The last time (above) ESPN College Gameday came to Athens was the 1998 Tennessee game. UGA fans were riding high coming off a road win over Top 10 LSU in Baton Rouge. We had a freshman QB who had just set the bayou on fire under the lights, and Champ Bailey was totally unstoppable on both sides of the ball.
Tennessee was playing the game without Peyton Manning, who was the Bulldog Anti-Christ for 4 years, and Jamal Lewis was out of the game with an injury suffered at Auburn the week before.
Gameday opened with WCW Champion Bill Goldberg looking into the camera and saying something like, "Tennessee...You're Next."
Things looked great...well...until the game started and Tennessee physically beat the ever living hell out of Georgia. The 22-3 score doesn't remotely begin to reveal the physical difference between the two teams. Today's underclassmen students were 8-9 years old on that painful day.
We've come a long way baby.
We enter the game tomorrow with superior or equal talent at every position except one (Left Tackle). Just as importantly, we have a world class coach who has instilled a work ethic that breeds success. Big wins aren't shocking anymore to Georgia fans.
On the other side of the field is Bama. This is NOT the Alabama program of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Not yet anyway. This is an Alabama team that lost to Louisiana-Monroe last year. This group of players has yet to face an elite SEC opponent in a game with this much build-up and come out the other side a winner. Dealing with that spotlight isn't easy.
All the intangibles favor Georgia.
Most of the personnel match-ups favors Georgia.
And it's a home game.
If Georgia protects the ball like it has all season and covers kicks at least as well as they did versus Arizona State, we're going to win this thing by 7 points or more.
In 2008, Georgia doesn't hope to win. Georgia expects to win. It's going to be a war, and Bama isn't going to roll over for us. But, I can't wait for Saturday.