What the Kirby Smart expansion means for Nick Saban

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart’s upcoming massive renewal will have a major impact on Nick Saban’s football program in Alabama.

After leading his Georgia alma mater’s football program to its first national title in 41 years, head coach Kirby Smart is about to receive a massive extension.

The news that Smart is getting a mega expansion comes as no surprise to anyone. Georgia football is everything in The Classic City and much of the Peach State. That’s why University of Georgia President Jere Morehead has made keeping Coach Smart a priority…forever. Morehead expects Smart to get his mega contract extension “in the coming weeks.”

“It will be in line with what you would expect from compensation for a national championship coach,” Morehead told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chip Towers Thursday. “We are very close to finalizing these agreements. I don’t think anyone will be surprised.”

While Smart has earned every penny of the new contract he’s about to land, what are the implications for his mentor, Nick Saban, as well as his juggernaut football program in Alabama?

Kirby Smart Extension: What Does It Mean for Nick Saban and Alabama Football?

While it seemed highly unlikely that Smart would ever leave Athens voluntarily, a major expansion of this caliber pretty much eliminates any notion that he would go to the NFL or even return to Tuscaloosa as Saban’s successor. Smart will have job security like no other coach in college football. In addition to winning a national championship, he also won in his alma mater’s program.

This will pay Smart and the Georgia program dividends virtually forever. While Georgia doesn’t have a dynastic run like Saban has had in Alabama for the past 15 years, this won’t be a one-off national title for the Dawgs. Look to Smart and the Georgia program for a few more wins over the next decade. Simply put, Alabama will lose to Georgia because of this.

Saban and his staff in Alabama are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit against Georgia. Sure, they’ll find a way, because that’s what the best of the best do: they find a way. However, the title fight in Indianapolis was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Not only is time not on Saban’s side, Alabama appears to be fighting a recruiting war on two separate SEC fronts.

As Georgia is now, Texas A&M is poised to be the next. Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies just put together the greatest recruiting class ever. Georgia beat Alabama in 2021 largely because of its #1 recruiting class in 2018. Look to Texas A&M for a potential win of a national title once that recruiting class matures in 2025. Eventually this will be tiring for Saban, but there is no rest for the wicked.

There’s no way around it. It will be a challenge for Alabama if it goes ahead. Georgia is about as close as any other team in the SEC has been in the last decade and a half. Texas A&M is on the rise. What happens when Brian Kelly and Billy Napier make a splash in Baton Rouge and Gainesville? Let’s not even think about Oklahoma and Texas joining the league…

The good news for Saban is that he should have the best team in the Power Five this year. He has the best player in the sport in edge rusher Will Anderson. Bryce Young has as good a chance as anyone of repeating himself as the Heisman Trophy winner as he will be starting on Bill O’Brien’s offense in his second season. Georgia will be good but retire. It will be either Alabama or Ohio State.

The best Saban can do is take it one year at a time and stay focused on the task at hand. Alabama doesn’t have to look in the rearview mirror at Texas A&M or even try to “catch up” with Georgia. If the Crimson Tide can stay focused and be the best version of themselves, Alabama will not only win the SEC again, but return to the national championship and win it all.

Smart’s upcoming overtime changes the game again, but Saban and Alabama know all the rules.

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage from FanSided, including the Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff standings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

Leave a Comment