To say that many a Georgia fan was disappointed by the Bulldogs’ 2016 college football season, which saw go 8-5 overall, is probably an understatement. Kirby Smart agrees.
The Georgia Head Coach spoke at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Florida on Tuesday and when asked about his first year running the historic program, as we have come to know of Kirby, he did not pull any punches.
“Year one was disappointing,” Smart said. “Anytime you go 8-5 it’s a disappointment at the University of Georgia. It’s certainly not up to the standard I expect.”
He went on to add:
“I think there was ups and downs in the season, which you have all over the place. There were highs and lows, a lot of close ball games. Guess what, there’s probably going to be a lot of close games a lot of years. That’s our conference. Thirty percent of the games are decided by a touchdown or less, so when you have that, there’s going to be tight ball games.”
The Bulldogs finished the regular season in 2016 with a heartbreaking and soul-stinging 28-27 loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech between the hedges at Sanford. That loss marked Georgia’s fifth on the year and left the Dogs with a 7-5 record. A very bitter pill for many fans to swallow. That one-point loss to the Bugs was one of three for Georgia that marked games lost by 3 points or less on their home field. The other two; an equally heartbreaking one-point, 17-16 loss to Vanderbilt for UGA’s Homecoming on October 15th, and a devastating 34-31 loss to Tennesse on a Hail Mary prayer by the Vols’ Josh Dobbs after it looked like freshman quarterback Jacob Eason had led the Dogs to an improbable fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory with 10 seconds left on the clock.
On the other side of the coin, though, Georgia also had three victories that were decided by three-points or less. A 26-24 win over Nicholls State, a 28-27 win over Missouri, and a 27-24 win over Kentucky. That means that six of the Bulldogs’ 12 regular games were decided by a combined margin of 11 points. File that under your too close for comfort category. In other words, Georgia could easily have either gone 4-8 or 10-2.
But all was not gnashing of teeth and biting of the fingernails, as UGA did finish out 2016 with a solid 31-23 win over TCU in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. Coach Smart also seemed optimistic about 2017 as he closed with the answer to how his rookie year as head coach went at Georgia with these words.
“I think having a freshman quarterback is a tough row to hoe,” Smart said. “But that freshman is a sophomore. Let’s see how much better he’s gotten.”
For me, my hope is that means a 10-2 regular season and a SEC East Division crown with a chance to play the Western Division champs for the conference title in the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium in December. At least, that is what these bones of this old Bulldawg are aching for.
Recent Articles by Bob Miller