CBS Sports slots Kirby Smart behind Nick Saban as college football’s top coach

Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart speaks to members of the press during a press conference at the Butts-Mehre Building ahead of spring practice, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Athens, GA. “We’ve got complete control of our program and our kids in our program,” Smart said. “Do kids make mistakes? Yes, young student-athletes make mistakes. They do. It happens all across the country. It happens here.” (Hyosub Shin /

There’s little doubting of Kirby Smart these days The Georgia head coach has guided the program to back-to-back national championships, the first coach to do so in the College Football Playoff era.

While Smart might be the best coach at this present moment, he’s still got to do a little more to run down Alabama’s Nick Saban. CBS Sports, in ranking the top Power 5 coaches in the sport, had Smart slotted at No. 2.

Even after winning consecutive titles, Smart still has to do more to take the top spot from his former boss.

“There was an outside chance Smart might have overtaken Nick Saban after winning his second consecutive national title, but while Georgia may be the premier program in the country, all those rings on Saban’s fingers still carry too much weight to overcome,” CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli wrote. “How much longer will that be the case? If Georgia wins a third straight title in 2023, I wouldn’t expect Smart to remain in second.”

Fornelli notes that multiple CBS Sports writers had Smart first on their respective ballots.

While Alabama certainly faces more questions entering the 2023 season than Georgia, Saban still holds a 4-1 record against Smart. THe lone win for Georgia came in the last meeting between the two teams in the 2022 National Championship game.

The Crimson Tide went 11-2 last season, missing the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs meanwhile went 15-0.

Behind Smart was Dabo Swinney at No. 3, Lincoln Riley at No. 4 and Jim Harbaugh at No. 5. Smart is 3-0 against those three coaches. Smart has a 9-4 record against the coaches ranked in the top 10 of CBS’ rankings.

Smart is 81-15 as Georgia’s head coach and is set to enter his 8th season leading the program.

Georgia will be attempting to be the first team since Minnesota in the 1930′s to win three consecutive national titles. Smart was on Saban’s 2013 staff, when the Crimson Tide fell short of three-peating.

The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide are not scheduled to face each other this season, but there is always the chance the two sides meet in either the SEC championship game or the College Football Playoff.

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