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The Bobo Sequel

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Todd Monken is no longer in Athens, headed back to the NFL ranks to join the Baltimore Ravens after leading Georgia’s offense for three seasons.

Mike Bobo is stepping into the role as offensive coordinator after having served as an analyst for the Bulldogs this past season and a quite well-traveled past before that, much of which took place in Athens.

What’s old is new again, with Bobo’s promotion to offensive coordinator being announced. There were two other options for Smart to go in replacing Monken, and each had its upside but also a downside.

Look outside the program. Smart may have operated quietly behind the scenes, the same way he did with Monken after the 2019 season for James Coley’s job. There may not have been a home-run hire available: Look at the trouble Nick Saban had finding a new offensive coordinator before landing Tommy Rees, who had an uneven and inconsistent past with his years at Notre Dame. Now, Notre Dame is having trouble finding a replacement for Tommy Rees.

Sources report that Monken played a big role in Bobo being named offensive coordinator.

Monken and Smart had more than one conversation about Bobo and his contributions in 2022, and Bobo was a big part of the game planning each week.

This isn’t to say Georgia has upgraded or downgraded, just because Bobo’s past two stints in the SEC didn’t go well. It’s best to label it a lateral move for the program, because fans still harbor reservations about Bobo’s early years at Georgia.

It took time before he grew into his position and became cutting-edge. For some reason, there’s a perception he was a run-first coordinator, but Georgia passed 57 percent of the time in 2011 and 2012, following 50-50 in 2013, then run-heavy in 2014 when it had the triumvirate of Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

Were there play-calling mistakes during the Bobo era? Sure (feel free to bring up not giving the ball to Gurley at the goal line in 2014 against South Carolina, even though Georgia scored on a goal-line pass earlier in the game).

Does being a good fit make Bobo the right hire? There are no guarantees; in the position that Georgia is in now — more talent, more financial support, everything in place that led to two straight national titles — the safe hire seems like the right one.

Super Recap

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2022 NFL season has concluded. Kansas City beat Philadelphia 38 – 35 in Super Bowl LVII. It was the third-most-watched television show in history, with an estimated 113 million people watching, according to preliminary numbers released Monday.

The 2015 game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on NBC holds the record at 114,442,000 viewers (not including streaming), followed by Super Bowl LI in 2017 on Fox between Atlanta and New England (113,668,000).

Rihanna’s halftime show averaged 118.7 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched show in Super Bowl history. Katy Perry’s 2015 performance holds the top mark at 121 million.

The Eagles scored a touchdown on their opening possession. The Chiefs responded on their first possession with a touchdown as well. Travis Kelce caught an 18-yard score from Patrick Mahomes.

Kansas City missed a 42-yard field goal on their second possession. Philly made them pay on the next drive. Jalen Hurts threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown.

The momentum shifted on the next drive when Hurts fumbled, and Nick Bolton recovered the ball and scored a 36-yard TD. Bolton also lead the team with 9 tackles.

Philadelphia scored a touchdown and field goal on the next two possessions of the first half. They had a 24 – 14 lead going into halftime. Mahomes was tackled toward the end of the first half and he tweaked his high ankle sprain.

KC outcoached the Eagles after halftime and the second half was completely different. They scored three touchdowns and a field goal.

Mahomes was 21/27 for 182 yards, 3 scores, 0 interceptions and he was not sacked. He also ran 6 times for 44 yards. He was named the Super Bowl MVP.

The Eagles led the league for the most sacks with 70 in the regular season so it’s surprising they could not record one in the Super Bowl.

Kelce had 6 catches for 81 yards and a score. JuJu Smith-Schuster had 7 receptions for 53 yards. Isiah Pacheco had 15 carries, 76 yards and a touchdown.

Hurts was 27/38, 304 yards, 1 TD and no 0 interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 15 carries, 70 yards and 3 touchdowns.

