Georgia football hasn’t replaced Alabama, it has raised the bar above Alabama.
Many people seem to have the opinion that what Kirby Smart has done with Georgia football puts them in the same place as Alabama. Smart has led Georgia to back-to-back National Championships, beating his former mentor Nick Saban in the process. However, does that in itself supplant Alabama and insert Georgia as the new standard in College Football?
It’s all of that, but much, much more. Smart has done things at Georgia that Saban has yet to achieve at Alabama. First, Saban has never gone 29-1 over a two-season span. He did win back-to-back National Championships in 2011 and 2012, but he was 25-2 over that span. That was also the BCS era, where there were only a maximum of 14 games played.
Second, Smart’s teams are now performing on a level that Saban’s never have before. Looking at the Fremeau Efficiency Index ratings of each team really highlights this. Since 2007, only two teams in College Football have led the country in FEI, OFEI, DFEI, NDE, and NPD in the same season. Those two teams are 2013 Florida State and 2022 Georgia.
To better explain this, these ratings measure how much better each team is above an average team. Leading in these five categories means you are the most efficient team overall, on offense, on defense, per drive, and in points per drive. In short, it means your team dominates in every facet of the game. Again, only two teams have done that since 2007.
Saban’s teams have performed at an elite level over a longer period than Smart’s have, to this point. However, one could argue the level Smart has Georgia football playing at is higher than any level Saban has ever had at Alabama. Winning all but one game over a two-year span and completely dominating every major efficiency rating in the process is absolutely elite.
This all said, it’s time to put the Georgia football and Alabama comparison to bed once and for all. Smart has won multiple National Championships and has cemented his own name in College Football history. There is no longer any use in continuing to link these two programs together. Georgia has established its own identity outside the Smart and Saban connection.