The range of projections of Georgia’s performance in the upcoming season is unusually broad. Pundits have foreseen finishes ranging from 4th in the East to 2nd in the League.
While the excerpt from Sports On Earth below is not a 2017 pick, it is interesting to see the diversity of opinion about Kirby Smart’s coaching future.
“Maybe this is presumptuous. After all, Georgia Tech has won a national title 10 years more recently than Georgia, who is always good but struggled to consistently meet high expectations by the end of Mark Richt’s tenure. Georgia hasn’t missed a bowl since 1996, and it has won 10 or more games 10 times since the turn of the century with three top-five finishes — including 2012, when it came up just short of an SEC title and a spot in the BCS title game. It just hasn’t won the conference in over a decade. Georgia is as promising as any job in the country, because the Atlanta area continues to be one of the nation’s top recruiting grounds, and it keeps getting better. While the jury is out on second-year coach Kirby Smart after an underwhelming debut, the ex-Georgia safety just cleaned up on the recruiting trail, locking down the state of Georgia in a massive year for in-state talent. Georgia has touted young quarterbacks, and while there is a lot of competition for Atlanta-area recruits, it is best positioned to land them with the right coach. Of course, Nick Saban assistants have fared poorly as head coaches against their mentor, but this is arguably a top-five job, and so far, Smart has been the right recruiting fit. It’s not going to happen this year, but this program has a sky-high ceiling, provided it gets the right leadership and institutional support, giving it plenty of hope to end the national title drought before too long.”