend set the standard for setting Alabama football as the standard against which all others should be measured. Back in 1934, the General got poetic about it and put it like this: "You never know what a football player is made of until he plays Alabama."
Vince Lombardi played a role, too, in the legacy of Roll Tide. The Green Bay Packers coaching legend added another block of granite filled with gravitas to the crimson tradition's foundation. After Lombardi's Packers won the first Super Bowl in January of 1967, he was asked what it was like to be the greatest football team in the world.
"I don't know," Lombardi said. "We haven't played Alabama yet."
Fast forward to the 2023 College Football National Championship Game. Not long after Georgia established its dominance over TCU, not long after kickoff, well before the final score settled at a cartoonish 65-7, I took to Twitter and tossed this raw meat into the maw.
"Is it really a national championship if you don't have to beat Alabama along the way?"
I included a smiley face with sunglasses emoji to indicate that I was trying to have a little fun with the one-sided festivities, but hoo boy. Subtlety has less chance in a college football Twitter debate than Frogs against Dawgs.
Alabama fans applauded my perceived insight, some of them for the very first time. They seemed to think I was throwing shade at Georgia, those lucky Dogs. Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Georgia is just the second national champion not named Alabama that did not have to survive the Tide. The first was Florida State in 2013, but the less said about Jimbo Fisher in championship conversations in 2023, the better.
Meanwhile, members of every "We Want Bama" (to crash and burn) fan base reacted quite differently to my alleged effrontery. Georgia and Auburn fans formed an unholy coalition to question my sanity, suggesting that I was auditioning to be a Bammer. It was as if I had flown to California, snuck into SoFi Stadium and, right before the podium ceremony, spray-painted the gold trophy with a crimson asterisk.
Doggone it. Did NOBODY see the smiley face with sunglasses emoji?
Read Kevin's serious comparison of Georgia and Alabama to its completion. Only in The Lede.