So, there is a report about the Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma Sooners being in negotiations for a home-and-home series in the near future. As you know, the Bulldogs defeated the Sooners in the best College Football Playoff game ever. They came from behind to defeat the Sooners in overtime. Moreover, the game was at the picturesque Rose Bowl.
However, that win might have head coach Kirby Smart on the hot seat sooner than later. Remember, the Bulldogs stormed back in an epic second half. If they fell short, Bulldogs’ fans would have been disappointed, but they may have been better off in the long run.
Instead, Coach Smart led his program into the national title game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs felt the wrath of an improbable comeback in the championship game. Georgia was headed for a national championship. They should have won the national title. Then they lost the national title to a backup quarterback in overtime. No matter how you slice it, the loss was devastating. In fact, the loss was so bad, the defeat reared its ugly head 11 months later in the SEC Championship game.
Once again, the Bulldogs dominated the Crimson Tide for three quarters. Once again, the Bulldogs let the backup quarterback come into the game and snatch a victory away. As a result, the Bulldogs went from strong title contenders to participants in a Sugar Bowl with no ramifications. By the way, they lost the Sugar Bowl to the Texas Longhorns.
Instead of celebrating back to back College Football Playoff appearances and at least one national title, the Bulldogs are going into year four of Coach Smart’s tenure with one SEC title on the resume. More importantly, there’s no proof that he can defeat his former mentor Nick Saban.
How many years will the Bulldogs faithful wait and see if Smart can get it done? He is (32-10) in three seasons in Athens. Mark Richt earned 15 seasons to win a title with Georgia. They finally got tired of “mediocrity” after a (9-3) regular season. However, the early years resembled exactly what Smart is doing now.
Coach Richt led his first team to an (8-4) record. Over the next four years, Georgia finished (44-9). They had a No. 3 AP Top 25 ranking to end the 2002 season. They finished No. 7 in back to back years. However, the Bulldogs finished No. 10 in the fourth year of that run. In fact, Richt’s teams finished in the Top 10 three more times during his tenure, including a No. 2 ranking at the end of the 2007 season. Yet, he never earned the coveted national title. Keep in mind, the Bulldogs finished outside the top 25 in 4 of the last 7 seasons before Smart arrived.
Bottom line, Georgia has been a great program for over the last 20 years. They had one losing season since 1997. However, if national championships are what we are measuring this Georgia program by, coach Smart may have missed his mark. He may have thrown away his best two chances to get the job done, especially if they don’t win it this year.
Quarterback Jake Fromm is back for his junior season. It may be his last chance to win it all. They have all-purpose back D’Andre Swift returning, but Elijah Holyfield opted to enter the NFL draft early. We’re not too worried about the backfield. What we are worried about is having a fourth quarter lead in a meaningful game.
That’s the question that everyone needs an answer to. Can Kirby Smart win the big one? If not, how soon should Georgia look for a new head coach?