The Georgia Bulldogs football program entered rare territory after back-to-back title wins this year and is the only program alongside Alabama and USC to have accomplished the feat this century. Kirby Smart engineered a doomsday machine based on Nick Saban’s image, and the proof of that lies not just in the wins and hardware, but in the talent the school has poured into the NFL.
The Dawgs have recruited No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 class Dylan Raiola and are poised to continue attracting big-name recruits. The UGA Renaissance is upon us and the long dormant powerhouse is getting the recognition that comes with that success.
An unfortunate side effect of notoriety is scrutiny, especially when it comes to off-the-pitch issues. Bulldogs have often ended up in the blotter, and while I won’t say who wore them worst, the noise is somewhat reminiscent of another SEC school that seemed poised to chair the conference.
Heir to the Throne or Just Shame?
There was a time when the Florida Gators were the kings of college football when Urban Meyer sent explosive players onto the open field to support explosive allegations. I’d say stress was what prompted him to resign, but that’s debatable given how comfortable he is in morally questionable situations.
We’ll see how well Smart and co. can keep up this run, but um, 300 traffic violations since taking over as coach in 2015 feels like an exaggeration. The The Atlanta Journal’s constitution is astoundingly deep on offense and the article leaves the feeling that Georgian players are doing their best on the streets of Athens to emulate Dominic Toretto.
All of that recklessness peaked the day after the Dawgs’ second championship save in January, when staffer Chandler LeCroy and offense lineman Devin Willock died after crashing into a pole. Defensive lineman Jalen Carter had to flip himself inside police for allegedly being involved in the accidentwhich he did not deny and in all likelihood knocked him out of the top five in the 2023 NFL Draft.
One The investigation described the two drivers — LeCroy in a 2021 Ford Expedition and Carter at the wheel of a 2021 Jeep Trackhawk — as “operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing.”
Not so cheap company
Regardless of where Georgia is on the list of scandalized title teams, they are in this group now. It’s not the kind of company you want to keep, as we’ve seen problems out of the field fail in programs before. Say what you will about Saban and Alabama, but he’s been around since 2007, and I don’t recall members of the Crimson Tide having had such a run.
Yes, that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever written on “Bama,” and yes, I hated saying it, probably as much as Georgia fans hated reading it. However, it had to be said what happened to Stetson Bennett receive arrested for public intoxication in Dallas three weeks after UGA’s rave about TCU. I appreciate a post-title drink as much as another binge drink, but three weeks is a lot even for a college kid. None of this reflects well on the school, the fans, their coach and anyone responsible for holding the players accountable.
It’s easier to get 18, 19, and 20-year-olds to behave because the Georgia locker room is currently the most popular dorm on college campus. All SEC states have an outsized passion for football and it must be awesome to help usher in an era of dominance the fan base has never seen before.
Well, advertising has its price – deserved, but probably unfair – and that’s the way it is. Who knows if Kirby Smart will be okay with the reputational damage that comes with this kind of reporting or if it will have a negative impact on his program.