• 75°

Alabama vs. Georgia: Who will win it all?

Georgia versus Alabama, Alabama versus Georgia. Two schools separated by 275 miles.

For two teams that aren’t necessarily considered rivals, there’s quite a history there. Since their very first head-to-head in 1895, there have been highs and lows for both sides. Bama leads the series 38-25-4. The last three games in particular are what this generation of Georgia fans remember most.

Heartbreakers and disasters in 2008, 2012 and 2015. The most recent stings the most. It’s also a game the juniors and seniors on this Georgia team will remember come kick off time Monday. It was pouring down rain in Athens and Georgia was predicted to beat Alabama. Instead, the Dawgs were throttled. Bama went on to win the Natty that season.

That’s revenge fuel, if I ever saw it. We’ve seen how well the Dawgs have done on their “revenge tour” this season. The national championship fits right in that lineup.

On that point, this is a chance for the seniors to finish what they started. Four players—Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter—made the call to stay their senior year at Georgia, forgoing gobs of money in the NFL. It’s rare for a talented nucleus of players to make that kind of multi-million-dollar decision. But they wanted one more shot.

Well, boys, the shot has come, on the biggest stage in the game. This is why you stayed. This is why you worked, sweated, bled, screamed, cheered and cried all year long. I have zero doubt these seniors, and the entire Georgia team, will make the most out of this opportunity and win it all.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of Georgia’s west campus home fields (the other would be Bobby Dodd Stadium). With how tickets are distributed, the fan base in the seats will be split pretty evenly. But outside? That’s a different story. You’ll hear woofin’ clear across the city and all throughout the state. It’s supposed to be a neutral site, but the atmosphere of Atlanta will be all Dawg come Monday evening.

And in the middle of all of it stands Kirby. Our hometown hero.

As coach, he has sharpened the tools left for him in the workshop and is adding even sharper and better ones as he goes. The culture change he has instilled in the Georgia locker room is impossible to miss. There’s a tenacity in this team that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.

Like the players, Kirby has his motivations to win. They say Nick Saban is 11-0 against his former assistants. Yeah, OK, I get it. The guy is good. But Coach Smart is his own man that won’t stand in the shadow of Saban, and I think he wants it more. The players understand the magnitude of what this means for Athens and Georgia fans around the world. This is personal and important for Kirby and his Dawgs. They won’t let it slip through their fingertips.

Dawgs on top 34-28.