Smart’s biggest challenge this season?

This is an admirable goal, but it’s also a two-edged sword.

How long might Bulldog fans have to wait before there’s a January national championship celebration on the same field?

Clemson and Alabama have soaked in College Football Playoff titles with their fans each of the last four seasons. It was the Tigers in 2016 and 2018 and the Crimson Tide in 2015 and 2017.

Georgia, under Smart, is knocking on the door but can it make it more than a two-team fight for supremacy?

“We want to win the national championship,” junior left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “Anything below that we’re not satisfied with.”

In his very next paragraph, Marc Weiszer points to the last Sugar Bowl as the downside of that mindset.

Smart is very careful about avoiding that trap.

“I don’t view success and failure just on that,” he said. “Here’s what we’re focused on—how good can we be tomorrow? Can we be the best we can? Do they have expectations at Georgia? Absolutely they’ve got expectations and we’ve got them for ourselves, but I’m not going to measure success and failure on one thing.

“That’s not fair to these kids who give everything they’ve got to the program, the blood, sweat and tears and all of the people in the organization who give everything they’ve got to measure success and failure on one thing. I’m not going to do that. You guys (the media) may do it, fans may do it. Everybody has their right when it comes to that.”

But can he get his players to buy into that?  I’d like to think that the Sugar Bowl makes for a convincing lesson in that regard, but let’s face it, this is uncharted territory for a Georgia team that is likely going to have to find a way to surpass Alabama for a full sixty minutes in order to take that next step.


Filed under Georgia Football

32 responses to “Smart’s biggest challenge this season?

  1. Rampdawg

    Mmmmm Diana!!


  2. Jeff Sanchez

    “You guys (the media) may do it, fans may do it. “‘

    He’s certianly learned from his mentor in some regards


  3. Bigshot

    Don’t kid yourself, anything less than a National Championship will be a failure. The team proved that with their poor play in the Sugar Bowl last year. If it doesn’t come soon UGA will just be back to the mediocre team that it always was.


  4. dawgtired

    An OU friend of mine talked about this very thing years ago while Big Game Bob was building his “Big Game” reputation. He said that the program was so focused on winning it all that players quit on anything less.
    Some here have made statements that suggest there is much to be excited about even if we don’t win it all. Losing to Texas hurt. Winning against Texas in the Sugar wouldn’t have made us National Champions but it would have felt like the next best thing. Our off-season sure would have felt better.
    Losing to top quality teams like Bama and LSU are going to happen, even in years when most of the teams on our schedule can’t come close to us. They’re very good teams and we made our presence felt. The eyes of the nation are on us and it feels good to be where we are.
    I’m not saying the goal shouldn’t be to win it all but even the best teams struggle with putting it all together, every game, to make it happen. I want a NC but I’ll be happy with some SECC and upper bowl wins until that happens. It’s been fun watching the Dawgs these past 3 years and I’m excited about the possibilities this year.


    • It’s been fun watching the last 2 years … 2016 frankly sucked.


    • Biggus Rickus

      My offseason felt fine. I would have preferred that they beat Texas, but I don’t care much that they didn’t. If you can’t enjoy an 11-1 season that doesn’t end in a national title, then I really can’t relate.


      • Russ

        My offseason was fine, too. But there was definitely a difference in losing in a disinterested fashion to Texas vs losing to Bama after giving everything we had. We’ve only played Texas 3 times prior so I hated that we just mailed it in. Definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.


  5. Should we win every game in the regular season? Yes.

    Will we win every game in the regular season? Probably not.

    Can we beat Alabama in a “winner-take-all” game? Absolutely.

    Will we beat Alabama in that game? Given they still have a better roster, maybe.

    Will we be in the playoff if we lose the SECCG? Likely not because we probably won’t be undefeated entering Atlanta.

    Our focus needs to be on doing everything in the regular season to prove we are 1 of the 4 best teams in the country. That means simply … be undefeated entering MBS on 12/7.

    It starts Saturday night in Nashville for what appears to be a Bulldog takeover. GATA.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. chopdawg

    Reading the comments in this thread, it’s becoming clear to me why the CFB playoff will expand before long.


  7. dawgman3000

    “Our focus needs to be on doing everything in the regular season to prove we are 1 of the 4 best teams in the country. That means simply … be undefeated entering MBS on 12/7.”

