Barking Up The Right Tree?

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

We all know Georgia is a football school. The Bulldogs have had a tough time finding consistent success on the hardwood for men’s basketball. Let’s take a look at UGA and see if they can turn that around this season.

Mike White is in his second season as the head coach in Athens. He coached at archrival Florida previously from 2015 – 2022. He replaced Billy Donovan but he did not have the same level of success. His record for the Gators was 142 – 88 with four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Last season the Bulldogs went 16 – 16 in his first season. They are losing their top three scorers from last season but the team was 190th in offensive efficiency. Former four-star prospect Jabri Abdur-Rahim is the best returning player. He was the most efficient player for the Dawgs last year but he played the role of a non-creator.

Point guard Justin Hill transferred to UGA from Longwood last year. He started ten games but his offensive impact was inconsistent. He is expected to be better this season.

There are some new faces that are expected to make an impact. Senior guard Noah Thomasson played at Niagara the last two seasons. He averaged 19.5 points per game last year. We will see if he can make the jump from the MAAC to the SEC.

White brought in four freshman, all are four-star players. They are point guard Silas Demary Jr., wing Blue Cain, power forward Dylan James and wing Mari Jordan.

They also have four more transfers, headlined by seven foot senior center Russel Tchewa (South Florida).

The season opener was against Oregon in Las Vegas in the Naismith Hall of Fame Series tournament at T-Mobile Arena. The Ducks won 82 – 71. It is impressive that they fought to get this game within single digits.

“I loved the fight down the stretch,” coach Mike White said after the game. “The press was really effective for us, and this is really not a pressing team. But we fought to the bitter end. If we get the ‘pick 6′ at the end it could have been a little more respectable than that. But we fought to the end.”

Abdur-Rahim showed new-found offensive aggression and led the Bulldogs with 18 points, including three 3s. RJ Melendez overcame a slow first-half start to finish with 12 points and Cain scored 12 and had a pair of steals in his first collegiate game.

The Dawgs shot 30 three-pointers, only making ten of them.

“I liked our spacing and I like that this team got off 30 3s. That’s what this team needs to do. Sixteen turnovers was too many and we broke off our some of our execution on four or five possessions, which bled us a little,” White said.

The next two games are at home against Wake Forest and North Carolina Central.

After that they travel to the Bahamas for the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship. The first game is against No. 13 Miami. Depending on the outcome the next round is against Kansas State or Providence.

I think Georgia will have another .500 season. If they do better than that I would consider it a success.


A New Buzz

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The NBA season has started and college basketball is right around the corner.

We are going to take a look at Georgia Tech and see what we should expect this season.

Former head coach Josh Pastner was finally relieved of his duties after last season. He coached at Tech from 2016 – 2023 with a record of 109 – 114. He was replaced by Damon Stoudamire.

You might remember Mighty Mouse from his playing days. He was a point guard at Arizona and was a three-time First-team All-Pac-10 player (1993-1995). He was also Pac-10 Player of the Year (1995) and a consensus first-team All-American (1995). He was drafted No. 7 in the NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors and he was the first player drafted by that franchise. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1996.

Stoudamire played in the NBA from 1995 – 2008 for the Raptors, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Spurs. He has been coaching since he retired. He was an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics from 2021 – 2023. He was the head coach at the University of Pacific (2016 – 2021) and his record was 71 – 77.

I think he has done a good job of putting together a good coaching staff that consists of veteran and young coaches.

“I’m excited about the people we’ve been able to bring in to this program,” said Stoudamire. “This is a versatile group, and it’s a youthful group. I wanted some younger guys for the most part, but we do have some experience on the staff as well. I like the diversity, I like the different basketball minds that we have. We have a mixture of college and pro backgrounds that will serve us well.”

Karl Hobbs was a great hire. He was the associate head coach at Rutgers from 2016 – 2023. He was the head coach at George Washington (2001 – 2010) and he was an assistant at UConn for two separate stints.

Terry Parker, Pershin Williams and Nate Babcock were also hired. He also hired his former Portland teammate, Bonzi Wells.

The Yellow Jackets return their leading scorer, junior guard Miles Kelly. The 6’6 Stone Mountain native averaged 14.4 points per game last season. They also have returning players Dallan Coleman, Kyle Sturdivant and Lance Terry.

A transfer player expected to make a big impact is big man Tyzhaun Claude. Last season at Western Carolina he averaged 15.4 ppg and 8.6 rebounds per game. They also have transfer point guard Amaree Abram (Ole Miss) and small forward Kowacie Reeves (Florida), who have major upside.

Tech has only made the NCAA Tournament once since the 2009-10 season so the program is trying to change that.

At ACC media day Stoudamire was asked what his goals were this season:

“You know what, I haven’t made any goals. Honestly, I don’t know what a successful season looks like, but I do know this, I think this team is just going to keep getting better and better. I can see it. It’s probably the first team that I’ve ever been a part of where the offense is ahead of the defense.”

The season begins November 6, at home against Georgia Southern. They have two more home games after that, against Howard and UMass Lowell. They should get off to a fast start.

I do not expect them to make the NCAA Tournament this season but I think their record will be around .500.

Almighty Georgia Bulldogs

By: Robert Craft news services

The St. Johns River will soon be flooded with fans of orange and blue, and fans of red and black. It’s Florida-Georgia week, one like none other in over 30 years.

