Well, now.

I guess you can add one more name to the list of national media not buying into another throwaway year for Georgia football.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken is ready to write off Kirby Smart if the Bulldogs don’t win the SEC East in 2017.

“If Kirby Smart doesn’t win the East next year, he’s a clown,” Wolken said on “Dukes and Bell” on SportsRadio 92.9 The Game in Atlanta on Thursday. “I’m sorry. Point blank. They are so far above the rest of that division in terms of talent right now with the players that they’ve got coming back.

“Give me a break. The expectation for Georgia next year should be winning the East, point blank—period. If they don’t get that done, then I have to seriously question whether Kirby can coach.”

Wolken gives Georgia a pass for the 2016 season, considering it was lacking depth at key positions, but he still believes Smart already has recruited well enough to beat their opposition in the division.

“We’re talking about winning a terrible division where we’ve got teams like Vandy, Missouri. South Carolina is definitely improving, but they’re not ready for prime time,” Wolken said. “Tennessee’s a joke, Florida’s not very good right now. Look at the teams they’re competing against.

“They have no excuse not to win this division next year when you’ve got Nick Chubb coming back, you’ve got Sony Michel. Jacob Eason has got to take a step forward. You’ve got guys defensively; I think they’re pretty loaded on that side of the ball. I’m sorry, they are so much more talented than the rest of that division right now. I don’t want to hear it — I don’t want to hear any excuses.”

Jeff Dantzler strenuously objects, but what about you?  Outside of a replay of the 2013 injury plague, are there reasonable excuses for Georgia not to finish the drill as the divisional favorite this season?

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87 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

87 responses to “Well, now.

  1. LC

    Fair or not, no. For the reasons he clearly stated, albeit bluntly, there is no room for error for us in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PTC DAWG

    Calling the guy a clown if he doesn’t win the division automatically makes me skeptical of most anything this guy opines. Unprofessional, IMHO.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Greg

      agree….but he is our clown.

      Like

    • I agree that the “clown” aspect of it is just uncalled for. That being said, coaches are judged by winning championships. Kirby needs an East title this year… not just for job security and to quiet a disgruntled fan base, but to show recruits that what he is doing is working. If it is more of the same, the recruiting progress that has been made will dwindle away just as quickly. You can stockpile recruits when you win. It is much harder to convince a guy to sit behind a fellow four star on a 7-5 team.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Red Cup

    We should win the East in 2017, but I would not call CKS a clown if we didn’t.

    Like

  4. JN

    Not right now there’s not…

    Like

  5. heyberto

    There’s just so many variables out there, and young units that tell me we can still stumble. I don’t have a number, but I expect us to be more competitive.. win more games, see Kirby take a step forward a a ‘gameday’ coach. I’m not going to say we have to win the east, and it’ll be disappointing fi we don’t but I’m not prepared to say we’re falling off a cliff just because we don’t get to that milestone next year.

    Like

    • DawgPhan

      Everyone always says this.

      But how do we take step forward, improve the coaching, be more competitive, show up prepared for every game, and even win more games without winning the East.

      Any of those things should result in winning the East given how bad the east currently is. If we do all of them or even just a couple we win the east no problem.

      Like

    • Cojones

      Hell, we fell off a cliff trashing Richt for not winning 10 games anymore (and don’t even mention our big three rivals since he did ok with them each year), but Kirby didn’t win 10 games nor win the tough SEC games either. The O line has been where most trouble starts and finishes and we made sure Richt was blamed as HC for that. Kirby, to his credit, has already stepped forward and said it is all on him.

      Alrighty then, Kirby will be held responsible to the same degree as Richt was.

      Like

  6. Dan Wolken took Richt’s firing extra personally. He trashed him when he was here for not getting over the hump, bow he trashes UGA for firing the guy.

    He’s clearly got a bit of an axe to grind w UGA right now.

    That said, Kirby needs to win the East. At very least, he needs to win in Jax.

    Liked by 2 people

    • PTC DAWG

      This…see my comment re a UF below…

      Like

    • down island way

      Dan Wolken is the son Penn Wagers never had.

      Like

    • One thing that I have noticed with the national media guys who live or have lived in the area, they all seem to be perplexed that UGA hasn’t won the East and the conference more often and how UGA hasn’t won a NC since 1980.

      Wolken lives here. He sees the talent the state has produced. He sees how much $$ the football team and Athletic Department makes. He sees the # of players going to the NFL. He sees the level of fan support at home games and the # of fans that travel to away games. He sees the amount this team dominates the local media airtime (even in the off season) in this market which is the most important and largest market for college football in the country.