“I thought guys just embraced the moment,” Mahomes said about rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit. “In that first half, we were playing and doing some good stuff, but I felt like the guys were getting consumed by everything around us.”

Coach Andy Reid, who couldn’t win the big game in Philadelphia, beat his former team to earn his second ring with Mahomes and the Chiefs.

“We wanted to get this so bad for him,” Tracis Kelce said. “His legacy in Philly lives on forever. … There’s a lot of pride in knowing that he’s had success in two different organizations, but this was the better one.”

The Chiefs won their second Super Bowl following the 2019 season, 50 years after the first one. Mahomes led them back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against San Francisco in that one. It took just three years to get another Lombardi.

Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL and he’s now adding to his resume as an all-time great. The Chiefs played the third most rookies in 2022. Only Chicago and Houston played more rookies and they have the top two picks in the NFL draft.

KC has reached at least the AFC Championship game in the five seasons that Mahomes started. That has to be the expectation going into the 2023 season.

All Area

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The High School Football season has come and gone.

Here are my selections for the All-Area Team, which consists of five schools….Camden County High School, Glynn Academy, Brunswick High School, Frederica Academy and McIntosh County Academy.


Coaches Of The Year-Garrett Grady (BHS), Jeff Herron (Camden)



Offensive Linemen-Danny Thomas (MCA), Caden Copeland (Camden), Zach Owens (Camden), Daniel Rush (MCA), Jamal Meriweather (BHS), John McCleod (Glynn), Jack Hunt (Glynn)

Tight End-Dawson Hassler (MCA), Hamp Thompson (Frederica)

Wide Receivers-David Prince (Glynn), Terry Mitchell (BHS), Jayden Drayton (BHS)

Running Backs-Jordan Triplett (Frederica), Greg Peacock (Glynn), Jayden Daily (Camden), JaReese Campbell (MCA)

Quarterback-JR Elkins (BHS)



Defensive Linemen-Ka’Shawn Thomas (BHS), DeNigel Cooper (Camden), Sam Norris (Frederica), Xzavia Cummings (Glynn), Kristian Dallas (Camden), Jordan Jimerson (BHS)

Linebackers-Devin Smith (BHS), Lionel Twitty (BHS), J’Shawn Towns (BHS), Lake Linton (MCA), Cooper Thornhill (Camden), Jake Lindsey (Camden)

Defensive Backs-Tyre Young (Camden), Keon Leggett (BHS), Rico Holmes (Frederica), Blake Holloway (Frederica), Shamarion Gibbs (Camden), Ivan Johnson (BHS)


Special Teams:

Kicker-Kody Arnold (Glynn), Gabe Caison (Camden)

Punter-McClain Fineran (BHS)

2022 Crusade

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Whether intentional or not, it would seem that every Frederica Academy football season has a theme.

2018 championship season was the fastest, the 2020 was the smartest, and it seems the 2022 was the steadiest.

If you had to describe the 2022 season in a single word, it would be weird.

The season started three hours late, when the opening game versus Brookwood was delayed by lightning. Thankfully, the game ended early as well, the Knights losing the abbreviated opener 41-12.

Week two was a much more favorable result, with the Knights leaving Chula, GA with a 34-27 victory.

Frederica went to an all-time record of 4-4 versus the Panthers and brought themselves to a .500 record on the early season.

The next four games proved to be as difficult as expected.

Head Coach Brandon Derrick knew that his team would not get better playing lesser teams, so he scheduled a buzzsaw of a lineup for this year’s squad.

The following four games against Valwood, John Milledge, Clinch County, and Tattnall Square would prove to be losses but valuable ones at that.

Invaluable they were, indeed. While the team was not registering wins, junior running back Jordan Triplett and classmate LB Hamp Thompson were putting up statistics that would place them in the top of the standings in the state of Georgia.

By the end of the year, Triplett would have 2,305 yards rushing on 315 carries with 26 touchdowns, while Thompson would wind up #10 in the state across all divisions with 123 total tackles and 70 solo tackles on the year.

