The Series that Will Define Kirby Smart

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The Series that Will Define Kirby Smart

Kirby Smart - Wally's Boys - 4-16-16
Kirby Smart – Wally’s Boys – 4-16-16

At the end of the day, Mark Richt’s fate as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs was decided on October 31, 2015, when the Florida Gators manhandled the Dawgs to the tune of 27-3 at Everbank Field.  On the drive back from Jacksonville to Saint Simons, it was a different feeling, you could feel an era ending.  Now back visiting Saint Simons for the first time and taking the trip over to Jekyll to stroll on Driftwood Beach, I couldn’t help but think about the new era that is starting in Athens.
As I am writing this, it is only 99 days until the Kirby Smart era officially begins in the Georgia Dome when the Bulldogs face off against the Tarheels.  While that game is of great importance – as are the games against the Vols, Gamecocks, Tigers and Yellow Jackets – the game that will ultimately define Kirby Smart’s career as head coach of the Bulldogs is the Cocktail Party against the Florida Gators.
Since the end of Vince Dooley’s tenure as head coach in 1988 the Bulldogs are 7-20 against the Gators.  Ray Goff was 1-6.  Jim Donnan was 1-4.  Mark Richt was 5-10.  Simply put, that is not good enough to get it done.  While a loss to Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee or Georgia Tech certainly hurts, I would argue that right now the Cocktail Party is the most important game each year on the Bulldogs schedule.
In Kirby Smart, the Dawgs have hopefully found “their Spurrier”.  No, not just a coach who wears a visor, but a coach who can put a massive footprint on the Georgia v. Florida rivalry.  Spurrier was 11-1 in his twelve seasons as the Gators head coach changing a rivalry in which the Dawgs had constantly trounced the Gators.  Can Kirby Smart do the same?
If he does, he will be able to name how long he is the head coach for the Georgia Bulldogs.





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Matthew “Huck” Pasek was born into a family of Georgia Bulldogs. Huck’s father, Gary, graduated from UGA in 1976 and became a high school chemistry teacher at Peachtree HS in Dunwoody, GA where he coached alongside Georgia High School football legend T. McFerrrin. Gary’s love of football, especially Georgia football, was passed along to his son. Huck lives in Belmont, NC with his wife, Whitney, and works in Financial Services Litigation. In his spare time he is an avid golfer, movie fanatic and habitual traveler to St. Simons Island with his wife “just to get away”. The moniker ImYourHuckleberry arose from his favorite movie, Tombstone, and character Doc Holiday’s famous line, “I’m Your Huckleberry”. Matthew was never one to shy away from a confrontation or debate, thus the nickname instantly stuck.

10 responses on “The Series that Will Define Kirby Smart

  1. EdThomas

    The Florida rivalry at this point is the only one that matters. If Kirby can’t develop a team to beat Florida consistently, then it doesn’t matter what happens against our other rivals. We won’t be in Atlanta regularly, and he will face the same heat Richt dealt with from 2008-10 and 2014-15.

  2. IYH_BI

    Very true. I just believe for UGA to consistently represent the SEC East in ATL the trend has to change in the Cocktail Party

  3. PTCDawg

    I agree this is the most important bench mark going forward but if we go 10-5 against florida while going 5-10 against Auburn, or Tennessee, or Tech, I’m not sure everyone is going to be real excited about the results. Richt was pounded about as much for his Scar issues as he was for the Fla ones.

  4. IYH_BI

    I’m just ready for us to be able to punch back against the Gators. Seems like if they bloody our nose we crawl into a shell.

  5. DawgLink

    Agreed Huck. We need to start a new era.. a dynasty. Beat them bad and religiously every year. Nice article

  6. DawgDaddy

    I agree Huck, we need this series to return to the huge series lead we had pre-CSS.  I do believe that CKS will do well long term against not only the gates, but everyone he faces.