When Kirby Smart became the Head Football Coach at the University of Georgia, he shared a goal and vision with the Bulldogs loyal, passionate, hungry fan base – be the best program in the country.
Now in his seventh season at the helm of his beloved alma mater, the Georgia Bulldogs sit atop the college football world. Reigning national champions, Georgia is 13-0, Southeastern Conference kings of 2022, winners of 31 of the past 32 games, and bound for the College Football Playoff semifinal against mighty Ohio State in CFP-Semi Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
These are the good old days for the sons and daughters of Georgia. There have of course been golden eras for the Bulldogs before – most notably the fabulous 40s and the Early 80s. But this sustained greatness is unprecedented.
Dating back to Smart’s second season at the Georgia helm in 2017, the Bulldogs have set records and milestones unprecedented in Bulldogs lore.
The ultimate highlight is the 2021 National Championship, Georgia’s first, after some near misses and the closest of calls, since 1980. The postseason hit-list was incredible. The Bulldogs beat Michigan 34-11 in the Orange Bowl semifinal (the Wolverines have the most wins in college football history) and then exercised the demons in a 33-18 victory over Alabama In the National Championship Game, avenging the lone loss of the season, which came in the SEC title tilt.
Over the summer, Smart was emphatic that the Bulldogs would not be hunted. Indeed, these Bulldogs of 2022 have made their own history.
For the first time in program annals, Georgia posted back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.
The conference title is Georgia’s second under Smart’s watch, along with the 2017 SEC Championship Game victory over Auburn en route to the College Football Playoff. The 2022 SEC title is the Bulldogs 14th overall, which is the second most of any program. Alabama has 29. Tennessee has won 13, the Bulldogs breaking a tie with the Volunteers, and LSU has 12.
Bear with me on exact win totals, as there are some to hash out, but Georgia has also moved into the top ten in College Football Division 1-A (FBS) history for all-time victories.
When it comes to records and milestones, the company you keep speaks volumes. Georgia’s back-to-back 8-0 regular season conference marks has been accomplished only twice before. Since the SEC split into divisions and league teams began playing eight conference games annually in 1992, only Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators and 1995 and 1996 and Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide (with Smart the defensive coordinator) in 2008 and 2009 accomplished the feat.
That’s some sporty company for Kirby’s Canines.
This trip to the Chick-Fil-A Peach marks Georgia’s sixth straight major bowl bid. That extends a program high. The Bulldogs went to four straight major bowls from 1980 to 1983. Even if Ohio State beats the Bulldogs worse than the John Heisman’s Yellow Jackets clubbed Cumberland 222-0, Georgia will extend another high mark and be ranked in the top 10 for a sixth straight year. The Bulldogs finished in the top ten (top five to be exact) while going 43-4-1 from 1980 through 1983. Georgia also had four successive top 10 finishes from 2002 to 2005.
The record and win streaks against the historic rivals is superb and unprecedented. Smart and his wife Mary Beth, a superb basketball player for Andy Landers Lady Bulldogs, are lifelong Bulldog fans who have the same passions and roots as all Georgia fans.
These are some numbers that everyone who bleeds Red and Black can be quite fond of:
Since 2017, when Smart’s Bulldogs took flight, Georgia has beaten the Yellow Jackets five straight times, winning them all by at least 23 points. Their new coach, the third that Smart’s Bulldogs have beaten, has vowed to work 365 days a year to dominate Georgia.
Smart’s Bulldogs have won five of the last six against Florida, and three different Gator coaches.
Starting with the 2017 SEC Championship Game victory, Georgia has won six in a row against Auburn, which is moving on to its third head coach – plus the interim Carnell “Cadillac” Williams – over this stretch.
Smart has led the Bulldogs to six successive victories over Tennessee, with three different head coaches.
Then there are the Blue Bloods.
Along with beating Michigan and the Tide en route to the national championship last year, the Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in the 2018 Rose Bowl in the CFP, and beat Notre Dame in 2017 and 2019.
Dare To Be Great! Why not us?
Well here we are, the Bulldogs making dreams come true.
It’s a second straight season in the College Football Playoff, and third trip since 2017. As a side note, the Bulldogs were fifth after the SEC Championship Games of 2018 and 2019, inside of the top four heading into those contests where Georgia lost to No. 1 Alabama and No. 1 LSU.
Awaiting is one of Georgia’s toughest challenges of all time.
These Buckeyes, with eight national championships, 39 Big Ten titles, the second most victories (behind arch rival Michigan) and highest winning percentage in college football history, are loaded and undoubtedly loving a rare underdog role in Atlanta. Ryan Day has led Ohio State to the playoff three times in four years, including the title game in 2020, where the Buckeyes lost to Alabama. The Scarlet and Gray are aiming to upset No. 1 Georgia in the Peach State and then potentially avenge that loss to Michigan with the big prize on the line in Los Angeles.
Though neither of these programs show any signs of straying from the elite, these opportunities are rare and difficult to come by. You never know. After the heartbreak of Pitt and Penn State, no Georgia fan thought it would take so long to get back.
Now here we are again under Smart’s watch, and the Bulldogs have a shot at another win for the ages.