College Football

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The Next King Bee?

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Georgia Tech fired head coach Geoff Collins after starting the season 1 – 3. Collins never won back-to-back games at Georgia Tech. He was outscored 210-20 over the final 5 games of his tenure against FBS opponents.

Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Brent Key filled in as interim head coach.

Key went 4 – 4 and led the Yellow Jackets to some upset wins. They beat #24 Pitt and #13 North Carolina. He has interviewed for the position but I don’t believe Tech is going hire him.

Athletic director, Todd Stansbury was also fired with Collins. J Batt was hired as the new AD after working at Alabama for five years as its executive deputy AD, chief operating officer and chief revenue officer. He’s also made stops at East Carolina as the senior associate athletics director and at Maryland as the associate AD.

We are going to take a look at the finalists for the position. Bill O’Brien is one of the names that has been mentioned. The 53-year-old was an assistant for the New England Patriots from 2007 to 2011. He also replaced Joe Paterno as head coach at Penn State from 2012-13. O’Brien became the head coach of the Houston Texans in 2014 and stayed until 2020.

He was hired as the offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2021. He helped the Crimson Tide to a Southeastern Conference Championship in 2021 while assisting Nick Saban in crowning his first Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (Bryce Young). O’Brien coached Alabama’s offense to 40.8 points per game this season.

Tulane head coach Willie Fritz is also one of the four coaches interviewed for the position. He led the Green Wave to a 10 – 2 record and they are ranked No. 18 in the nation. He’s been at Tulane since 2016 and his overall record is 41 -45.

Fritz met with the media today ahead of Tulane’s conference championship matchup and he was asked about the reports that have linked him to the Georgia Tech head coaching job. Here is what Fritz had to say:

“I talked to the team about it and obviously the initial report gets more traction than the secondary report but I am the head football coach of Tulane, I am extremely proud to be the head coach at Tulane and we are looking forward to the ballgame on Saturday and that is what I told our guys when I visited with them this morning. So… I don’t want to talk about those kinds of things, I want to talk about the ballgame.”

Tulane plays UCF in the AAC Championship Game this weekend and the winner of that game is likely heading to represent the group of five conferences in the New Year’s Six Bowl Game, which would be the Cotton Bowl this season.

Fritz was the HC at Georgia Southern in 2014-15 and led the Eagles to a 17 – 7 record. This stop also means he has experience recruiting in the state of Georgia.

Coastal Carolina head ball coach Jamey Chadwell is also in consideration for the job. He has led the Chanticleers to a 39 – 21 record since taking over in 2017.

Georgia Tech has to hire a good coach that can make the program relevant again.

Florida Cup

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

For the first time in series history, the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles will play on Black Friday.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has been the traditional date for the Sunshine Showdown but Mike Norvell had a different vision for this year. The Noles (8-3) opened as an 8.5-point favorite.

“It’s always important and we’re on Friday night. Friday night lights,” senior linebacker Amari Burney said. “It’s very important any time you play Florida State. It’s a rivalry and everybody knows that so we have to strap up and come ready to play.”

It will be the first time that Mike Norvell will be the favorite in the rivalry game. Norvel’s first season at the helm was in 2020, so his introduction to the rivalry was in 2021. The Gators, despite having fired Dan Mullen just six days before playing the Noles, edged out a 24-21 win at home.

After starting the season unranked, Florida State University broke into the Top 25 in September following a 4-0 start, however they quickly fell back out after their fair share of losses.

The Noles have been on a tear of late, winning their last four games. If FSU wins this Friday, it would be the program’s first nine-win season since Jimbo Fisher was Head Coach in 2016.

The Florida Gators are just 1-3 on the road at this point of the season, and Florida State is 4-2 at Doak Campbell.

The line sits at 8.5, home teams typically get three points on a betting line as home-field advantage, meaning Vegas views this as a one-score nail-biter.

This will be the 66th all-time matchup between the Gators and Seminoles. Florida owns a 37-26-2 lead and an active three-game winning streak.

Florida State’s Mike Norvell is well aware that anything can happen in the world of college football, and that his team is far from unbeatable. Any coach on the planet is well aware of what this game means to either of these programs.

FSU has already taken out Miami, and in a humiliating fashion. Now, the Gators are gearing up for a prime-time showdown against the hot-handed Seminoles.

