One day soon, there will be happiness after a game like this. There will be elation, and relief. There will be that sheer inner joy that comes from going toe-to-toe with the best and coming out on top. It will happen because steps have been put in place for it to happen, and the team will do all the things they need to do right in order to make that happen. But as of yesterday, we aren’t quite there yet.
The Aggies played their asses off Saturday in a hostile environment on a sloppy surface and very nearly derailed the playoff hopes of an SEC blue-blood on their home turf. The Aggies outgained Georgia in total offense and held them under 100 yards rushing. Eight different defenders had a tackle for loss. If you had told me two or three years ago that this would happen in Athens; that we’d do all that and hold the Bulldogs under 20 points, I would have laughed derisively in your face, no matter who the coach was. This defense is playing as well as any in the SEC, and that makes us competitive in every game we play.
“Progress” is a loose term, and most of us as Aggies realize that Jimbo Fisher has altered the DNA of this program already and has the team humming at a completely different caliber. But “progress” from a national standpoint eventually boils down to winning one of these big games, and we haven’t done it yet this year. It’s a harsh standard of judgement, but this is college football, where such standards are impossibly high and there is little room for the nuanced caveats of losses. That’s the competitiveness that compels us to follow this sport the way we do. The cold and clinical fact remains that we have not yet beaten a team with a winning record. Yes, that includes Lamar. Our 2019 schedule shook out in such a way that everyone was either top ten or fairly awful. This was beyond our control, as are so many other things (officiating, weather, the mildest of takes from national talking heads that may incite some among us to mob anger), but in the end, beating one of these top ten teams is the only thing not beyond our control.
Plenty of yesterday’s gaffes were within our control: false starts and delay of games at crucial moments, more poor pass protection, questionable playcalls on key short yardage downs, etc. To beat a team like Georgia on the road you need to be nearly perfect, and we weren’t near enough to pull it off. All Aggies should hold their heads up after yesterday’s effort. Be proud of the team. The fact that we didn’t win yesterday doesn’t mean this team isn’t right on the verge of being able to do so. We’re not around that final corner just yet. No need to get your feelings hurt when the media points that out. It will happen, and the critics will fall silent, and we won’t have an excuse to be angry at the void anymore. Might as well start practicing that now.
Reveling in losing close games to great teams is fine if that’s your thing. You know what’s better? Beating them. We roll into Tiger Stadium for a night game in six days. This is what we signed up for.