Georgia Bulldogs

And The Winner Is…..

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Following an off week, the Florida Gators are set to take on the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville.

The gators re coming off an embarrassing loss to LSU. The Bulldogs enter this weekend game undefeated.  The Gators open this week as a 14-point underdog.

The context that makes this year’s World’s Largest Cocktail Party so compelling is that Florida can put up points and move the ball.  The Gators are ranked No. 5 nationally in yards per play, better than any team Georgia has faced or will face this season.

With Mullen refusing to commit to promising redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson, the Gators need a Superman performance from their quarterback.

Georgia’s defense is built in the trenches and Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Devonte Wyatt, Travon Walker and Nolan Smith are the main pieces in this dominating front.

These guys not only win on-on-one blocks; they are absolute menaces to opposing offenses. Georgia loves to substitute and play situational defense and does a great job at maximizing their talent while rotating and keeping players fresh.

The Bulldogs are great at creating pressure to make quarterbacks think they are bringing more than they are and forcing sacks and turnovers. Georgia loves to stunt and play games with their defensive lineman.

What is Florida’s identity on offense? Who knows, the first three weeks of the season, the Gators were a top rushing team in the country. The last few weeks, Florida has looked completely different trying to throw the ball around the field.

Richardson seems to spark the Gators offense and they respond when he’s in the game. He gives them the best chance to win. Mullen needs to accept the younger player is better and needs to play.

Mullen will need to dial up a great game plan to exploit Georgia’s aggressive front-7. The best way to score on the Bulldogs is to get to the back end of their defense, but does Florida have the QB, OL and skill players to test them.

No doubt the Gator’s defense spent the entire bye week working on playing the counter better. LSU ate their lunch with it. That makes me believe that Georgia will have to see if the Gators can stop the run.

Look for Zamir White, Kendall Milton and James Cook to rake up big runs against the undisciplined Gators front-7. Georgia’s running game will set up play action passes. Brock Bowers will create big play opportunities with size and speed.

Kirby Smart has owned Dan Mullen in their careers (3-1) as head coaches. He owns Mullen when it comes to recruiting. Smart will own Mullen on Saturday.

My Prediction:  Georgia 45  Florida 20

The Big Letdown

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

When I was a freshman at Young Harris College, I was introduced to a south Florida-based parrot head musician named Del Suggs. The chorus of one of his songs said “when everything’s coming up roses, I get suspicious.”

Boy howdy, does that sentiment ring true right now.

As any lifelong Dawg fan will gladly tell you – whether you want to hear it or not – we’ve been through a lot over the years: Second & 26. Half a hundred between the hedges. No, make that the entire Steve Spurrier run.

The Dawgs have been close (or should have been close) so many times since 1980 that many of us have developed a healthy sense of skepticism. Can you blame us though? We survived Jim Donnan *AND* Mark Richt.

This year feels different, though. Undefeated through seven games. Undefeated in the SEC with our backup quarterback and a decimated receiver corp. A defense that has allowed only 4 touchdowns all year…and it would have been three if Mark Stoops’ bookie hadn’t gotten that call through. Georgia, no matter how badly we don’t want to say it out loud, looks unstoppable.

This year’s Georgia/Florida game shouldn’t be a trap game. So why is it making me so nervous?

The 2021 Floriduh Gaturs are not a good football team. Neither QB has proved to be outstanding, although both were described as such in the preseason.

Yes, they almost took Bama to overtime, but I’m standing by my belief that this year’s Bama is a paper tiger.

Dan Mulllen has already gotten a third L to supplement the two Ls you can’t spell his name without. Not only are they not at their usual spot in the top 2 spots of the SEC East, they’re in 4th, behind Tennessee AND KENTUCKY.

Let that sink in. Florida is behind Kentucky. In FOOTBALL.

I’m pretty sure this is mentioned somewhere in Revelations, I’m just scared to look.

I’m nervous about this game because records and rankings absolutely do not matter in this matchup. Let’s take a look at the last few times a highly ranked UGA team has gone up against an unranked Florida squad.

2017 – #3 Georgia 42 – Florida 7. Okay, this one worked out the way we thought, but just wait.

2014 – Florida 38 – #9 Georgia 20. I’m not sure, but I think this was the year Fred Taylor’s kid decided he had some of his old man’s talent. Not sure, I’ve blocked this game from my memory.

2002 – Florida 20 – #5 Georgia 13. Ron Zook’s first year as coach (yeah, I forgot him, too), and a team led by a QB most famous for almost breaking his fool neck headbutting a cement wall on national television.

If we were to flip the script, the last time an unranked Georgia squad beat a ranked Florida team was 1989.

Thirty-two years ago. When George Bush was still in office. The first one, that is.

This is why I am hesitant to embrace hope this year, much less this week. Weird stuff happens at the WLOCP.

True, the 2021 Bulldogs have started to be mentioned in “best of all time” discussions, and rightfully so. JT Daniels is trending towards playing, and let’s be honest, it won’t be a heartbreak if he doesn’t – you’d like to see the Mailman get some payback for last year too, yeah?

My mind says “we’ve got this.” My heart says “ease up off the gas there, pablo.”

My cardiology nurse, however, says “please stop watching Georgia football.” I should probably listen to her, considering she’s my wife.

It’s Game Day In Athens

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

ESPN announced that College GameDay will be headed to the Classic City for Arkansas versus Georgia. Dawg fans are complaining about the noon kick-off, but I like it. ESPN will have eyeballs from 10 am to midnight.

This isn’t College GameDay’s first visit to Athens. GameDay has been on Georgia’s campus five times. Here are those results.

October 10, 1998: #5 Tennessee vs #3 Georgia. Tee Martin and the Volunteers came “Between the Hedges” and dominated the Dawgs. Strolling out of Athens with a convincing 22-3 win en route to winning a National Championship.

September 27, 2009: #8 Alabama vs #3 Georgia. This was Georgia’s big Blackout game that wasn’t. This was one of the most anticipated games of 2008. The Tide opened the game by punching the Dawgs in the mouth. The game was over at halftime with a score of 31-0, Bama. The final score of 41-30 was more cosmetic than the result.

September 21, 2013: #6 LSU vs #9 Georgia. The battle between Murray and Mettenberger, both quarterbacks put on an offensive firework show.  Mettenberger had a career day 23 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns. Murray did not disappoint, completing 20 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns. One of the loudest days in Sanford Stadium’s history. Whoever had the ball last would win. Murray found Justin Scott Wesley for the game clinching touchdown with less than two minutes left in the 4th quarter. This, my friends, is a classic. If you are ever bored, pull this one up, sit back and enjoy.

September 21, 2019: #7 Notre Dame vs #3 Georgia. A perfect day in Athens to host the Fighting Irish in the Classic City.  Jake Fromm and Lawrence Cager didn’t show the same southern hospitality, Fromm threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Cager early in the fourth quarter and the Dawgs survived for a 23-17 victory. This was also the debut of the Celebrated Red Lights at Stanford Stadium to add to the already electric Light Up Stanford tradition at the close of the third quarter.

October 3, 2020.  #7 Auburn vs #3 Georgia. Stetson Bennett and The JunkYard Dawg’s Defense led Georgia to a 27-6 win over the Tigers in last year’s rendition of “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.” GameDay was held inside Stanford Stadium with no fans due to COVID.

October 2, 2021. #8 Arkansas vs #2 Georgia. The Hogs come in 4-0 with wins over Texas and Texas A&M. It is important to emphasize that Arkansas is a good football team. Vegas book makers have installed them as a 19.5 underdog. That’s because Georgia is an elite football team. Kirby Smart has built a roster loaded with studs on both sides of the ball.

Georgia’s defense looks impermeable and the offense continues to stretch the field.  Georgia 44  Arkansas 13.

 

The Time Is Now

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Let me go ahead and get my next statement out of the way.

The Georgia Bulldogs are a big, fast, talented, well coached, and most of all a hungry football team.

Kirby Smart has built the program into a national powerhouse. Who knows if UGA will win a Natty in 2021? That seems to be the measuring stick the national media has placed upon Kirby.

I never recall that same measuring stick applied to Dabo Swinney at Clemson. Swinney’s Clemson program didn’t play for a national title until his 8th season at Clemson, and didn’t win one until his 9th season at the school.

Smart’s UGA program played for one in only his second year with the program. The better question for UGA is can it beat Alabama when it matters the most?

