Are the turnaround efforts at Georgia and Texas further along than previously thought? According to ESPN’s Paul Finebaum, they may be.
Finebaum wrote Tuesday on Twitter that he believes either Georgia’s Kirby Smart or Texas’ Tom Herman will be the next new coach to win his first national championship.
Finebaum stated his belief while responding to a list of the top 10 college football coaches who are most likely to reach the milestone, as compiled by USA Today’s Paul Myerberg.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) June 13, 2017
Herman and Smart ranked seventh and 10th, respectively, on the list. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh was first.
Both Herman and Smart have chances early this season to prove they’re on their way to national preeminence. Georgia will take on Notre Dame in the second week of the season on the road; Texas travels to Los Angeles for a showdown with USC the following week.
Miami’s Mark Richt, who Smart replaced at Georgia, is fifth on the list.
Georgia is expected to be favored to win the SEC East in 2017. Finebaum’s belief in Smart may be aided by his recent recruiting hauls. Under Smart, the Bulldogs have registered 247Sports’ eighth (2016) and third (2017) nationally ranked signing classes.
For this fall, the Bulldogs return eight starters on offense and 10 on defense. The surprising returns of running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, in addition to outside linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy, could help Smart accelerate his championship hopes.
Texas enters its first season under Herman; the Longhorns went 5-7 last season.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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