Unless you’ve been living in Timbuktu or cut yourself off from the rest of the civilized world, then you’ve seen the hype surrounding Georgia after its 6-0 start to the 2017 campaign.
The Bulldogs are ranked 5th in the country, and some national pundits have started to mention Georgia as a possible candidate for one of the four playoff spots at the end of the year.
Just don’t mention the hype to head coach Kirby Smart. With six games left, there’s still a very long way to go.
“I don’t know one person that ever talked about (Justin) Gatlin being ahead of (Usain) Bolt at the 50-meter mark. Nobody cared,” Smart said. “Nobody cares about that, they care about where you finish and they care about what you do next. That’s our objective – do what’s next.”
Officially, Missouri is what’s next for the Bulldogs.
Georgia hosts the Tigers for homecoming on Saturday (7:30, SEC Network), but after that games against Florida, South Carolina and Auburn loom.
What lies ahead? Only time will tell, but that hasn’t and won’t keep the praise and prognostications from coming.
“You can’t pay much attention to those types of things, but you actually see them when they’re running across your news feed, things like that,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “But that’s not going to change what we do here.”
Tight end Jeb Blazevich doesn’t believe it will, either.
“We’ve been focused, win or lose, regardless of where we are in the season,” the Bulldog tight end said. “We base everything on this day, and that’s what I think is beautiful about the culture that we have. We have another chance to reach our goals but it all starts with winning Monday, having a good practice, prepping for Missouri.”
Otherwise, all the talk about bowl projections and playoffs is just that – talk.
“You address that with the kids,” Smart said. “But we don’t talk about what we are ranked this week and we didn’t talk about what we were ranked last week. It’s no different. Nothing matters.”
That includes what Smart calls hype that Missouri is not a very good team.
As he rightfully points out, the Tigers are third in the SEC in total offense, averaging 443.7 yards per game and feature a quarterback in Drew Lock who is leading the conference in passing (272 yards per game).
“It’s nice that people think very highly of you, but at the end of the day it can go away just like that. You just have to keep going, level headed and just stay the course,” Smith said. “We just focus on each other and everything that we do day in and day out.”
“All the young guys are stepping up, but it’s something we always try to preach with our actions, keep our head down because there is always something you can do better,” he said. “We didn’t play the perfect game (against Vanderbilt), we were far from it and something we need to clean up and keep trying to progress.”