Here's a look at Georgia's 2019 football schedule.

Championship or bust for Bulldogs? That’s just the wrong approach

When you wake in the morning, is the first thought: “If I don’t win a million-dollar lottery scratch-off then the whole day’s a waste?”

At work, is the only goal to make CEO by the end of the year, or what’s the point?

On the golf course, it really doesn’t have to be set-the-course-record-or-bust.

So, I kind of understand Kirby Smart’s reaction last week when someone asked him if this was a championship-or-bust season for Georgia.

» MORE: First look at Georgia’s opponents: Vanderbilt

As reported by various outlets, the Bulldogs coach was less than enthusiastic about that premise. In fact, just by reading his reaction, it seemed to pretty much hit him like a call to jury duty on the week of the Florida game.

“I don’t view success and failure based on that,” he told those on hand then, turning the question back on the media. “I think you guys do that. ... Here’s what we’re focused on — how good can we be tomorrow? Can we be the best we can?

“Do they have expectations of Georgia? Absolutely. They got expectations, and we got them for ourselves. But I’m not going to measure success and failure on one thing. It’s not fair to these kids who give everything they’ve got to the program — their blood, sweat and tears — and all the people in the organization who give everything that they got (just) to measure success and failure on one thing. I’m not going do that.”

In fairness, Smart has built the platform for such a question. He is the one who has said that the past two seasons of 24-5, a conference championship and an appearance in the national championship game were not enough. He has coined the mantra for this season — “Do More” — when about the only more to be done is to go ahead and break through the Alabama retaining wall and win it all.

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It’s the coach’s very drive that drives such a question.

But, really, is that how any healthy person should approach the start of another season? Maybe Perspective Kirby has a point, over any versions of Uncompromising Kirby past or future.

Presumably, the Georgia fans who will overrun Nashville this weekend for the opener against Vanderbilt will not be overspending on hotel rooms and endangering their long-term liver health just to sit in stony judgment on how the team that shows up on the last day of August might fare in January.   

Presumably there will be some unfettered enjoyment in the moment because if you can’t wring a little fun out of Nashville, then just give up and join a cult. 

It’s a new college football season, one of the real highlights of the calendar. Do you really want to spoil it with a lot of hand-wringing at this point over which Crimson Tide backup quarterback is going to cut off your oxygen supply this time?   

Expectation is fine. These Bulldogs are loaded. They should very much stay in the mix for glory through the fall. But you’re going to miss out on a lot if you can’t put down the top, turn up the radio and enjoy the journey to wherever this season takes them.  

Championship or bust? A Georgia fan has had to swallow plenty of disappointment over the fullness of time. What’s the point in chewing on just the potential of more before it’s absolutely necessary?   

These are the good ol’ days for Georgia football. These are days to celebrate the prospects of a new season, without reservation. 

Hate to break this news, but there is a very real chance that the Bulldogs will not win a national championship this season. There are a couple other very stout programs out there that will not yield just because this other one is so very due. 

If Georgia should fall short, even if it should underachieve by any measure, that’s on the authors of the game.

If you don’t take the most pleasure possible out of these next few months, then that’s on you.

It’s about reveling in another hopeful season. Or bust.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.
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