GREENSBORO, Ga. — Georgia football is “right there” with Alabama, according to College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Beamer.
The 71-year-old Virginia Tech coaching legend remains dialed in to the college football landscape, and he believes Kirby Smart has the Bulldogs on track to ultimately return to the national title game.
“I was having dinner with Nick (Saban) the other night, and I said with as many good programs as there are and scholarship limitations, I never thought any one team would dominate the way they have the last few years,” Beamer said. “I give Nick and Alabama a lot of credit, but I think Georgia is on it’s way, too.
“I think they are right there. When you get into a game, and a play, or three or four plays turn it around, I think they are right here.”
Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January after the Bulldogs dominated the opening half, leading 13-0 at intermission.
Georgia represented itself as the best team in the league during the regular season, winning the SEC Championship Game over Auburn, 28-7.
The Crimson Tide, meanwhile, slipped through the back door and into the College Football Playoff despite not appearing in the conference title game or beating a top-15 team during the regular season.
Alabama is the favorite in Las Vegas to win the SEC Championship this season, but Beamer made it clear he’s not counting out a Georgia repeat even though the Bulldogs lose seven starters off their defense.
“I think they are replacing them with good players, and that’s the key,” said Beamer, whose son, Shane, spent the past two seasons on the Georgia coaching staff before taking a position at Oklahoma as assistant head coach.
“Experience means something, but as long as you are recruiting solid and you are bringing in good players to replace the players you have lost, you’re on a pretty steady track.”
Frank Beamer knows all about steady success, running up a 280-143-4 record during his illustrious head coaching career, including eight conference titles and a national championship runner-up finish to Florida State in 1999.
“It all starts with recruiting, and Kirby (Smart) has done great with that,” Beamer said, “and they’ve coached them up and got them better. I think they are in for a lot of good seasons under Kirby.”
Beamer was among the 13 players and coaches selected into the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class in January.
Former Georgia All-American offensive lineman Matt Stinchcomb (1995-1998) is among the other new College Football Hall of Fame members who will be inducted on Dec. 4 in New York City.
Frank Beamer was among many collegiate football coaches at the Bruce Arians Family Foundation Georgia Celebrity Golf Tournament July 9 at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee.
Smart also took part, along with Florida coach Dan Mullen and former two-time NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians.