National championship prediction review; Boyd gets it right

Published 7:31 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m two months and 13 days younger than Herschel Walker. I just had a so-called milestone birthday, so it’s harder to believe I am this old.

We went to different high schools together and we’ve never come close to meeting, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot these past few weeks.

He and I were first-semester freshmen at different colleges in different states in the fall of 1980. He was among the nation’s top football recruits, while I was a hopeful journalism major who had to study tremendously (in my mind) hard to start college with a positive GPA. I liked watching him take college football by storm and followed his career until it ended.

The upstart rookie led the Bulldogs to an undefeated season and the second national title in school history with a Sugar Bowl victory over Notre Dame. This was back when the media and coaches decided the champ. I like it better this way.

Fast-forward 41 (!) years and the Dawgs are on top of college football once again-just like Northside coach Keith Boyd predicted.

The head man at Southside, Jeff Carrow, was pulling for them, but couldn’t pick against Alabama. Neither could Washington’s Perry Owens or Stacey Keech of Pungo Christian Academy. No worries fellas, thanks for playing and we’ll talk again next month around the Super Bowl.

Georgia prevailed, 33-18, after a 13-9 lead after three quarters. At that point, it was not quite the offensive fireworks show some expected and, after a long day, I was having trouble avoiding an eyelid inspection on my comfy couch.

Alabama led 18-13 with 10 minutes left, before the Dawgs broke loose for 20 points and iced the win with an interception return for a late touchdown.

Boyd’s reasons for picking them were spot-on. He said their highly touted defensive front had to put more pressure on Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young, which they most definitely did. Young threw for 359 yards, but Georgia intercepted him twice and sacked him three times, after getting zero of both in the SEC title game loss.

Boyd also said Georgia needed to be more physical on the defensive front to control the line of scrimmage. Check the box on that one as well.

All four coaches agreed that it would be an entertaining game between the two best teams in the country and it was.

It’s nice to see Georgia’s former walk-on quarterback Stetson Bennett get some recognition for his fine performance. It’s also nice to see Kirby Smart take what Nick Saban taught him and use it against him to win. Saban was gracious in defeat and was proud of his former defensive coordinator, so all good in that area.

The only problem from my standpoint is that I missed it. My pile of logs was already half-sawed by the time Kelee Ringo picked off Young’s pass and took it to the house. Oh well, at least Herschel Walker was awake for it.

On a different note; how many of your New Year’s resolutions are still intact? I don’t usually make specific ones because we don’t control our lives as much as we think we do.

Mine also tend to be repetitive-eat better, continue to exercise regularly, be a better person and so on.

One thing that has come into sharper focus as I age is that’s it’s actually easier to be nice. It’s not that hard to smile and speak to people, which might cheer them up just a little. I’m going to continue to try to do that more often, while hard at work to bring you interesting stories about Beaufort County athletes. Happy New Year.