Has Kirby Smart Peaked at Georgia?

Rewind the clocks to four years ago in 2015. Georgia fired Mark Richt after an “unimpressive” 9-3 season with the Bulldogs. The argument was that Richt would never get Georgia over that hump for a national championship. The next coaching hire was going to be the coach that would end Georgia’s drought of a national title.

Enter Kirby Smart. Smart had been Nick Saban’s right hand man for a long time with Alabama and even before that. Many viewed the relationship as one of Smart being the next Nick Saban. And that’s what the Bulldogs fans hoped. They rolled out the red carpet similar to what Alabama had done for Saban, Ohio State done for Urban Meyer, and Michigan had done for Jim Harbaugh. They anointed Smart as the chosen one. Adding on, the hopes of Jacob Eason really got Bulldogs fans excited about the future and by year 3-4 a National Championship was expected to hit Georgia’s trophy case.

Fast forward to today. Playoff Selection Day. We know Georgia isn’t going to be one of the four teams picked after an embarrassing, humiliating loss to LSU in the SEC Championship last night. Their second straight SEC title loss after their blown lead to Alabama last year. Adding on, the comparisons to Smart and his predecessor Mark Richt are very parallel and only one playoff appearance to show forth. And instead of being Saban 2.0, Georgia fans are more inclined to say he’s Mark Richt 2.0.

Fair assessment perhaps?

So let’s begin.

Kirby Smart in his time at Alabama was a stout recruiter and year in & year out helped the Tide dominate the recruiting ranks. He took that stout recruiting to Georgia where honestly the cupboard was a bit barren when he arrived (compared to prior years) and even beat Alabama in the recruiting war after the 2017 season. Even when he hasn’t beaten Alabama in that category he has been right behind the Tide. The talent and the recruits have been there.

On the field after the 2016 season where Smart was “testing the waters” of what he had, he installed his way of thinking and so forth and it paid off. Georgia has dominated the SEC East from 2017. Granted it isn’t like the SEC West where they have to see LSU and Alabama yearly (they do see Auburn yearly though) and the East is pretty much a disaster outside of a Florida team who isn’t the one Urban Meyer had.

However, Georgia under Smart, is eerily similar to Georgia under Richt. The philosophy may be different (as Richt’s mentality was a “win is a win” while Smart was “we need to be perfect in every aspect”), but the results have been the same.

So what is happening with Kirby Smart in Athens that is making fans worry it’s more of the same?

(1) SMART IS A STUBBORN BULL: Like Nick Saban at Alabama where he can be very stubborn with the media, Smart has that attitude as well. However, when it comes to the field, Smart believes his semi-obsolete offense (nothing that of a RPO like LSU runs or a spread like Alabama runs) is still good enough to win a national championship with. Saban at least knew he had to adapt after 2013 and did when he hired Lane Kiffin to be the offensive coordinator. People laughed at it, but Alabama won three straight SEC titles and a national championship with Kiffin as the coordinator. Which brings me up to the part where I think that grew tension between Saban and Smart was that the “new era offenses” really puts more strain on even the best defenses around given the quick strikes and fast drives which means a defense that is out there for longer periods of time. Smart wants to keep the defenses fresh and play that typical offense where the quarterback lines up under the center and hands the ball off or hit play action. Teams can figure that out, send a blitz package and even the best offensive lines in the nation can’t handle that. But nope, Kirby still believes the offense style of play he has can win a national championship.

(2) SMART IS SHOWING WHAT KIND OF LEADER (OR LACK THEREOF) HE IS: This will be a hot topic of debate on this assessment. If you look at Saban, Meyer when he was at Ohio State, Dabo, Pete Carroll at USC, and to an extent Orgeron, they will step up and go “yep, this loss is on me, not my players.” Not Smart. It is “well, we did everything right but the players didn’t execute” or “my receivers have to play better.” I get it and it’s probably some honesty there but he has to remember that while he was in a system at Alabama where it felt like a professional football program there, the players are still kids ranging from 18-21. Yesterday’s post-game presser many felt like he threw all his players under the bus and whined about injuries taking its toll. Even healthy, Georgia probably doesn’t beat LSU but what team by Championship Week is healthy?