    Exactly this! UGA simply doesn’t yet have the clout to make the playoffs without winning the conference. That is why IMO, the Auburn game is the most important game on the schedule. If they can get that western division win on the road against them, then I think we’re in regardless of the outcome in Atlanta because it would be the first loss of the season. Of course, I’d just rather see the good guys finally slay that crimson dragon.


  8. FisheriesDawg

    “let’s face it, this is uncharted territory for a Georgia team that is likely going to have to find a way to surpass Alabama for a full one hundred twenty minutes in order to take that next step.”

    Fixed that for you. We’re going to have to beat them twice to win it all this year, and it will be twice in a row in the same building, unless someone like LSU, Auburn, or A&M can sneak up on them, steal a win, and remove their margin for error going into the SECCG. Even then, their reputation might get them in.


    • Got Cowdog

      They’re due for a slip up. I hope it’s the Tigers that do it. I’d like to see another shot at LSU, My Louisiana kinfolk and I have a good time bashing each other whenever the two meet up. (Except my cousin who is a die hard Razorback fan. Mostly she just posts emojies of frowny faces and crying.) I know all Dawg fans want to get the Bama Funk off, but lets take a year break from the same old same old. This year I’m hoping for LSU in the SECCG, Clemson for the Natty. Next year Jake can beat Bama in his final game as a Dawg for back to back championships.
      Hey a guy can dream, can’t he?


      • ugafidelis

        I think I could live with that Got.


      • FisheriesDawg

        In that case, Bama probably still makes the playoff unless they lose two. See: 2017.

        What I’m hoping for is that they lose one but still lose the West, and then we deliver the knockout blow in the SECCG. The King is dead, long live the King.


        • Got Cowdog

          Yeah. I’m looking at the NCAA preseason Top 25. tOSU could go undefeated along with Clemson and Oklahoma. That would keep a one loss Bama out.
          On a side note, every time I see one of these and florida is in the top 10? I laugh and laugh.


  9. ugafidelis

    I think it’s all about perspective. For most of us, an SECC and a playoff birth (but elimination) would qualify as a wildly successful season. For some of us, an SECCG berth is great season even if we take a loss there. For the rest, it’s Natty or bust. I think the players fall into the latter. They have been so close in the last two years, so now anything less will be a disappointment for them. With that being said, I think 15 years down the road, they would look back with appreciation and see making the SECCG as a positive even if that’s where the Natty hopes die.


  10. Tony Barnfart

    To borrow a soccer analogy (since it’s the only thing I care to watch after basketball is over), I’ve decided to just look at every regular season game like a big cup game. A stage / trophy unto itself. What an empty charade if we’re really going down the natty or bust road. What a waste of August hype (“college football is back baby!”) if everybody pours out their drinks and goes home by Halloween.

    I’m tapping out of a natty or bust world. No point in spending money on a regular season if one loss pops the fun balloon.


  11. BuffaloSpringfield

    My inner Munson says it really gonna be a tough row to hoe through the SEC. playing at Vandy under the lights always gives me chills even in that heat and humidity. It’s going to be a Dawg fight every weekend. Another humid evening in Athens for the 8 o’clock kickoff off on national TV for the South Bend Golden Domer’s makes me nervous. Then in Knoxville, the Gamecocks at home, then the Cat’s, Tiger’s and they have a week off just to prepare for our Dawgs.
    Then to the Plains, Tigers back to back. What is a Aggie anyway ?
    I didn’t mean to beg but I had to !
    Here is hoping Ole’ Lady Luck will laugh out loud !
    There is no parity in college football, look at the magazines you have worn the pages out of for the last month. If you look the same group is in the top tenor will be as 2018. Expand to 8 to get 2 Big 10er’s and a PAC team in but it’s more about money and more money.
    I just hope Kirb’s realizes, which I am sure he does although his words do not show the emotion that when the top limb breaks as the Dawgs reach for that big apple. After falling to the ground the ones on the lower branches do not look near as tasty or appealing.


  12. FlyingPeakDawg

    We’ve moved up in class from “mediocre” to “contender”. For how long are we content with that? The move was to be “champion”. Living in the era of Saban AND being in his conference is the worst of luck. Kirby has improved things immensely but he’s either got to outlast Saban or finally outcoach him. I wonder if he’ll do either?


    • FisheriesDawg

      Kirby has already outcoached Saban once, arguably twice. He just hasn’t won.

      Of course Richt outcoached Saban in 2012 and that didn’t buy a whole lot of good will either.


  13. UGA '97

    or lsu, michigan, then clemson. in that order.