After a 1-5 start to the year, the Knights ran out the schedule in championship style.

The last four games of the year saw the Green & Grey put up an identical 42-point score, and their offensive powerhouse RB Triplett put up a minimum of 300 yards and 3 touchdowns per game, apexing with a 400-yard 6 touchdown effort in the final game. That secured a region championship for Frederica.

The regular season championship would grant the Knights a first-round bye and a second-round matchup against Deerfield Windsor Academy out of Albany, Ga. Frederica had only faced the Deerfield Windsor Knights once before. That was a second-round playoff upset at home ‘Under the Oaks’ in 2016.

The game looked to be a tale of two halves; unfortunately, the first half was the better for Frederica.

The opening drive was a clinical one. The Knights drove 80 yards in 13 plays, cumulating with a Jordan Triplett touchdown 7 ½ minutes into the first quarter.

After a three and out, Jordan ‘The River’ Triplett picked up a punt on two bounces and took back a blissful 88-yard return for a touchdown, taking the Knights to a 14-0 first quarter lead.

Unfortunately, that would be the end of the offense on the night.

Deerfield Windsor would put up three touchdowns over the final three quarters while shutting out Frederica, ending their March to Mercer two weeks early by a score of 18-14.

While any season that doesn’t end on the field at Mercer University seems like a letdown for the Frederica faithful, the 2022 season seems almost like a warmup to what should be another championship run.

2023 should prove to be just as memorable as 2022, regardless of the outcome.

Florida Cup

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

For the first time in series history, the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles will play on Black Friday.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has been the traditional date for the Sunshine Showdown but Mike Norvell had a different vision for this year. The Noles (8-3) opened as an 8.5-point favorite.

“It’s always important and we’re on Friday night. Friday night lights,” senior linebacker Amari Burney said. “It’s very important any time you play Florida State. It’s a rivalry and everybody knows that so we have to strap up and come ready to play.”

It will be the first time that Mike Norvell will be the favorite in the rivalry game. Norvel’s first season at the helm was in 2020, so his introduction to the rivalry was in 2021. The Gators, despite having fired Dan Mullen just six days before playing the Noles, edged out a 24-21 win at home.

After starting the season unranked, Florida State University broke into the Top 25 in September following a 4-0 start, however they quickly fell back out after their fair share of losses.

The Noles have been on a tear of late, winning their last four games. If FSU wins this Friday, it would be the program’s first nine-win season since Jimbo Fisher was Head Coach in 2016.

The Florida Gators are just 1-3 on the road at this point of the season, and Florida State is 4-2 at Doak Campbell.

The line sits at 8.5, home teams typically get three points on a betting line as home-field advantage, meaning Vegas views this as a one-score nail-biter.

This will be the 66th all-time matchup between the Gators and Seminoles. Florida owns a 37-26-2 lead and an active three-game winning streak.

Florida State’s Mike Norvell is well aware that anything can happen in the world of college football, and that his team is far from unbeatable. Any coach on the planet is well aware of what this game means to either of these programs.

FSU has already taken out Miami, and in a humiliating fashion. Now, the Gators are gearing up for a prime-time showdown against the hot-handed Seminoles.

From the looks of things, Norvell has Florida State on the right track. They’re playing week to week hammering potential bowl teams like they’re Cumberland College.

The Seminoles’ first-team defense has only given up one touchdown in a month, and their offense puts up yards and points like it’s 1993. But losing to this rivalry is different; and there is a sour taste in the losing team’s mouth

Forget that it’s Year 1 under Billy Napier, who was tasked not only to replenish UF’s thin roster, but also with rebuilding the entire culture Dan Mullen left behind, let’s not talk about the new “Gator standard” on and off the field.

Florida has one regular-season game to play under their new head coach, and best of all- it’s at their bitter rival Florida State on Black Friday.