(3) KIRBY’S NEED TO PUT HIS PRINTS ON THE OFFENSE: This comes back to what I mentioned about his stubbornness. Kirby is a defensive player and therefore a defensive minded coach. Fine and dandy. So Saban was a defensive back and a defensive minded coach. But the difference that is being seen with Saban and Smart is that on offense, both have a different way: Saban tells his coordinators, “hey, run the ball, but mix it up a bit; let’s not be that predictable.” Smart seems to have the vibe of saying “hey, run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball.” I think the tone was set early in the season for Georgia that they would be a run first team which may have gotten the receivers and Jake Fromm out of rhythm. And when teams picked up on the patterns, it was a struggle the rest of the way. Sure, it’s one thing to thump the likes of Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky using the run game only. But the minute you start playing a style that the offense isn’t as accustomed to, it normally means bad news. Georgia did try to pass the ball a lot and “try” some options and sweeps against LSU, and it failed miserably. Yes, you can blame James Coley for the offensive woes and rightfully so, but you can also point at Chaney last year for having an offense that was “predictable” as well. Mixing it up evidently meant having “Wild Bulldog” plays and jet sweeps as opposed to maybe doing more bunch sets and 4 receiver sets. And again, this may be more on the coordinator than Smart, but I think Smart’s mentality is “we are not going to be like these other teams where we score at will; we need to eat some time.” You can do that at the right times, but even LSU pulled the ball control on Georgia to start the second half and wear them out. So it really negates what Kirby’s mentality on that. So if he does try to hire Mike Bobo back at Georgia to run the offense, he NEEDS to let Bobo do his thing like he did before when Georgia had a tough as nails offense and having a backfield of Gurley, Chubb, and Michel.

(4) RECRUITING: Yes, Kirby is an A+ recruiter. And the class he’s getting next year is another top class (though currently on 247sports its 6th, which would be Kirby’s lowest class he’s had). Once again, there is a handful of 5-star guys Georgia will have, but none of them a quarterback nor a WR (there is a 4-star guy) but a few receivers have already de-committed and probably what they have seen the last few years really has hurt. As for quarterbacks, well, Alabama took the top dual threat quarterback in the nation in Bryce Young, who loved the development of what Alabama did for Tua (no jokes about the hip bit please). But you saw that Jacob Eason left for Washington because Fromm was Smart’s guy. You saw Justin Fields transfer to Ohio State because Fromm was Smart’s guy but pretty much whenever Fields got in the attitude Smart had to Fields was “well, the game is over, hand the ball.” That isn’t going to bode well for any top quarterback to display what they were made to do as we’ve seen with Fields at Ohio State. But we are going to see quarterbacks in the Playoff this year that were 4-or-5 star guys that will light it up and one of them will hoist the national championship. Maybe Kirby’s belief is that he needs an AJ McCarron, who can manage a game and not be fully reliant on his arm 24-7. It’s great but I don’t know if even AJ McCarron’s skill set would have gotten Alabama to a national title in 2015 or 2017. It’s possible but….

(5) RAH RAH: Yeah, I’ve said this on Smart a few times being super-animated on the sidelines such as yesterday when he jumped up with a Georgia defender after they thought they recovered a fumble. So far, it has worked somewhat at Georgia. “Well Dabo does it at Clemson,” some may say, but he isn’t going screaming and running around. He will get animated at times but nothing over the top. If you look at the other guys that will be in the Playoff, they are not over the top with their rah-rah stuff. Given how things have been turning out (such as not taking blame for losses and his preparations, yelling and running around on the sidelines screaming at refs and assistant head coaches), at some point you wonder when the players begin to tune out off that nonsense, especially ones who he criticizes in post-game press conferences. I’m not saying Kirby is Jon Voight from Varsity Blues where he gets so stubborn everybody stops playing for him, but it’s like “oh here he goes again” bit. If the Bulldogs are losing and Kirby is losing his mind on the sidelines it doesn’t bode well for anybody over there because if you are supposed to be the leader and you do that, what does it say to those players and assistants who turn to you?

