I hate to overstate the importance of a season-opening game, but that's just what I'm going to do: Georgia HAS to beat Boise State when they meet in Atlanta on Sept. 3. ... No school will play a more important season opener than Georgia. A loss vs. a very good Boise State squad could send a Bulldogs team with shaky confidence into a funk with a visit from South Carolina - the favorite of most to win the SEC East - looming next. An 0-2 start could mean that Georgia's season is over before it hardly had begun.Free tip for journalists starting out: Don't write sentences that say two opposite things.
Now, I'm going to lose my mind as much as anyone if we lose to Boise State. But it's not an SEC game. It's not a "must" win any more than any other game on the schedule. To the extent that early-season must wins exist, South Carolina is a must win.
But college football history is replete with examples of teams that stumbled early, then recovered to have very good seasons. And a very good Bulldogs season in 2011 would be a great accomplishment.
Since our primary goal is the SEC championship, I'd argue the opening game is bigger for Boise than it is for us. Win and they're in the national conversation all year long. Lose and maybe the ESPN guys will talk about how Boise State can still win the Mountain West, some time after the third commercial break.
But I will say this: If we're so mentally weak that losing to Boise sends us into some kind of shame spiral the season can't recover from, if we're a team with "shaky confidence," as Dienhart suggests, then we are already doomed.