Georgia football coach Kirby Smart enters his second season with big expectations after an 8-5 mark in 2016.
The Bulldogs are the favorites to win the SEC East and possibly challenge Alabama to win the SEC. Georgia will be led by quarterback Jacob Eason and a slew of big-time contributors.
With seven returning starters, including RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, Georgia could have a potent offense. Defensively, Georgia returns one of the most experienced units in the country while also welcoming highly rated recruits, including 5-star safety Richard LeCounte. Ten starters from last year’s team are back, with safety Maurice Smith the only departure.
The Bulldogs did get bad news this week, as cornerback Malkom Parrish suffered a broken bone in his foot, requiring surgery.
As for the 2018 recruiting class, the Bulldogs are eighth among SEC teams. Georgia has a commitment from the No. 1 running back in the 2018 class, Zamir White, and continues to sit well with 5-star quarterback Justin Fields. In the past week, the Bulldogs have landed commitments from three 4-star recruits.
Georgia opens its 2017 season against Appalachian State before traveling to Notre Dame in Week 2. But the Bulldogs won’t want to overlook the Mountaineers, who won 10 games last season and nearly upset Tennessee to open the season.
Smart reportedly earned more than $3.7 million last season, his first as a head coach, after spending nearly a decade as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama.
In the previous edition of the SEC Country approval ratings poll, Smart saw a big bump and came in at 80.2 percent, good for eighth place.
Vote on Kirby Smart’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents who select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5 percent approval rating.