      Look at Staples’s stories and comments through the years. I am pretty certain he lived in the area for awhile but he has since moved back to Florida. He has very similar opinions that UGA has underachieved. He even went so far to say that UGA should be the #1 coaching job in the country.

      I don’t think it is them trashing us so much as it their belief that UGA should be more. It should be dominant.

      As for CKS being a clown if he doesn’t win the division next year? I think Wolken was putting on his media suit and being provocative. We all know that CKS could go 11-1 or 10-2 next season but lose the wrong one(s) and not win the East. Do you think we would all believe he couldn’t coach if he has that kind of season?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jared S.

    I’m still reserving judgment until 2018.

    I can see a scenario where the Dawgs win 9 or 10 regular season games this year, still fail to make it to Atlanta, but still look much better than last year and appear ready to take the East in 2018. If that happens I don’t think I’ll be ready to label Kirby a “clown”.

    Like

  8. hassan

    No…wait, let me think about it. Yes, definitely, the answer is NO.

    Like

  9. PTC DAWG

    Honestly, until UF loses it, it’s theirs to win.

    Like

    • Rocket Dawg

      This is such bullshit.

      The last of the Boom recruits on defense have cycled out and their offense is atrocious. Coach Beaver hasn’t brought in a top 10 class since he has been there. We have a huge talent edge over UF and the rest of the division. Can you name 5 players off of the UF roster that you would trade player for player for 5 on our roster? I can’t think of any.

      What it boils down to is that we need to quit shitting the bed in Jax and win the damn game.

      The East is hot garbage again this year and there is absolutely no reason that we shouldn’t be 10-2 or 11-1. I think that Kentucky may actually be the second best team in the East this year. IF we aren’t in Atlanta the first week of December then Kirby is officially on the hot seat for 2018.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. 81Dog

    Kirby was brought in precisely because being in the running for the East wasn’t good enough. 9 or 10 wins a year wasn’t good enough. He didn’t inherit a high school roster, he’s had two really good recruiting classes in a row; by the time the season starts, UGA will have had over 18 months of The Kirby Way. The East IS a shambles.

    If he can’t win the East this year, when would it be ok to expect that? Not that the money guys who hand picked him care what I think, but 2016 was uneven, at best. He did a good job keeping the 2016 recruiting class together, we beat AU and UNC (neither team world beaters, but solid programs). That was all good. On the other hand, the effort against Nicholls State? Embarrassing, and a hair from being the worst UGA loss in what, 50 years? Ever? Ole Miss? Not a surprise we lost, but getting behind 45-0 in the third quarter? Embarrassing. Losing at home to Vandy and Tech, in the same year? Embarrassing. Getting thumped by a mediocre Florida team? Embarrassing. Any of those things by itself? Stuff happens. All of it together? Not encouraging. I guess he gets somewhat of a pass due to a freshman QB, new coaching staff, being a rookie HC. Fair is fair. But if anyone thinks he proved he’s The Guy To Get Us Over The Hump last year, you saw something I didn’t see.

    But, he followed up with another strong recruiting year. With early exits, transfers, etc,, more than half the team is his creation, and the rest (Chubb, Sony, Sanders, Bellamy in particular) has a lot of quality. If he can coach, now is the time to prove it.

    This time last year, I described myself as a Kirby agnostic. I wanted him to succeed (still do, of course), but I wasn’t sure he could do it. I’m still not sure. Absent calamitous injuries, Jasper Sanks at Tech quality bad calls, etc., I expect us to win the East. At some point, it’s time to stop talking about the picture of the dog. Do, or do not. There is no try.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

      Get out of my head witchy woman. You just saved me a few minutes to type that all up.

      Like

    • Cojones

      I replied earlier when reviewing comments. Should have held it until here and posted “Right on.”.

      Like

    • Macallanlover

      Fair comment. Wolken’s positioning of the situation is unprofessional for a “journalist”, but who is surprised by that these days? UGA should be the odds on favorite to win the East, but give him the loss of a few key players before the mid-season run of key conference games and we could blow it. As you say, there are still many questions to be answered about KS after last season, but you can’t just say he wins the East or he is a loser. There are factors that could excuse that disappointment but it would certainly turn up the heat.

      Like

  11. SAtowndawg

    No…and if lose to Vandy, GT and Tennesee again then clown would be a fitting description

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Bright Idea

    I’m all for Kirby but his sideline antics in the bowl game were clown like. If he doesn’t quickly convert from stressed out DC to head coach mode not winning the east is highly possible I don’t care how bad it is.

    Like

    • Cojones

      Those antics are his personality and we can’t expect him to change. Now you know how some of the FU loyalists viewed Muschamp’s sideline antics.