In order for Georgia to win their first Championship since 1980 under Kirby Smart, Kirby Smart needs to change a lot. Yes, he’s getting great results since 2017 with Georgia. A playoff berth, a national championship appearance, and three straight SEC Championship appearances, one SEC title. He also has a Rose Bowl win and a Sugar Bowl appearance and a likely New Year’s Six appearance pending. But Mark Richt’s run early on was similar (2 SEC championship games, one SEC title and a Sugar Bowl appearance). But we are also seeing trends in the not-so-good direction such as losing to teams below them (South Carolina this year), getting smashed by stronger teams. The thing though is that Kirby’s issues can all be fixed, but his pride and ego is going to get in the way of that. He needs to adapt to today’s game. I get he wants a championship through his defense, but in today’s game, you need a balance. But at some point he needs to learn he has to change his ways with how he conducts himself and also through his in-game philosophy. If not, it will be more of the same for a very long time in Athens.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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Is THIS a Make-or-Break Year for Kirby Smart at Georgia?

Georgia fans have seen this played out nearly 20 years ago.

The Bulldogs hired an assistant head coach from a football team that had a coaching legend on the sidelines. The assistant coach recruited well, put the program in the top 5 for recruiting, and then came a play or two away from being in the mix for the national championship in only his second year. After that, the seasons under the coach were great for the most part, but self-inflicted wounds on the field (i.e. inexplicable losses, questionable play-calls, etc.) kept Georgia from being a legit national championship contender. The Bulldogs fired Mark Richt at the end of the 2015 season despite a 9-3 record. A blowout loss at home to Alabama, a loss in Tennessee, and an embarrassing loss against Florida sealed Richt’s tenure (Georgia had a few near disasters that season too, nearly losing to Sun Belt foe Georgia Southern).

So the Bulldogs went to the well again…this time getting former Georgia alum and long-time Saban/Alabama assistant Kirby Smart to run things. Smart’s first year at Georgia obviously did not go well at all, only going 7-5 and many wondered if he was the man for the job. However, Smart used his recruiting prowess, put the Bulldogs back in the top 5 in the nation, flipping Alabama commits to Georgia (thus possibly ending whatever buddy-buddy relationship with Saban). In 2017, Georgia rolled through the competition, save for a bad loss at Auburn (but exacting it 3 weeks later in Atlanta in the SEC Championship game), getting to the Playoff, and winning a classic against Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma. But Georgia fell short, losing to Alabama in overtime for the National Championship.

Hopes rose in Athens and in the Peach State that Georgia’s national championship drought since 1980 is and will be ending. In 2018 Georgia had expected to throttle teams given the excessive talent on all aspects of the football game thanks to recruiting by Smart. They also brought in the #1 recruiting class in the nation before the season including getting the top QB in the nation in Justin Fields, who many thought he could at least push starting QB Jake Fromm and at the very least get plenty of playing time in 4th quarters of blowouts.

However, while Georgia was winning games, it wasn’t as exciting for Bulldogs fans who had hoped to see Georgia put the teams into the woodchipper a la Alabama has or the likes of Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma. Instead, while Georgia dominated in their games, the scores weren’t as indicative of what it was and Kirby kept his starting squad out there in 4th quarters. And if Justin Fields did get in, the mentality was “run the ball and let’s go home.”

The Bulldogs were winning up until their tilt at LSU where the Tigers obliterated Georgia. Many bashed Smart after the game for the poor play-calling (going for a FG fake early on when the game was only 3-0 LSU and then pretty much gave up on their bread and butter in the run game). While Georgia recovered including beating hated rival Florida, many were concerned about some of the decisions on the field that were made and also fans started to grumble with Fields not getting as many reps as hoped. In the Auburn game, you saw Smart try to rub it in more by calling a FG fake late in the game when Georgia was well ahead (probably incentive for Gus’s “we kicked the dog crap out of Georgia” comment last year) and failed. And Fields didn’t get as much playing time then either.

