UGA Football

Smart: No. 1 ranking is ‘really nothing more than a distraction’

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. AP

Kirby Smart was given the opportunity to react to Georgia’s selection as the No. 1 team in this season’s first College Football Playoff rankings.

As expected, Smart didn’t put much stock in being tabbed the top team in the land.

“It really means nothing right now,” Smart said during his appearance on Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference. “It’s really nothing more than a distraction more than anything. And our kids realize that. They acknowledge the way of the world, that’s the system we live in. It’s built to generate ratings and generate publicity for our sport. But our focus and attention is on South Carolina.”

On Monday night, the 13-man College Football Playoff selection committee announced that Georgia edged Alabama for the top spot in its poll. Georgia is ranked second nationally in both the AP and coaches polls.

The committee cited Georgia’s wins over No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 16 Mississippi State as why it was ranked No. 1.

Smart said he addresses this topic with the players whenever it is needed to do so.

“I keep repeating that but I guess nobody believes us, that maybe we’re just saying that and we all sit around and just pat ourselves on the back,” Smart said. “That’s not what’s going on here. Our kids have been made aware. It’s been a common theme for us throughout the year, that they’re smiling in your face. And that’s what people do.”

Seeing that Smart coached under Alabama’s Nick Saban for nine seasons, he was also asked how his former boss might use being ranked No. 2 as motivation.

“I know him well but to say how he’ll use it, I don’t really care to go about that,” Smart said. “I’ve got enough concerns going on over here and managing my team. That’s where my focus is. I can’t comment on anything with him.”