For the first time in 30 games, Georgia has lost.
This game was the reverse of how most of the games this season went. The
norm has been for the opponent to score early with the Bulldogs dominating
the rest of the game. That scenario has happened over and over again.
It started off with Bama going three and out to start followed by a
UGA 8 play, 83 yard drive that took just 3:50. The Bulldogs were off to an
uncharacteristic early lead, 7-0.
But, from there, the Crimson Tide turned it on scoring 17
unanswered points taking a 17-7 lead into the half. The potent Georgia
offense was stopped time and again with four consecutive drives ending in
Coming out of the locker room, UGA flipped things somewhat
outscoring Alabama 17-10 in the second half. But, that was not enough as
they fell 27-24.
There were lots of key plays in the game. But, since the
differential was just three points, I look at two moments in the game.
In the first quarter, Georgia had a chance to tie it at 10 with a
45 yard field goal. Already a bit long.
Then, Jared Wilson got a false start call moving it back
even farther. The 50 yard Peyton Woodring attempt bounced off the
goal post keeping the score at 10-7....his first miss in fourteen tries.
They other moment came in the 3rd quarter. On a 1st and 15 at
Georgia's 17, a missed handoff by Carson Beck resulted in a fumble
recovered by Alabama at the UGA11. The defense held. But, the Tide still got
3 points out of it.
If either play had gone a different way, the game would have gone
to over time.
But, it didn't. And something like twenty seniors tasted defeat for
the first time in their college careers.
So, what happens next? Probably Nick Saban moves up from #8 to #4
and makes the playoffs. But, they needed Florida State to lose later in the
ACC Championship Game. And, that didn't happen. That win may result in no
SEC team being in the playoffs for the first time ever.
UGA probably will fall from #1 to #5 or #6 and just miss. It
doesn't seem fair that a #1 team's only loss came to the ultimate #4 or #5
team by just 3 points. But, it seems unlikely that both teams would make the
final four. As Kirby Smart said after the game, "do they choose the four
best teams or the four most deserving teams?"
We'll find out soon when the seedings are announced on Sunday.