Make no mistake, this game matters immensely to the Gators. It’s the rare game that impacts recruiting directly (especially in state); the last thing Florida wants to do is lose convincingly and allow FSU to sell their program as on the rise and the top option in the state.

After embarrassing Miami, could you convince a recruit toward Miami over Florida State?

Win, and Napier cools the heat of his defeats (almost instantly) and gives the Gators a bit of juice heading into the final stretch of recruiting.

Lose, and, well, the Gators are 6-6, off to a low-tier bowl game, and paying lip service to the importance of bowl practices while keeping one foot, if not both feet, on the recruiting trail for a top-level SEC program.

It won’t be played on Saturday, but it’ll be special like always, no matter the final score.

My prediction: Billy Napier will be the first Florida coach not to beat a single rival in a season since 1979. FSU 42   Florida 20

Rotten Bananas

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Last month, the Savannah Bananas took off the mask.

The collegiate semi-pro team from Chatham County announced that they are abandoning their league affiliation and will be taking “Banana Ball” nationwide.

This move proves what I’ve been saying all along; the Bananas are a sideshow with a baseball game playing in the background.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m in the minority here. Everyone in America seems to be enamored with the Bananas. From ESPN specials and viral video clips, it seems that the yellow-clad sub-minor leaguers are everyone’s darlings. The saviors of baseball, some are even heralding.

Friends of mine from across the country are asking me what a game is like, and even non-sports fan friends are singing their praises. They seem genuinely surprised when I tell them I’ve never been to a Bananas game, nor do I have any desire to go to one.

My disdain for this whole situation actually goes back to my time in middle Georgia back in the late ‘90s. For most of the Atlanta Braves’ magical run from 1991-2005, their Class-A affiliate was a South Atlantic League team known as the Macon Braves.

Shady dealings and monetary disagreements with the local politicos led to the South Atlantic League team moving to Rome, Georgia in 2002. City leaders went on record saying that they were certain it wouldn’t be long until Minor League Baseball returned to the Heart of Georgia.

Fast forward to a decade later, where I was a season ticket holder for the Savannah Sand Gnats. Shady dealings and monetary disagreements with the local politicos led to the South Atlantic League team moving to Columbia, South Carolina in 2016. City leaders went on record saying that they were certain it wouldn’t be long until Minor League Baseball returned to the Coastal Empire.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Money-grubbing, power-hungry local officials under-estimating how difficult it truly is to not only get a MiLB franchise, but to get one after letting one go.

Since 2002, Macon has seen four unaffiliated semi-pro teams call Luther WIlliams Field home, three of them lasting a season or less.

The Bananas, on the other hand, started play the year after the Gnats became the Fireflies. Historic Grayson Field welcomed a new franchise that apparently didn’t mind the facilities that were substandard by any modern benchmark.

Grayson was a big part of why the Sand Gnats wanted a new stadium before they decided to leave in the first place; no in-house laundry, no in-house weight room, an outfield that often looked better prepared for the mud ‘rasslin’ portion of the Redneck Games to make a visit from Dublin than it did for a baseball game.

Kinda surprised the Bananas didn’t bring that to fruition.

That’s what the Bananas are. Sports entertainment, not a baseball team. They, especially now that they’ve gone full Globetrotter, are but half a step up from professional wrestling. There’s entertainment and there’s sideshows, often at the expense of the actual sport that’s allegedly being played. And that’s why I could never get on board.

The history of baseball in Savannah is long and rich, with championships dating back to 1906. With the Bananas’ disaffiliation from the Coastal Plains League, Savannah will be bereft of true competition on the diamond with no chance of raising another championship banner for the foreseeable future.

And that’s what really gets me. Call me a dinosaur, call me an old fogey, call me what you will (as long as it’s not “boomer.” I’m GenX, fer pete’s sake…), but I prefer my baseball to be just baseball.

There’s nothing wrong with nine frames, nine starters and the dugout, the seventh inning stretch, and a Sunday afternoon doubleheader with the occasional race against a goofily-costumed mascot between innings.

