Kirby Smart’s Impact on the SEC

It has been six years since Kirby Smart became Georgia’s head coach, and by all accounts, it has been a successful hire. Nevertheless, people fail to see just how much he has affected other programs around the conference. For years now, people have talked about Nick Saban and his influence on college football. While Saban is without a doubt the best, I think people should pay attention to Kirby Smart and the impact he has made in the SEC. This year, Georgia finished the regular season undefeated and gave up only eighty-three points over twelve games. While, the SEC Championship was a letdown, the team came roaring back with big win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl and an even bigger win over Alabama in the National Championship putting Georgia back on top for the first time since 1981.

Kirby’s first year had its difficulties, but in his second year, Kirby led Georgia to a historic season. During that year, the Bulldogs dismantled Tennessee 41 to 0, won at Notre Dame with a freshman QB, destroyed Florida 42 to 7, beat GA Tech 38 to 7, and won the SEC Championship along with the Rose Bowl.  As a result, Florida, and Tennessee both fired their coaches. Tennessee then hired Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama to try and replicate Georgia’s success. The Gators then hired Dan Mullen hoping that he could keep pace with Georgia. In 2018, Kirby led the Bulldogs to another successful year with more big wins over rival teams. This time Georgia Tech fired Paul Johnson just days after he lost once again to Georgia. Two years later, Tennessee wound up firing Jeremy Pruitt for numerous reasons, but his inability to gain ground on the Bulldogs was at the top of the list. Even South Carolina who managed an upset over Georgia in 2019, fired Will Muschamp the next season when they appeared to be falling behind. Let us not forget Gus Malzahn at Auburn who managed to upset Alabama a few times but struggled against Georgia teams and was fired. Now, Dan Mullen is the most recent coach that Florida has fired thanks the success of our team and our coach. Things came apart quickly for Mullen, but the biggest factor in his demise were the comparisons to Georgia in coaching and recruiting..

Kirby has added enthusiasm to an already fanatical fan base. In 2016, even I was skeptical that 93,000 fans would show up for G-Day, but they did. He has drastically increased Georgia’s fundraising and improved their facilities. People might criticize Georgia’s football spending, but football money helps to fund all other men’s and women’s sports, and despite poor home schedules, the football season brings a lot of money into our local economy. And keep in mind that all of this helps to grow the brand of the university. To sum up, Steve Spurrier changed the SEC back in the nineties, Nick Saban changed everything again in the 2000s, and Kirby Smart seems poised to do the same over the next decade. Go Dawgs!