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Kirby Smart, Georgia eyeing second straight national title

Kirby Smart, Georgia eyeing second straight national title
Kirby Smart led his alma mater to a national title. (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAYSports via Imgan Content Services, LLC)

ATHENS, Ga. (BVM) — Before Kirby Smart arrived, the Georgia Bulldogs hadn’t won a national championship since 1984. That all changed on Jan. 10, 2022. But what lies ahead for Smart?

Can Georgia repeat?

Since 1936, The Associated Press has conducted polls for college football teams. Since then, there have only been 12 coaches who’ve won back-to-back national titles. That group includes legendary coaches Nick Saban, Pete Carroll, Barry Switzer, Tom Osborne and Bear Bryant. That list has the potential to grow to 13 this year.

For any team or coach, winning back-to-back titles can be seen as an intimidating endeavor. However, despite what fans or anyone outside of the program may think, the players and coaches of the Georgia Bulldogs will most likely find a way to motivate themselves and win back-to-back titles.

One way that the Bulldogs have already done that is with Smart and his drive to build a winning culture. 

“That culture not easy to achieve,” Smart said in an interview with Crain & Company. “We wouldn’t have a great culture here if we didn’t have a great staff.”

Alongside the winning culture, Smart has shown to be a top-notch recruiter. This was seen this past season as he brought in the No. 3 overall recruiting class according to the 247Sports composite rankings

Those will remain to be two key factors for the future of Smart’s program. But if the Bulldogs want to win another championship this season, they will have to rely on their defense, which has the potential to be the best in the country again, and the play from Stetson Bennett.

Granted, it will be a process to bring everything together this year, but there should be no doubt that Smart and the Bulldogs can repeat as champions. 

What is Smart’s legacy with back-to-back titles?

In 2015 Smart was hired by Georgia to win championships. And in just two years, he had brought the Bulldogs back to the national title game. But they ultimately fell short to Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

But the 2021-22 season rang a different tune as he was able to do what his predecessor, Mark Richt, couldn’t do: win a national championship.

“It was self-gratifying for myself because we never won one when I was here, and it was something that we always wanted to achieve, and we want to go achieve again,” Smart said in the interview. “For me, it was what you do your job for, right? You do it really hard. You try to be the best at what you do, and we were able to accomplish that last year.”

With the Bulldogs’ 41-year championship drought now over, Smart has solidified his legacy in Georgia’s history. But if he wins a second title, Smart has the potential to go down as one of, if not the greatest Bulldog coach of all time. But like any competitor, Smart is figuring out how to get better and prepare his team to make another run for the CFP.

“There’s no competitor I know that’s not thinking about the next at-bat, you know, the next shot you’ve got and how you can do it better,” Smart said in the interview. “Our staff’s turned the page and trying to get better for the next one [championship].”

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