And now, thanks to the Banana Era in Savannah, Southeast Georgia is even further away from getting a real, affiliated minor league team to root for.  At least here in the Golden Isles we can travel south and see the Jumbo Shrimp.

Oh, and stay the heck offa my lawn. Lousy punks.


Out Of The Swamp

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Georgia Bulldogs aren’t leaving the SEC to fill their coaching vacancy. According to Jon Rothstein, Georgia will hire Florida Gators basketball coach Mike White.

Georgia fired Tom Crean on Thursday, March 10. His tenure at Georgia ended after four seasons and a 47-75 record, including a 15-58 conference record. The school owes Crean a $3.2 million buyout, per his contract.

This will be White’s third opportunity to run a program. He got his head coaching break at Louisiana Tech before taking the job at Florida. White also spent time as an assistant coach at Jacksonville State and Ole Miss. Most of White’s career has been spent in the SEC and he’ll stay in the conference with the Bulldogs.

White had received a two-year extension prior to the 2021-22 season. That kept him under contract through 2026-27.

“Though he’s still relatively young by coaching standards, White has already established himself as a successful head coach,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement on June 1, 2021. “Because of his work ethic, intelligence, and competitiveness his career has such a high ceiling, and it’s going to be fun watching what his Gator teams accomplish for years to come.”

The Gators are the only SEC team (one of nine power Six teams), who have not posted a losing conference record over the past seven seasons. While White’s teams were consistently making the tournament, he wasn’t winning over fans.

In seven years with the Gators, White comprised a 243-128 overall record. His teams were 122-69 in conference play. It’s worth noting that White ranked inside the top-20 in all-time SEC winning percentage during his seven-year tenure.

White’s family had stopped coming to games to avoid vitriol pointed towards White. Leaving to a program like Georgia would lend credence to that information. The Bulldogs are in total rebuild mode. White has been a solid recruiter while at Florida and Georgia is looking for a coach to rebuild a program in shambles.

White had led the Gators to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, the only SEC program to ever do that. However, the Gators hadn’t made it past the second round since their 2016-17 season’s Elite Eight run.

White, who has spent the last seven seasons guiding the Gators to each of the last four NCAA Tournaments prior to Sunday’s 2022 bracket announcement, also expressed his excitement to be headed to Athens.

“I am beyond excited for the opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program at the University of Georgia,” White said. “President Jere W. Morehead and Athletics Director Josh Brooks are united in a strong vision for UGA Basketball which resonated with me deeply. They believe, as I do, in developing our young men as students, athletes and leaders, as well as providing them with the support they need to be successful. I believe in the limitless future of Georgia Basketball.”

White will take over a Georgia team that went 6-26 this past season, the most single season losses in program history. UGA also had more losses than any other SEC program, with a 1-18 in conference record.

One program’s trash is another’s treasure, and there is reason for Georgia fans to be excited. White is a proven recruiter in a high-performance state where recruits are available.

Florida fans can hate him as he goes, and only time will tell if Mike White can raise Georgia’s basketball program from the abyss.


The 5th Major

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are a week away from returning to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for The Players Championship.

The total purse of $20 million is a record for the tournament. The winner will take home over $2 million. Justin Thomas won the 2021 Championship with a score of -14 under par.


The Favorites:

John Rahm 10/1: Rahm is the current favorite to win the TPC. Rahm is playing exceptionally good golf so far this year with three top ten finishes.

He is coming into this tournament with his game peaking. At last year’s tournament, Rahm finished in a tie for ninth. He finished with a Sunday score of 73.

You must think if he can improve his play in the final round, he stands a good shot at winning.

Rahm is currently the top ranked player in the world. Rahm is the type of player that can dominate the competition if he gets hot.

Justin Thomas 14/1: Thomas comes in second to Rahm as betting odds go for this year’s tournament.

Since the event last year, Thomas has not won another tournament. Thomas currently ranked seventh in the World Golf Rankings and is still playing as one of the best players on tour.

