The Bulldogs rose Sunday to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll—its highest position in that ranking through seven games since it was No. 3 in 1982—are in the thick of the college football playoff race and lead the SEC East by one and a half games over Kentucky.
“My concern is, can we get better?” coach Kirby Smart said. “The past doesn’t determine the future.
Our past success or wins will not determine what happens in the future. The only thing that will determine the future is how we work and how we prepare and as long as these kids buy into that and they don’t get tired of hearing that message and they don’t start believing all of your (media) messages then I think they’ll be OK.”
The Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) had their closest SEC call this season Saturday night against Missouri and it was still a 25-point win. Georgia’s four SEC wins last year came by one, three, six and 14 points.
This is Georgia’s highest AP ranking since it was No. 3 before the SEC championship game in 2012.
“We’re going into the bye week and that means we’re hitting the re-set button,” kicker Rodrigo Blankenship said.
He said the team talked in the locker room after the 53-28 victory over Missouri “about you have to do the things that you did to get here if you want to keep going. We’re going to restart and imagine that we’re 0-0 starting out the season again and we’re going to try to have an even better second half than we’ve put together so far.”
Georgia has outscored SEC opponents this season by 31.25 points per game.
“As complete of a team as I’ve seen in a long time,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said.
Georgia, which is also No. 3 in the coaches’ poll this week, is one of eight FBS unbeatens, joining No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Penn State, No. 4 TCU, No .5 Wisconsin, No. 8 Miami, No. 16 South Florida and No.20 UCF.
The unbeaten group will get smaller as the season winds down. If Georgia and Alabama meet in the SEC championship game unbeaten, the loser could still reach the four-team playoff.
Smart wants more from his team even during a week when there is not a game.
“I’m excited to get back to practice because I want to get better,” Smart said. “I told them, it’s not an off week, it’s not a bye week, it’s a work week because we’ve got to clean some things up and get better if we’re going to go where we’re going to go.
Next up is the annual clash with rival Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28.
The Gators (3-3, 3-2 SEC) have lost back-to-back home games to LSU 17-16 and Texas A&M 19-17 and, after their own bye week, will carry a two-game losing streak into the Georgia game for the first time since 2014.
The Gators beat a No. 9 Georgia team 38-20 that year and will enter this year’s game with a three-game win streak in the series.
Georgia will get a chance to get back some players who have been out injured including defensive tackle Trenton Thompson (knee) and defensive end David Marshall (undisclosed).
“It’s definitely a good time for a bye week, get everyone back, have a good week of work and it’s off to Florida,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith.
“We certainly hit it at a good time,” Smart said. “The one thing I’ve learned coaching in the SEC for as long as I have, you go seven straight weeks, throw in an App (State), Notre Dame and the physicality that we play and practice with, teams need the off week, they need the bye week. We’re going to go to work. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to get more players to play winning football on our team. We’ve got to get healthy. We have some guys that need to help our team and we’ve got to get them back.”
Another Award For Georgia Quarterback Jake Fromm
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has been named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for his performance in the Bulldogs’ 53-28 win against Missouri on Oct. 14. It was Fromm’s second time receiving the honor, as he was also named SEC Freshman of the Week following Georgia’s victory over then No. 17 Mississippi State.
Fromm completed a career high 16 of 26 passes on the Tigers to go along with 326 yards, two passing touchdowns, and an interception. Fromm was also effective using his legs, as he rushed for 16 yards and scored a 4-yard touchdown on the ground.
Fromm’s big day also improved Georgia’s overall offensive production, as the Bulldog offense gained 696 yards, the second-most in a game in school history.
A Lot Of Money At Stake For Coach Kirby Smart If Bulldogs Can Keep Winning
Smart is paid $3.75 million per year annually as part of his six-year contract.
That puts him as the 23rd highest paid coach nationally and the 10th highest paid head coach in the SEC, according to USA Today’s latest salary survey
The nine SEC coaches ahead of Smart all make over $4 million a year including Tennessee’s Butch Jones just ahead of Smart at $4.11 million. The only coaches paid less than Smart in the SEC are Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and Missouri’s Barry Odom,
Smart would reap the rewards in his incentive-laden contract.
A trip to the SEC championship game? That’s worth $150,000.
- Winning the SEC title? Add another $250,000.
- Reach the College Football Playoff? A bonus of $500,000.
- Advance to the national title game? Add another $100,000.
- Win the national championship? That brings another $400,000.
Smart can cash in for up to $1.75 million in bonuses per season, not including $50,000 tied to the academic performance of his team, according to his contract.
Only two other coaches in the top 30 could get as much in bonuses as Smart: Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and Stoops, who each have about $2.8 million in maximum bonuses.
The next guys Georgia will get after are the Florida Gators, in Jacksonville on Oct. 28.