ATHENS — Kirby Smart hasn’t paid any attention to the CFP rankings or what the committee has had to say.
But the Georgia football head coach knows what he sees around him in the SEC, and that says enough about what the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0 SEC) have accomplished by going undefeated this season.
Georgia beat Georgia Tech 37-14 on Saturday to cap its second consecutive perfect regular season, and moments later, South Carolina accentuated the SEC power point by winning at Clemson, 31-30.
“I don’t need the College Football Playoff committee or any person to tell me what the SEC is like,” Smart said, asked how the Gamecocks’ win over the ACC’s traditional powerhouse might affect the CFP rankings landscape. “Look, I was born and raised in this, and I know how good it is. I know how physical it is.
“I know how hard it is to play in this league. Week in and week out, it’s tough and physical.”
So much so that Georgia should stay No. 1 in the next CFP rankings even with No. 3 Michigan beating No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 in Columbus on Saturday.
There figures to be some making the argument that the Wolverines’ dominant win over the Buckeyes is among the best wins of the season.
Michigan, of course, doesn’t have to play a rigorous SEC regular season schedule.
Smart has noted it’s common for teams from other conferences to talk about wanting to play an SEC team in the postseason to prove a point.
“Now, everybody always wants a piece of the SEC .... ,” Smart said. “They talk about it, and they don’t play in it year-round.
“So it’s different when it comes to bowl season and it’s a one-game matchup, but if anybody’s wanting an invitation, they can come play in this league. It’s tough.”
Michigan got a piece of Georgia in last season’s CFP Orange Bowl Semifinal and it didn’t go well, with the Bulldogs winning 34-11.
There’s still plenty of football left before the CFP Semifinals are announced on Dec. 4, but already, there has been plenty of talk and speculation about the matchups.
As for South Carolina’s win, Smart did not sound surprised to see his former assistant coach, Shane Beamer, lead the Gamecocks to the win.
“I know that South Carolina’s a really good football team, I mean, I got to watch them play Tennessee last week, and what they did was pretty incredible,” Smart said. “They scored however many possessions in a row. It was just crazy, and that’s hard to do on air, and they did it against a defense.
“They’re playing really good football right now, and Shane’s doing a good job.”