Kirby Smart will temper Georgia football expectations at SEC Media Days, and that’s a good thing
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Why Tuesday won’t be a fun day for Georgia football at SEC Media Days
HOOVER, Ala. – Tuesday won’t be a fun day if you’re expecting to learn some great insights about the 2019 Georgia football team. Coach Kirby Smart will address the media at 10 A.M. ET/9 A.M. CT. He’s not going to give glowing updates of how some of the newcomers are looking. He isn’t going to make some grand statement on why Georgia will win a national title.
Smart is going to keep things as straight forward and simple when he steps to the podium. The player representatives — quarterback Jake Fromm, safety J.R. Reed and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas — will also likely keep things close to the vest, and not call out upcoming opponents, or bring up past defeats.
They’ll get questions on uncomfortable situations, whether it be on the now departed Justin Fields or the dismissal of wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman. And through it all, Smart and his players won’t give out any bulletin board material or say anything inflammatory.
Because at the end of the day, games aren’t won and lose by what is said on a Tuesday in July in Hoover, Ala.
Smart and his players are here because they have to be. They’re all going to do their best to represent the University of Georgia when they meet the hundreds of media members on hand. But it won’t be a very insightful day if you’re looking to get a real deep understanding of the current team.
Georgia will get questions about Alabama, the team that has dealt a crushing loss to the Bulldogs in each of the last two seasons. They’ll answer them, but they won’t be going out there and saying they’re looking to take down the Crimson Tide. As of right now, the two teams aren’t set to play each other. And even if they were, Smart is only ever going to comment on the next game and not one that is weeks out.
When the media results for the preseason poll come out on Friday, you can bet Georgia is going to have a majority of the first-place votes to win the SEC East. The Bulldogs did so last season and followed through on the preseason hype. For the first time since the SEC Championship game was introduced back in 1992, the Bulldogs will be looking to win a third consecutive SEC East Title.
The last time Georgia was coming off two straight SEC East titles was in 2013. That year, Georgia brought back its quarterback from the year before, Aaron Murray, a star running back in Todd Gurley and a defense that had a nice mix of depth and experience.
But for all the hype going into that season — the Bulldogs began 2013 ranked No. 5 in the country — Georgia finished the season with an 8-5 record.
Something would have to go catastrophically wrong for that to happen for Georgia in 2019. Most expect Georgia to be the No. 3 overall team in the country when the preseason rankings are eventually released. But with great expectations entering the 2019 season, it’s worth remembering that there are no guarantees in the sport of college football.
That’s why Smart won’t tout Georgia’s past success on Tuesday. Or why Fromm will absolutely not take a jab at Florida. Or have Thomas mention that the Bulldogs are looking forward to Alabama.
You’re not going to learn a lot about the Georgia program that you don’t already know on Tuesday. And that is exactly the why Smart wants it to be.
ESPN SEC preview picks Georgia to once again finish on top of the SEC East
As mentioned above, Georgia will be looking to win the SEC East for a third consecutive season. It has not done that since the conference went to a division format in 1992. The Bulldogs will almost certainly be voted by the media to represent the division once again when those results come out on Friday.
While previewing the conference on Monday, ESPN’s Bill Connelly once again expects Georgia to win the East. Even if the division as a whole has taken a big step forward since Georgia won it back in 2017.
“Smart is recruiting at an absurd level, and it doesn’t appear Georgia plans on being anything other than a top-five program anytime soon,” Connelly wrote. “But the landmines increased last year, and we’re just one upset from a wacky race.”
Georgia is projected to be the No. 2 ranked team in the S&P+ this season per Football Outsiders. When Georgia won the division back in 2017, no team in the division finished ranked higher than 28th in S&P+. Last season, four teams finished ranked in the top 25 of the S&P+. And to open the 2019 season, four SEC East foes will open the season in the top 25.
That also doesn’t include games against the likes of Notre Dame, Auburn and Texas A&M, who will all also begin the season with a lofty S&P+ ranking.
The Bulldogs have dominated the SEC East in each of the last two seasons, as they have not played a game decided by fewer than 14 points. But based on the early numbers, Georgia will have a tougher go of it in 2019. Even if the Bulldogs are as good as ever under Smart.
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- WATCH: Kelly Bryant reveals Clemson locker room chatter on ‘Between the Hedges’ visit
- Offensive line leads storylines for Georgia football entering SEC Media Days
- Why Georgia’s player representatives’ words carry more weight at 2019 SEC Media Days
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