Monday, September 28, 2015

The Day the Music Died

Hard to believe it was 7 years ago, doesn’t it.  The SEC changed that night.  Gameday was there.  The black jerseys were there.  Knowshon and Stafford and AJ were there.  We had become the darling over the last year.  The moxie that was born in Tuscaloosa in a one and done OT victory spilled over into Jacksonville, exploded in black vs. Auburn and came full-circle in a Sugar Bowl beat down.  ABC wanted to see us at 8 p.m. in the dessert and AJ birthed a new star in our arsenal.  

And we were never the same.

And they were never the same.

It would be three years before we seemingly won another game that mattered, when Aaron Murray completed two 4th down passes to secure the East lead over Florida and South Carolina.  A year later, another win in Jacksonville  over #2 Florida said we were back.  Until the clock ran out in the GA Dome.  Almost back.  But not yet.  Another trophy for Bama.  Another ‘almost’ for Georgia.

Gurley and Murray for another year seemed like a lock.  The injuries in Knoxville.  The slide.  The promise of 2014 and the suspension.  Another SEC title for Bama.  

But it all started that night in Athens.

I don’t know if Richt thinks about that, but something changed in all of us that night.  Something changed in our program.  Something changed in Tuscaloosa.  There certainly seems to be the feeling that things are changing again.  Bama seems remarkably vulnerable.  They might win Saturday, but it seems highly unlikely they’ll roll to another 11-1 season.  There’s a trip to College Station and one to Starkville.  There’s LSU and Tennessee.  We seem…so…Bama like.  The win vs. South Carolina was so merciless.  It felt like a Bama win vs. a West opponent that “thinks” they’re in the hunt (see MSU last year).  They have all the pressure on them.  We lose and still can easily win the East and make the playoff.  They lose and it’s over.  Everything is over, just as the sun sets on Clarke County on Oct. 3.  

This is why we love the sport.  I have no idea what will happen.  I think we’re better.

·       I think Lambert is a tremendous edge over Coker (and I’m not sure they don’t fart around w/ their QBs)
·       I’ll take Chubb and Sony over Henry and Drake (though Drake scares the daylights out of me – but I think Sony is THE difference maker in the game)
·       I think Malcom has to play huge, but I like him and our WR over theirs.
·       I think (shhh…) our O-Line (shhh…) might be the best in (shhh….) SEC and maybe (shhh….) nation.  I said be quiet.
·       I’d take Ragland and MLB for us, but I’ll bet 42 and 51 come to play.  You think 51 remembers how his program got shut down?
·       Pash rushers ain’t even close.
·       Secondary?  It might be a push.  I don’t know if they have a ball-hawk like Sanders.
·       D-Line is the spot that everyone seems to believe that Bama has the edge.  Our guys are playing pretty awesome.
·       Has Bama ever made a kick that matters?  I’ll take Marshal Morgan (though I’m worried about him)
·       Okay, they’ve got that Aussie punter that can kill it.  Advantage Tide.

I think our OC is better.  I think our DC is better (wow, that was remarkably satisfying to say).  I think they WANT to prove themselves.  I think our coach is a fresh empty-nester and has a lot of time to watch film – and I think it’s making a difference.  So there you go.  I think we’re better.  We have to play well, but I think we’re better.

Oh, and boy that Mark Richt knows quarterbacking doesn’t he?

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