Since the Georgia Bulldogs had only a single college football national title during their previous era of prominence when a guy named Herschel Walker helped them do so in 1980, these are their glory days. It’s not only because the constantly expanding bank vault of their program is significantly larger than the doghouse of UGA — you know, their live bulldog mascot.
There are those streaks.
But let’s start with the money.
Just this spring, with a boost from the income generated from Georgia winning the last two College Football Playoff championships, all members of the Georgia Athletic Associaton Board of Directors raised their hands to approve a record budget of $162.3 million for the fiscal year of 2023.
This was nine months after the Georgia Board of Regents authorized in August 2022 $68.5 million to go toward renovations of nearly century-old Sanford Stadium in the middle of campus.
No doubt, the Bulldogs’ two-year domination on the football field of everybody from the meek to the mighy had much to do what that.
Then again, during the fall of 2019, when Georgia football was only pretty good instead of flirting with joining the all-time elite regarding extended dominance in the sport, Forbes determined the Bulldogs still were a huge money maker.
They ranked seventh back then among their peers with an average yearly revenue of $125 million during those three previous seasons prior to the pandemic.
Now the Bulldogs keep winning, and they show no signs of stopping. In fact, as long as there is this thing they’ve mastered during the last couple of years called your average college football game, they may never lose again.
Well, at least not during the regular season.
The Bulldogs suggested as much Saturday at home inside Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia after they were dominated in the first half by a supposedly much weaker South Carolina bunch. They even trailed by 11 points at intermission, but it felt like they were down by 111 points.
Then South Carolina’s upset became a mirage after Georgia did nearly everything right during the second half for a 24-14 victory. Suddenly, all of those streaks for the Bulldogs remained, and there are a bunch of them.
“I was pretty excited at halftime, because I knew we would find out what kind of team we have,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told me and other reporters after his Bulldogs went 2-0 earlier this season against a couple of teams not worth mentioning before they survived South Carolina in their first SEC game.
Kirby added during his press conference that his Bulldogs were “resilient” and “resourceful” in this one, but no news there. They’ve been that way throughout their current sprint toward greatness.
Not only that, but they’re flirting with a three-peat despite Georgia losing Stetson Bennett to the NFL after he served as their extraordinary quarterback during their two-peat.
They’ve also remained potent despite the Philadelphia Bulldogs (or Eagles, if you prefer) featuring Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith joining four other former Georgia teammates 0f recent years on that NFL team. In addition, the 2023 Bulldogs (the ones in Georgia, not Pennsylvania) have a slew of different players in general replacing departed stars.
None of the Georgia newbies is more significant than Carson Beck, Bennett’s backup-turned-current-starter. The primary reason the Bulldogs dashed South Carolina’s upset hopes was Beck’s ability to protect the ball while completing 27 of 35 passes for 269 yards.
“We came out with energy. We were composed, we were poised, and we started making plays,” said Beck, failing to mention Georgia also had enough talent remaining and added to a defense that was stifling down the stretch.
Thus those streaks for the Bulldogs.
They’ve extended their school-record winning streak during the regular season to 30 games (20 games overall in general). They’ve won 20 regular-season SEC games in a row. They’ve also won 21 games straight at Sanford Stadium, and their last loss between their so-called Hedges was four years ago.
To South Carolina.
Not this time.
Maybe never again . . . for awhile.