Georgia Football: CBS Sports’ Top 25 Power Five Coach Rankings

CBS Sports has released their Top 25 Power Five Coach Rankings. Where did Georgia football coach Kirby Smart come in?

CBS Sports has released their Top 25 Power Five college football coaches rankings for 2021. This is not to be confused with the Top 25 Coaches’ Poll where coaches vote for which teams they believe are Top 25 worthy. This is a poll ranking which Power Five coaches are the 25 best according to CBS Sports and 247Sports. With that being said, every Georgia football fan would probably want to skip ahead and see where Kirby Smart was ranked. However, let’s take a look at how CBS Sports came up with their rankings.

According to Tom Fornelli‘s article, here was CBS Sports’ criteria:

As for how the rankings are decided, a panel of college football writers from CBS Sports and 247Sports submit ballots and vote. The ballots are compiled, and the rankings are final and irrefutable. OK, so they aren’t irrefutable, that’s impossible. Every single voter has their own criteria for ranking coaches. Some value accomplishments on the field above all else, while others may give greater weight to recruiting prowess or the possibility of future success.

Fornelli comes right out and says that there were no basis criteria. Everyone voted with their own bias rather than have everyone come together with a baseline of what to look for in their Top 25. This explains why the list will most likely cause a ton of debate. You could probably put 100 coaches on a dartboard and come up with a better list after tossing 23 darts at it (Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney are cemented in as the top two coaches in college football). However, that said, let’s dive into this list.

Where did voters put Georgia football’s coach?

Now that we have gotten all of that out of the way, Smart comes in at number seven in the rankings. Behind Saban, Swinney, Lincoln Riley, Ryan Day, Brian Kelly, and Jimbo Fisher. Obviously, without even digging into this too deep you can already see there are three coaches above Smart who the Georgia football coach has beaten head to head. The other thing you can take from this list ahead of Smart is the voters must have been heavily influenced by the College Football Playoffs.

However, I will let Fornelli explain why Smart ended up seventh in the rankings:

Kirby Smart: We’re starting to see our voters reach the point where Kirby needs to show them more. He advanced to the College Football Playoff National Championship in his second season with the Bulldogs and has recruited at an elite level. But the program has stalled a bit in recent seasons and failed to win the SEC East in 2020. It enters the 2021 season as a title contender once again, but you can only be a title contender for so long without winning one before patience wears thin. Maybe JT Daniels proves to be the difference-maker for Smart in Athens? 2020 rank: 6 (-1)

Making the case for Kirby Smart

Smart has out recruited everyone above him when it comes right down to it, other than Saban. He has beaten everyone above him other than Saban, Swinney (who he hasn’t faced but will September 4th), and Ryan Day (who he hasn’t faced). Only Saban, Swinney, Riley, Day, and Kelly have made it to the College Football Playoffs more than Smart. However, there is one bit of data that some like to use to discredit Smart. According to some, Georgia football has immense talent, but that does not always show in the final college football rankings.

Here is a table showing talent vs results for all of the coaches in CBS Sports’ Top Ten:

CoachCollege Team Talent Composite Ranking (Avg. 2018-20)Final AP Poll Ranking (Avg. 2018-20)
Nick Saban1.73.3
Dabo Swinney6.32.3
Lincoln Riley9.35.7
Ryan Day23.7
Brian Kelly10.76.7
Jimbo Fisher137.7
Kirby Smart2.35.3
Pat Fitzgerald47.710.7
Matt Campbell55.711
Dan Mullen11.39.7

As you can see, there are only three coaches on this list with better results over the last three years. In fact, Smart’s average finish is just outside the top four, which would be a College Football Playoff birth. This makes sense when there is a coach like Saban in the same conference, and Smart has struggled to beat him. However, the list of coaches to take on Saban and come out the victor is quite short.

Obviously, there is absolutely no reason for Georgia football coach Smart to have been left outside the top five. There are not six coaches in college football better than Smart. That is absolutely laughable. It is aparent, some bias was applied when voting for this list, and there is no denying that. However, there is also no denying facts and the facts show that Smart is one of the best head coaches in college football. Regardless, nobody’s feelings on the matter can change that.

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