      Like

    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      Anybody around for a while will remember Dooley running down the sideline out of control on a big play. He would get excited and actually run into people if they didn’t get out of the way. Antics or no antics? Irrelevant when it comes to winning.

      Like

  13. artful codger

    He can obviously recruit …question to me is can he hire? Some insecurities with that question could continue to hold us back.

    Like

  14. D.N. Nation

    “USA Today’s Dan Wolken”

    Pass.

    Like

  15. MLB2

    I still refuse to comment on CKS coaching ability until the completion of the 2017 season. Maybe the 2018 season. What’s the point? He’ll be here until the end of his contract. I’m going to give him every opportunity to succeed. It’s not like BM will find anyone better so why fret?

    Like

  16. junkyardawg41

    Not sure I can define reasonable — We have a coaching staff that appears is more interested in an identity that they are in finding ways to win games. Worse, the identity they want to create is based upon an Alabama model. (note, it is not a bad model, but you are playing catch-up. Catch-up stifles innovation)

    If we follow the assumption that identity and how you build the football team is focused on specific type of players to meet that identity, then there are going to be lots of reasonable reasons why we don’t win the East. If reasonable is finding a way to win ball games, then I think there is no reasonable excuse not to win.

    HAVING said all that, this is all just an intellectual drill of what ifs and expectations. Donnan was given 5 years (.678 win), Goff 6 years (.554 win), and Griffith (.400 win) was given least 3. Unless the wheels pop right off and we have a 4-5 win campaign, Smart will have at least 3 more years.

    Like

  17. Go Dawgs!

    Boy, that Jeff Dantzler line is getting beaten like a dead horse.

    But Dan’s not wrong, we don’t have a lot of excuses to finish 2nd or 3rd in the East this year.

    Like

  18. Russ

    We definitely should be the favorites to win the East and I expect us to. We have plenty of talent, and the only thing holding us back right now is coaching. Last year, with a lot of new parts, it didn’t look good. This year, with a little consistency and 18 months of Kirby’s direction, we need to put it together.

    Obviously, Kirby will be here for a few more years regardless, but the East is there for the taking this season.

    Like

  19. 69Dawg

    Speaking of beating the dead horse, the SEC is Alabama’s world and we are just allowed to exist in it. That being said, if CKS can’t win the East as weak as it is in 2017, I don’t think he ever will. If we get two tons of road grading offensive lineman but play like Arkansas did with the same talent, we won’t win the East. We have tried the big guys, as you will remember not too many years ago UGA had a very highly rated preseason Oline that was the biggest in college football but they could not block. In today’s football the offense had better score and score fast because the other team is going to get theirs. Kirby still scares me on defense. Only after he left Alabama did they get away from man to man coverage. Mobile QB’s were his kryptonite and most teams are going to have mobile QB’s. I’m just too old to buy into Kirby until he actually does something beside recruit. Just Win Baby.

    Like

  20. Dog in Fla

    Let’s get this straight at the top: This is bad for Kirby.

    Like

  21. Stephen Sondheim

    “Well, maybe next year…”

    Like

  22. HVL Dawg

    Win or I’m afraid that clown handle just might stick. I could see it get traction.

    Like

  23. We’re totally losing to Appy State, aren’t we?

    #spursy

    Like

    • Dog in Fla

      If the charges are proven true, Kirby deserves the punishment it gets.

      Like

    • hpdawg

      App St, is a good team, they also finished in top 20 in run defense, look for them to force Eason to beat them, and score an upset.

      App St, Notre Dame, Auburn, UF, Miss St with Grantham, Muschamp at SC, and Vandy with Derek Mason could all 7 be tough vs the run, the formula
      that caused Kirby’s 24 pts per game offense, so much trouble last season.

      Like

  24. Bryce Harper

    that’s a clown question bro

    Like

  25. We should win the East and we will win the East. Gonna be sweet too because the haters are going to have to shut the F%&* up after next year and Mark Richt Mondays will be a thing of the past.

    Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      Let me get this straight. If we win the East is will be sweet not because your favorite team succeeded but because you can tell someone to F off?

      Like

      • You don’t have it straight. Your reading comprehension sucks. I said they will have to shut the F up. I did not say anything about telling anyone to F off. That was weak. You need to up your troll game.

        Like

  26. Cojones

    I’m surrounded by clown questions and posters who mimic my posting style (that’s at you, DiF). 🙂

    Like

  27. ugadawgguy

    Wolken is right.

    Like

  28. Mayor

    A dose of reality…Look at the “easy” schedule and be honest with yourselves. I can certainly see the Dawgs losing to ND in South Bend and Missy State (a team that beat Ole Piss–a team that waxed the Dawgs last season) in Athens. That’s 2-2 after 4 games (I’m assuming the Dawgs get past App State). Then they get to go to KnoxVegas. I can easily see a loss there, too. After all the Vowels won the last 2 times, didn’t they? Then we get Vandy at Vandy and need I remind anyone of the outcome of that game last year? Or that Vandy has now beaten Georgia 2 out of the last 4 times the teams have played? That sounds an awful lot like parity to me. Then the Mizzou Tigers. Certainly plausible that the Dawgs could lose one of those two. Then the Gators in that hellhole JAX. How many years in a row has Georgia lost that game now? Then South Carolina, Auburn at Auburn and UK. Another “maybe” loss to one of those three. Finally, the Nerds. Hasn’t Tech won 2 out of the last 3 from the Dawgs? You guys keep on blathering about how good the Dawgs are and how they better win the SEC East–with Chaney as OC and Kirby making strategic game day decisions. I hope you are all right. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Like

    • hpdawg

      Good post. Likely looking at losses to Auburn, Notre Dame, UT, UF. Then maybe 1 more loss to GT/SC or Ky. I predict 7-5 and 3rd in the East.

      The oline will not be better, same QB, same RB’s, same WR’s, same OC. Offense is not good enough to win 8 games.

      Like

  29. Bigshot

    Well, they have now lost one of those great defensive players he was talking about. He evidently is not aware of the Murphy’ “UGA” law that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Snakebit!

    Like

  30. If we don’t win the East this year than WHEN…I’m just sayin. I’ll go further if we do do make it to the SECCG and get embarrassed by not being competitive he will have still earned his clown status. Notso Smart you can fit 40 of em in a Fiat 500. So ,NO….ibid.

    Like

    • hpdawg

      If Smart gets 9 wins with this terrible offense, and this schedule playing 9 top 41 teams, he should be coach of the year. It could happen.

      But UF is the East favorite, their defense has been really, really good under Jim McElwain. UT has just been better than UGA the last couple of years,
      though not by much.

      I don’t see UGA winning against good run defenses,

      Like

  31. SemperFiDawg

    If we don’t win the East label Smart ‘Boom 2.0’. Just my opinion.

    Like

  32. hpdawg

    The East isn’t weak, this Dan Wolken clown should be fired for not doing his homework.

    You got UGA Tenn, UF preseason top 20.

    Further, UGA plays 9 top 41 ranked:
    Auburn 5, UF 15, Notre Dame, 17, UT 20, SC, Miss St, Ky (32-34), GT 37, Mizzou 41.

    UGA might have the hardest schedule in college football.

    http://www.espn.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/129505/ohio-state-is-no-1-in-preseason-fpi-1-0

    Like

  33. the East IS a shambles and our out of conference schedule is every bit as much a joke. Wake up , lose to a 4-8 Irish team…how? We play an under .500 Miss State and we’ve owed Aubarn lately… so the most worrisome game on this weak sisters of the poor schedule is probably App State. If we loss two in a row to Vandy and Tech there is absolutely no question that Smart will have earned his clown hat. Hardest schedule in college football my ass ….there is not a single SEC team in the West that would not kill to have the Dawgs schedule. Why are you arguing so vehemently against the obvious truth. The SEC East is not good and has not been recruiting well ,UT did lose both it’s starting QB and running back right? No Championships , No Peace.

    Like

  34. Mayor

    Is the SEC West more difficult than the SEC East right now? Yes. It used to be the reverse until Saban started oversigning and all the other SEC West teams copied him. Then several (Ole Piss and Auburn to name 2) started buying players, too. So yes, right now an SEC West schedule is more difficult than an SEC East schedule because they have to play Bama and each other. We play 2 SEC West teams in addition to all the SEC East teams. Plus Notre Dame in South Bend. This 2017 UGA schedule is not an easy schedule. Is it as hard as Arky’s schedule? Except for having to play Bama–absolutely. Look at the Hogs’ OOC schedule. A joke. Same with Ole Piss who get both Vandy and UK out of the East, too. But I digress. My point was if Chaney is calling the plays and Kirby is making in-game decisions the Dawgs ain’t gonna win any championship of any kind–I don’t care if the Patriots squad suited up in place of our players. I just hope we beat Tech. A loss to the Jackets would be 3 out of the last 4. That would be hard to take.

    Like

  35. Derek Dooley 2.0

    Absolutely agree with the thought. CKS has proven nothing except the ability to recruit.

    Like