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Georgia Football

Kirby Smart's Unknown Path Forward

October 19, 2020

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ATHENS - 17-point losses never go over well in Athens. 

Particularly not these days after UGA has invested a lot of time, money and effort into the football program. Then again, this isn’t the worst loss in the near five-year tenure of Kirby Smart. 

LSU beat Georgia by 27 a year ago and by 20 two years ago. Auburn punished Georgia by 23 in 2017. 

The overreaction poured in on social media, etc. But the fact of the matter is Georgia just needs to win out - something that it should do - in order to set up a rematch that could very well be different on two major levels - the location of the game, and the signal caller in Athens. 

This isn’t an article in favor of moving on from Stetson Bennett VI. I simply don’t know what the future holds at any spot, and quarterback has been a challenging thing to predict this year at Georgia. 

However, this is an article in favor of not turning the ball over three times that results in 21 points for Alabama. Bennett played fine, but that’s too many turnovers against a team like Alabama. You don’t give the ball away three times - that’s a very different fourth quarter… Alabama “probably” still wins, but you don’t know what you don’t know. 

We do know who won the game, and who the better team was - Alabama. The Tide, to me, served notice they are very much in the conversation for another national title. Clemson should be taking note as Alabama is most certainly back. 

Still, if you think Georgia can’t beat Alabama I’m not sure what game you were watching. Both teams are solid. Alabama has the best offense in college football (again, Clemson is good, but in this case Alabama is better everywhere except quarterback, and “possibly” running back). Georgia has the best defense. These days offense is winning. 

Still, one week has nothing to do with the next. We’ve seen this for years with good teams - Kirby’s teams. 

While the Georgia head coach has a lot to handle - namely better production at signal caller - he’s done a very good to great job of handling what happens next when Georgia loses in the regular season. This comes as much from stacking and developing talent as anything. 

Consider that Georgia has lost back-to-back games twice in Kirby’s career (2016). After the first loss of 2017, the Bulldogs won four games in a row - including two over ranked teams. In 2018 it was five in a row - including over two ranked teams. In 2019 it was six games in a row - including two over ranked teams. 

So the likelihood is that Georgia will end up back in Atlanta to take another shot at Alabama. That’s when this team will get it final judgement. This is about building to that moment. 

I don’t know what will happen along the way. This year and season have been peak unpredictable. And that’s the part that folks should remember. There is no telling what is going to happen here on the road to Atlanta. 

No telling. 

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