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Georgia coach Kirby Smart had a great third season, as he guided the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record and repeated as SEC East champs. And for his efforts, Smart was recognized as a finalist for the Dodd Trophy, which is awarded by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.
The other finalists for the award are: Nick Saban (Alabama), Dabo Swinney (Clemson), Dino Babers (Syracuse), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma). Smart, Swinney and Fitzgerald were all finalists from last year.
“All of these finalists truly exemplify the type of leadership that Bobby Dodd valued and are noteworthy candidates to join the esteemed group of former Dodd Trophy recipients,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “We’re honored to have such a renowned list of finalists who truly embody Coach Dodd’s spirit, both on and off the field.”
This season featured Georgia having to replace its No. 2 and No. 3 all-time leading rushers Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, along with 2017 Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith. But Georgia was able to replace all of them and still made it back to the SEC championship game. Quarterback Jake Fromm took another step forward, while running backs D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield filled the void left by Chubb and Michel.
The SEC Coach of the Year, according to the Associated Press, Mark Stoops, was not a finalist for the award. Stoops went 9-3 at Kentucky this year and the Wildcats finished the season ranked No. 14. Georgia beat Kentucky 34-17 this year, in a game that ended up deciding the SEC East. Georgia fell to Alabama in the SEC championship game 35-28, preventing the Bulldogs from making the College Football Playoff. Georgia will finish its season on Jan. 1 when it takes on Texas in the Sugar Bowl.
In his three seasons at Georgia, Smart is now 32-9. He led Georgia to an SEC title last season as well as a Rose Bowl victory.
The winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy will be selected from the list of finalists by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, and will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.
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