Then the SEC Championship came. Alabama, who was steamrolling all year (like Georgia fans hoped the Bulldogs did), couldn’t find any answer to the Bulldogs offense at all. Georgia had a 14-point lead in the 3rd, but the game changed after the oft-reliable Rodrigo Blankenship missed a relatively easy field goal. Alabama scored two unanswered TD’s when Jalen Hurts took over for the banged up Tua Tagovailoa. Georgia, not in a position to make a bold move on a 4th down tied, opted to use Fields on a fake punt. Bama knew it right away it was a fake and stuffed it. And Georgia fans know the rest of this story.

Of course after the game, Smart was hounded by the media for going for the fake and had a different reason/excuse why he did it. Of course, it did not bode well for Kirby and the media and fans somewhat were angry with him. And now Georgia fans are going back saying “here we go again!”

Well, is it a legit thought? Perhaps, yes.

Kirby Smart has been nothing short of a godsend so far for Georgia. His recruiting ability is top notch and has consistent TOP THREE classes in the nation the last three years. Georgia in the last two years has gone 24-4, getting into the National Championship Game and a Sugar Bowl with it. They also hold bragging rights down south in Florida and up north in Tennessee, east in South Carolina and slightly west in Georgia Tech. Optimists are now looking for Georgia to really wanting to hit Alabama as the Tide have given them two heartbreaking, devastating losses in Georgia’s backyard in Atlanta.

However, Smart probably lost Georgia’s most prized recruit in Justin Fields. While reports are saying that Fields was promised things at Georgia and whatever, Smart possibly failed at keeping his recruit happy. Transfers happen all the time and mostly it is playing time. Jalen Hurts transfered from Alabama to Oklahoma in part of being Tua’s backup, but given his relationship with Saban and how Saban spoke glowingly about him, it was a “best of luck!” mentality. I don’t think the love was the same with Smart and Fields. Regardless who really is at fault, it doesn’t look great for the Georgia of “maybe Smart doesn’t know how to handle top recruits like Saban does.”

The other part that will be zeroed in will be Kirby’s X’s and O’s schemes and/or certain play-calls. The fakes last year used by Smart many (myself included) felt like were dumb. I think part of it is Smart still believes he is in Saban’s shadow (after all he was the longest assistant under Saban and didn’t have any head coaching experience). I think he wants to show he is nothing like Saban and tries to show he is his own guy. And I don’t think he needs to do that. Smart needs to be Kirby Smart and not try to re-invent the wheel. Use what Saban does. It is what the likes of Jimbo Fisher and Mark Dantonio do at Texas A&M and Michigan State respectively.

Coaching in college sports in general, you need to have a big ego. Look at the coaches in there. Kirby has a big ego and I mean that as a compliment. However what separates the likes of Saban and Dabo from others, is they also know when to go “yeah, I messed up; that’s my doing.” Saban has said that on the occasions Alabama has lost and Dabo has said that as well at Clemson. Kirby Smart is still young in the sense of learning that while the media grills them on certain parts of the game, he should not really go into full-fledged defensive mode. It comes off as going “well, maybe you don’t know as much as your other counterparts.” And if he keeps that “every play I call is right, my players don’t execute” attitude, it really looks bad and it does factor in on the field later.

My take is Georgia could and should be in the Playoff in 2019 as the fruits of the recruiting finally comes into the mix. It is a great thing given how the old sleeping giants of the SEC East are waking up a bit in Florida and Tennessee (and they have the Vols in Knoxville). Adding on, Auburn, who is seething after they felt Georgia tried to run the score on them, gets their shot at revenge at Jordan-Hare (which we know anything happens bounces in Auburn’s favor there) and throw in two home tilts with Notre Dame and Texas A&M and you have a pretty challenging schedule. But really Georgia should be in line to win most if not all of them. But two losses before any early December tilt with a possible revenge match with Alabama may get Georgia fans talking if Smart is the right man for the job. It will also depend on how he handles things with the entire program himself and tires to think that he needs to be out of Saban’s shadow. If he keeps saying the stuff of “I’m doing everything right, it’s my players that aren’t executing,” it is going to wear thin in Georgia (it was wearing thin his first season when Georgia was losing).

