Two things can be true at the same time, even if they seem to contradict each other.
College football analyst and former Georgia football great David Pollack sat at the broadcast desk at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles last week and proclaimed of the Bulldogs, “They’ve taken over college football.”
The comment was only newsworthy because Alabama coach Nick Saban was sitting less than a first down away and intently listening to every word Pollack spoke in the wake of Georgia’s 65-7 crushing of TCU. If not for Saban’s presence the statement wouldn’t have elicited a single response.
Of course, the Bulldogs have taken over college football. They have won 33 of their last 34 games, with the only loss being to Alabama in the 2021 SEC Championship (a loss they avenged a month later in the national championship game).
Georgia is the first program in a decade to win back-to-back national championships, outscoring Alabama and TCU by a combined score of 98-25 in the title games.
So, the Bulldogs are at the top of the mountain in college football, and they aren’t sharing the view with any other programs at this point.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Alabama’s dynasty — which is the greatest in college football history — is still alive and well. And it’s not like beating some very good Georgia teams hasn’t been part of the dominance.
Since the Saban dynasty began in 2008, Alabama and Georgia have faced off eight times. The Tide had won seven in a row until last year’s national championship game.
It’s interesting to note that all eight games have been played with both teams being ranked.
In 2008, No. 8 Alabama beat No. 3 Georgia 41-30 in Athens before anyone knew a dynasty was in the making. In the 2012 SEC Championship Game, it came down to the last play before the No. 2 Tide held on 32-28 over the No. 3 Bulldogs.
No. 13 Alabama blew out No. 8 Georgia 38-10 in Athens in 2015.
Alabama beat Georgia twice in the calendar year of 2018, first winning the national championship in January on the second-and-26 pass from Tua Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith, then winning the SEC Championship Game 11 months later, 35-28.
The two teams met in Tuscaloosa during the 2020 season, with the Tide pulling away for a 41-24 win in a matchup of top-three teams. The win was part of a perfect season for the Tide.
In 2021, Alabama was dominant in winning the SEC Championship Game 41-24, before Georgia came back to win the national championship game 33-18 in Indianapolis.
So, Georgia is clearly on top of college football. But the Bulldogs haven’t gotten there by dominating Alabama. Their success has come from ruling over everyone else while trying to close the gap with Alabama head-to-head.
Two of Georgia’s last three losses have been to Alabama. The only other loss in the last 37 months was to Florida in 2020. That streak goes all the way back to the loss to Joe Burrow and LSU in the 2019 SEC Championship Game.
For Alabama, it’s going to take a lot more than two last-play losses on the road against Tennessee and LSU to say the program has declined.
The Tide just finished off an 11th straight year with at least 11 wins in every season. It’s hard to imagine that streak ever being matched. But it’s also hard to consider the consistency of excellence won’t continue next season.
The story is still being written about this Alabama dynasty. Like Clemson’s great run before, Georgia’s current success is part of the story.
How will the Tide respond to this challenge? Nobody knows for sure.
We know Georgia isn’t going to make it easy to get back to the top, especially with the SEC Championship Game being played in Atlanta every year.
But that’s what makes this such a great rivalry. Georgia “taking over college football” simply makes it all the more intriguing for both powerhouses.