If not for Alabama, Georgia would have already won a national championship under Kirby Smart and likely played for another title last season.

How many times can the Dawgs come up short against the Tide and continue to believe they will defeat the SEC’s best program? That’s the biggest question mark in Athens this offseason according to ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland. The former SEC Network analyst recently joined “The Paul Finebaum Show” to preview the upcoming college football season heading into 2019 SEC Media Days.

The way McFarland sees it, Georgia has everything in place to be the next Alabama or Clemson but they have to get over the mental hurdle of losing to the Crimson Tide in back to back seasons.

“I think the roster is really good, Paul,” McFarland said of Georgia’s 2019 squad during his appearance on the show. “To me, Georgia has got to have a belief. When you have Alabama beat, what was that, in ’17? And you couldn’t finish the job and in ’18, when Alabama was all but done, and out comes Tua here they go with Jalen Hurts and next thing you know, Georgia loses the football game. Everybody in Athens has to sit back and say, ‘Can we ever beat this team? We’ve competed with them but can we get over the hump and beat them?’

“Kirby Smart has done a phenomenal job, I played against Kirby Smart at LSU, so Kirby and I are really the same age. He’s done a great job, I know he’s got everyone’s faith in Athens but until you get out there on that field and until you win the big game, he is recruiting like Alabama and Clemson, he’s just not winning like them yet. And the people in Athens are waiting. They aren’t going to say a lot, not going to ruffle any feathers but I think they are waiting to see can you win that big game and start playing for national championships.”

It’s interesting that McFarland notes Smart needing to win the “big game” considering Georgia has won an SEC Championship and a Playoff game under the coach’s leadership but he could be simply referencing Alabama when he says “big game.”

There’s a ton of momentum being built in Athens right now but until the Dawgs prove they can beat Alabama, all that progress won’t amount to the current championship expectations for the program.