So far, Kirby Smart is pretty much replicating what Mark Richt did his first three years with the Georgia Bulldogs. Richt won eight games in 2001, won the SEC and was one loss away from the national title in 2002, then won the East again in 2003. That’s exactly what Smart has done.
As Smart’s protege along with Nick Saban’s, Jeremy Pruitt has a lot of familiarity with his new SEC East foe. Tennessee football has Georgia as another circled loss this year, as Smart has a ton of talent and figures to be even better than last year. He enters his fourth year with the same expectations Richt had his fourth year in 2004. It’s actually crazy how similar they are.
Anyway, even with their similarities, Smart doesn’t have the negative years yet. And he’s certainly outperforming the final seven years Richt had in Athens. As a result, he belongs this high on the list. Back to back East titles and top 10 finishes count for something, and if not for a fluke play, he’d have a national championship at this point.
This will really be the season to show just how great Smart may be, as his recruiting classes will all be veterans, and the greatest recruiting class of all time that he secured in 2018 is ready to take off. What he has done so far is very remarkable, but we have to see if he takes the next step.