Georgia Has a Chance to Prove It Isn’t 2017 – Yardbarker

Posted: October 7, 2021 at 3:47 pm

2017 was a magical season for Georgia fans. The return of team leaders and fan favorites Nick Chubb and Sony Michel for one last run helped fuel a narrative of revenge as the Dawgs tore through their schedule, avenging the losses suffered in the Kirby Smart's first year as Georgia's head coach. Every week fans got more confident, and the team got better and better and better. It was a glorious time to be a Dawg.

Four years later, fond memories of a red and black wave swamping Notre Dame's stadium, stomping Florida 42-7, and a wild overtime win in the Rose Bowl provide a veneer that almost displaces thoughts of the 2nd and 26-yard play that ended the season in an abrupt tragedy. Almost. For as illustrious as the 2017 season was and the place it holds in the hearts of the Bulldog faithful, Georgie still couldn't win a national title, the one accolade that has eluded the Dawgs for four decades.

The sudden end of the national championship game left many Georgia fans feeling like the rug had been pulled out from under them, but there was one other game that the Dawgs dropped that year. In late November of that year, the Dawgs traveled to the Plains as the top-ranked team in the country to face an Auburn team that was fighting to stay alive. Instead, they left with a black eye after losing 40-17.

Outside of the opening drive, the hostile environment in Jordan-Hare that evening overwhelmed a Georgia team that just wasn't ready for the moment. Kirby Smart was able to rally his team and close out the season, even avenging the loss in the SEC Championship game, but in hindsight, it looks like a foreshadowing of what was to come.

This year the Bulldogs find themselves in an eerily similar position to the one they found themselves in that year. The Dawgs are undefeated, a top-ranked team in the country, with a tough win over an overrated perennial playoff contender early in the year and a blowout win over an SEC West team having the most success it has had in years. They'll face an Auburn team that has rallied after suffering an early loss in non-conference play, led by an embattled coach and quarterback looking to change his legacy as a Tiger. They're headed into a raucous environment in the same stadium for a 3:30 CBS kick. It's a potent brew for an upset. It is also Georgia's opportunity to prove that this team's story has a different ending than the ones that came before.

A win on Saturday would be historic for Georgia. It would mean that the Dawgs would beat every SEC West team it plays in the regular season for the second time under Kirby Smart. It would prove that Georgia can go on the road and win in front of a hostile crowd. Finally, it would bring them one step closer to their ultimate goal, the one the team and fans are desperate to hoist.

The heartbreaking end to the 2017 season left a lasting impression on the psyche of Georgia fans. A sense of nihilism has crept into the fanbase, and honestly, it's hard to blame them. That magical year was followed by three seasons of being good, even great at times, but still just short of being the best, and none of these seasons could recapture the feel of the 2017 season. This season, however, there is a spark that is on the verge of rekindling that magical feeling, and a win this Saturday should stoke the fires of hope in even the most cynical of Dawg fans.

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Georgia Has a Chance to Prove It Isn't 2017 - Yardbarker

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