By my reasoning Alabama has cost UGA three national championships over the past nine years in 2012, 2017, and 2018. Smart enters year six at UGA with a 52-14 record.

UGA is loaded across the board. Let’s look at the position groups:

QB: JT Daniels could be the best returning QB in the SEC along with Matt Corral at Ole Miss.

Daniels does not turn the ball over that much, and throws the deep ball well. Daniels is the best pure passer that Kirby Smart has had during his tenure at UGA.

RB: UGA has the best RB back room in the SEC. Zamir White, James Cook, Kendall Milton, Kenny McIntosh, and Daijun Edwards. I don’t think I need to comment further here.

OL: UGA has recruited well in this position group. Jamaree Salyer leads a talented group that includes former Brunswick High Pirate Warren McClendon, who will start at Right Tackle for the second straight season.

WR/TE: Another deep group that will be led by Kearis Jackson, and Jermaine Burton.

Arik Gilbert came in from LSU and may dominate at whatever position he lines up at. What if George Pickens returns from his ACL injury by late season?

DL: Jordan Davis will be a first team All- American. Another deep position group that includes Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt. Maybe the most underrated position group on the roster from a fan standpoint.

LB: Adam Anderson, Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith. Five Stars everywhere.

DB: Talented but untested. Many say the weakest link for UGA this is the group. Tykee Smith, a transfer from West Virginia, will play the Star position, and Derion Kendrick, a transfer from Clemson, will start at one of the corners. Kelee Ringo could end up being great at corner but must get some game experience.

P/K: Former Glynn Academy PK Jack Podlesny and P Jake Carmada give UGA maybe the best kicker combo in the SEC or maybe the country.

Schedule:

9/4 vs Clemson in Charlotte: Clemson does not strike fear in UGA. The Tigers lost their best QB and RB in school history to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Their best WR Justyn Ross missed all of 2020 with a spinal condition. Question to the masses is how will Clemson be better in 2021 than they were in 2020? They won’t and UGA will win that game 31-21.

Wins over UAB, South Carolina, Vandy, and Arkansas.

10/9 @ Auburn: A game UGA fans always worry about. Auburn plays great when they have no expectations. 2021 is one of those years under a new coach when many pick the Tigers as low as 5th in the SEC West. I’m worried. UGA 23-20 in a war.

10/16 vs. Kentucky: Don’t get caught thinking about Florida, Dawgs. UGA wins 34-21.

10/30 vs Florida in Jax: No Kyle Trask, no Kyle Pitts, no Kadarius Toney, and no Trevon Grimes. How will UF be better on offense in 2021? Quick answer is they won’t and UGA will be much improved on offense. UGA wins this game by two TD’s 31-17.

11/6 vs Missouri: Upset alert, upset alert, and upset alert. UGA has one of these types of games every season.

JT Daniels leads UGA from behind in the 4th quarter for a 35-31 win over a very good Missouri squad that will finish second in the SEC East.

Wins over Tennessee, Charleston Southern, and GT.

Regular season record 12-0. Plays the winner of Texas A&M and Alabama in the SEC Title game.

Bark and Bite?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

There is a lot of hype surrounding the 2021 University of Georgia football team; five straight years of top five recruiting classes, close calls with Alabama on the national stage and other heartbreaks.

The big question is this team ready to break through and win that first national title since Jimmy Carter was President of the United States?

Many say it’s now or never for UGA, but I don’t agree with that mentality. UGA, under Kirby Smart, has established itself as an annual contender for SEC Championships. SEC Champions typically get a bid to the College Football Playoff.

The news out of Athens, other than the George Pickens injury, has been positive this spring.

JT Daniels has developed into a leader both on and off the field.

With the loss of Pickens, the WR room is still very talented.

The defense could be the best in the country, and Georgia’s 2022 recruiting class is currently ranked in the top three in the nation.

A lot of things have to break your way to have a national championship season and that starts with a schedule that you can navigate through. Let’s rank UGA’s 2021 opponents from 12 to 1.

12.Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers roll into Athens late in the season sandwiched in between Tennessee and Georgia Tech. This one will be over before the coin flip.

11.Vanderbilt: Vandy will be in total rebuild mode with a new head coach and a roster that needs major upgrades. Vanderbilt bailed out of the UGA game in 2020, even after the game was rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Georgia will want to make them pay for that decision.

