ATLANTA — I'm at a loss for words.
I can't keep writing about this... blown leads. Blown leads in championships. Blown leads for fans of Georgia sports.
This was it. This was Georgia's year. It was meant to be.
The story was too good. The seniors returned. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and others all returned because their was unfinished work to be done. And when an opportunity presented itself, a true freshman, Jake Fromm, stepped in willing to lead the charge. No stage was too big for him. Not his first start at Notre Dame. Not after all the trash talk from teams like Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina.
It wasn't perfection. They faced adversity. But they fought back and overcame it, beating Auburn in the SEC Championship. A come-from-behind win at the "Grandaddy of them All" against the Heisman winner.
There is no better story. It was, without a doubt, their destiny to lift the championship trophy again and let the next generation of Bulldogs bask in the glory.
And then Nick Saban made a switch.
He did what no coach would ever do. He took out his starting quarterback.
Saban put in Tua Tagovailoa in after Jalen Hurts, who had national championship experience, struggled in the first half. Tagovailoa entered the game as a true freshman and left a hero.
He evaded the pressure of Georgia's defense, broke tackles and threw strong passes. He overthrew some, but when it mattered most, he threw a perfect pass to another true freshman, DeVonta Smith, who blew by Malkolm Parrish and the Georgia secondary to make his only catch of the day, score and change the ending of the story.
You can't make this heartbreaking ending up.
It wouldn't happen to any other fan base.
But it's all too familiar for Atlanta sports fans. And before going any further, yes, the Georgia Bulldogs are an Atlanta Sports team. They fall within the Atlanta market, and many of its graduates move into the city to work and cheer on other Atlanta sports teams.
Many are Falcons fans whose stomach churns at the sound of 28-3. Now there's 20-10. There's the 2012 SEC Championship. There's too much.
How can this keep happening?
There aren't many fan bases that keep getting sucker punched in the gut more than Georgia fans. While it's hard to find optimism, here are some words of encouragement.
It will happen. Georgia will break through. They've got a coach, Kirby Smart, committed to taking the program to the top and using what he learned from working with the best to bring the best to Georgia.
It may take time. It was early, anyway. In just year two of leading the program with many players recruited by the last regime, Smart was well ahead of schedule, whether he'll publicly state it or not.
And with the best recruiting class in the country already beginning to make its way into Athens, headlined by the best dual threat quarterback, Justin Fields, Georgia may soon have its own secret weapons, ready to release when the moment is right.
The commitment is there. It's just time to finish the drill.
There's not much anyone can say right now. We're all at a loss of words. Only we understand each other's pain and the heartbreak we have shared together.
But one day, this fan base will get what it deserves. One day, it will get the ending it deserves.