After waiting over 40 years, living off the dust of 1980, how would the Bulldogs celebrate such a title? What kind of parade do you have a time like this – very humble, no bands, everyone just hums the fight song? Does the trophy have to be pewter? Does the virus have a ring? What pride can there be in a formal title?
Or do we just do what we’ve been doing for almost two years now, do another pivot, redefine normal once again, keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best because no one has better ideas? Yes, a lot that.
It’s so disheartening to have this still for what should be a simple, glorious build-up week for the Bulldogs and the rest of college football. I won’t even try to sum it up in the sports warning because it is as worn out as the patience of the world.
It’s been 13 months since Alabama’s Nick Saban missed the Iron Bowl with Auburn after testing positive. And nothing seems to change on the COVID timeline. Saban and Alabama are back in the playoffs, of course, and they’re still at the mercy of the virus.
If you’re a member of the media – and kudos for that matter on making more sense than that – next week’s coverage will be drastically reduced. Many of us are going to unbox the bags, stay home, and pull what we can from the damn Zoom interviews that are back in fashion due to the COVID concerns. Without access, there is no reason to go. The distance between us and those we cover continues to grow.
OK, that growl is done. Now, if you’re a fan, next week is one where apprehension distorts anticipation. Bulldogs players have scattered here and there for the holidays, and unless they have to open gifts from a plastic bubble, there is no guarantee in what form they will return.
Already Georgia quarterback JT Daniels and wide receiver George Pickens have been brought into the COVID protocol. The quarterback’s kerfuffle between Stetson Bennett and Daniels was very hot without adding another variable. Don’t you already hear the tin foil hat conspirators complaining that this was all invented as a convenient way for Kirby Smart to stay with Bennett no matter what, and to lessen the backlash from the stands?
Every day between now and New Years Eve, when Georgia and Michigan are set to play their semifinals, will be rocked by uncertainty over who might be the next positive test and whether entire teams might be knocked out by one. epidemic. Not exactly the type of drama that drives sports entertainment.
The lower bowls showed the grim possibilities. The Hawaii Bowl has been called off, leaving a continent with no choice but to take care of its family on Christmas Eve. Texas A&M may have the 12th man, but not enough healthy players to compete in the next Gator Bowl. Rutgers, 5-7, was named a substitute for the Aggies due to his highest rate of academic progress among record-breaking teams. COVID has revamped the furniture in sports so much that it now makes the stock market really count for something, however small, in college football.
All this is only a small prelude. Next week’s Orange and Cotton Bowls, however, mean a lot more.
The Georgians have been through a whole regular season of breakouts – and the familiar pain of a loss to Alabama – just to get to this week. Then only to deal with a gnawing stranger caused by a pandemic that just won’t stop, and spend a week tiptoeing around the results of the next round of COVID tests rather than loudly celebrating the results. a season worthy of the playoffs.
Ah, and merry Christmas.