Georgia celebrates back-to-back titles with another parade

Jan 13, 2023, 10:50 PM | Updated: Jan 14, 2023, 2:35 pm
Georgia players take the field during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA ...

Georgia players take the field during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)

(AP Photo/Alex Slitz)

              Georgia players take the field during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, center, walks into the stadium during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, center, enters the stadium during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia fans cheer during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Boss Dawg, an English bulldog belonging to DeDe David, of, Athens. Ga., walks during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart cheers with the crowd during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart speaks while standing between the 2022 and 2023 championship trophies during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia fans cheer during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia football fan Courtney Warner, of LaGrange, Ga., cheers during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia football players acknowledge the crowd during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia players take the field during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, center, walks into the stadium during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, center, enters the stadium during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia fans cheer during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Boss Dawg, an English bulldog belonging to DeDe David, of, Athens. Ga., walks during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart cheers with the crowd during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart speaks while standing between the 2022 and 2023 championship trophies during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia fans cheer during a ceremony celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia football fan Courtney Warner, of LaGrange, Ga., cheers during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia football players acknowledge the crowd during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran, left, and quarterback Stetson Bennett, right, ride by fans during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart waves at fans during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)
            
              Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, left, greets fans during a parade celebrating the Bulldog's second consecutive NCAA college football national championship, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia coach Kirby Smart had a good-natured complaint to fans when celebrating the Bulldogs’ back-to-back national championships with a parade and ceremony for the second straight year on Saturday.

“You didn’t tell me last year we were going back to back. Wow!” said a smiling Smart.

Smart referenced a quote from legendary UCLA coach John Wooden when he said winning the second straight national title for the first time in school history was more difficult than ending the Bulldogs’ 41-year title drought in 2021.

“Winning takes talent,” Smart said before adding, “but to repeat takes character.”

Saturday’s parade led the team to Sanford Stadium, where many fans held up three fingers as they looked ahead to the goal of a threepeat. No team has won three consecutive national championships in the AP poll era, which dates to 1936.

“We can’t wait to see what lies ahead for this team,” Smart said. “This team will have to be hungry because a lot of this team is coming back.”

Georgia won its second straight national championship despite having a record 15 players selected from their 2021 team in last year’s NFL draft. The Bulldogs clinched the 2022 championship with their runaway 65-7 win over TCU in Monday night’s national championship game.

Georgia will face more heavy losses this offseason. On Saturday, wide receiver and return specialist Kearis Jackson announced on his Twitter account his plans to enter the NFL draft. Jackson had 21 catches for 320 yards this season.

Tight end Darnell Washington and cornerback Kelee Ringo previously announced they are leaving school early to enter the NFL draft. Defensive tackle Jalen Carter, offensive tackle Broderick Jones, edge rusher Nolan Smith and safety Chris Smith are among other prominent Georgia players in the draft.

Perhaps Georgia’s biggest loss, however, will be quarterback Stetson Bennett, even though Bennett is projected to be only a possible late-rounds pick in the NFL draft. The focus will shift to the competition to replace Bennett, who passed for four touchdowns and ran for two scores in the rout of TCU.

Bennett wore a red sweatshirt with the words “Them Dawgs Is Hell.”

Bennett said Georgia’s players were motivated by those who “kept telling us how bad we were” and said the Bulldogs couldn’t have another championship season after losing so many players to the NFL.

“We kept winning,” Bennett said. “Y’all didn’t want to believe it. … We got two rings, you know?”

Bennett was named offensive MVP in each of his four CFP games in the two championship runs and was 28-3 as a starter.

Georgia’s 2022 Southeastern Conference and national championship banners were raised at the stadium. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock presented Smart the national championship trophy.

“There’s only nine of these and you have two of them,” Hancock said.

Among others speaking at the ceremony were SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

University of Georgia president Jere Morehead called the celebration of back-to-back championships “an unimaginable moment.”

“Enjoy what has been created and be a part of what is coming in the future as this dynasty continues to develop,” Morehead said.

___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE -U.S. Olympic team head coach Teri McKeever speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Olympi...
Associated Press

Cal fires swim coach McKeever, winner of 4 NCAA team titles

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Longtime University of California women’s swimming coach Teri McKeever was fired Tuesday following an investigation into alleged harassment, bullying and verbally abusive conduct, the school said in a statement. McKeever led the Golden Bears to four NCAA team titles over 29 years. She coached the U.S. women’s swim team at the […]
19 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, and forward Anthony Davis look on from the bench dur...
Associated Press

James back at MSG as he, Davis available to play for Lakers

NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James is back in the lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers for their game against the New York Knicks, his first game at Madison Square Garden in three years. James moved well during a pregame workout Tuesday and the Lakers upgraded him from questionable to available. James sat out Monday […]
19 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates with defensive end Frank Clark, right, after the...
Associated Press

Andy Reid turned a 6-inch binder into a Hall of Fame resume

Andy Reid was an unknown assistant in Green Bay when Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie took a chance on hiring Brett Favre’s position coach to revive a struggling franchise in Philadelphia. A newspaper headline greeted Reid’s arrival with a headline that said: “Andy Who?” Everybody knows his name now. Reid won more games (130) than any […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Michigan State's Khary Crump waits for a play to begin during the team's NCAA college footba...
Associated Press

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field. Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan […]
19 hours ago
San Francisco 49ers' Jauan Jennings, left, and Trey Lance embrace on the bench in the final minute ...
Associated Press

49ers head into offseason with more questions at quarterback

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers head into another offseason with major questions at quarterback after a season filled with injuries to the most important position ended without any of them physically able to throw the the ball downfield. Trey Lance, who began the season as starter, is getting close to being […]
19 hours ago
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva  waits for the arrival of the German Chancellor Olaf S...
Associated Press

Brazilian volleyball player suspended over Lula poll

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian volleyball club Cruzeiro suspended Olympic gold medalist Wallace de Souza on Tuesday after he conducted a social media poll asking his fans whether they would shoot Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the face. The 35-year-old de Souza, who played on Brazil’s winning team at the Rio de […]
19 hours ago
Georgia celebrates back-to-back titles with another parade