Georgia football is officially the top-ranked team in the country, and as expected, fan reactions are all over the place.
It’s been a long time coming as far as most fans are concerned since Georgia has looked like the most complete team in college football through the first half of the season. Alabama’s surprise loss to Texas A&M finally opened the door for the Dawgs to take the top spot on the AP Top 25 Poll.
Being number one has some fans concerned, though. Expectations are higher. A target is placed firmly on the team. Reaching that coveted top spot could cause players to become arrogant or complacent.
While these concerns probably would have been valid for former teams under previous coaching staffs, they aren’t for this team.
The reality is, the ranking is simply a number. These are the Kirby Smart Georgia Bulldogs. Expectations have been sky high since 2017. Georgia has consistently ranked in or just outside of the top 10 since then.
As a premier SEC team, there is always a target on its back, so it’s nothing new for the Dawgs.
Regarding Georgia’s ultimate goal, being ranked No. 1 is no different from No. 2, No. 3, or No. 4. Sure, ranking affects matchups in the College Football Playoff, but getting to that stage regardless of ranking is what matters because it provides the opportunity to compete for a national championship.
This Georgia team has answered the call and proved itself every time there has been an opportunity to do so this season. It’s fair to wonder how a team will respond to being considered the best in the country, but Smart has had this team in the national conversation for most of his tenure and knows a thing or two about managing a team with lofty expectations.
Georgia fans should be excited to see their team sit atop the rankings rather than worrying about a potential letdown. It is definitely still possible that a disappointment occurs.
Upsets can happen on any given Saturday, but the number sitting next to the team’s name will not be the reason for it if/when it happens.
The Dawgs have overcome plenty to be in this position this year. Injuries plagued the team since before the season started, notably causing the under-appreciated backup quarterback Stetson Bennett to play a lot more meaningful snaps than most anticipated.
As dominant as the team has been, it can still get better. That should be the focus of Georgia fans as the season progresses instead of a ranking that won’t truly matter until the end of the season anyway.
This group is a special team with a lot of talent. Fans should enjoy it as much as they possibly can. Success is fleeting. Don’t miss out on the chance to relish it as it’s happening. It may all come crashing down and prove some people right, but it also could all continue to play out perfectly to the end, and those who were too worried about a letdown will have missed out on the enjoyment of the journey.
Being the top-ranked team in college football is not something that most fans of any team not named Alabama can experience very often. Fans should do what fans they do — talk some trash, send some Tweets, poke fun at that neighbor with the Roll Tide sticker on his car now that they’ve gotten brought down a notch.
Leave the worrying and stressing about mentality to the coaches. The spotlight is a bit bigger at the top, but it shouldn’t be anything that Georgia isn’t capable of handling.
More eyes than normal will be fixated on the Dawgs hoping to see the top team fall again, but that’s just an opportunity for the players to show the country what they deserve to sit atop the polls.