10.South Carolina: The Gamecocks are starting over with a new head coach also, but ruined UGA’s regular season in 2019 with an upset win.

Carolina spoiled UGA seasons in 2000, 2007, 2011, 2012, and 2019. UGA better be prepared.

9.UAB: UAB went 6-3 last season, and was invited to a bowl game before it got canceled.

8.@ Georgia Tech: UGA and Tech did not play in 2020, and the pandemic cost UGA a home game in the series.

Tech is improving fast and this game starts moving back up high in the opponent rankings in 2022 and beyond.

7.@ Tennessee: The Tennessee program is in maybe the worse shape at any point in the history of the program.

The NCAA is about to drop the hammer on major recruiting violations, and it make take a while for this program to recover.

6.Kentucky: At home in October the Dawgs will handle The Cats.

5.Arkansas: The Razorbacks travel to Athens on 10/2, and this will not be an easy game for UGA. We all watched the first half last year at Arkansas.

4.Missouri: Another program that is improving fast, and UGA better be ready to play the Tigers coming off the Florida game the previous week.

3.@ Auburn: New coach at Auburn, but look at Auburn’s history some of their best seasons ever have come with first year coaches in 1993 and 2013. This team has talent and this will be a war. This game has now been moved to October permanently.

2.Florida in Jacksonville: The SEC East will be on the line Halloween weekend. UF beat UGA 44-28 in 2020, won the East and ruined UGA’s season. Enough said.

1.Clemson in Charlotte: UGA opens the season on 9/4 with the Tigers and we will know right away if this UGA team is ready for primetime.

Clemson is as talented as anyone and is in the College Football Playoff annually.

The 2021 UGA schedule sets up nicely for a title run.

Where Would You Be?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Another recruiting cycle is complete and the Georgia Bulldogs finished with another top 5 recruiting class.

Kirby Smart is one of the top football coaches in the business. The naysayers will say that Smart can only recruit. Well to those experts let me break a little secret to you, recruiting is the life blood to any successful college football program.

When Smart was hired in 2015, UGA was a football program that wasn’t living up to the expectations.

Expectations meaning competing consistently for conference championships and national championships.

The only time UGA was a legit contender for a National Title under Mark Richt was in 2012, they lost a heartbreaker to Alabama in the SEC title game. Alabama went on to crush an overrated Notre Dame team for a national title.

Georgia had developed a reputation of being a soft program. Soft meaning not physical enough along the lines of scrimmage. That weakness showed up in some of UGA’s biggest games late in the Richt tenure like 2015 Alabama and Florida games.

That lack of physicality led to Richt’s firing.

Enter Kirby Smart who immediately began to build the UGA program from the inside out, starting with a focus both lines of scrimmage.

Year one in 2016 he finished 8-5 and changed the culture surrounding the football program in Athens.

Then In the 2017 season, Smart led the Bulldogs to their first 9–0 start since 1982 and won the SEC East after a victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Smart coached Georgia to its first SEC title since 2005 and only the fourth 12-win season in school history.

Georgia was ranked No. 3 by the College Football Playoff Committee and played No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Georgia rallied from a 31–14 first-half deficit, ultimately defeating Oklahoma 54–48 in double overtime, completing the largest comeback in Rose Bowl history.

The Bulldogs went on to lose to the Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game 26-23.

The 2018 team finished 11-3, but ended the season on a two-game losing streak. The critics came out of the woodwork and started taking Kirby to task about how he handled the Jake Fromm/Justin Fields QB situation.

Fields ended up transferring to Ohio State. The 2019 team finished 12-2 with a win over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.

In the COVID-19 season of 2020 UGA finished at 8-2. The 2020 season was caught up in QB controversy, but after JT Daniels took over the job the UGA offense took off.

Now going into 2021, UGA looks to be a preseason contender for a national title. A season opening game with Clemson in Charlotte will reveal a lot where this program is on a national scale.

What Smart has done in five quick years is have UGA in the playoff discussion annually. His 52-14 overall record is one of the best in the nation. His 32-9 conference record is outstanding.

At only 45 years of age Smart should be in Athens for another 10-15 years minimum.

The UGA program is on a solid foundation currently the best foundation it has been under since the great Vince Dooley years of 1980-83.

It took Dooley 17 years to win a National Title at UGA. Kirby Smart has UGA on track now going into year 6.

Trust the process UGA fans. a National Title is very close. Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee would trade places with UGA in a heartbeat currently.

Kirby Smart has built a winning culture in Athens and the best is still to come.

Border Recruiting Wars

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The one thing that Kirby Smart and his staff at the University of Georgia can do is recruit.

The Bulldogs have been recruiting at a very high level since Kirby arrived in Athens. So, at the Early Signing Period conclusion, Georgia added 20 commitments.

This could be the fifth straight year that the Dawgs land a top three class.

The Bulldogs signed 11 players from Georgia, two players from Alabama and two from Florida.

Kirby landed four five-star players during the early period: Amarius Mims (7th rank player in the nation), Brock Vandagriff (14th rank player in the nation), Xavian Sorey (20th rank player in the nation) and Smael Mondon (29th rank player in the nation).

The Bulldogs remained strong in the trenches on offense with Amarius Mims, Micah Morris, Dylan Fairchild and Jared Wilson.

Georgia went out of state to sign three wide receivers in Adonai Mitchell (Tennessee), Jackson Meeks (Alabama) and Brock Bowers (California).

The prize recruit on offense is Brock Vandagriff. Vandagriff is a five-star quarterback from Christian School in Bogart, GA. He is the second ranked quarterback in the 2021 class and should compete for playing time as soon as he steps foot on campus.

The Dawgs hit a home run after home run on the defensive side of the ball. Linebackers Xavian Sorey and Smael Mondon led the class, but players like defensive back Nyland Green, defensive end Jonathan Jefferson, defensive tackle Tyrion Ingram Dawkins and defensive back Kamari Lassiter are just a few of the players that round out an outstanding defensive class.

Fans, want to know why the Dawgs are consistently ranked in the Top 10? Recruiting!  Kirby is one of the top 3 recruiters in the country. I will give the Bulldogs an A+, because they added playmakers on defense, two of the top offensive tackles and one of the most anticipated college quarterbacks in today’s NCAA.

Speaking of, the NCAA issued a statement that the University of Florida football program was found violating recruiting rules.

The Gators were fined $5000, issued a seven day recruiting ban in the Spring of 2021, and were given a three day recruiting ban in January 2021.

How will it affect recruiting in 2021? It won’t.

The Gators landed 25 commitments for the 2021 class during the Early Signing Period.

This will be Dan Mullen’s second top 10 class. Florida signed two quarterbacks, six receivers, five offensive linemen, five defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs.

After going eight years without a five-star player, Mullen landed his second in as many years. Jason Marshall, the number two ranked cornerback in the country signed with the Gators. Marshall will compete for playing time next season barring injury.

Marshall leads a defensive back class that is one of the best in the nation. Marshall, Cory Collier, Dovovan McMillon, Jordan Young and Dakota Mitchell add some much needed athleticism to the Gators Secondary.

Mullen signed multiple quarterbacks this cycle with four-star Carlos Del Rio-Wilson out of Cartersville, GA and three-star Jalen Kitna the (son of NFL’s John Kitna). Adding these two players the quarterback room in Gainesville is shaping up nicely.

The Gators put an emphasis on the defensive line and signed five defensive linemen: two defensive tackles Desmond Watson and Christopher Thomas, two strongside ends Tyreak Sapp and Justus Boone, and one weak side end Jeremiah (Scooby) Williams.

Florida signed three offensive linemen Yousef Mugharbill, Jake Slaughter and Austin Barbar. Look for the Gators to add a couple in February or through the transfer portal.

Overall, the Gators had a solid class, I would give them a B- but with the transfer of five-star 2020 running back Demarkcus Bowman that bumps the grade to a B+.

Recruiting is why Georgia should be the favorite to win the SEC East in 2021 and the Cocktail Party.

Georgia will have either first or second most talented team in the county entering 2021.

To quote the Head Ball Coach “Why is it that during recruiting season (the Georgia Bulldogs) sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”

The Quarterback Room

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The eighth ranked Florida Gators topped the #5 ranked Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, taking control of the SEC East at the midway point in the 2020 season.

Florida was led by Senior quarterback Kyle Trask. Trask completed 30 of 43 passes for 474 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Trask became the first quarterback in SEC history to throw for 4 plus touchdowns in 5 consecutive games.

Trask was a low three-star quarterback coming out of Manvel, Texas, where he played behind D’Eriq King. Trask’s composite score was 0.7984 and ranked the 2123rd player in the country.

Georgia’s starting quarterback Stetson Bennett was a high three star with a composite score of 0.8304. Bennett was replaced by four-star quarterback D’Wan Mathis, whose composite score was 0.8992.

After the game on Saturday, whining Bulldog fans were making excuses for the loss.

Some were saying ‘we would have won but we have five players out with injuries and a walk on quarterback’.

Another said I really miss Jake Fromm. I also heard Bennett could not start for Valdosta State University. Injuries are part of the game, but the quarterback position at Georgia is another issue.

Georgia’s quarterback issues started when Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State. The Georgia coaching staff selected Fromm over Fields and the rest is history. Fields is currently the front runner for the Heisman Trophy.

In January, Jamie Newman, the Wake Forest graduate transfer, announced he was transferring to Georgia. On September 2, Georgia’s projected starting quarterback opted out of the 2020 season.

Many speculated that five-star transfer from USC J.T. Daniels would assume the starting job. Daniels has yet to see the field due to medical clearance on his knee. Daniels was the 18th overall in the 2018 class and threw for 2,672 yards as a true freshman in 2018.

D’Wan Mathis started the opening game against Arkansas but was benched in the second half for former walk-on, Stetson Bennett. Bennett has done a very serviceable job for the Bulldogs leading them to victories over Arkansas, Auburn and Kentucky. Bennett gives UGA the best chance to win.

Georgia’s quarterback problems can be traced to a couple factors: coaching, development and offensive systems.

Georgia’s offensive coordinators/quarterback coach under Kirby Smart have been Jim Chaney 2016-18, James Coley 2019 and Todd Monken 2020. Three coordinators in three years, how can a player be developed?

The product on the field in big games prove that UGA quarterbacks are not being developed or coached up to their true strengths.

Kirby Smart has brought in three different coordinators to run a spread offense in Athens, but Smart’s football DNA is to run the ball and play stout defense. The strength of this team is its defense and running the football.

However, it appears offenses have finally caught up to Georgia’s defense. LSU sliced and diced the Dawgs in last season’s SEC Championship Game and Alabama did the same three weeks ago.

Florida handed Georgia their second loss of the season by a score of 44-28.

The defeat also makes it very unlikely for the Bulldogs to claim its fourth straight SEC East title.

It also created questions at the quarterback position moving forward.  Who should start at quarterback: Bennett, Daniels, Mathis or Carson Beck (true freshman for Jacksonville)?

Wait until next year when another five star comes to Athens in Brock Vandagriff.

Bulldog fans, accept your loss to the better team last week and stop making excuses! It is embarrassing!

Bark and Bite

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

When Kirby Smart took the UGA job in December of 2015 the two main things he had to do was change the mental aspect of the Florida series, and make UGA a more physical football team.

Here are a few things you hear from Florida fans these days:

“We gave the game away”

“We had too many turnovers”

“Georgia is killing us on the recruiting trail”

“Mullen is a better game day coach than Kirby”.

And a new one for 2020: “Covid-19 put us at a competitive disadvantage”

You hear Florida players and coaches say this is just another game, and every sports cliché you can come up with and it will start up right after Florida takes care of Missouri on Saturday.

The fact of the matter is this UGA is one win away from a complete brainwashing of the Florida fan base and that will carry over to the football program.

Let me go on record and say Georgia is going to win the Florida game on November 7th, and with that win you will have an entire senior football class at UF go through the program without a win in the Georgia series.

Sunday, November 8, 2020 will be a glorious morning for Georgia football because The Dawgs will control the series, once again both physically and more importantly mentally, which is something UGA hasn’t done since Vince Dooley decided he didn’t want to control Florida any longer when he retired.

Dan Mullen is already hearing it when he travels around to all the Gator Booster events around the State of Florida now. “Coach, when are we going to beat Georgia?” “Coach, we are letting Kirby come into our backyard and take too many kids out of the State of Florida”. The list goes on and on.

Name me a signature Dan Mullen win in his head coaching career? I’m listening Florida fans.

Going into this game Florida fans have got themselves wound up so tight that they are asking “How are we going to screw this one up?” Prior to 1990 this was the life of a Gator fan.

