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Georgia Football

Have the Georgia Bulldogs Passed the Alabama Crimson Tide? Kirby Smart Won't Play Ball

June 4, 2023

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ATHENS - Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart says that he’s not heard the latest about if his program has passed Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide

“I don’t hear that a lot,” he told reporters during the SEC’s Spring Meetings last week. “I don’t measure our program based on their program.”

He might not compare Georgia to the Tide, but everyone is - and it stands to reason that comparison is being made. After all, who else are we supposed to compare Georgia to these days? Georgia Tech? Florida? Auburn? 

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The Dawgs’ three traditional rivals have never seemingly been weaker at one singular moment in time… not that I can remember at least. None are relevant on the national stage like they were a decade ago. 

It was Saban who all but ended Florida’s magical run from 1996 to 2009 by snuffing out Urban, Tim Tebow and the 2009 Gators in that year’s SEC Championship Game. That program hasn’t been the same since. A year later, Gator castoff Cam Newton and Auburn won a slew of tight games - one of which was over Saban and the Tide - to win the national title. (Side note: Urb has to be the master of superstar quarterbacks transferring away from a program and then having unprecedented success without him). 

Its been Saban and his Tide, not Urb and his Gators, Buckeyes or Jags (lol) that have defined this century of college football. So, naturally, when we are at the start of the summer (months away from the season), this is the sort of talk that we hear out loud. Who has really challenged Alabama like Georgia is now?

Clemson? Problem there was Bama beat Clemson twice in the four-year span the Taters won it all. Last we saw Dabo’s Tigers playing Tennessee, with a backup QB no less, was kicking in whatever chiclets they had left after embarrassing losses to Notre Dame and the Chickens. 

LSU? One season of Joe Burrow magic is one season. Kirby’s Dawgs have done this twice... and the second time looked pretty easy if we are being honest. 

Is it wrong to ask out loud if Georgia has passed Alabama? Ohio State and Michigan certainly have not. A&M? Pipe dream. 

Here’s what Saban said to ESPN in April about all of this:

"Georgia has won two national championships in a row, so I'd say for the moment they are the best. They've proven on the field that they are the best for the last two years. But success is not a continuum for us. It's not a continuum for anyone."

Alabama will do their best to win another SEC Championship, but according to FanDuel, it’s the Bulldogs who have -105 odds to win the SEC for the second-consecutive season.

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He’s right (and I can hardly spell continuum)

Kirby added: 

“Our success is based on how we work out. How we perform. How we run. How we turnover the ball and how we convert third downs. It’s really that simple. It’s not based on the other program. I’ve got a lot of respect for Alabama and everything they’ve done, but it doesn’t have anything to do with us,” he said. The focus for us has to be on us.”

Kirby can’t worry about where he and his program are in terms of the long arc of college football history. Kenny Loggins was right: “You never count your money when you're sitting at the table. There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done.”

(That was Kenny Loggins, right?)

The dealing isn’t done - Alabama certainly isn’t. 

In this sport once you start looking around to see where you are at folks are going to pass you - and folks are looking to pass these Dawgs. Right now passing Georgia is the only way to win it all. And there isn’t a passing lane in sight. If you want to get in front of these Dawgs you are going to have to go through them. 

Nick Saban and Kirby both know it, too. 

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