Kirby Smart fades away with SEC power after win at Clemson in South Carolina

ATHENS — Kirby Smart didn’t heed the CFP rankings or what the committee had to say.

But the Georgia head football coach knows what he sees around him in the SEC, and that says enough about what the No. 1 Bulldogs (12-0, 8-0 SEC) have accomplished by winning this season remained undefeated.

Georgia defeated Georgia Tech 37-14 on Saturday to cap their second straight perfect regular season, and shortly thereafter South Carolina emphasized the SEC powerpoint by winning at Clemson 31-30.

“I don’t need the College Football Playoff Committee or anyone to tell me how the SEC is,” Smart said, asking how the Gamecocks’ win over the ACC’s traditional powerhouse might affect the CFP rankings. “Look, I was born and raised with it, and I know how good it is. I know how physical it is.

“I know how difficult it is to play in this league. It’s tough and physical week after week.”

So much so that Georgia should remain No. 1 in the next CFP rankings even if No. 3 Michigan defeats No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 in Columbus on Saturday.

There are some who argue that the Wolverines’ dominant win over the Buckeyes ranks among the best wins of the season.

Michigan doesn’t have to play a strict SEC regular season schedule, of course.

Smart has noted that it’s common for teams from other conferences to discuss wanting to play an SEC team in the postseason to prove a point.

“Now everyone always wants a piece of the SEC…” Smart said. “They talk about it, but they don’t play in it all year.

“So it’s different when it comes to bowl season and it’s a one-game matchup, but if someone wants an invite, they can play in that league. It’s tough.”

Michigan got a piece of Georgia in last season’s CFP Orange Bowl semifinals and it didn’t go well as the Bulldogs won 34-11.

There is still a lot of football left before the CFP semi-finals are announced on December 4, but there has already been a lot of talk and speculation about the clashes.

As for South Carolina’s win, Smart didn’t sound surprised to see his former assistant coach, Shane Beamer, lead the Gamecocks to victory.

“I know South Carolina is a really good football team, I mean I saw them play Tennessee last week and what they did was pretty incredible,” Smart said. “However, they have achieved many possessions in a row. It was just crazy, and that’s hard to do on air, and they did it against a defense.

“They’re playing really good football right now and Shane is doing a good job.”