He already has three Top-10 finishes this season, his latest coming at The Genesis Invitational. In the history of the Players Championship no player has ever won in back-to-back years. History is working against Thomas in this area.


Other Odds:

Collin Morikawa 16/1: The Open Champion plays well on tough golf venues.

Morikawa just seems to hover near the top of leaderboards in about every big event on the PGA Tour. If he is within striking distance on Sunday, then he will be a major factor in the outcome.

Patrick Cantlay 20/1: Cantlay is one cool customer on the golf course. Pressure does not seem to bother him at all. He has the mental makeup to win the TPC.

Do not be surprised if Cantlay is holding the TPC trophy at the conclusion of this year’s event. He is that good. Also do not be surprised if Cantlay does not win The Masters in April.

Will Zalatoris 50/1: Who does not want to see Will win the TPC?

Zalatoris will be a huge crowd favorite if he is in contention. This kid brings a ton of excitement to the game of golf. Players like Will Zalatoris provide a bright future for the PGA Tour.


The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was built in 1980 to be the permanent home of THE PLAYERS Championship.

As the first true Stadium Course, it was designed to improve the overall on-site fan experience.

The signature island green on the par-3, 17th hole is one of the most recognized in golf and the course is consistently named among the best in the world.

My Pick: Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay is on track to becoming the number one player in the world in 2022.

Dark Horse: Will Zalatoris. The kid is a great ball striker, and would it not be impressive if the kid wins his first PGA tournament at TPC Sawgrass?

I hope golf gets a big shot in the arm after the negativity surrounding some comments made by Phil Mickelson recently.

Phil has had a brutal week with sponsorship losses after his controversial comments about Saudi Arabia.

Can we give Lefty a break? Society seems so unforgiving these days.

Florida State Semi-Nos Recruiting

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Seminoles having a knockout season in 2022 looks to be an unrealistic expectation.

But progress is progress. Finishing above .500 for the first time since 2017 could help them significantly improve their recruiting efforts.

None of FSU’s recruiting classes under head coach Mike Norvell and since 2019 have finished in the top 15 nationally, per 247Sports and Rivals. Under former Seminole’s head coaches Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher, top 10 classes were the standard.

In an effort to improve recruiting, FSU added three off-field staff members this offseason: GM Darrick Yray, Director of Football Relations Corey Fuller, and Assistant Director of High School Relations Keiwan Ratliff.

These hires, along with top in-state recruiting could be the key to the Seminoles elevating their recruiting prowess.

In each of Norvell’s three recruiting cycles, FSU has finished below Miami and Florida in the overall team rankings.

247Sports pegged the Hurricanes at No. 18, 12 and 15 in the 2020-2022 classes, respectively. The Gators came in at No. 7, 13 and 17. The Seminoles landed at 25, 31 and 18.

To have a solid recruiting operation again, FSU will need to compete better against its in-state rivals. Especially when Miami and Florida struggle.

Head coaches Mario Cristobal and Billy Napier are hired. That may have enhanced the in-state recruiting competition.

Until that happened, Norvell was the best head coach recruiter in the state. So, it’s gotten competitive now for top in-state targets, because Mario Cristobal lives and breathes recruiting. He does a tremendous job – as good as any head coach at communicating with top targets.

Billy Napier is as organized of a head coach as you are going to find with their recruiting infrastructure as well. It just got a lot more competitive.

We’ve seen college football be great when all three of those teams have been great. So, you can live in a world where Florida, Miami and Florida State are all terrific football programs. We are just so far removed from that right now.

As FSU tries to build off a topsy-turvy 5-7 record heading into their third season under coach Mike Norvell, the Seminoles’ biggest recent splashes came once again through the transfer portal.

A year after landing transfers such as Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas, who would prove to be standout starters on defense, FSU landed seven transfers it hopes will add explosiveness to its offense including four wide receivers.

