There’s a new sheriff in town, at least according to the most recent AP Poll.
Georgia is now ranked No. 1 in the country following Alabama’s shocking loss to then unranked Texas A&M.
Regardless, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart doesn’t want his team to get complacent entering Saturday’s matchup against No. 11 Kentucky.
“It’s just a number, right?” Smart said on Monday. “The goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the season.”
The Bulldogs will face an undefeated Wildcat team that is coming off a dominating win over LSU. Kentucky thumped the Tigers from Baton Rouge, 42-21, on Saturday night, which catapulted Mark Stoops’ squad inside the top-15. Nevertheless, the Wildcats enter the matchup with Georgia as 24.5 point underdogs.
“We don’t want to get caught up in all that,” Smart said. “That’s not a burden we want to carry.”
Georgia tight end John Fitzpatrick said he found out on Sunday via his phone that the Bulldogs are the nation’s top-ranked team.
“It doesn’t really affect us,” Fitzpatrick said. “It also doesn’t change our practice plan. We don’t pay any attention to it, and we’re just focused on Kentucky right now.”
Kentucky is averaging 31 points per game so far this season led by quarterback Will Levis, who transferred from Penn State. Wildcat running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. is also one of the best in the conference at the position, totaling 759 yards and five touchdowns in his first six games. Wideouts Wan’Dale Robinson and Josh Ali are also deep threats for Kentucky, combining for nearly 700 yards receiving and five touchdowns.
“The biggest difference is they have a really great supporting cast,” Smart said. “They have a quarterback that is really wise, really bright. A great system in the play-action boots they do. The quarterback is a really good athlete, and he throws the ball really well. He has a lot of weapons at his disposal.”
The Wildcats are limiting opponents to 17.5 points per game, which is ranked No. 19 nationally. Kentucky has also racked up 13 sacks this season with linebacker JJ Weaver leading the way with four. The Wildcats’ secondary has a combined 24 total pass deflections, which ranks third in the SEC behind Texas A&M and Tennessee, respectively.
“They definitely have a strong defensive line,” Smart said. “They bring back a lot of experience which is going to be a challenge for us. Today the first two hours of meetings will be on Auburn and then we will switch gears to Kentucky. Last year’s game was physical ... It is going to be another physical one come Saturday.”