Georgia football: It just means more when it comes to Alabama

Nick Saban and Kirby Smart shake hands after a game. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Nick Saban and Kirby Smart shake hands after a game. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It’s the game Georgia football fans have waited for all season — it’s Alabama week.

At times, a player or a team does something in sports, and that action stays with people forever.

Sometimes it is good — you have the Buck Belue pass to Lindsay Scott in the 1980 Georgia, Florida game. Casual Georgia fans know that play and, more than likely, not any other play made by either.

On the opposite side, you have the Bulldogs with the big bad Alabama Crimson Tide in their recent history. Since 2008 Georgia is 0-6 against the team from across the river.

Those losses have followed Georgia — intensifying after back-to-back second-half collapses in the 2018 national title game and 2018 SEC Championship.  Georgia cannot outrun the stigma.

“Well, they cannot beat Alabama” is said on a loop when Georgia does well.

Georgia football has lived in Alabama’s shadows since 2007, but this year could be the moment that all changes.

This season fans have heard it weekly. We hear this, as well as 1980 at nosism. The sad part is the Alabama deal. I understand why people say it.  Georgia has not only lost six times, but they have also done so in every way imaginable as well as unimaginable.

Painfully let me walk you down memory lane.  It will not be fun because, let’s face it,  our lives as Georgia fans could, no, would be so much different minus Alabama and Nick Saban.

In September 2008, Georgia was No. 3 in the country, and Alabama was in year two of Saban. Georgia ended the 2007 campaign No. 2, and Alabama finished 7-5.

The week of the game, Georgia head coach announced the game would be “black out,” and many felt the road to the 2008 BCS championship was going include a black out victory against Alabama.

By halftime, the Tide had rolled, and Alabama was up  31-0, eventually winning 41-30. Georgia finished the year losing twice more to Florida and Georgia Tech. Alabama would lose the SEC Championship to the eventual BCS National Champion Florida.

From there, the Alabama dynasty was off and going, while Georgia would take years to get back to that level of excitement.

At the SEC Championship in 2012, it was No. 2 Alabama and No.3 Georgia. The winner of the game would play No. 1 Notre Dame for BCS National Championship. Georgia would lead until a late AJ McCarron touchdown pass. The Dawgs would not give up and would drive down towards the end-zone in the final seconds.

With six seconds left, wide receiver Chris Conley would catch a deflected pass in bounds, and with no timeouts, the clock would hit zero. Alabama won 32-28 and went on to hammer Notre Dame and win another national championship.

This year was close as Georgia had been to a national title game, and it was Alabama who slammed the door. Unfortunately would not be the last or the most painful.

Next would be 2015. Early in the season, fans were not aware of all the behind-the-scenes issues in Athens. Georgia was 4-0 while Alabama was 3-1. The Dawgs would be the favored team in this game. It was the first time in years Alabama was an underdog — they have not been since either.

During pregame, Georgia players would line up in front of the Alabama player entrance to the field, yelling at the Alabama players.

Alabama players did not yell back, and they did not bat an eye. Much like 2008, The Tide would take a big lead into halftime and again embarrass Georgia in Sanford Stadium. While Georgia would end up firing Mark Richt at the end of 2015, many felt the Alabama game was when boosters had enough.

While Georgia was trying to start over, Alabama would go on to win another National Championship.

The next time the two teams would meet would be the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship. With the Crimson Tide losing the Iron Bowl in 2017, they did not win the SEC West division.

Missing the SEC Championship didn’t matter as the CFP committee elected them in the final four.

The game started unlike any other of late for the Bulldogs and Tide. Georgia would jump out to a 13-0 halftime lead. The Dawgs were in complete control and 30 minutes from its first national championship since 1980.

Alabama’s offense was out of sync, and something big would have to happen to change that.

Tua Tagovailoa, a  freshman quarterback, entered the game, and a switch went off for Alabama. The Crimson Tide would storm back, and the game would enter overtime tied at 20.

Georgia would lose the coin toss — the fourth coin toss that they would lose that playoff. After a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal, Georgia would lead 23-20. The Dawgs were one defensive stop and missed field goal away from a championship. The first play Alabama ran resulted in a 16-yard sack by Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy.

Dawgs fans could feel it as the defense faced 2nd and 26. They knew it would be tough for Alabama to kick a field goal. All the defense had to do was hold them. Before anyone could finish that thought, Tagovailoa’s long pass was in the air, and DeVonta Smith was catching it across the goal line. Pain set in as 26-23 was the final.

Not only do you lose, but Alabama wins another National Championship, and you had to watch them celebrate it.

One year later, Georgia would have a chance at redemption and once again would take the lead into halftime. Tagovailoa would leave with an injury, while Georgia was ahead 28-21. In comes backup quarterback, Jalen Hurts — who Tagovailoa replaced in the CFP National Championship. Of course, the Alabama backup would lead Alabama not only to tie but win the game.

The usual reliable Blankenship missed a 35-yard field goal when Georgia was ahead 28-14. Having a three-possession lead could have changed the outcome. Watching Hot-Rod miss the field goal made me believe there is something in the air when these two teams meet, and it is not good.

Finally, we get to 2020 — the Covid season. Surely Georgia could use the limited Alabama crowd to their advantage. Again Georgia would lead at halftime, this time 24-20. The second half would not be so kind. The Dawgs saw an absolute collapse as Alabama shut out the Georgia offense and rolled to a 41-24 win. Alabama would win another National Championship after 2020.

Now it is 2021, and Georgia is 12-0 for the first time in 40 years. Alabama took four overtimes to beat a 6-6 Auburn team. They also already have a loss to Texas A&M early on in the season.

This year looks like the best Georgia team possibly ever and the most vulnerable Alabama team Georgia has played since 2007. However, if the last six games against Alabama have taught Georgia fans anything, nothing is as it seems against Alabama.

We saw the Atlanta Braves get the Los Angeles Dodgers “monkey” off their back last month. Once the Braves beat the Dodgers, nobody could beat them. That confidence in beating LA is what will happen with a Georgia win over Alabama.

dark. Next. Georgia football: 12 quick takeaways from the Dawgs 12th victory

Beat Alabama, and all people can use to troll Georgia are “1980,” which will only work for another month. This game always means more, but this year has been the year of breaking streaks, so why not the Dawgs and see them end two of the biggest streaks in their way.