Kirby's Marketing Machine

February 18, 2020

ATHENS - The marketing machine that is Kirby Smart hasn’t stopped moving since he got the job at Georgia in the winter of 2015. 

But we seeing full bore now what he has had in store for the program that he played for two decades ago. He wants the Dawgs in the spotlight early and often - and Kirby has done just that again. 

This time the Dawgs kicked San Jose State to the curb (and paid a handsome sum in doing so) in order to take on old foe Clemson, who dismissed Wyoming from their schedule to make this all work. 

Entering the 2021 season, the national media will focus on three opening-weekend games: Georgia-Clemson, Ohio State at Oregon and LSU-FSU. The losers of those games won’t be out of the national title picture, but that seems to be beside the point for Kirby. 

2021 was the season Georgia could have taken it easy. After playing Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU in SEC play - along with the usual clash with Auburn - UGA was getting what looked like a favorable slate with Arkansas coming to Athens in 2021. 

2021 was the final year before a brutal stretch of out-of-conference games took over for the Dawgs. In 2022, Oregon comes to Atlanta. 2023 features a road trip to Oklahoma. 2024 the Dawgs and Tigers play another one in Atlanta. 2025 is a repeat trip to the Rose Bowl to take on UCLA. The following year the Bruins come to Athens. In 2027, UGA will travel to Florida State for the season opener. In 2028, UGA travels to Austin to take on the Horns before hosting the Noles two weeks later. In 2029, UGA is set to host Texas in the season opener two weeks before playing at Clemson. In 2030, UGA hosts the Taters to open the season before mighty Ohio State travels to Athens for the first time ever. 2031 is another blockbuster with UGA going to Ohio State to open the year before hosting Oklahoma two weeks later. Back-to-back season openers against Clemson in 2032 and 2033 loom four presidential cycles from now. 

Why stack the schedule so much? Will the playoffs expand? Is this about ticket holder value? 

I don’t know about any of those things. I do know this is about getting Georgia in the national discussion and keeping it there. Games like UGA-Clemson turn on recruits. And if we are being honest, Kirby has done just fine in out-of-conference games during his first four years (Kirby has 12 losses in four years - only two of them have come outside of the SEC). 

Wins over Georgia Tech (3), Notre Dame (2), Baylor, TCU and North Carolina give Kirby an 8-2 record against power five foes in his time at Georgia. He probably thinks his program will hold its own against the likes of Clemson, Oregon, FSU, Oklahoma and the rest. 

Win or lose, this is about marketing - to his team, recruits and the rest of college football. This is about Kirby doing his best to keep his program front of mind. 

Who plays in the biggest championship game each year? 

Right now that’s Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. 

Who played in the most-anticipated game in 2019?

It was Notre Dame and UGA. 

Who has played in the two most-viewed games on TV since Kirby took over in 2016?


Kirby is working to keep it that way. 

Tags: Kirby Smart
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