By now, you probably have seen the clip: David Pollack, an ESPN analyst and a Georgia legend, stating that Georgia “has taken hold of college football,” sitting next to Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who sat stone-faced, perhaps wondering why he bothered to fly to Los Angeles just for this.
Or maybe he knew, and that was the point.
In the context of the past two years, Georgia is clearly on top of college football. But is it permanent, or is Alabama still laying in wait? Where do things go from here? The two writers on the ground in Tuscaloosa (Aaron Suttles) and Athens (Seth Emerson) discuss:
Emerson: I’ll start things off by asking Aaron two questions: Knowing Saban, what do you think he was truly thinking as he listened to Pollack the other night? And what’s the general feeling in Alabama — from the program and the fan base — watching Georgia become the first back-to-back champion since Alabama did it a decade before?
Suttles: Anyone who has ever listened to Pollack knew what was coming. This is the same analyst who wrote off Alabama after the Jaylen Waddle injury in 2020. He can be a bit hyperbolic sometimes, so Alabama folks took it with a grain of salt. There is some validity in what he said. Georgia has gone back to back. You have to put the proper respect on that. You can’t just pay it lip service. There has to be genuine respect for what it has done the past two years.
So Saban probably internalized it to use it as fuel in preparing for the upcoming season. The UA fan base respects Georgia but doesn’t fear it. Why should it? The Crimson Tide hold a 4-1 advantage over the Bulldogs since Kirby Smart has been the coach. But Alabama respects him and what he has done. I’d say it’s respect, not fear.
Emerson: That’s how I read Saban’s reaction too. He couldn’t argue Pollack’s statement, and it’s also not Saban’s style to get into arguments like that. But if you looked closely, there was almost a little smirk and Saban thinking: “Well, we’ll see about this soon.”