Oregon transfer Mycah Pittman (5-11, 195), Illinois transfer Deuce Spann (6-4, 194), as well as 6-6, 224-pound Johnny Wilson add some needed depth at the position.

FSU might have found its next big contributor from Miami Central High through the portal as well. Former Rockets linebacker Tatum Bethune transferred from UCF in early January after three years with the Knights.

Bethune totaled 185 tackles including 13 for loss with 4.5 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles while playing in 35 games for the Knights, which included 16 starts.

Mike Norvell had the perfect storm this past recruiting cycle with Miami and Florida making coaching changes, but Norvell showed his inability to pull top tier talent to Tallahassee.

Stock Down on FSU and Mike Norvell.

Peachy Parades

By: Charles Skipper

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2021 sports seasons for fans in the state of Georgia were rewarding, memorable and will be talked about for eternity whenever fans reminisce about their teams’ successful campaigns.

The past year’s champions in Major League Baseball, NCAA Division I Football and the National Football League were either from Georgia or had strong ties to the state.

The Atlanta Braves won the World Series to become champions of Major League Baseball. The Georgia Bulldogs won the National Championship Game to bring back the trophy to the Classic City. The Los Angeles Rams are not from the state of Georgia obviously, but they were led by former Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford.

One title in a major sport for a state or city’s faithful following is an achievement in itself but for a group of fans in Georgia that follow all 3 of these teams it was a year that saw unparalleled success.

These teams not only won it all this year but they broke droughts that lasted decades and accomplished one feat that had never been done before.

Braves teams won 14 division championships in a row starting in 1991 but could only muster one World Series crown in 1995 to show for all that regular season success.

The Braves finished on top of the Eastern Division at season’s end to win their fourth consecutive division championship. To say the team struggled in the early going is being nice. The fact that the team did not reach the .500 mark until August 5th illustrates that point.

Savvy front office moves by Alex Anthopoulos at or near the trading deadline brought the pieces to the team that provided the extra spark and firepower to propel them to their first World Series trophy in 26 years.

The 2021 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs Football team brought an even longer drought to a close. Georgia fans have not celebrated a National Championship since the Herschel Walker led squad gained victory over Notre Dame on New Years Day 1981 to bring the prize back to the Empire State of the South.

The Dawgs were undefeated all season until they ran into nemesis Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Georgia was fortunate enough to get another shot at the Crimson Tide in the playoffs. Georgia beat them in the rematch to become winners of the Championship game and become the Top Dawg in College Football.

The immortal Run Lindsey Run play in the historic Gator Bowl, the Junkyard Dog defense and the season long heroics of Herschel Walker are memories forever associated with the 1980 team.

There were memorable plays and circumstances that will be linked to the 2021 Red and Black also. The interception by Kelee Ringo to seal the victory in Indianapolis will be etched in the minds of fans forever.

Great plays were made throughout the year but the hot topic that surrounded the team for most of the season was whom the quarterback should be.

Highly touted, USC transfer J.T. Daniels started the season opener at Clemson but went down early in the year with an injury and that opened the door for Pierce County graduate and former walk on Stetson Bennett to get on the field and he never came off.

Daniels became the modern-day version of Wally Pipp and the Mailman became a folk hero.

We cannot forget the two Brunswick local members of the team who played major roles also. Starting right tackle Warren McClendon and placekicker Jake Podlesny gave solid and consistent performances all year long and represented the Golden Isles in style.

The Los Angeles Rams was special to fans because Matthew Stafford became the first former Bulldogs quarterback to win the Super Bowl.

Fran Tarkenton and Zeke Bratkowski are the only other two former Georgia players with an opportunity to claim that honor. Stafford made history by winning but former Georgia standouts Sony Michel and Leonard Floyd will be sporting a ring also, which adds further pride to Dawg Nation.

Our state’s sports fans may never see results from their teams like this again but 2021 will always be a year that left fans in the Peach State feeling warm and fuzzy.

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