UGA & ‘Bama classic leads to MiamiPublished 11:53am Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Fifteen seconds left to go in the most important SEC Championship game in history. The fickle fate of momentum had reared its ugly head for the umpteenth time. Georgia, which had looked left for dead just 60 real time seconds earlier, was now knocking on the Tide’s doorstep.
“Fifteen seconds.” I thought to myself as I stood next to my seat in section 352. “Since Alabama still has their 3 time outs, maybe there is a chance that ‘Bama can get close enough to throw a Hail Mary … of course, Georgia would have to kick the ball into the end zone for a touch back…”
See, I was already resigned to the fact that UGA was assured of a score that would give the Dawgs a 35-32 lead. After a scoreless first quarter, this title game had more back and forth action than a raccoon fight on a porch swing. I was dead certain Georgia would get their touchdown leaving Alabama 10-12 seconds to retaliate.
I was still in the middle of my rationalization that the Tide could even be in a position to heave a desperation throw when my section erupted. Husbands were hugging wives, girlfriends were hugging husbands, elated small children had even quit texting (for a second or two a least).
As it turns out, Alabama wouldn’t need that Hail Mary. After driving the ball all the way to Alabama’s seven yard line, Georgia QB Aaron Murray passed up an opportunity to spike the ball and stop the clock. Instead, he opted for a quick out route pass which was tipped and then caught. When the receiver landed in bounds, there was no time left to get set or a final offensive play. Ballgame.
It seems that in a game filled with unbelievable plays, the most unbelievable was a three yard catch. In a game that deserved to end on the final play, that final play didn’t deserve to end that game.
Lost in the confusion of those final seconds was the fact that Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs defied their critics (including me) by going toe to toe with Alabama. Richt has caught a lot of flak from his detractors (again, including me), but he and his team certainly earned my respect Saturday. If he can translate Saturday’s performance into UGA’s off season work ethic, the Dawgs will be a very formidable team in 2013.
As for Alabama, it is now on to South Beach where the Tide will play for its third title in four years against the defining icon of the sport, Notre Dame. If you are sickened by hype, over-saturation in the media and the word ‘tradition’, my advice is to ask for ear plugs as an early Christmas present. Jan. 7, 2013’s version of ‘The Game of the Century’ will receive more attention a Duck Dynasty marathon.
There are so many plots and subplots to the impending BCS Championship. Saban’s return to Miami. Star receiver Amari Cooper coming home for the game’s biggest moment. The two most gigantic figures in college football going head to head.
But we’ll hear plenty of this talk for weeks. For now, Alabama fans, revel in the moment. This team probably couldn’t beat any of its recent year’s predecessors, but it does have a certain “je ne sais quoi” about it that makes the whole squad incredibly interesting.
It’s 30 plus days until the Tide takes on the Irish. Alabama fans should take a few moments to appreciate how far this team has come before looking forward to South Beach.
Robinson is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.