I think Smart is a good head coach, but he has to learn and admit when things go south on him and correct it. If he can’t, then Georgia and the fans will be feeling like this is Mark Richt 2.0 all over again.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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Why the Florida Game May Be Kirby Smart’s Defining Moment at Georgia

Ahhhhh………..Georgia fans.

They’re fun.  I love ’em.  Most of my good friends are die-hard Bulldogs fans.

Living in the state of Georgia for over 20 years of my life and seeing and being around the Bulldogs fans is like preparing for weather.  If they are expected to compete, the sky is the limit and all you hear is about how wonderful the future dynasty will be (i.e. they look at themselves as what Alabama is doing).  And they get that big win or a nice run to set them up for a National Championship hope, then you brace for the trash talk to come down about how Georgia will take down Alabama and be THE team that everybody dreams of being.

And then when it doesn’t………….”it’s the end of the world!  This team will always set us up for failure!”

When the Bulldogs hired Kirby Smart to coach the team, they welcomed him out with the red carpet treatment, similar to what Alabama did with Saban, Ohio State did with Meyer, and Michigan did with Harbaugh.  Their G-Day game was a packed sellout in his first year and really invigorated the fan base.  And it went back to “we’re going to take Bama’s dynasty away!”  Then the 2016 season happened and Georgia went 7-5 with close calls in a few wins (Missouri, Nicholls, etc.) and fans were wanting Kirby Smart gone after one year.

Last year was slightly different as they didn’t really expect to be in the National Championship after Kirby Smart’s second year at the helm, but the high hopes arose after even though they got a nice gut-punch by Alabama in the National Championship game.

Even in the off-season now, after Georgia trumped Alabama with many feeling the Bulldogs won the national recruiting war, Georgia fans feel like, “this is it! We are finally going to get that dynasty and take Alabama’s dynasty away from them!”

To start the year the hopes were high for Georgia and rightfully so.  They had dominated all they saw and it had a vibe of the Alabama way Smart had installed i.e. win by 30, but go “wow, we made a lot of mistakes.”

Now, I’m going to use a personal example of a friend of mine who I’ve messaged back and forth during Saturday’s games.  And this is pretty much paraprhasing (not real actual quotes from Messenger).

Georgia friend: “I don’t know why everybody thinks the South Carolina game will be close.  We’re going to smoke them out 41-10.”

Me: “Easy there buddy.  That game is always a tough one even if Georgia is top notch and South Carolina stinks.”

Georgia friend: “But they don’t have the line to do it nor the horses to do so.  We will smoke them out!”

Me:  “Those are some rosy colored glasses you have on there buddy.”

Georgia friend: “Watch.  I’m saying we are far better and a cut above South Carolina.”

*Georgia beat South Carolina 41-17*

Georgia friend: “Told ya so!  We’re looking good and I don’t see anybody who can come close to us save Alabama!”

Me:  “Missouri?  And you have that LSU game too.  That won’t be easy.”

“Georgia friend:  “We’ll be fine.”

*Fast forward to the LSU game; told him that will be a grind-it-out-game for Georgia as LSU loves doing that against physical teams like Alabama, though even I thought the Bulldogs were better than LSU*

Georgia friend:  “I think this game will be a tough one for us.  I say 27-10 Georgia”

Me:  “27-10 in Baton Rouge for you guys????  Even when Alabama is a cut above LSU and they have to go to Baton Rouge themselves, the games are always decided late in the 4th quarter in overtime.  It is NOT EASY to win down there, even if it is Alabama.  I say 17-13”

*Georgia gets blown out by LSU*

Georgia friend:  “We have some issues; LSU exposed everything on us.  We’re not that good of a team.  Our play-calling stunk, they attacked our lines, they abused us in every manner.  We may have to replace Fromm with Fields.”

Me: “Easy there buddy.  Come down from the ledge.  Georgia will be fine.”

Georgia friend:  “I wonder if Kirby is the right guy for the job.  He seemed in well over his head and it has the same feeling every year when Richt was here of starting out great and then shooting ourselves in the foot.  We may always be that ‘close but no cigar’ crew.”

