Kirby Smart sets Georgia’s focus on ‘state championship’

Georgia can fill out its football calendar for the next two weeks in ink even though the end-of-season combination of the Thanksgiving weekend Governor’s Cup and SEC championship game was widely anticipated.In a season of leftovers, coach Kirby Smart wants his Bulldogs (11-0) to fix on the main course.This Saturday, that’s Georgia Tech.”Love rivalry week across the country. What makes college football really special to me, all the rivalries you get to watch all this week,” Smart said. “Very unique week timing-wise. A lot of distractions with Thanksgiving going on. Those are good distractions, but they are different. How you deal with that, and manage that, is important.”Players rate Georgia Tech as the program’s premiere rival, even with Alabama on deck in Atlanta on Dec. 2. Before the national championship can be a conversation and ahead of thoughts of the conference title game, Smart is zeroing in on another game in Atlanta — for what his staff is referring to as the state title game with the Yellow Jackets.”Geographically, they’re close. They’re in your state. You are playing for something every time you play them. You’re playing for the state championship,” Smart said.In Brent Key’s first season as head coach, Georgia Tech is 6-5 behind an offensive line Smart said is “dirty, nasty physical,” terming stopping the run against the Yellow Jackets “a day’s work.”For the first time in five years, the Yellow Jackets are eligible for a bowl game.”It’s a huge step in the program. It’s somewhere this place should be every year. The expectation should be to be in a bowl game,” Key said Monday.Beating Smart would be icing on the cake for Key. The most recent Georgia loss in the Governor’s Cup was 28-27 in 2016. The Bulldogs have won five in a row, including the past three games by a combined score of 134-21.