Paul Finebaum: Expectations in Georgia are 'just out of control'

With great success, expectations rise, and that is certainly the case Georgia Football. However, SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum believes they may be too high to be realistic.

Many believe the Bulldogs will build the next college football dynasty Kirby Smart. With two national championships and a 42-2 record over the last three seasons, including winning an SEC-record 29 straight games, there's definitely an argument to be made.

However, Finebaum worries that Georgia could slip into the kind of championship-or-bust mentality we've seen in places like… Alabama over the years.

“You're running into the problem that a lot of programs, including Alabama, have had, which is that the expectations just get out of control,” he continued McElroy and Cubelic in the morning. “Let’s say they don’t win this year, and maybe next year everything goes haywire and the quarterback gets hurt or someone leaves. They have a very boring 9-3 season, then the fans get really nervous. What happens then is the coach asks, 'What else do I need to do?' I won two national championships.'”

To further illustrate his point, Finebaum mentioned Clemson as an example of how quickly a fan base can become restless when expectations become too high. The Tigers appeared in the College Football Playoff six consecutive times between 2015 and 2020, won the national championship four times and won twice.

However, they failed to reach the CFP the last three years and last season finished with fewer than 10 wins for the first time since 2010. This has sparked some discussion about whether Dabo Swinney is fit to be the coach in the new era of NIL and the transfer portal.

“I talked to some Clemson people at an event over the weekend and they're struggling right now,” Finebaum said. “They played for four national championships in a limited period of time. They've been to the playoffs one or two other times. You feel as if the world has fallen apart. Now realize that your trainer is a little different than Kirby Smart. Unlike Kirby, he didn't adapt as well. It doesn't take much, especially when you've won so successfully and the expectations are so high.

“I think the only part of this 12-team playoff that no one knows how we're going to respond to yet is, let's say, a No. 1 seed goes into the playoffs and there's an upset in the second round. That would have a stunning effect. It's one thing to lose in the semifinals or the championship game. It's another thing to be kicked out. The only reference point I might have lately is Kentucky basketball.”

Ultimately, we'll have to wait and see what develops in Georgia. Smart coached under Nick Saban at Alabama and learned to manage high expectations, so he believes the Bulldogs are in good hands.

Anna Harden

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