Eleven months ago, while working for ESPN, Pollack looked into Nick Saban’s eyes and told the Alabama coach what seemed true in that moment.
"They’ve taken ahold of college football," Pollack said during halftime of Georgia’s national championship romp of TCU last January.
Saban was on the ESPN set that night. He quietly and respectfully nodded his head.
Pollack’s words caused a stir in Booker, who watched from afar. And Booker says he wasn’t the only Alabama player moved by what Pollack said to the GOAT’s face.
"He was on the podium last year with Coach Saban talking about how Georgia is the new standard, Georgia is the new dynasty," Booker told me after No. 8 Alabama upset No. 1 Georgia 27-24 on Saturday in the SEC Championship.
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Pollack didn’t use the word "dynasty," but I wasn’t about to interrupt a 352-pound man on a quote roll after Alabama's crowning moment Saturday.
So, go ahead Booker. Continue …
"That really sat with me," Booker said of Pollack’s words that night in Inglewood, California, "because I came to Alabama for the standard. I came to Alabama to further the dynasty.
"To hear somebody challenge my coach to his face like that? I take that personally. I feel like everybody who saw it did, and then we responded to that."
Did they ever.
Alabama stopped the Georgia machine in its tracks.
So much for a three-peat.
The way Booker sees it, Alabama’s dynastic dominance can be imitated but not replicated.
"There’s only one Alabama, and there’s always going to be one Alabama," Booker said.
There can only be one Alabama, but I see it a bit differently from Booker. Alabama’s dominance can be replicated, but it’s going to take more than Georgia’s back-to-back national championships to do so.
The Alabama-Georgia rivalry is going nowhere.
Considering the way Saban and Smart continue to recruit and develop talent and supplement their rosters with cherry pickings from the transfer portal, this won’t be the last time these programs clash in Atlanta.
Alabama-Clemson became the rivalry of the 2010s. Advantage Alabama, which won twice as many national championships during the decade as Clemson did.
That gave way to Alabama-Georgia in the 2020s.
Georgia owns the edge this decade. Pollack put it correctly when he said Georgia had taken ahold of college football.
Alabama wrested control back.
"There would be no Georgia without Alabama," Booker said. "We are the standard, and we proved that today. We might have had a slow two years, but the standard is here."
These rivals will begin meeting more regularly starting next year after the SEC eliminates divisions.
Three matchups between Alabama and Georgia within the same season – regular season, SEC Championship and College Football Playoff – is not only a possibility, it probably will happen sometime within this decade.
I'd expect Pollack to light a few more fires. The former Georgia standout turned analyst was caught up in ESPN’s layoffs last summer, but he’s still opining on the web. He recently planted his flag for Georgia ahead of the SEC Championship.
"The better coach is clearly Kirby Smart. Clearly," Pollack said before Saturday's game.
Not on Saturday, Smart wasn’t.
The O.G. restored order.
Alabama’s standard became momentarily imitated, but not surpassed.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Alabama star Tyler Booker sends David Pollack message after SEC title