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Here’s why Georgia football is the best college football job in the country
Kirby Smart, and Mark Richt to a certain extent, have clearly elevated Georgia football into the elite tier of college programs. The Bulldogs routinely finish as one of the best teams in the country, and figure to only get better as Smart continues to upgrade the talent and facilities. Georgia is pretty clearly one of the best college football programs.
Every offseason, it seems that college football pundits rank the best college football jobs in the country, some more throughly than others. Stewart Mandel of The Athletic appears to be the first to have put together his list top college football jobs.
“This one may come as a surprise given I don’t yet include Georgia among my 13 “kings” of the sport. But from a coach’s standpoint, this job has everything you could possibly want,” Mandel wrote. “You’re the dominant program in a growing state that now produces nearly as many elite recruits as Florida, Texas and California.”
Mandel listed Alabama, Ohio State, Texas and USC as the other top five other jobs in the country. Those are all very good jobs for a variety of reasons. Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Penn State could all also make the list.
But here’s the thing: Georgia is a better job than every single one of those programs.
We’ll work within Mandel’s top 5 of Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Texas and USC. You could maybe swap LSU for USC if you wanted too, but I believe Mandel’s five are the best five jobs in the country:
Texas: The Longhorns are coming off a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, have more money than God and still play in the most talent rich state in the country. Texas the state produced 48 4 or 5-star prospects in the 2019 recruiting cycle. But despite all the resources, Texas hasn’t been able to put it all together since Colt McCoy was at quarterback and Alabama still hadn’t won a championship under Nick Saban.
Part of the problem — in addition to the lack of patience from the fan base — is the state of Texas has four other Power-5 teams as well. Texas A&M, now under Jimbo Fisher, is just as appealing as Texas, and actually recruited better than the Longhorns did this year. Texas also has to compete with Oklahoma every year. The Sooners don’t have the same in-state talent pool that Texas does, but that hasn’t stopped Oklahoma from being the only Big 12 team to actually make the College Football Playoff.
USC: If the College Football Playoff existed in the mid-2000s, USC might have as many national titles as Alabama does this decade. Pete Carroll showed that USC can really dominate the sport, mostly due to the fact that it’s the school that attracts the best California talent.
But since Carroll left Los Angeles, USC has struggled to win consistently at an elite level. Part of that is because of NCAA sanctions, part of it is because the school has made a number of poor coaching hires. And things aren’t looking much better with Clay Helton at the helm.
USC also now has to compete with Chip Kelly at UCLA, David Shaw at Stanford and Justin Wilcox at Cal. Shaw and Stanford’s rise in particular are another reason why USC has fallen off a bit. The Trojans have not yet made the College Football Playoff.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have been the most consistently dominant team of the 21st century. They’ve thrived under both Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. Ohio doesn’t have the same volume of blue chip recruits as Georgia, but the Buckeyes don’t have the same type of competition for those elite talents. Ohio State is the only Power 5 team in the state. From 2016-18, the Buckeyes signed 11 of the top 15 recruits in the state of Ohio. Over that same three-year span, Georgia, with Smart at the helm, signed 8 of the top 15 recruits.
But the Big Ten, and chiefly Ohio State, have a growing perception problem to worry about. The SEC is going to get at least one team in the College Football Playoff every year. Ohio State, despite winning the Big Ten in each of the past two seasons, has missed the College Football Playoff both times. And the Big Ten hasn’t scored a point in the College Football Playoff since the 2014 College Football Playoff. Fair or not, Georgia doesn’t have to worry about the problem.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide have the best coach in the country in Nick Saban. And he’s shown that you can recruit at a national level, which offsets Alabama’s good but not great in-state talent.
But the Crimson Tide have to deal with Auburn every year. And LSU. And Texas A&M. Those three schools don’t give the Crimson Tide much room for error, especially when Saban does decide to retire. And while Alabama has shown a commitment to football in terms of facilities, there’s going to be an enormous amount of pressure on the coach who has to replace Saban.
Georgia: At last, the Bulldogs. The state of Georgia produced 40 blue chip recruits in 2019, joining California, Texas and Florida as the only schools to put out more than 40 4 or 5-star recruits. Unlike those other three states, Georgia only has one other Power 5 opponent in-state. And Georgia Tech hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire in terms of recruiting.
Georgia also doesn’t have to deal with the annual gauntlet that Alabama or Ohio State has too. Yes Florida plays Georgia every year, but the SEC East is still weaker than the SEC West and Big Ten East at the highest level. In addition to access to talent, Georgia has an easier theoretical path to the playoff.
Yes, critics will say, “Well if Georgia is such a good job, why hasn’t it won a national title since 1980?” And they’ve certainly got a point. But just because Georgia hasn’t won a national title yet, doesn’t mean that it can’t. The Bulldogs are currently showing that when things are rolling, Georgia can be a force in college football.
Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Quarterback expert Trent Dilfer explains why Justin Fields going to Georgia ‘wasn’t a good idea’
- Nation’s top junior quarterback DJ Uiagalelei sees UGA as a ‘championship’ program
- Georgia football podcast: UGA fans shouldn’t worry about latest de-commitment
- Georgia basketball squanders opportunity, loses at Arkansas
- Bill Belichick asked Kirby Smart a blunt question before 2018 NFL Draft
- 2020 junior DT prospect Warren Brinson de-commits from UGA
- Players on both sides of Super Bowl praise Kirby Smart influence
- Bill Belichick gives Georgia football and Kirby Smart a big-time recruiting pitch
Dawgs on Twitter
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Crazy what happens when they have to play a conference championship game to actually earn their way to the CFP 🤔 https://t.co/WWLXpUFZmG
— UGA Spike Squad (@UGASPIKESQUAD) January 30, 2019
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Bernese Mountain Puppies.. pic.twitter.com/3ybPbpwHz0
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