From the looks of things, Norvell has Florida State on the right track. They’re playing week to week hammering potential bowl teams like they’re Cumberland College.

The Seminoles’ first-team defense has only given up one touchdown in a month, and their offense puts up yards and points like it’s 1993. But losing to this rivalry is different; and there is a sour taste in the losing team’s mouth

Forget that it’s Year 1 under Billy Napier, who was tasked not only to replenish UF’s thin roster, but also with rebuilding the entire culture Dan Mullen left behind, let’s not talk about the new “Gator standard” on and off the field.

Florida has one regular-season game to play under their new head coach, and best of all- it’s at their bitter rival Florida State on Black Friday.

Make no mistake, this game matters immensely to the Gators. It’s the rare game that impacts recruiting directly (especially in state); the last thing Florida wants to do is lose convincingly and allow FSU to sell their program as on the rise and the top option in the state.

After embarrassing Miami, could you convince a recruit toward Miami over Florida State?

Win, and Napier cools the heat of his defeats (almost instantly) and gives the Gators a bit of juice heading into the final stretch of recruiting.

Lose, and, well, the Gators are 6-6, off to a low-tier bowl game, and paying lip service to the importance of bowl practices while keeping one foot, if not both feet, on the recruiting trail for a top-level SEC program.

It won’t be played on Saturday, but it’ll be special like always, no matter the final score.

My prediction: Billy Napier will be the first Florida coach not to beat a single rival in a season since 1979. FSU 42   Florida 20

Return To Chief-Hood?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

What a difference a year makes, FSU football statistically has made huge changes.

The Seminoles are trending on both sides of the ball in elite company.

First, the ‘Noles average nearly 100 more total yards per game than last year, jumping up from 379 to 477 yards per game due to a deeper set of skill players, a better offensive line, and stronger quarterback play.

Let’s start with QBs, redshirt junior quarterback Jordan Travis and his co-starter McKenzie Milton have already eclipsed the production in 2021 with 2,300 yards and 18 passing touchdowns. FSU’s passing offense, while effective at times later in the season, ranked in the bottom half of the ACC last season.

This year, on the other hand- Travis is ranked third in the ACC in passing yards (2,414) and touchdowns (24). A noteworthy turnaround for a team pointed downhill for almost 5 years.

FSU scores about seven more points per game than last season, jumping from 27.6 to 34 in 2022, aided by 41-point, 45-point, and 38-point outbursts in the current three-game win streak.

It’s also worth noting the FSU offense took its foot off the gas while comfortably ahead during stretches of the third and fourth quarters in four ACC games this season — those three wins and against Boston College.

The Seminoles’ rushing offense lost 2021 starter Jashaun Corbin, and has gone stretches without this year’s starter Treshaun Ward. Yet, FSU only continues to skyrocket the stat book on the ground.

FSU improved from 177 rushing yards per game (No. 6 ACC) and 4.8 yards per carry last season, up to 5.5 per attempt and a dominant 213 yards per game. Aided by backs Trey Benson, Lawrance Toafilli, and along with Ward, those totals rank No. 1 in the ACC and No. 16 in the nation.

Of course, all those yards and offensive production wouldn’t be possible without a much-improved offensive line, even if the personnel stays the same.

Offensive fronts may not always have stats to back up their performance, but pass-protection wise, the returns are crystal clear: FSU gave up 36 sacks last year (2 per game) and only 16 this year (second-best in ACC).

Defensively, Florida State is in position of shaving off 8.4 points per game from its season average.

Last year, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller’s bunch gave up a respectable 26.5 points per outing, but this year they’re knocking that number down to 18.1 (tied for best in ACC).

The Seminoles also rose to best in the ACC in total defense (293 yards allowed), which is over an 80-yard improvement from last season’s 377.8 mark (No. 6 in ACC).

In many of these areas, FSU rose from the middle of the pack.

Special teams return yardage, the ‘Noles emerged from the doldrums of the conference.

Instead of ranking No. 12 in yards per kick return and No. 13 in yards per punt return, FSU now ranks third in the ACC in both categories.

Florida State is currently ranked No. 11 in the country in total defense and No. 16 in the country in total offense.

The only other teams to be in the Top 20 in both categories? Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State.

I don’t know if Norvell will ever get this program back to an elite level, but man, after these last three weeks, and considering how far they’ve come in the last three years, it’s not exactly far-fetched, is it?

