There are a finite amount of ways to describe a movie that you’ve seen a dozen times.
Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, I too possess a very unique set of skills.
His? Extrajudicial, vigilante justice.
Mine? Inventing new ways to have football cause my throat and butthole to meet in the middle of my stomach.
The similarities between the two universities far outnumber their differences. Two large, state run, flagship schools with an overinflated, mildly justified, sense of self. Two places that boast constant success in the country’s most fervent sport. And two programs inextricably linked as Nick Saban’s whipping boys.
As Rodrigo Blankenship lined up for a 30-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter, my head dropped into my hands. It was like watching the protagonist of an action flick corner the villain an hour into the film. Get excited if you’d like, but you and I both know this movie can’t be over.
Following the snap, the momentary absence of collective revelry around me spelled all I needed to know. Wide left.
It wasn’t despair that washed over me. It wasn’t anger coursing through my veins. There wasn’t hatred in my heart. It was a shower from the apathetic waterfall of inevitability.
Inevitable is your All-American kicker missing a chip shot to take a three possession lead.
Inevitable is costing Tua Tagovailoa the Heisman trophy and not being prepared for, of all people, Jalen Hurts.
Inevitable is calling a fake punt on fourth-and-11 against a punt safe defense.
Here it comes.
— AnJRUE Stephens (@StephensAndrew) December 1, 2018
At this point in time, I’ve heard every line in the book. In fact, I’ve authored several chapters of the damn thing. But Saturday’s game marked the end of living in the alternate reality where the unavoidable remains avoidable.
I’d like to be spared the excuses. I’m done with the finger pointing. I don’t need the what if’s, the coulds, the woulds, and the shoulds. I’ve spent enough Saturday nights sitting around kitchen tables trying to reverse engineer the thought process behind every decision, play call, and blow of the referee’s whistle.
This is what was SUPPOSED to happen. Just as I sat on the floor of the Buckhead Saloon some 11 months prior, it didn’t matter which quarterback. It didn’t matter which circumstance. It didn’t matter which title on the line. This was Alabama. And more importantly, this was Nick Saban.
When Jalen Hurts broke contain heading towards the south end zone of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, I was already halfway up the steps of Section 231. My Uber driver, Marlon, was en route in a gray Toyota Camry. I didn’t need to watch Georgia’s feigning attempt to pick up the pieces of an SEC title that had already slipped between its fingers. The story had already been written. It was, again, inevitable.
Call me a bad fan. Call me fair-weather. Call me faithless. All may be accurate. But there was no need to stick around for the end of a movie that I’ve watched countless times. In no version of Taken does Bryan Mills not recover Kim and in no version of this generational hellscape does Georgia beat Alabama.
The Dawgs may have been the better team. They may have been the better team last year, too. And in 2012. And in 2008. But there comes a time where you have to call a spade a spade. I’m not saying Georgia can’t beat Alabama, but I am finally saying I won’t believe it until it happens.
Until the Bulldog collective sees quadruple zeros coupled with confetti devoid of crimson, you won’t have me convinced of anything other than the inevitable.
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