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Proud of UGA and proud of Kirby Smart

The moment the camera panned to the Alabama receiver breaking away, my stomach dropped like I was on a rollercoaster. Then the ball fell perfectly into his hands. The stadium erupted, the announcers gushed.

I fumbled for my remote and turned the TV off as quickly as I could. I sat there looking at the black screen for a few minutes, trying to process what just happened. Dare I turn the TV back on? No. I couldn’t stand the sight of another team holding up the trophy. Instead, I sauntered to bed, exhausted and heartbroken.

Yes, Georgia lost the national championship to the Crimson Tide 26-23 in overtime. Yes, it was the biggest game the Bulldogs have played in since the 1983 Sugar Bowl, a national championship game they also lost. Yes, it hurts. Badly.

But it doesn’t take away from anything Georgia accomplished this season.

I am so proud of this Georgia team. I am proud of the seniors that stayed and freshman quarterback Jake Fromm and the incredible fan base that traveled north, south, east and west for these young men. I’m proudest of Coach Kirby Smart and his story of success.

The best part is, that story isn’t over. This is just the prelude.

In just his second year, Kirby led the Bulldogs to the natty. It wasn’t by some fluke. It wasn’t “committee bias.” It wasn’t on some once-in-a-lifetime trick play or stroke of luck. It was hard work and leadership. We should be proud one of Bainbridge’s own has helped mold these young men into leaders and put a massive program like Georgia in the top of the college football conversations.

If Monday’s game showed anything, it’s that Georgia is right at the same level Alabama is. It may not have the same depth (which is why I think they lost the game), but it certainly fields the same level of talent. That talent has always been there for Georgia to tap, and the coaches have finally struck oil.

Even better, the Dawgs are bringing in the top ranked recruiting class, with an unprecedented amount of blue chip athletes ready to don the red and black. Georgia will lose some of its biggest starters on offense and defense, but there’s a standard now the next guys up will have to perform to.

Georgia will be back. Kirby will get the players ready. I know he will. What he’s building in Athens will bring championships to Dawg Nation. Mark my words.

Georgia fans should hold their heads high. I know this one hurts. But that’s good, it means you’re human, you’re passionate and care about this team. But keep that chin up. It’ll keep getting better.

Go Dawgs and Go Kirby.