Sharing Is Caring

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC is the premier college football brand in the United States.

It has been this way for quite a while now. The SEC has crowned three straight national champions in football.

As the premier brand in football, I believe the time has come to start rotating the SEC Championship game to different locations throughout the conference region.

The time is now to begin the rotation. Personally, I think Atlanta is a good place to host the game, but other locations have a lot to offer as well.

I’m thinking now that the SEC is expanding with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas it is time to start a six-city rotation that give more fans the opportunity to experience the SEC brand.

Listed below is the suggested rotation from my perspective with comments promoting each city:

Atlanta: Atlanta is pretty much the geographical center of the south. Atlanta has hosted the SEC Championship game since 1994.

The geographical blueprint of the SEC is now expanding outside of the traditional south.

Why not rotate the game to various points to the expanded blueprint?

If the decision is ultimately made to keep game in a central location like Atlanta, then so be it. Atlanta is a great host city, and the city has great facilities, hotels, airport, and overall infrastructure for continued success. Atlanta is the 8th largest metro area in the United States with around 6 million people.

New Orleans: SEC championship in New Orleans would be an amazing experience.

Food, culture, French Quarter, that party type atmosphere in New Orleans is second to none.

The NFL has hosted numerous Super Bowls in the city. Plenty of hotel rooms. If New Orleans is good enough for the NFL, then it is more than good enough for the SEC.

Smaller metro area, but things listed above make this a must stop on the rotation. NO would be the most fun stop on the rotation.

Arlington: the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, officially designated Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Texas encompassing 11 counties and anchored by the major cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.

It is the economic and cultural hub of North Texas. The area has a population of around 8 million people making it the 4th largest metro area in the US and largest in the SEC.

AT&T Stadium or Jerry’s World would be a perfect venue.

Miami: SEC Championship in South Beach. Sign me up.

9th largest metro area in US. Weather is always great and Hard Rock Stadium is awesome.

ACC would fight to keep SEC out of Miami through.

Can you see the SEC coming into Miami and selling out everything when the ACC cannot even sell out their own conference championship game?

Nashville: SEC Title game in the Music City.

Nashville just approved a new domed stadium in downtown Nashville, just a few blocks away from Broadway Street.

Two million people in Nashville metro area. Perfect city and new venue make Nashville a perfect host.

Nashville is a fun city that would quickly be one of the favorite stops in the rotation.

Imagine your favorite team winning the SEC and running into Kid Rock playing an unannounced set at his restaurant on Broadway during your postgame drunk fest.

Houston: Fifth largest metro area in US. Home of the Texans, Astros, and Rockets.

Houston is a world class city that has hosted multiple Super Bowls.

Houston is a must on any SEC rotation even if nearby Texas A&M is a dumpster fire currently in football.

It is time to share the wealth SEC and expand the SEC experience to outside of Atlanta.

The Art Of The Deal

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The idea of pay-to-play in the college football ranks has gone from a lightning rod to the norm.

Conference commissioners pounded podiums these summer’s media days, calling for Capitol Hill to regulate Name, Image and Likeness.

They are not looking for help in educating athletes. No, the attention and focus has been on stopping recruiting inducements. While stakeholders argue amongst themselves and point fingers, the other side of NIL has quietly evolved.

College coaches are now dealing with a new reality. Recruits are lying to top 25 programs about the NIL package being offered by other schools vying for their commitment.

Anything to drive up the price of their recruitment and earn more cash.

In an industry with no regulation –  the NCAA has been clear as mud – college football staffers are trying to figure out what the true market value is for a player. In some situations, programs are overpaying for a recruit in order to receive their commitment.

In multiple situations, highly-ranked recruits have openly told Power Five coaching staffs they’ve been offered seven-figure annual NIL packages by another school in their recruitment.

Only to find out through backchannels the prospect was openly lying, trying to drive up their market value.

College football is currently dealing with a recruiting market where the top 50 prospects have the privilege of commanding their market value.

I can’t say it’s specifically happened but I’ve certainly heard about it. It would be ignorant to think kids falsely report offers, so why wouldn’t the kid with offers, why wouldn’t they start to falsely report NIL deals. It’s no different than when you go to your employer and say, ‘Hey, I’ve had some other people call me. I’d like to stay here, but can you give me some more money.’

