Kirby Smart would’ve loved for defending back-to-back national champ Georgia to test itself with an originally scheduled matchup vs. Oklahoma early this season.

However, Smart isn’t dwelling on the past and still gleaned some positives from Georgia’s 48-7 victory vs. UT-Martin.

The contest with the Sooners was cancelled because of Oklahoma’s eventual jump into the SEC in 2024, as confirmed by commissioner Greg Sankey.

While it was disappointing to Smart to not be able to play a quality opponent such as Oklahoma, he’s thankful to be of service to a smaller program such as UT-Martin.

“Level of disappointment, I don’t know that I would describe it as that. Unfortunate, cost of progress, there’s benefits and there’s offsets,” Smart said. “The benefactor of that situation is probably UT-Martin and how much their coach appreciated the ability to come play at our place.”

The former assistant at Valdosta State has a special place in his heart for small programs that are grinding to make ends meet.

“And give his kids an opportunity for a program and every one of those kids that played in that program and in that conference, they can’t survive without games like that and he was very appreciative of that,” Smart said. “That’s probably one of the benefits of it in terms of the grand scheme of football and people involved.”

Georgia continues its quest for a 3-peat with a home matchup in Week 2 vs. Ball State on Sept. 9 (12 p.m. EST/SEC Network).