Kirby Smart has spent the last 16 years coaching two of the strongest college football teams of this era, so he already knew the question on everyone’s mind the morning after his Georgia Bulldogs won their second consecutive college football championship game in Play -off.
“I really don’t want to talk about three,” Smart said Tuesday in the ballroom of a Los Angeles hotel shortly before the Bulldogs flew home.
Smart may not want to discuss it, but he can’t deny that he’s already thinking about Georgia’s chance to do something unprecedented in the past eight-plus decades of college football. after obliteration TCU 65-7 in the most one-sided post-season college football game in history.
The Bulldogs have won more national championships (2) than they lost (1) in the last two seasons, setting the new gold standard in college football after a 15-0 season.
Next year, they will have a great opportunity to play for a trio, something that never happened in the era of the AP polls that date back to 1936.
“Having started thinking about the next one, I think it will be much more difficult,” Smart said. “And I really think next year we’re going to have to reinvent ourselves because you can’t just stay the same. We have a lot of guys who are going to come back and it’s easy to settle in. And comfort doesn’t win.”
Over the long history of the AP Top 25 rankings, no team has ever won three consecutive national championships in the polls. Twelve teams, including Georgia this season, have been ranked number one on the final list of the top 25 consecutive seasons since the poll became an annual event in 1936. from other polls.
No team has ever won three consecutive titles in the AP Poll, Coaches’ Poll, Bowl Championship Series, or College Football Playoffs. This puts Georgia right on the brink of history – with a good chance of doing so.
“I mean, this place is special,” said Javon Bullard, a defenseman who will return in 2023 after two interceptions and a fumble recovery against TCU. “Just growing up as a Georgia kid playing for the University of Georgia is special. So, the word “dynasty” is what we build together. And it was built before us, and it will continue to be built after us.”
Of course, Doug’s personnel losses will be significant: the brilliant career of the 25-year-old defender The Stetson Bennett is finally over., and standout defenseman Jalen Carter was nominated for the NFL Draft immediately after the game. Other expected losses include defenders Keli Ringo and Christopher Smith, giant tight end Darnell Washington, linebacker Robert Beal and part of the offensive line.
But waves of talent hit Georgia every year Smart is at his alma mater. The Dawgs have another recruiting class, along with the addition of several elite players to the transfer portal, most notably top receivers in the states of Mississippi (Rara Thomas) and Missouri (Dominic Lovett).
Georgia also has a surprisingly comfortable schedule in 2023, with a trip to Tennessee at the end of the season looming as probably the biggest hurdle to another unbeaten regular season and a trip to the SEC title game.
By and large, it will take years for Georgia to earn the accolades of the Nick Saban era in Alabama. The Bulldogs have won two national titles and two SEC championships under Smart’s leadership; six of Saban’s seven national titles and eight conference titles came with Crimson Tide.
But Georgia is only the fourth team since 1980 to win two national titles in a row to reach this historic chasm.
The last team to come this close to the top three was also Alabama, who won national titles in 2011 and 2012. The Tide started 2013 by taking first place and winning their first 11 games, but Auburn kept Alabama out of the SEC Championship. game and final BCS title game with the legendary Kick Six – Chris Davis’ return for 109 yards from a missed field goal for a touchdown on the final play of the game.
Southern California clinched their third straight national title within minutes in 2005, going undefeated all the way to the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl. The Trojans’ bid ended in a heartbreaking 41-38 victory for Texas led by Vince Young in one of the sport’s greatest games.
College football is ever-changing, and Georgia received another reminder on Tuesday when beloved quarterback Stetson Bennet decided not to show up for the traditional morning press conference.
Bennet, who hopes for a career in the NFL it would have been even more incredible than his college rise, said on the field after the game that his commitment to Georgia was fulfilled after the final whistle.
“I know he has permanent GOAT status in Athens, Georgia,” Smart said.
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