In the NFL, players are represented by agents who broker contracts on their behalf. In the college ranks, a small number of highly-touted athletes have a representative with experience.

The remainder athletes typically have a family member or mentor who has taken over their recruitment and is bartering on their behalf. And as we’ve seen, it can get ugly.

Coaches have to talk to other schools and figure out what the truth is. Some cut ties with the prospect, willing to lose out to bring an end to the NIL rumors.

Much attention, since the advent of NIL, has been on the institutions with major booster networks.

Miami, Tennessee and Texas A&M have all seen an influx of NIL dollars.

That doesn’t mean recruits are only lying to those schools. Even at the lower levels of Division I, NIL has recruits feeling entitled to demand compensation and creating false narratives.

For years, recruiting battles were waged over who had the nicest facilities. The best training tables and cushiest locker rooms. Now the top prospects want financial packages.

NIL has changed the conversations around how much and who is receiving it. Recruits are not afraid to lie, and they don’t care about burning bridges so long as there is a monetary guarantee sitting at the end of their recruitment.

For all the concern there is about recruits lying about NIL offers in college football currently, it may only be a glimpse of what the transfer portal will look like come December.

Impermissible NIL activities such as recruiting inducements, compensation without quid pro quo, or compensation that’s clearly out of line with fair-market value should be regulated.

To me, Power Five conferences have to create guidelines and penalties because the NCAA is afraid of a class action lawsuit. Until then, wealthy boosters will keep throwing money to influence these young athletes.

Bogus Rankings

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Here are the initial college football playoff rankings released on Tuesday night with my thoughts by each team:

Tennessee: Wins over Alabama and LSU land the Vols in the top slot. The argument against Georgia by the committee was that they struggled with Missouri and Kent State.

Did the committee not watch Tennessee struggle against Pitt and give up almost 500 yards passing to Anthony Richardson and Florida in a 38-33 Vol win?

Vols land here by virtue of beating Alabama. I’m good with it. This defense is not championship caliber, however.

Ohio State: A brand the playoff committee loves. They always have and always will. Game with Michigan is coming up.

Georgia: Defending national champs are undefeated with number one Tennessee coming to Athens this weekend.

It will all sort itself out in a couple of days. Can you hear Kirby talking to his team about respect about right now?

Clemson: Another loved brand by the committee. The ACC did their best to protect the brand against Syracuse a couple of weeks ago. Is there a team in the top ten this week that Clemson could beat? This team is vastly overrated.

Michigan: I guess the committee does not think much of the Michigan out of conference schedule this year. That is my only guess on why they are ranked behind Clemson.

Alabama: The loss to Tennessee does not hurt Alabama as they control their own destiny. This Alabama team does not seem as good as previous Alabama teams. Loved name brand though by the committee.

TCU: Unbeaten TCU gets the hose job by the committee plain and simple. Ranked behind a one loss Alabama team and behind a Clemson team that has not beat anyone noteworthy.

If Oklahoma or Texas had the TCU resume, they would be in the top four. The committee loves name brands.

Oregon: The Ducks may be playing the best football in the country right now, but that 46-point loss to Georgia opening weekend looms large right now.

USC: The Trojans might beat Clemson in the top 10 and nobody else, but if they do not lose at Utah a couple the brand loving committee would have had this team near the top four.

LSU: The two loss Tigers believe it or not control their destiny in the SEC West. Beat Alabama this weekend and get to Atlanta and win the SEC and the Tigers will be the first two loss team to get into the playoff.

Tennessee is the easy #1 team in the country based on their body of work so far.

No argument from most reasonable college football fans that follow the sport. My question is why the committee didn’t give us a #1 vs #2 matchup this weekend?

We had an entire hour show on ESPN last night focused on the hypotheticals of it all. I firmly believe that if the Dawgs and Vols were playing on ABC or ESPN Saturday we would have that #1 vs #2 matchup.

Since the game is on CBS, I believe ESPN pressured the committee to put UGA at #3 to keep CBS from hyping a game of the century type matchup this weekend. It will sort itself out in the end but a #1 vs #2 would have been fantastic.

 

Initial rankings winners:

Tennessee: They beat the beloved brand Alabama.

Clemson: No way they should be in the top four.

 

Losers:

Michigan: Being behind Clemson is an absolute joke.

TCU: Not a preferred name brand by the committee.

