MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. — Kirby Smart acknowledges Georgia might have been one of the four best teams in the college football last season.

But then — like now, with the newly expanded 12-team playoff — it comes down to how the CFP Committee evaluates the results.

“I try to control what I can control,” Smart said, “because I can’t control what a committee or what someone votes or thinks should be in.

“(So) I don’t know, that’s not for me to decide, right? We didn’t get to play (all) the others.”

The Bulldogs’ ninth-year head coach admitted Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings he was “not surprised at all” when Georgia was left out of the four-team playoff

“We had our opportunity on the field and that’s what you can ask for,” said Smart, whose program won an SEC-record 29 straight games and was 12-0 last season before stumbling against Alabama by a 27-24 count in the SEC Championship Game.

“Not gonna cry over it.”

Smart and Georgia have won two of the past three CFP Championships and lost an overtime thriller to Alabama in the 2017 season’s title tilt.

But the Bulldogs could have — and some would argue should have — had other CFP opportunities.

“There’s been probably three times that I thought we were one of the best four teams, but we didn’t earn it on the field,” Smart said, likely referring to his 2018, 2020 and 2023 teams.

The expanded 12-team playoff, which begins this season and culminates with the CFP Championship Game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Jan. 20, will allow more room for error.

But Smart anticipates there will be the same sorts of controversies and debates when it comes to how the field is selected.

“Ultimately everybody has a chance to go out on the grass and perform and play and earn the right to be in, and somebody is going to get left out that probably should and shouldn’t,” Smart said.

“So the same opportunity is going to be present itself, it’s just going be (teams) 13, 14 and 15, and you guys are going to debate a lot about it and I”m going to try to make my team better so they’re not 13, 14, 15.”

Indeed, only the top 12 get in, and Smart believes that how the CFP values difficulty of schedule should determine how the SEC ultimately decides on whether it should keep an 8-game league schedule or move to a 9-game league model after the 2025 season.

“I don’t care whether we play eight or nine, I don’t care one bit,” Smart said. “If you tell me we’re going to get more teams in by playing nine, I’ll vote for that.

“If we’re going to have a strength of schedule factor that says these teams that play these really hard teams, they should be allowed to have two or three losses and get in, then I’m for it. But if doesn’t help us, they can you say why do it.”

Smart, whose team opens with a neutral site game against Clemson this season, said he knows how Georgia fans feel about it.

“I think the fan, the guy that’s paying the ticket price wants those games,” Smart said, “and I don’t shy away from that.”