Here’s a point/counterpoint for your morning:
Aside from Jim Harbaugh, Kirby Smart gets the most scrutiny from the media.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Between the infamous fake punt against Alabama in the 2018 SEC title game, losing to the Crimson Tide earlier that year in the national title game where many felt he was outcoached, his handling of Justin Fields and the regression of Jake Fromm, Smart has been the subject of near constant media criticism. He has been recruiting off the hook, but his coaching ability is routinely questioned and that puts him second to Jim Harbaugh on my list.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Smart has actually gotten a pass from the media on some bad decisions – many of them mentioned above – including when Georgia inexplicably lost to South Carolina at home last season. It’s almost universally accepted that Smart is recruiting so well and he has such a good staff that a national championship at some point is inevitable. I don’t think he gets much scrutiny at all. It’s a different story for Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and USC’s Clay Helton, so I’d say those three trail Harbaugh in this category.
Not sure I buy either take, to be honest. I don’t think Smart’s gotten a pass from the media, but I don’t see him being the subject of ongoing media criticism, either.
Just like most coaches, he’s made his mistakes. But almost every media ranking of coaches I’ve seen has him at least in the top ten, and usually the top five, nationally.
What’s your feeling?