Nearly two-thirds of college football national champions since 2000 have been led by coaches in their second, third or fourth year. Kirby Smart get his first crack at joining the crowded club when the second-year Georgia coach faces Alabama in Monday's title game.
COMPARE: CFB Teams | CFB Players
Smart was Alabama defensive coordinator in 2009 when the Tide won their first championship since 1992. They were led by third-year head coach Nick Saban, who also won a title as a fourth-year LSU coach six years earlier. Saban's three other titles, however, are outliers in the 21st century. He also won the ship in his fifth, sixth and ninth year as Alabama coach.
MORE: Why Wasn't UGA Kicker Called for False Start?
|Rank||Coach's Year||Number of Coaches||Most Recent|
|1||2nd||4||Gene Chizik, 2010|
|2||4th||4||Jimbo Fisher, 2013|
|3||3rd||3||Urban Meyer, 2014|
|4||8th||2||Dabo Swinney, 2016|
|5 (T)||1st||1||Larry Coker, 2001|
|5 (T)||5th||1||Nick Saban, 2011|
|5 (T)||6th||1||Nick Saban, 2012|
|5 (T)||9th||1||Nick Saban, 2015|
Smart, 42, returned to his alma mater Georgia following Alabama's 2015 championship in Saban's ninth year. Saban was the second-longest-tenured coach to win a championship in the BCS/CFP era and the longest since Bobby Bowden won one in his 24th year at Florida State.
Now Smart is aiming to give second-year coaches a fifth national championship this century while trying to prevent his former boss and the best coach in college football history from winning a sixth title, this time in his 11th season.