Their careers — and those of seniors Fred Gibson, Reggie Brown, Jeremy Thomas and Arnold Harrison — ended Saturday afternoon around 3:30, when the final seconds of Georgia’s 24-21 Outback Bowl win over Wisconsin drifted away.
“It’s exciting for me for all those guys,” coach Mark Richt said. “I love all of them.”
The victory vaulted those seniors and the Georgia program into some elite company. The seniors leave the school with a career record of 42-10, the second-best in school history. The bowl victory, Georgia’s third straight in a Jan. 1 game, also gave the Bulldogs (10-2) another season of 10 or more wins.
Despite their win, the No. 8 Bulldogs don’t have much hope of moving into the nation’s top five in the final poll. So far, only one team ranked above them, No. 4 California, has lost. It’s unlikely that Southern Cal, Oklahoma or Auburn would drop below Georgia even with a loss, so the best Georgia seemingly can hope for is a final ranking of No. 7.
The Bulldogs might move as far as No. 6 if Associated Press voters drop No. 7 Louisville after it was pushed to the brink by No. 10 Boise State. Either way, it will be the third consecutive Georgia season to finish in the Top 10.
It’s also the third straight time, and 15th overall, Georgia has won 10 or more games in a season. By comparison, the Badgers (9-3) have had three 10-or-more win seasons in their 115 years of football.
“It’s an amazing feat regardless of what league you are in,” Greene said. “To win 10 games when you only play 12 or 13 games, that’s a lot. It’s good to be a part of it.”
Greene was more than a part of it. He started every Georgia victory the last four seasons, making him the winningest quarterback in Division I-A history.
“I'd never have guessed I’d be 42-10 playing in the SEC,” Greene said.
Greene’s roommate and childhood friend, David Pollack, also went out on a high note, winning the Outback Bowl MVP trophy after recording three sacks. He’ll remember his four years with Greene forever, he said.
“It’s awesome to be associated with a kid like that,” Pollack said. “He’s a first-class individual. I love him to death.”
And Georgia fans will miss all of them like crazy.