Kirby Smart has the highest winning percentage of any head coach in Georgia history (min. 2 seasons), has won 3 SEC East titles, 1 SEC title, and was a busted coverage away from winning a National Championship so to say he hasn’t been successful at UGA would be a lie. However, his teams have just not been able to get over the hump from ‘great team’ to the top tier reserved for just Ohio State, Alabama, and Clemson over the last few years. To get over that hump, Kirby has to lead his team to a National Championship and I think this is his year to do it.
JT Daniels has totally revolutionized the Georgia offense. Georgia’s success in the Kirby Smart era has been focused around defense and running backs, producing the likes of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift. The arrival of JT Daniels changed that as Georgia can now finally throw the ball the way you have to throw the ball to compete in modern college football. The past few National Championships in CFB have been won by Mac Jones, Joe Burrow, Tua, Trevor Lawrence, and Deshaun Watson- you simply can’t win without a top-tier QB and JT Daniels is finally that guy for Georgia. Last season JT Daniels was the first Georgia QB since Aaron Murray in 2013 to throw for 300+ yards and 4 TDs in a game. In fact, in his four starts JT went 4-0, averaged 308 passing yards per game, had a 10-2 TD-INT ratio, and won the Peach Bowl against an elite Cincinnati defense.
Georgia does still have an electric RB in Zamir White and they have plenty of weapons for JT, as well as an experienced OL, and coordinator continuity. They always have dudes on defense at Georgia and if it comes down to the little things, Georgia might have the best punter in the country as well as a placekicker coming off a great first season as the starter where he went 13/16 and has serious range, plus the clutch gene as he hit a 53 yarder to win the Peach Bowl.
It also helps that it is a particularly weak year in the SEC East with Florida in a rebuild and nobody else really closing the gap to those two teams. They should cruise through the East and have their shot to win an SEC title. With Alabama having as much of a rebuild as Alabama can have, I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas A&M or Ole Miss win the West so I expect Georgia to have a really good chance of winning the whole conference.
For all these reasons, I’ll be backing Georgia to win the SEC Championship Game (+225), Georgia to win the National Championship Game (+650), and JT Daniels to win the Heisman (12/1). Go Dawgs.