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The celebrations began just before the clock struck midnight at Lucas Oil Stadium.

For the first time in 42 years, the Georgia Bulldogs ended their football season as national champions.

In posting a remarkable 33-18 victory over Southeastern Conference rival and defending national champion Alabama, Coach Kirby Smart's team took care of all family business.

And so did college football in the wild, crazy still COVID dominated world of 2021.

No matter what the people running the sport, supporting it, criticizing or praising it,  do, no matter the changes, college football can't be killed off.

On Monday night, with an audience that was projected as too regional in nature, in a sport which many had suggested had become far too inclusive, Alabama and Georgia performed the way the best two best teams in college football should perform.

They offered everything any football fan, anywhere, would want. 

They mixed it with drama and raw emotion.

It included  with the Cinderella story of a walk-on quarterback who had the goat horns fitted on his shoulders a few minutes earlier, ending his college and possibly football career, as a QB for the ages---certainly so in his home state of Georgia.

Let's start with Georgia QB Stetson Bennett, the Bulldogs improbable starter in its first national champion since legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley guided the 1980 Dawgs to the national championship in 1980.

Even deep in Dawg territory in Athens, some Georgia supporters were saying that Bennett was a good enough quarterback to guide Georgia through most of the SEC season, but not good enough to win the SEC title against (Alabama), which he didn't, and certainly not good enough to beat the Tide in a national championship rematch. 

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And five minutes into the fourth quarter that appeared to be Georgia and Bennett's fate, when his fumble set up the Tide for a go-ahead TD, giving Coach Nick Saban's team an 18-12 lead and a clear path to another national championship.

""I knew that once I fumbled I was not going to be the reason we lost the game,'' said Bennett afterwards. "I knew that these guys besides me had my back and I had their back too.''

And just like that it happened. Georgia, led by Bennett's passing zipped through the back pedaling Tide for a quick score and a lead it never gave up  the rest of the evening.

In the end, it was the Tide which was pushed back by a Georgia offensive line which suddenly played the way it had against everyone else but Alabama--overwhelming, even arrogant.

It was Georgia's time and it didn't matter if the venue was the friendly, warmer confines of an SEC venue or the January chill of Indianapolis in the middle of an artic blast of sub freezing weather.

Georgia fans, as they tend do overwhelmed the stadium, the city, the region.

"Just Dawg Nation showing up here,'' said Smart, who can now add a national championship to his impressive resume. "the tremendous belief in this program, of our fan base. I mean everywhere we went in Indianapolis. we saw our people.''

College football still has a trove of issues to settle, which hinder the progress of the sport.

The powers that be still can't agree on when teams can move to new conferences, much less on how to make an expansion of the CFP playoff  system from 4 to 12 teams  work.

There are still too many bowl games in a system which rewards mediocrity. Coaches salaries and buyouts still exceed budgets from some third world nations.

 New rules allowing players to be compensated for their names, images or likeness continues to expose the underbelly of  the sport.

In the end, none of it matters, because no matter what happens, college football will be able to produce gems such as it turned out Monday night.