The opponent this time – Alabama, led by a winning Heisman quarterback and a coach who rewrote the physics of victory the Einsteinian way – is a much tougher challenge than Notre Dame, the last opponent of this. season 80. These Irish had a quarterback named Blair Kiel, who was solid but was none of Bryce Young’s.
And Herschel Walker doesn’t come through that door, fans. At least not in the buffers.
Just because details can sometimes get lost in haze doesn’t mean the 1980 ideal has vanished. As Jackson himself has said of what lies ahead for these dogs if they were to defeat Bama, “We have to go and make a statement so that we can be the next people people are going to talk about, Team 2021. “
What’s there in the short term for Georgia is a title won on the recommendation of an overwhelming regular season and confirmed by beating the source of so many tears and shortfall, Alabama. On a larger scale, what is within the grasp of these Bulldogs is the opportunity to go for bronze as an Eternal Team, as the 1980 peloton did.
Faced with such possibilities, perhaps that is why those fortunate enough to make history dare not look beyond Monday night’s hard work.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett is one win away from becoming a Certified Georgia Legend. He’s a Southern Georgian, with a better feel than most in this dressing room in Bulldogs history.
This is how he approaches the subject of trying to measure himself against a memory of 41 years: “I know Lindsay Scott, he is from Wayne County, where I come from. And of course I know Herschel. I talked to (1980 quarterback) Buck Belue and a few other guys on the team. And I grew up listening (late on the radio) to Larry Munson’s highlights on YouTube, all his calls.
“But there comes a time when you become a player and you can’t really be a fan anymore. And I don’t really know when this switch happened.
“I guess I know the scale for everyone because I was a fan at one point. I know this is a big deal.
Yeah, a pretty big life event. Somewhere between getting your learner’s license and the birth of a child.
When asked on Sunday how much he thought about the possibility of Monday being a legacy game, Georgia coach Kirby Smart couldn’t put enough distance between him and that thought. Such is the life of a coach, existing in the prison of the moment.
“What I’m feeling is how to stop Bryce Young and how to control his forehead and how to run the ball, how to throw the ball effectively, how to convert third downs and stop them in the red zone,” said Smart.
Others feel a little more free to admit that they are seeing outside the narrow tunnel on match day.
“To be the first (champion team) since the drought, I’m telling people, you’ll be a Georgia legend,” said linebacker Nolan Smith. “We have come to be legendary, to be special, to leave your mark. “
Frank Ros, middle linebacker and captain of the 1980 team, keeps saying how long Georgia waited long enough for another championship. “Forty-one is a generation (plus a few). It’s amazing that a program rich in history like Georgia failed to win another, ”he said. Recovering from minor surgery, Ros will not be at Indy for the game. (Definition of minor surgery: any surgery you do not have).
Ah, but he’ll be back in the Atlanta area to watch carefully, and as hopeful as he has been at any time for the past four decades.
“I think everyone thinks we’re ready to win one,” he said. “We feel like we have an opportunity, but we have to play our best. When you come to a championship final you have to be at your best or you don’t stand a chance. “
This is how the 1980 captain cleared room on the pedestal on which the last championship team stood. They are signaling 2021 to take a step forward, to give new blood to the glory.
“We have been missing company for a long time,” said Ros.