Me: “You guys will be fine.  You are recruiting out the wazoo.  One game won’t break you all.”

Or will it?

Now first off, when I’m telling Georgia fans it will be all right, the end of the world is near.  Normally I like to pile it on them (though I do not really do that when Georgia loses to Auburn since I’m an Alabama fan, but I am going off topic), but Georgia SHOULD be in fine shape for 2018 and beyond with Kirby.

However, my friend made me think about the upcoming game and how he has some very valid points.  And I came up to this conclusion.

This is the biggest game for Georgia in the Kirby Smart Era.

Moreso than the SEC Championship, Rose Bowl, and National Championship last year.

The LSU game as my friend put it did point out some woes for the Bulldogs.  But I’m not necessarily thinking of what the Bulldogs players did but what the Bulldogs coaches did, notably Smart and Jim Chaney, the offensive coordinator.

The one thing my friend and I agreed was that Georgia is taking the same footsteps as Alabama was when Saban started out in Tuscaloosa.  “Well, that’s good, right?”  Yes, and no.  Yes because we see Alabama as is.  But no from an offensive standpoint.  Alabama still won national championships, but resided on Kirby Smart’s defenses to do it and a strong run game.  When the passing game was adequate, Alabama was very tough to beat.  However, when 2013 arrived and the Tide lost to Auburn on the Kick Six, it felt like Alabama’s offense hit a wall as it was too predictable (Auburn made some key stops in that game that kept Alabama from putting it away) and then again in the Sugar Bowl to Oklahoma.  Saban, knowing that he needed to get with the times a bit, using a no huddle/spread style offense got Lane Kiffin.  People (Georgia fans notably) laughed at the idea of Kiffin being hired by Alabama thinking he would destroy the program within.  Nope.  Three straight SEC titles 2 National Championship appearances, and a National Title after, the Tide said adieu to Lane who took over FAU and Kiffin (while still being Kiffin) praises in his own way what Alabama did for him.  So much for self destruction.

Two years after Kiffin left, Alabama is now one of the strongest offenses in the nation, if not the strongest offense because they adapted to the times.  And many don’t feel there is a viable contender against the Tide in 2018 because of it.

Georgia when they played LSU, looked like their offense was stale and stoic (not as bad as their in-state rival Georgia Tech).  And I don’t mean use trickery or any of that, but it is just too bland especially in the passing game.

If you saw the Georgia/LSU game, the Bulldogs ground game was fine.  That is their bread & butter.  But even when the game still remained close, Georgia moved away from it and tired to pass.  And that is what LSU wanted them to do.  They knew the Bulldogs receiving corps, though as good, the routes were basic.  Not a lot of fancy plays for the receivers to run.  Not many trips forms, not a lot of pre-snap motions.  Nothing.  LSU is a team who will KILL you if you do not have “creativity” to your offensive plays.  Again, not talking reverse passes, flea flickers, etc. like that.  Packages to really confuse defenses and LSU was never confused for a minute.  So in that case, it was on Jim Chaney for his porous play-calling.

As for Smart, he should have known better too.  He’s been an assistant under Saban at both LSU and Alabama.  He’s been on both sides of the field knowing at Tiger Stadium, you get points any way you take it.  Going for a FG fake on a chip shot for the best kicker in the country in Rodrigo Blankenship was silly.  You get the points there, tie it up and you make LSU work at it because to be fair, Georgia’s defense didn’t play horrible, but when you are out there a lot and starting at poor spots, at some point the tank runs on empty and that’s it.

So that brings up Georgia to the Florida game…..their biggest game yearly.  Georgia hopes to follow the same route Alabama did when Saban first arrived and has really made an impact.  Now one major difference between Alabama in the late 2000’s and Georgia now is this: Alabama really made an impact as their lone threat, LSU, was still near the top of the SEC West mountain while since that you’ve had fluctuations from other SEC West teams (Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss).  Georgia has resided in a weak SEC East until now.  Florida under Dan Mullen is really rallied the fan base and it seems like all systems are a go for their rise back to the top of the SEC East.  So from a perspective of recruits that are looking at Georgia and Florida both, a win for either team may get some recruits joining their camp.

