It took the Georgia Bulldogs just six weeks to jump from the No. 5 spot in the country to the top ranking in the AP poll. After Alabama’s 41-38 loss to Texas A&M, the Bulldogs were unanimously voted on as the nation’s top team.
Georgia fans have celebrated from Saturday night on, whether it be in real life or on social media. ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Athens for the second time in three weeks ahead of the Bulldogs’ matchup with Kentucky. The show rarely visits a particular college campus more than once per season. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is not letting the hype affect him in any way.
“It has no relevance for us whatsoever because it’s all about how we practice and what we do,” said Smart in his Monday press conference. “If you worry about the psyche of guys reading and looking at it like it’s discussed, yes you have to do a good job of talking to your guys and keeping them grounded.”
Smart does not have to say it but through six games, his team has been the best team in the country. It starts with the defense. A unit that dominates most major categories in the country such as points allowed per game, yards allowed per game and yards allowed per play.
Georgia’s offense has performed at a high level too, even with the quarterback situation seemingly up in the air every week. UGA is averaging just under 40 points per game, which is fourth-best in the SEC and a number that should easily comfort Georgia’s defense.
Even with that, the Dawgs cannot get complacent. With a Kentucky offensive line that is “for sure” the best they have faced so far this season, Georgia knows they have to continue to get better.
“The focus is on us like it always is, it’s about what we do,” said Smart. “It has nothing to do without the outside world or the noise about the rankings. They’re going to hear it regardless, so it’s really what you control your thoughts on and what your priorities are. I’m very honest with our team and the way they’ve handled things to this point. They’ve handled practice and leadership well.”
Now with No. 1 Georgia shifting its focus to No. 11 Kentucky, the Bulldogs’ defense will have to find a way to limit running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., who leads the SEC in rushing yards and Wan’Dale Robinson, who leads the SEC in receiving yards.
Georgia players and coaches remembered one particular trait from the games against Kentucky in previous years.
“Kentucky has always been one of our physical games,” said senior outside linebacker Adam Anderson. “Just seeing them playing LSU, you know that’s a physical team. You play in the SEC, there’s always going to be physical teams and someone is always going to come at you.”
For Smart’s full presser: