Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart is the best coach in the SEC, and the gap between him and the rest of the group is large — Nick Saban is the lone exception. Saban has done his part for the college football world and continues to contribute, but after that, it’s all Smart.
When Smart wasn’t voted SEC Coach of the Year, it felt like a direct snub. He has won the SEC East back-to-back years, lost 15 players to the NFL Draft, multiple in the transfer portal, and still managed to win the SEC Championship. Do we need to mention that the Dawgs are 27-1 in the last two seasons?
Does getting blown out by South Carolina warrant winning SEC Coach of the Year? Does getting ranked No.1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings warrant the honor? Sure what Tennessee’s head coach Josh Heupel has done for his program is miraculous, but what Smart has done is more impressive. Heupel lost to Georgia and then got embarrassed by South Carolina.
The voters gave LSU’s head coach Brian Kelly the second most votes, which is more understanding since he got the Bayou Bengals to the SEC Championship in his first year, to lose to Georgia by 20 points.
Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart is the best coach in the SEC and doesn’t need the award to prove it.
We’re excluding Saban in this argument because the general consensus is he is the best coach in college football, so this is a different opinion. Heupel got SEC Coach of the Year because Tennessee exceeded expectations, but that doesn’t mean he is the best coach. What Smart was able to do proved he deserved SEC Coach of the Year.
Georgia is on pace to win a second straight national championship. He did it without the world-renowned defense they had in 2021 — even though this defense had similar numbers, but I digress. Starting quarterback Stetson Bennett commanded the offense while the Dawgs continued to blow out teams every week.
It’s hard to go 12-0 in back-to-back years, but Georgia did it, and now it sits 13-0, waiting to take on Ohio State in the playoff. Heupel couldn’t get his team to the playoff because of those sneaky Gamecocks. If this award went to anyone, it should be Shane Beamer for taking down Tennessee and Clemson in back-to-back weeks or Clark Lea for giving Vandy their first SEC winning streak in years.
I’m not discrediting what Heupel did because it was impressive, but it would have been SEC Coach of the Year worthy if he made it to the playoff. Smart got snubbed, and he doesn’t care, but the fans will.
Will it matter when Smart hoists the national championship trophy in a month or so? Nope because team awards are far more impressive than this one. It is rude that he got snubbed to just three votes from the 15 folks that made the decision but let them honor the other teams while Smart wins another championship. Back-to-back championship head coach has a much better ring to it anyway, and that will help keep the program on this historic run, not a coaching award.