But to the actual game, Kirby Smart HAS to bring his “A” game as well as the rest of the coaching staff.  Whatever on Earth made the Bulldogs abandon the run game early in the first half against LSU is still a mystery to me.  This game I penned as a Georgia win without thinking too much over it a month ago is now a game I’m going “Georgia may be in major trouble if they do not have the right gameplan.”

I think Georgia is far more talented than Florida.  I thought they were far more talented than LSU actually (and I still believe it).  But the talent level in Athens since Mark Richt (well, maybe we can go back to the Jim Donnan years too) hasn’t ever been the major problem.  It has always been those games where you go “what the heck is the coach doing?”  that religiously nails the Bulldogs.

Which brings me up to this game.  Yes, the winner is pretty much in the driver’s seat for the SEC East (assuming Kentucky doesn’t run the table) and in Georgia’s case, a Playoff is still in grasp.  But a loss dooms that, but also it will take the wind out of the sails of the Georgia fans because it shows that Florida is back and well ahead of their schedule and could flip those prized recruits from not just Georgia, but Florida State, Miami, and others.  And the feeling and vibe will be that Georgia will return to being “second fiddle in the SEC East” behind Florida.  So this game has a lot of meaning for Georgia than just this season.

They have to win Saturday.  And Kirby Smart has to be perfect in winning this Saturday

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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College Football Playoff Predictions (Week 8)

Geary’s College Football Playoff Predictions (Week 8)

 Article by Jack Geary

With most teams having 5 games left in the season, I have finally decided to piece together my playoff predictions for the 2017 College Football Season. Albeit, so much has occurred this year that it makes it much easier to predict the final 4 teams. Michigan has disappeared, the ACC has pretty much deceased, and the PAC 12 has turned into hot garbage. Although, with 5 weeks left, there is still so much to be unraveled. Without further ado, these are my 2017/2018 College Football Playoff Predictions.

(AP rankings were used to address ranked teams)

       1. Alabama

Remaining Tough Games: #23 LSU, #19 Auburn, and MAYBE #3 Georgia (SEC championship)

Reason why they will be in the playoffs: It’s Alabama. Seriously, everyone expects Bama to be in the playoffs. Coming in at 5\4 favorites to win the national championship, the Crimson Tide are expected to cruise to the playoffs. Although, a potential SEC championship game against Georgia could be a shockingly tough game for the Tide. Still, never bet against Saban. Alabama is the most complete team in college football and should own the #1 seed heading into the playoffs.

       2. Penn State

Remaining Tough Games: #6 Ohio State, #16 Michigan State

Reason why they will be in the playoffs: The matchup against Ohio State on Saturday will be the defining game for Penn State’s season. Penn State has a couple of matchups they need to survive in and they will be sitting in the Big ten championship. The Nittany Lions need to limit turnovers and continue to play outstanding defense to get to the playoffs. Penn State will beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship, Mark it!

       3. Georgia

Remaining Tough Games: #19 Auburn, MAYBE #1 Alabama

Reason why they will be in the playoffs: Georgia’s road to an undefeated regular season isn’t that daunting. Beat Auburn and you get to face Bama in the SEC championship. I’m banking on Georgia making it a game against Bama in the SEC championship. Everyone on the playoff committee should be fired if a 12-1 Georgia team with a hard fought loss to Alabama is left out of the playoffs. 

       4. Notre Dame

Remaining Tough Games: #14 NC State, #8 Miami, #20 Stanford

Reason why they will be in the playoffs: Those who have been following me throughout this season know that I have been huge on this Notre Dame. After a completely dominating performance against USC, the nation is starting to recognize the Irish as a playoff threat. Although, Notre Dame has a grueling schedule still on the table, I believe they can handle it. ND wins out and sneaks into the playoffs, Mark it. Bring on Bama…


Overview: Only two conferences being represented in the college football playoff would be pandemonium. No Big 12, no ACC, and no PAC 12. It’s possible and it’s my prediction. Let the rest of the season unfold…