 

Final Thoughts: If your name is Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State you will get a favorable ranking. If you are not one of those three, then your resume gets nitpicked by the talking heads on ESPN.

 

Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers Preview

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Tennessee and Georgia square off Saturday afternoon between the hedges in a showdown that dictates the SEC East and the landscape of the college football playoffs.

Tennessee has scored 40+ points in all five of their SEC games. The Vols are also coming off their best defensive performance of the season after holding Kentucky to six points and 205 yards (total offense).

On the other side, Georgia just took care of business with a 42-20 performance against Florida. The Bulldogs are hitting on all cylinders, and not just on one side of the football.

The Dawgs defense has earned a lot of hype over their past seasons, but this year the offense is the only unit in the SEC that’s currently averaging both 200+ yards rushing and 300+ yards passing per game.

Georgia and Tennessee enter the battle unbeaten and on top of the college football world. Who will stay there? And who will fall?

Tennessee has risen to the occasion once this season in a similar matchup, knocking off Alabama 52-49 earlier this season.

The reigning national champions pose a real threat for this hot handed team, but the preparation remains the same for Josh Heupel and the Vols.

Georgia is 8-0 on the season, and they did go through about 10 quarters of football this season where they clearly underperformed: between Kent State, Missouri, and the first half of Auburn- they showed real signs of dysfunction and had fans convinced that they could lose.

Despite the lackluster play at the time, in each game the Bulldogs prevailed and looked dominant once the final whistle blew.

Stetson Bennett leads an offense that averages 41 points on 530 yards per game. The quarterback has thrown for 2,349 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes. Bennett has also rushed for five scores, and that’s an underrated part of his game.

“I think he’s undervalued in some respects with his feet. He’s explosive, he’s twitchy,” Heupel said of Bennett. “When it’s not right in the pocket, he extends plays. That can be him throwing on scrambles, but also him tucking the ball and making plays. He made a couple against us last year that changed the game. You have to do a great job of bottling him up.”

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker remains squarely in the Heisman Trophy race, but the senior quarterback’s focus is on his first goal: Atlanta in December.

Jalin Hyatt’s stats in the last four weeks (three of those SEC games) have just been ridiculous. In the Vols’ last four games, Hyatt has 584 yards receiving and 11 touchdown catches.

Tennessee’s offense is fun to talk about, I get it, but the most eye-opening thing about Saturday’s thrashing of Kentucky was the defensive dominance.

Kentucky ended the night with just 205 yards of total offense. Chris Rodriguez was held to just 64 yards rushing. The defense forced three turnovers.

Let’s be clear, Georgia remains great on defense. They’re the only team holding SEC opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (86.4 ypg) and in five SEC games they’re allowing 189 yards per game in the air.

One thing I feel confident about is that Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp will have the Bulldogs Defense ready for the high-octane Vol’s offense.

Slowing down Tennessee, to me, means keeping them in the 30s. Something no SEC defense has done yet.

With that, I think Georgia will also score, and control the clock. Saturday, Tennessee will show up prepared to play in a monster game like this under the national spotlight, but the lights will be too bright for them.

Georgia’s Defense and Stetson Bennett’s big game experience will lead the Dawgs to victory.

Georgia 48   Tennessee 31

Dangerous Gators

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It is that time of the year again when the Dawgs and the Gators tee it up on the banks of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.

The game is known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” The political correctness crowd would like folks to not refer to that title, but I have never cared what that crowd thought anyway.

The series began in 1904 with a 52-0 UGA win. Florida does not acknowledge the 1904 contest and says the series began in 1915. Since UGA leads the overall series, their claim is the valid claim for this article.

 

Georgia/Florida through the decades:

1900’s: UGA 1-0

1910’s: UGA 3-0

1920’s: UGA 3-2

1930’s: UGA 8-1-1

1940’s: UGA 7-2

1950’s: UF: 6-4

1960’s: UF 6-3-1

1970’s UGA 7-3

1980’s: UGA 8-2

1990’s: UF 9-1

2000’s: UF 8-2

2010’s: UGA 6-4

2020’s: Tied 1-1

UGA leads overall series: 54-44-2

 

The series has always been streaky with one team dominating the other over a period, but the last twelve contests have been relativity even with UGA holding 7-5 advantage going into the 2022 game.

