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Bulldog Nation right where we want to be

I'm not going to lie - this is a column for UGA fans. If you're not one of those you'll probably be better off scanning across the page to whatever pearls of wisdom Kathleen Parker is offering up today.

Now, for those who wear the red and black: A glorious thing will happen Saturday.

The Georgia Bulldogs - yes, my alma mater - will take the field as the No. 1 team in the nation. To quote Led Zeppelin, it's been a long time.

We haven't been ranked No. 1 since Jan. 1, 1983, when, well, a bad thing I don't like to talk about happened. (Let's just say I hate Penn State.)

We haven't ever been a preseason No. 1, as far as I know.

And it's not just one poll, it's all of them. AP, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News - they all agree, at least for now, on who is the best team in the nation.

So what's it all mean? Realistically, not much, in the grand scheme of things. Polls are nothing but opinions, and you know what they say about those.

And you still have to play the games. Georgia has the toughest schedule I can remember ever having and will have a target on its back from the beginning. Every team, from alleged pushovers like Central Michigan to the evil Satan-spawn-coached South Carolina to the revenge-hungry lizards down in Florida, will be gunning for us, especially if we hold on to the top spot.

It's a tremendous amount of pressure. Some say it's a dubious honor to be preseason No. 1. You're just asking to be upset, they say. You have to be careful what you wish for, and all that.

Those people are not true fans because us true fans say, bring it on. We're right where we want to be.

True fans love the Georgia Bulldogs. Really love them. Not in the same way we love our families maybe, but it's close.

Whenever people have asked me what I would get if I ever got a tattoo, I always answer the same way - a Georgia G or a Georgia Bulldog. Why? Because if I'm going to have something on me for life, it's going to be something that I will always be proud of, something I'll always be loyal to, something that I'll never turn my back on.

I can't say that about any other team. I like the Falcons, but truth be told, I'm more of a Raiders fan. I really like the Braves, but after years of falling just a bit short every season my interest has waned a little. And the Hawks? Who cares.

But the Bulldogs? I've been with them every step of the way. Through every up, every down, for 30-something years, I've pulled for the Bulldogs. They could lose every game for the rest of my life, and I'd still want to be buried in a Bulldog T-shirt.

And that's why I'm excited about Saturday - because the chance is there. Opportunity has knocked. For the first time in my life, my team is starting at the top instead of in the hole with everybody else. For the first time, it's not USC, Florida State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame or any of those other perennial top dogs because this year it's top dawg, thank you very much.

I don't know where we'll be at the end. Heck, I'm no fortune teller - I don't even know where we'll be Sunday.

But at least for right now, everybody else is looking up at my team and wishing their team was where we are.

And that's right where I want to be.

Woof, woof, woof, woof.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.