Gil Pound: Pound for Whiplash

Jan. 16—The news cycles so incredibly fast these days.

Barely over two weeks ago Michigan defeated a Nick Saban-led Alabama team in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Eight days ago — although it feels like months at this point — the Wolverines beat Kalen DeBoer-led Washington in the national championship game.

Now DeBoer is going to be the new head football coach in Tuscaloosa, replacing the man almost everyone, including myself, believes is the greatest to ever to do it at the college level.

I admittedly don't know much about Mr. DeBoer other than the biographical info I've read in countless stories since he was tabbed as Alabama's guy Friday. Here's one thing I do know: he probably hasn't watched and/or listened to the Paul Finebaum Show very much. If he had, I'm fairly certain he wouldn't have made this his first job in SEC country. Geographically, the closest he's come has been a one-year stint in Indiana a few seasons ago.

The SEC slogan is "It Just Means More." That goes double or triple over in Crimson Tide Territory. Bama fans are a special breed, and an inordinate amount of them seem to reside right here in Milledgeville. I can't scroll too far on my respective social media feeds without seeing something Tide-related. They're so prevalent here that I made "don't get baited into trash talking with Bama fans on social media" one of my resolutions for the 2023 college football season. Proud to say I actually stuck to it.

But my ability to hold back has a tipping point that I can see coming eight months in advance.

Georgia goes to Alabama on Sept. 28. I can already hear Tide fans' refrain when the Bulldogs absolutely dominate that day. "That wouldn't happen if Saban was still on the sideline." To that I say, suck it up, buttercup. Time to take a back seat.

Was Saban the boogeyman for Georgia fans? Yes, it's undeniable that he was. UGA went just 2-8 against him his 17 seasons in Tuscaloosa. One win came in his first year (I was there) and the second was the famed drought-ending national championship in Indianapolis a couple of years ago.

Though some, including myself, felt the demon had been exorcised, Saban re-established his haunting presence over Georgia's program in the most recent SEC championship. He may not have gone out as a national champion his final year, but he did keep the Dawgs from a 3-peat, which hasn't been done in the sport since the 1930s.

Don't get me wrong. Other than my team not being able to beat him, I hold no ill will towards Nick Saban. I wish him the best in retirement and look forward to his insights as an analyst (unconfirmed, but likely).

Happy retirement, coach. Hit 'em straight, keep the boat gassed up, and don't share all your secrets with your replacement.