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He was 10 when he saw UGA win the national title in 1980. Now he's ready to see them do it again.

Billy Copeland is in Indianapolis with the rest of the Bulldog faithful ahead of Monday's National Championship Game.

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia fans are streaming into Indianapolis this weekend ahead of Monday's National Championship Game against Alabama - some even without tickets, hoping to somehow snag them before game.

One fan had his tickets well ahead of time, however - before the season even started. That's how confident he was the Dawgs would be in this game.

For that fan, Billy Copeland, the dream is to finally see a repeat of something he saw in person as a 10-year-old more than 40 years ago - Georgia winning the national title.

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Imagine being a Georgia Bulldogs season ticket holder at the age of 10. That's what happened to Billy Copeland in 1980, when his parents decided it would be cheaper to buy extra tickets and take him to games rather than pay a babysitter to stay home with him.

That put him on course to be part of Bulldog history.

"Just an incredible, incredible experience for sure," he said of that year.

From his office on St. Simons Island, surrounded by Bulldog paraphernalia, Copeland reminisced about the days of Dooley and Walker and the undefeated season that ended with the Sugar Bowl and a showdown with Notre Dame.

"I remember these Notre Dame fans were standing around us and they were so cocky. They weren't being ugly necessarily, but they were just so confident they were gonna beat us," Copeland said.

Instead, that day belonged to Georgia

As fans stormed the field to celebrate the Dawgs' national championsip, Copeland and his mom couldn't sit still.

"In the beginning the policemen and the security were trying to stop it, but that wasn't happening. There was just too many people, they were overwhelmed, and they actually helped me and my mother get over the wall," he said.

In the 41 years since then, Billy has wondered if he would ever see his Bulldogs win another national title. He saw them come close just four years ago, when they lost in overtime to Alabama, and he'll be in Indianapolis as the Dawgs get another try at the Tide.

His mother, who took him to New Orleans for the championship game in 1980, passed away in 2018. He said she was the inspiration for his lifelong love affair with the Dawgs.

"She was a passionate, passionate, Bulldog fan for sure and I'm sure that's where I get it from as well," he said.

It's a passion that's been growing since that magical season in 1980.

Copeland still has the cowbell with the Bulldogs sticker that his mom used to take to games. He said he thought about trying to bring the cowbell to Indianapolis and sneaking it inside the game, but items like that are prohibited, and it's too special a memento to risk getting confiscated.

But he said he'd bring his memories of the Sugar Bowl to the game on Monday.

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