Georgia Bulldogs: Ranking the Top 20 wins of the Kirby Smart Era (Top Five)

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You could apply a lot of criteria for a set of twenty games, and from the outside looking in, this may not be the order that you would necessarily go with. Some of the games that may be the closest or “best” games, may not be towards the top (spoiler alert, the most recent National Championship is pretty high on the list). However, I hold a lot of these games close to my heart, as Kirby Smart and company have delivered some of the best moments of my time on campus. Some of these games were heart-stoppers, and some of them were just mushing a hated rival. Previous editions are listed below:

5. 2017 SEC Championship: #6 Georgia v. #2 Auburn

Revenge is a dish best served cold. After Gus Malzahn talked about “whipping the dog crap” out of Georgia in Jordan-Hare, you knew Kirby Smart would have his guys ready. What followed was an absolute clowning of Malzahn. This was an interesting season for Auburn — they beat their two most hated rivals in Alabama and Georgia, only for both teams to meet in the National Championship. Georgia dominated Auburn in the trenches, running for 238 yards and 5.8 yards per carry while only allowing 259 total yards. Georgia also sacked Jarrett Stidham three times, and Roquan Smith recovered two fumbles. They had seven tackles for loss as a team. On a team featuring Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, it was the freshman D’Andre Swift who stole the show with a 64 yard touchdown run to put the dagger in the Tigers.

Final Score: Georgia 28, Auburn 7

4. 2022 Peach Bowl: #1 Georgia v. #4 Ohio State

I genuinely think this game almost killed me. I was in Mercedes-Benz for this one, and I actually think my heart stopped when Noah Ruggles missed the game-winning kick. Not once, but twice, did Ohio State lead by 14 points, but the Dawgs kept fighting and clawing and eventually took the lead late in the fourth quarter with an AD Mitchell touchdown from Stetson Bennett. CJ Stroud marched right back down the field before Ohio State’s game-winning field goal attempt sailed wide left as the clock struck midnight. In person, I actually thought the kick was blocked it was so bad. Regardless, this is one of the best college football games of all time, and Kirby Smart got the scare of a lifetime before his second National Championship in as many years.

Final Score: Georgia 42, Ohio State 41

3. 2018 Rose Bowl: #3 Georgia v. #2 Oklahoma

Another one of the greatest college football games of all time, I always say that if I was to ever try to get someone to fall in love with college football, I would show them this game. Oklahoma stormed out to a 21-7 lead, and even stretched it to 31-14 with 6 seconds left in the half. Georgia got a CLUTCH 55 yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship before the half, but even then, it looked bleak for the Dawgs. Nick Chubb opened Georgia’s half on offense with a 50 yard touchdown run, and a Dom Sanders interception set Georgia up for another touchdown. After giving up a scoop-and-score, Georgia kept fighting and sent the game to overtime where Lorenzo Carter blocked a field goal and Sony Michel scored the game-winning touchdown. Georgia’s rushing attack was pure poetry — Michel went for 181 yards on 11 carries (16.5 YPC) and three touchdowns while Nick Chubb toted for 145 yards on 14 carries (10.4 YPC) and two scores of his own. Undoubtedly one of the most entertaining sporting events ever, and one of Kirby Smart’s best wins.

Final Score: Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48

2. 2023 National Championship: #1 Georgia v. #3 TCU

It has to be this high on the list because it was a National Championship, but to anyone that isn’t a Georgia fan, you won’t love the product this game gave us. Personally, I loved it. Georgia dominated this game from start to finish on both sides of the ball. After going up early, TCU answered with a score following a busted coverage, and that’s all they would get. An AD Mitchell touchdown with a few seconds left in the half all but sealed Kirby Smart’s second National Championship in Athens, and the reserves went on to outscore TCU 21-0.

1. 2022 National Championship: #3 Georgia v. #1 Alabama

Revenge is a dish best served cold, part 2. There were a ton of questions leading up to this game, mainly if Kirby Smart would ever get one over on Nick Saban. He finally did in Indy, featuring a tenacious defensive performance in a close game. Kelee Ringo’s pick six would seal it for the Dawgs. Considering the magnitude of the game, the greatest coach of all time on the other sideline, and the fact that it was the first one since 1980 — there was no other choice for the top spot.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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