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What a year Bulldog nation, now let's look to the 2008 season

There has been much speculation about a BCS title shot since the Bulldogs' "Shock and Maul" campaign against Hawaii in the Allstate Sugar Bowl led to a 41-10, New Year's Day victory.

And, being a huge Georgia fan myself, I have to admit it's entertaining to weigh out all the what-ifs and 'who would win between my team and yours' scenarios. It's one of the reasons, for me at least, college football is so fun - especially when your team is part of the equation.

Imaginary eight-team playoff brackets, one-plus bowl games and '100 reasons we were cheated out of the BCS Championship' lists are the science fiction, alternate history and fantasy fiction college football fans around the nation crave.

It gives us a chance to razz our co-workers around the water cooler and see and hear our team mentioned with all the big guns on the news and network sports stations.

But, most importantly, it sells.

Just ask ESPN, which has a bracket builder on its website, appropriately entitled College Football Playoff, that allows visitors to simulate a 16-team playoff system with some of the top teams in the nation.

"All the upsets have you wondering how a playoff would have played out this year? Play ESPN.com's College Football Playoff to find out," reads the text box with the link to play the College Football Playoff.

Now, if you think a 16-team playoff is a real possiblity for NCAA football, I've got a riverboat investment in the Sahara you've got to get in on.

Still, it has its place in the world of what-ifs and we-could-have's. It's just fun. I've played four times and Georgia has won the title twice and lost to USC once and West Virginia in an upset special in the other loss.

Coming back to the hear and now, however, we all have to realize fantasy is just that. We can't turn the clocks back, and other than allowing us to vent steam, complain about the system or even play devil's advocate, the ESPN bracket builder (or any other form of what-if) has no place in the very real realm of college football other than amusement.

It stirs up emotions and gets people to read ESPN's website. That's why it's on the page and the reason the sports media has picked up the arguments following Georgia and USC's blowout wins.

But let's be honest. Did devastating Illinois or Hawaii really prove anything? Both Georgia and USC were supposed to defeat them by big margins.

I'm very happy Georgia won, but, win lose or draw, I would have rather seen Georgia and USC square off in the Rose Bowl.

So, let's keep the win in perspective Bulldog Nation. It's wonderful the Dogs beat Hawaii and proved they were a contender for a top-five finish, but UGA lost two key games earlier in the season that gave voters a legitimate reason to give Ohio State and LSU a jolt to No 1 and 2 in the nation.

Ohio State was the only major conference team with only one loss, weak schedule withstanding, and LSU may have faltered towards the end, but it won the SEC championship, and, by our own admission, it's the toughest conference in the nation.

We can't have it both ways.

So, let's keep alternate realities on the entertainment section of ESPN's website where they belong and concentrate on the success our team had this year and what is to come in 2008-09.

We've got a Herschel-like running back in Knowshon Moreno, who, barring injury, will only get better in the coming year, a possible all-american quarterback in Matthew Stafford with yet another year of experience and a better-prepared offensive front to protect him.

That said, 2008 should be an incredible year for the Dogs, no sci-fi needed.

Jeff Hensley is a sports writer for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at jhensley@news-daily.com.