Six times over the past twenty years one team has come into the contest undefeated. Florida came into this game unbeaten in 2009 and 2012 and went 1-1 in those contests.

Georgia has come into this contest undefeated 4 times in the same window 2002, 2005, 2017, and 2021 and has a 2-2 record in those games.

Georgia comes into the 2022 game with an undefeated 7-0 record, and as you can see in the above paragraph that means nothing in this series.

So, as we preview the 2022 contest you can throw the record books out the window. Georgia ranks second in the conference in total offense gaining 526 years per contest.

On defense Georgia ranks first in the conference and third nationally only giving up 247 yards per game.

Florida comes in the game with a 4-3 record overall and 1-3 in the SEC. Florida has lost SEC games to Kentucky, Tennessee, and LSU. The three losses came against three of the better teams in the conference. Florida beat Missouri at home 24-17. Their upcoming opponent struggled to beat Missouri 26-22 and should have lost that game.

Florida ranks seventh in the league in total offense averaging around 430 years per game.

Defensively the Gators rank 12th in the conference giving up around 430 yards per game.

Coming into this game UGA is, depending on where you look, a 15.5 to 17-point favorite in the contest. That is too high.

Florida’s strengths are offensive line, running backs, and QB Anthony Richardson. The Gators run for 213 yards per game which ranks as fourth best in the SEC.

I think UF comes into Jacksonville and tests a UGA run defense that has not really been tested in 2022. If Florida can run the ball and control the clock, then this will be a tight contest with Richardson factoring into the run game.

Georgia is a well-rounded football team. I think the Georgia passing game against a Gator secondary that has been torched in Tennessee and LSU losses will be key factor in the outcome.

UGA should be getting some key receivers back for this contest which will be huge.

Prediction: Georgia 31-21. Stetson Bennett has a big game passing and keeps some key drives alive with his feet to get UGA past Florida.

The UGA defense gets tested early but adjusts to take control in the second half of the contest.

I was thinking about this, if UGA wins this contest it will be their 55th win in the series.

Memorable Moments

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The city of Jacksonville will get its annual rowdiness booster this weekend when Florida and Georgia come to town.

About time Jacksonville gets excited about some football. If top-ranked Georgia wins, it will be a game closer from claiming the SEC East and continuing its unbeaten season.

If the Gators are able to spoil all of that momentum, it will make up for what I’m forecasting to be a mediocre season.

Here’s a look at the five best all-time moments from the World’s Largest Cocktail Party.

  1. THE TIMEOUT: Let’s start it off with one of the most controversial endings in college football history.

In a game which featured consistent rain, the Bulldogs were down 33-26 in the fourth quarter. But with the help of quarterback Eric Zeier, the Bulldogs drove into Florida territory with 1:30 left.

With five seconds left, Zeier threw what was thought as the game-tying touchdown to Jerry Jerman, but Gators cornerback Anthone Lott called timeout right before the ball was snapped.

Zeier’s next and final pass fell incomplete, and Florida held on to the victory and went on to win the SEC and Sugar Bowl.

  1. THE GATOR STOMP: After years of Gator wins, Georgia’s head coach Mark Richt decided to change things up.

To start, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno scored to give the Bulldogs the 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Then, the entire team came into the end zone to celebrate with Moreno, which is now referred to as the “Gator Stomp.”

That move gave the Bulldogs the motivation it needed to take down the defending national champions with a 42-30 win.

Moreno ended the day with 188 yards on the ground, and the Bulldogs defense sacked Florida’s Tim Tebow six times.

  1. HALF A 100: In 1994, the battle was moved to Gainesville because Jacksonville’s stadium was being used by the Jags and in return the battle took place in Athens in ‘95.

Georgia was 5-3 and limping through head coach Ray Goff’s final year.

Florida was undefeated and coach Steve Spurrier – at the height of his cockiness – decided he wanted the Gators to be the first team to “hang half a hundred between the hedges.” The Gators scored seven touchdowns and accomplished that goal with 1:21 left in the game.

  1. TIMEOUTS: Georgia had won the year before in a game where the entire team ran into the end zone to celebrate the first touchdown.

Although the Gators did not discuss their anger, they were seething and a picture of the celebration hung in every player’s locker.

Each team had one loss when they met in 2008 and the winner would be in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East and have a possible shot at the national title.

The Gators jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead and then Georgia imploded in the second half, turning the ball over four times.

