Georgia coach Kirby Smart has said many times, “pressure is a privilege.” If that is indeed true, then he’s probably about to feel a lot more privileged by the time this week is done.
SEC Media Days have started in Hoover, Ala., and while the main event of the gathering is to hear from the league’s coaches, and some of its top players, there’s also a prominent sideshow attached to the event: a lot of hot takes from the reporters and media personalities.
Smart is sure to be at the center of a lot of those conversations.
His controversial decision to attempt a fake punt on fourth and 11 from midfield during the fourth quarter of last year’s SEC championship game – and the disastrous outcome of that choice – has seemingly intensified the discussion about when Smart and the Bulldogs will get a national championship to go along with the unprecedented recruiting success UGA has enjoyed since Smart took the job in 2016.
An example of what fans should expect to hear this week regarding Smart and the mounting pressure to win big was previewed last week when ESPN Monday Night Football analyst “Booger” McFarland appeared on the Paul Finebaum Show and talked about the challenge still facing Smart and UGA.
That’s the subject of this edition of DN90.
McFarland addressed the so-called “big game” UGA still needs to win. Presumably he means Alabama in the SEC championship game, or possibly the College Football Playoff. Georgia fans will be the first to admit their restlessness about seeing that happen.
However, it isn’t quite fair to simply say Smart needs to win the “big game.”
Was the 2017 SEC Championship game a “big game?” UGA won it 28-7 vs. Auburn. What about the 2018 Rose Bowl? Surely, the shootout vs. Oklahoma counts as a major victory. To say nothing about the Bulldogs 19-point win vs. Florida last season – which finished the year ranked seventh in the AP poll.
Those probably all classify as big wins, and yet simultaneously it’s fair to say there are bigger victories still for Smart to obtain.
The questions from the media about when those wins will happen will undoubtedly increase the pressure on the Bulldogs to get it done. Which is probably just the way Smart wants it.
To hear more about what McFarland said about UGA, and what Smart’s said previously about some of the preseason predictions surrounding his team, click the video linked above.