UGA would roll into Jacksonville, take the game, take all the pretty women, and drink the most cocktails, and roll out of town and leave the Florida fans bitter and resentful because they were mentally brainwashed.

Then something magical happened for UF, they hired Steve Spurrier, who became bigger than life for the program. He became their Sigmund Freud.

Spurrier ushered in the Golden Age of Gator football, but that glimmer is gone, and Steve won’t be roaming the sidelines in Jacksonville anymore.

Urban Meyer rode the Spurrier mystique and left that program in shambles.

Dan Mullen has now been hired to reclaim the glory, but one thing stands in his way and that is the Georgia Bulldogs led by Kirby Smart.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the entire Florida fan base and program are one more loss away in the series from being conditioned from one recruiting to the next that we just can’t beat Georgia.

Physically Georgia is better that Florida currently. Mentally Georgia is light years ahead of Florida currently.

Mark Richt was fired because he was 5-10 against Florida. Will Dan Mullen be the first Florida coach in three decades to eventually get fired because he couldn’t beat UGA enough?

I love the UGA/UF game. I love the game in Jacksonville and hope it stays there forever.

As a UGA fan Kirby Smart has me expecting to beat Florida every year.

Gator fans don’t lose too much sleep worrying about what’s going to go wrong this time.

Dawgs win again 35-20.

The Matchup

By: Teddy Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Even though the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is being severely curtailed due to Covid-19, the game that accompanies The Party still has significant meaning.

The winner of the Georgia-Florida shootout will likely win the Southeastern Conference East title and take on Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

The winner of the match-up against Alabama will win the SEC title and secure a spot in the College Playoffs for an opportunity to win a National Championship.

Florida had two games postponed because of a Covid outbreak, including head coach Dan Mullen testing positive, and couldn’t even take the practice field for twenty-one days. But all of that seems to be in the rearview mirror, at least for now.

Mullen has returned Florida to national prominence, going 21-5 in his first two seasons, but has not found to way to beat Georgia. Mullen’s Gators lost to the Bulldogs 37-26 in 2018, and 24-17 last year.

In Athens, Kirby Smart took over as Head Dawg in 2016 and had compiled a 44-12 record going into this Covid-plagued year, including three feasts on Gator tail with only one loss.

Florida opened the season with convincing wins over Mississippi 51-35 and South Carolina 38-24, before falling to Texas A&M 38-41.

Georgia rolled to three consecutive wins to start the 2020 season, beating Arkansas 37-10, Auburn 27-6, and Tennessee 44-21, before running into an Alabama buzzsaw 24-41.

The debacle in Tuscaloosa notwithstanding, Georgia’s defense has looked good for the most part.  On the other hand, the Gator D has been porous at times.

The high-powered Gator offense is forcing maintenance crews to change a lot of light bulbs on scoreboards, averaging over 42 points per game, but the Bulldogs offense hasn’t done too shabbily either, putting up 33 points per contest.

A huge key to any game, of course, is the play of the quarterback, and it says here that Kyle Trask gives Florida the advantage over Stetson Bennett and the Dogs in the QB Dept.

Through three games, Trask has thrown 14 touchdown passes with only one interception, averaging well over 300 yards passing per game.

In four outings, Bennett has 7 TD passes and 3 interceptions, while averaging about 240 yards passing per game.

Having quoted all those stats, I don’t believe Florida has faced a defense as good as Georgia’s. If you take away the Alabama game, which you can’t, of course, the Dawgs are surrendering fewer than 13 points per game.

Trask’s task is to avoid pressure from the Georgia defense, and I just don’t see that happening.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two local players now wearing the Red and Black for Georgia: former Brunswick High offensive lineman Warren McClendon and former Glynn Academy kicker Jack Podlesny.

Podlesny is having a sterling season for the Dawgs, converting 14 of 14 extra points and eight of 10 field goals, including a 51-yarder.

McClendon (Willie’s nephew), a redshirt freshman, is arguably the best offensive lineman ever to come out of Glynn County, certainly the best I’ve seen in my 18 years of broadcasting Brunswick High football.

Final score for the 2020 Georgia-Florida game: Bulldogs 33; Gators 30.

Podlesny kicks a last second field goal to win the game. McClendon, of course, makes the key block.