I may get a little irritated when Kirby Smart talks about needing fans as recruiting props, but, man, does he get this right. All of this:
“I’ve always been in favor or a nine-game schedule, (but) it’s not my decision to make,” Smart said, asked his thoughts on adding another league game with respect to the fact that`the Bulldogs are making their first trip to LSU since 2008 and under the current model won’t be in Baton Rouge again until 2030.
“I think it (would be) a good thing, but I think you will have teams with more losses,” Smart said. “Does it affect a team getting in the playoff? I don’t know, but I know you have a lot more games to get up for, a lot more good rivalry games.
“It’s not just about traveling, it’s just as much about the atmosphere of playing an SEC opponent, I think you are playing more comparable teams to your talent level, I think it’s important for college football.”
Smart fondly remembers playing in Tiger Stadium himself, his team-high 12 tackles highlighting a 28-27 Georgia victory in 1998.
“Every environment in the SEC is incredible, but this is one of the best in the country, it always is, their fanbase cares so much, they tailgate, and they are the center attraction, they are the show,” Smart said. “I played there as a player, coached there a lot of times, and it’s a great program, great atmosphere, they are loud, their fans are passionate.”
Smart, who has a degree from Georgia’s celebrated Terry College of Business, said adding another conference game is also another way to ensure college football attendance stabilizes.
“If college football attendance continues to drop, they’re going to be looking to do this,” Smart said. “So I think it’s important, and I think it’s good for the game.”
One big reason I’m making the trip this week is because who knows if I’ll be in any shape to make the next one? That’s kind of sad. Isn’t that what playing in a conference is supposed to facilitate? Bless the man for saying it.
One other thing here — when the day eventually comes that Smart’s had enough with coaching, I sure hope Georgia has enough sense to look at him as an athletic director. He’d make a good ‘un. That is, unless the SEC steals him for a bigger role.