INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Stetson Bennett IV bumped his center’s fist, then spread his arms, cocked his head and smiled in a pose befitting of this two-time national champion.

The look on the Georgia quarterback’s face was as if to say, this is too easy.

It was.

Bennett had just scored one of the easiest touchdowns of his career, strolling into the end zone untouched, shielded by a pair of lead blockers.

The national championship trophy ceremony was still a couple of hours away Monday at SoFi Stadium, but by then it already had become clear: Georgia remained on top of college football.

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The nation’s best team shattered the glass slipper and pulverized Cinderella.

No. 1 Georgia 65, No. 3 TCU 7.

Georgia’s greatness is no fairy tale.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart hoists the trophy after routing TCU for the national championship.
TCU earned its place in this game, but the national championship was decided when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta, when Georgia prevailed by a single point over Ohio State in a semifinal. The Buckeyes’ record got stained because of two poor fourth quarters, but I’m convinced the nation’s two most talented teams met that night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

By the second quarter Monday, the only question had become whether Georgia would score on every possession. The Bulldogs achieved that until halftime.

Six first-half possessions. Six first-half scores.

In a show of mercy, Georgia punted to open the third quarter. Then the bludgeoning resumed.

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Nick Saban used to turn national championships into blowouts.

Four of Saban’s six national titles at Alabama were lopsided affairs. One of the two exceptions was Alabama’s overtime triumph against Georgia in 2018, a reminder of how close the Bulldogs came to winning three national titles in the past six seasons.

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“We Want Bama” became a humorous paradox throughout Saban’s reign because all it took was a turn facing Bama to learn you wanted nothing to do with the Tide.

Until now, perhaps.

Alabama has inched off its perch, and that slogan from opposing fans requires a revision. “We Want Bama” should become “We Want Bama. Sure Beats Playing Georgia.”

When Georgia beat Alabama in the national championship last season, it felt like a snapshot rather than a reordering of the sport’s long-term power dynamic. Georgia possessed a historically great defense then and benefited from Alabama playing without two injured wide receivers.

Order would be restored this season, or so I thought, after those 2021 Georgia Bulldogs served up 15 NFL draft picks. Alabama entered this season ranked No. 1.

By winning a second consecutive national championship in a sport where such feats are uncommon, the Bulldogs proved their staying power under coach Kirby Smart. No team had successfully defended its title since Alabama’s 2011 and ’12 teams went back-to-back. Smart was Saban’s defensive coordinator in those years.

The list of coaches who possess one national championship includes the likes of Gene Chizik and Ed Orgeron. By winning a second title, Smart joins a more explosive group of multi-championship coaches, a fraternity that includes Saban, Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, Bobby Bowden, Tom Osborne and Joe Paterno.

Like the height of Saban’s dynasty, the mass departure of NFL talent did not send Georgia into rebuilding mode. It reloaded with a mix of holdovers and new stars.

By dhandi

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