By the Numbers: UGA quietly churning out wins at historic pace
Georgia football fans can get their statistical fix each week with By the Numbers — a stats-based look at how UGA coach Kirby Smart is doing in his attempt to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC and continue the program’s pursuit of a national championship. This week’s edition of By the Numbers looks at the historic pace at which UGA has been winning games.
Georgia is enjoying an unprecedented run of success over the last two seasons, but you can be forgiven if you haven’t noticed.
Kirby Smart has transformed the program into a juggernaut so totally and completely that it’s often difficult to remember what life was like for UGA fans before the Bulldogs were laying waste to nearly every team on their schedule. Yet it seems appropriate to occasionally provide a reminder: things have hardly ever been as good for UGA as they are right now.
For instance, Georgia beat No. 24 Auburn Saturday 27-10. This was UGA’s third-straight win, and all those games were against teams ranked in the College Football Playoff top 25. Florida and Kentucky — UGA’s previous two opponents — were both ranked No. 9 at the time the teams played.
Believe it or not, according to a search of the season-by-season database at the invaluable site, sports-reference.com, this is only the second time in program history UGA has beaten ranked opponents in three-straight games. It closed the 2006 season by beating No. 5 Auburn, No. 16 Georgia Tech and then knocked off No. 14 Virginia Tech in what was then known as the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
However, this year’s streak against ranked opponents is the first time Georgia has pulled off the feat in three-consecutive weeks.
UGA’s most-recent victory had other historical significance as well.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs beat Auburn for the 11th time in their last 14 meetings — providing more evidence that the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has completely flipped to UGA’s advantage.
In the 14 contests prior to the most-recent stretch (from 1992-2005) Auburn held the edge — winning eight, losing five and tying once. In the 14 meetings before that (from 1978-1991) the records were identical: Eight wins for Auburn, five for UGA and one tie.
In other words, the Bulldogs’ success against Auburn is nothing to be taken for granted.
However, it isn’t the only rivalry DawgNation has seen change.
Georgia’s win in October against the Gators was its second-straight in that series — marking just the second time in the last 29 years UGA’s won consecutive games against Florida. It’s nearly impossible to believe that’s true, yet it is. And it should reinforce how special UGA’s run of late has been.
The Bulldogs wins vs. Florida have also been part of two-straight years of sweeping the SEC East. UGA’s won 13-straight games against division foes. It’s average margin of victory in SEC East games over the last two seasons is 25 points, and its won each of those games by at least 14 points.
Georgia is the first SEC East team in 23 years to sweep the division in consecutive years while winning each game by more that two touchdowns.
For a lot of Georgia fans, these stats and accomplishments are meaningless if they don’t lead to a victory against Alabama in this year’s SEC Championship Game and a return trip to the College Football Playoff.
That’s understandable. No one would deny the Playoff, and the possibility of a national championship is the ultimate goal. Not to mention the way UGA lost to the Crimson Tide in last year’s title game is still a memory that stings for most.
However, while UGA is on the journey towards would could end with the ultimate prize, there’s nothing wrong with noticing it’s already been on quite a ride.