Florida capitalized and scored 35 unanswered points. The vindicated Gators then went on to win the SEC title and national championship.

1.RUN LINDSAY, RUN:

The most memorable moment had to be when the Bulldogs went on their championship run in 1980.

The Bulldogs were down 21-20 in the fourth quarter, facing third-and-long at their own 7-yard line.

Backed up in his own end zone, Georgia quarterback Buck Belue found Lindsay Scott at the 25-yard line. Scott was able to blow past the Florida secondary and score the game-winning touchdown with seconds left on the clock.

The 93-yard touchdown pass kept the Bulldogs’ title hopes alive. They moved to No. 1 in the polls the following week and went on to win their second consensus national title.

All in all, this is a historical matchup that college football fans look forward to every year. There have been plenty of memorable moments from this series, but these are five that really stand out from the rest. Let’s hope for a safe and sportsmanlike battle- although no one ever anticipates it.

Proud Gator Hater

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I was born and raised in the United Methodist church.

In fact, I currently serve as Assistant Pastor at the very church I grew up in. My parents made sure that I was, among other things, raised with a strong sense faith.

Of course, they were responsible for raising me as a member of Dawg Nation, and thus responsible for one of the great incongruities of my life.

You see, in Mark 12:29-31, Jesus tells us that the Greatest Commandment is to ”love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.“ And to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

There’s the problem – I can’t completely do that. I just can’t do that for the sole reason that the Florida Gators exist.

I HATE the Gators. Always have. With every fiber of my existence, with every breath I draw, down to every quark, neutron, positron, electron, atom, and molecule that makes up my mortal form. Hate, hate, hate ‘em.

The host of one of my favorite Dawg-centric podcasts (and I listen to a lot of them), says that every good Dawg fan is first and foremost a Gator hater. Boy howdy, do I agree with him. Nothing but contempt for those lousy, stinkin’ Gators.

I hate their color scheme. To be fair, I have a distaste for orange-clad sports teams in general, but blue and orange especially (lookin’ at you, Mets…).

I hate their uniforms. I don’t care if it’s their standard home and aways, the word mark helmet kit, their ‘60s block letter throwbacks, those stupid alligator skin pattern monstrosities, or this year’s black helmets (“Oo! Black helmets? How CREATIVE! <end sarcasm>”).

I hate their mascots. Albert AND Alberta. Take a mascot, give him an opposite gendered partner, and you’re just half a step from parading Furries on your sideline for all the world to see. Ew. And they’re wearing orange and blue? Double ew. (Again, lookin’ at you, Mr. & Mrs. Met…)

I hate the Steve Spurrier years. I hate the Ol’ Bawl Coach and his stupid visor. Visors are for tennis courts and golf courses, and this deviant made them mainstream for football sidelines. I hate that painful 11-1 streak he put up against us in the ’90s.

I REALLY hate the fact that after that, he had the audacity to give the Gamecocks hope. That’s just cruel.

I hate the Urban Meyer years. I hate that he was able to ride Spurrier’s coattails (well, at least what coattails were left after Ron Zook) and get Gator fans two more Nattys, making them even more unbearable than before (I know, I didn’t think that was possible either).

I REALLY hate the fact that after that, he had the audacity to give the Jaguars hope. Again, just cruel.

I hate what coaching there did to Will Muschamp. I know it was that swamp water still sludging through his bowels that made him disrespect the hedges the way he did when he was at Carolina (again with the giving hope to the Gamecocks…YOU MONSTERS!).

I hate Gator fans. I actually dated a girl once who went to UF during the Spurrier era. She admitted that the students didn’t care about the actual game at the WLOCP since they knew they were going to win anyway and just wanted the excuse to drink off campus.

I still regret that one.

Regardless, there are still some things I love about UGA’s biggest rival (definitely NOT lookin’ at you, Tennessee…). I love the fact that Georgia still leads the series all time 54-44-2.

I love the fact that UGA is coming into this year’s matchup ranked #1 in the nation for back-to-back years.

I love the fact that Florida keeps hiring booger-eatin’ morons as head coach like Dan Mullen & Billy Napier, pretty much guaranteeing that the numbers on my “Days Since Florida’s Last National Championship” calendar keep going up (5,034 as I write this, in case you were wondering).

And I love that my mama raised me right. She raised me to be a Gator hater.

 

 

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