INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- For so long, Georgia was the flagship program of the really good-but-not-quite great. They produced a few decades of pretty nice seasons ending in pretty nice bowl games played by a lot of really good players dressed in red, white and black. But the Dawgs were always a few steps behind the sport's elite.
They were always one play shy of beating Alabama. Always a few five-star recruits behind Florida. Always a few inches short when measured against the true ruling class of college football, even as the head of that class rolled through different eras and teams, from The U and Nebraska to USC and seemingly every team in the SEC except for the one in Athens, Georgia.