They have started slow in the big games. Now, we will all agree that the second guy mentioned in the title isn't in the same stratosphere as the other two when it comes to elite head coaching. However, the media would tell you differently, because they only live in the moment and not over the course of time.
Going into 2023, Harbaugh was:
- 15-19 against ranked teams*
- 5-13 against top 10 teams*
- 2-6 against top 5 teams*
I didn't need to tell you all of that, because it has been instilled into our DNA at this point. That is also to say that a lot of what's posted above correctly has asterisks next to it, and we know that day will come from the NCAA. That's a different thread altogether. Nonetheless, the talking heads, TTUN fans, etc will glamour over his current success over the last three seasons, and will put his 0-5 start against us on the back burner.
Now, Kirby Smart. Kirby has built something very special, and is about to go and compete for an unprecedented third national championship in a row. But it didn't always look that way, and as a matter of fact, it didn't look much differently in his first five years than what Ryan Day has accomplished.
Kirby Smart was:
- 8-5 in 2016, won the Liberty Bowl
- 13-2 in 2017, lost to Bama for the title
- 11-3 in 2018, lost the Sugar Bowl
- 12-2 in 2019, won the Sugar Bowl
- 8-2 in 2020, won the Peach Bowl
It wasn't until year six that the dominance showed up, and they haven't looked back since then. Georgia wasn't a bad program when he took over either; it isn't the same situation that Saban walked into when he took over at Alabama. I also don't think there is something magical about needing this long to win a national championship, look no further than Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. Saying that, we have had some odd bounces not go our way over the course of these five seasons with Ryan Day, such as a bad overturned TD, a bad roughing the passer on Lawrence, and the Fields to Olave blunder, all against Clemson in 2019, or, the half of a dozen contributors that popped for COVID against Alabama in 2020.
We also have to own the fact that we have lost to TTUN for three straight seasons, in three very different ways. So, while Ryan Day deserves a break on some of those early losses in pivotal playoff/championship matchups, he also deserves the heat associated with losing to TTUN for three straight years.
I am very much a person who believes that you don't have it as good as you think you do when your on top, nor do I think the sky is falling when the chips aren't falling your way. No, we should not be looking for a new head coach. Period. End of story. Ryan Day isn't perfect, but he is the right guy for this job as it stands today. Rational thinking is hard when you are emotionally invested in The Game, and I am guilty of it as much as anyone. But when you take the glasses off, we were equal in so many areas except one, and unfortunately, it was at QB. Kyle played fine, but their guy didn't make a single mistake. Our guy made a few. They were the more veteran team, playing at home, in a matchup of equally matched guys outside of QB, where they had the advantage for the first time since *looks at notes* 2011!
That doesn't mean that the pot of water isn't boiling either. Ryan Day will be coaching for his job in 2024. But, with the amount of talent being recruited here on a yearly basis, including the incoming class, playing at home against TTUN, and a new playoff format, the opportunity to be the next Kirby Smart is right in front of him as well.