By: Benjamin Jenkins
“It’s a one hit wonder, it has to be” is what I told myself after watching the second arch rival of my beloved Gamecocks advance to the national championship. The Georgia Bulldogs did end up falling to the Fighting Nick Sabans, but their sudden ascension to the top of the college football world was no fluke. This was no “no one hit wonder”, The Dawgs were back, and they’re just getting started.
After firing Mark Richt in 2015, I was in the “what in the world are they doing group”, sure Richt hadn’t won them a national title, but he had the Dawgs consistently hitting double digit win totals year in and year out. If you asked nearly any college football fan for that scenario (minus Alabama and Clemson) they would be perfectly content with a coach that won them 10-11 games each year. Yet, Georgia ended up taking a gamble, and up to this point the gamble has paid off. In 2016 The Dawgs had the #6 recruiting class, in 2017 it was #3, and in the most recent class, it was #1. Kirby Smart has not only brought the Dawgs up to a national title competing level immediately, but he has also built impressively for the future in a short 3 years. The 2019 recruiting class is already shaping up to be another top 3 class, as the Dawgs currently have the #2 and #3 ranked players in the country (per 247Sports) committed. Now, recruiting star rankings are not necessarily accurate 100% of the time, but there is a positive correlation between consistently top ranked programs and top rated recruiting classes.
The Georgia Bulldogs are in the midst of a perfect storm. They have a weakened SEC East while perennial powers Florida and Tennessee are in the midst of a slump. They sit as the premier university in one of the most talent rich states for high school football and compete as one of storied programs in the best conference in college football. On top of all that, it seems that they have found their own version of Nick Saban. Only time will tell if the Dawgs will be consistent national championship contenders, but the SEC needs to take notice, because Georgia is back and here to stay.