The No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators will meet at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday and Georgia will come into the game as the two time defending National Champions.

Georgia handled business in their last game when they defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 37-20. They will look to nurse their injured players during their bye week and return with more strength on the roster.

The Gators, on the other hand, overcame a double-digit deficit on the road to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks. They’ll also be taking advantage of the week off.

Despite both teams coming off wins, the Bulldogs still find themselves as massive favorites. Georgia is currently a -23.5 point favorite over the arch-rival Florida Gators.

The Bulldogs, 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC East with a Oct. 28 showdown with Florida approaching, lost their Superman (Brook Bowers) to an ankle injury that required surgery.

Bowers is a junior and will enter the NFL Draft after the season. A high ankle sprain heals by itself with plenty of time before the NFL combine.

Instead, Bowers is getting the tightrope surgery, and right away. That’s a huge sign from him that he wants to play again this season for Georgia.

He doesn’t need to show anything to NFL scouts. But his team is in contention for a national championship, and while it’s easy for outsiders to say “Just opt out, make a business decision,” it’s much harder for someone to abandon his teammates when a ring is on the line.

Bowers has played in every game since he arrived at Georgia. He’s not the sole reason Georgia is 36-1 over that span, but he’s a big reason the offense took off during that time: Defenses had to account for him in coverage, and Bowers is also a good blocker.

The Bulldogs are still loaded with talent. Carson Beck, in his first year as Georgia’s starting quarterback, has the fourth-most passing yards (2,147) in the nation. And barely more than a quarter of those (26.4 percent) have gone to Bowers.

Oscar Delp, who now becomes TE1, is no slouch. He’s Georgia’s fifth-leading receiver and was a top-100 recruit in the 2022 class. His blocking has been rough at times, which is why Lawson Luckie may see a lot of snaps in rotation as TE2.

Georgia’s main emphasis may become “spread-out-and-throw”. Beck likes to sit back in the pocket and find the open receiver, and the pass blocking this year has been good.

Plus, you have Ladd McConkey  being back, Rara Thomas getting more comfortable, and other receivers who can make plays.

Georgia’s running game has also started to get stronger, especially if Kendall Milton can stay healthy. That could also allow Dillon Bell to play more receiver or a hybrid position.

Maybe Georgia doesn’t have the X-factor for its’ offense as long as Bowers is out, but a more traditional receivers-and-tailbacks game can get you through an opponent like Florida.

The Bulldog defense will  keep the Gators in check, maybe along the lines of 14-to-20 points, a Bowers-less offense will take it from there, and the lead will get bigger and bigger.

Georgia 42  Florida 17

Law of Averages

By: Jeff Doke news services

As I write this, we are getting closer to the 102nd edition of the Georgia/Florida game (101st if you go by Florida’s lackluster standards).

Close to kickoff of one of the most anticipated editions of the WLOCP in recent memory, and I’m as jittery as a hyper-caffeinated hummingbird. I’m sure most of my fellow Dawgs are feeling the same way, but not for the same reasons.

I mean, sure, the temporary loss of Brock Bowers has all of us walking on eggshells, but that’s not it. With Oscar Delp Lawson Luckie, and Pearce Spurlin still in the TE room, we’re still above the curve in that position.

Never mind the fact that Georgia’s WR corps is the strongest it’s been in…well, arguably ever. Dominic Lovett, Rara Thomas, and a finally healthy Ladd McConkey are finally coming into their own. In fact, receivers not wearing the #19 for the Dawgs have amassed almost 1800 yards so far this season.

The defense isn’t it, either. Sure, they’re not as legendary as the last two years’ squads, but they’re not Division II scrubs either. In fact, going into the bye week, the 2023 UGA Defense is ranked first in the SEC in:


Rushing yards allowed

Passing yards allowed

Total yards allowed


3rd Down conversions

Passes defended

Plays of 20+ yards

The disappointing Vandy game, maybe? Nope, not that either. Let’s be honest. Kirby Smart and company took on that game like a scrimmage. They ran a noticeable number of plays and formations that they’ve been having problems with just to work on them while they could.

And don’t get me started on that field. The fans noticed players slipping all over the place, and the players confirmed it during postgame. The Commode Doors stadium quite aptly lived up to their nickname.

I bemoaned the “sky is falling” mentality of Dawg Nation in cyberspace in my last article. You would think that would be it, but TwitterX seems to have cleared it’s head, and as for Facebook…let’s just say the “Snooze for 30 Days” feature is one of the few things that future lizzid people overlord Mark Zuckerberg has gotten right in the last decade. No, I’m in a good headspace there as well.

What’s got me nervous is two things from what I can tell.

First, Florida is bad. REALLY bad. They lost a spring game to themselves and their head coach was the quickest Gators head coach to reach 8 losses since Jim McElwain. Yet, they continue to win games that they shouldn’t. I was sure Tennessee was finally going to break their losing streak in Gainesville this year, and the Orange & Blue had absolutely NO BUSINESS coming back to beat USC jr like that.

Second, things are just lining up too nicely for Georgia if you look at the numbers. I once again quote the Floridian singer/songwriter Delma Suggs when I say, “when everything’s coming up roses, I get suspicious.”

And as a bonus, there’s the sinking feeling that these are the last few WLOCPs in Jacksonville.

The Jags are going to have a massive stadium overhaul that’s going to take the better part of 2026-2027, and the current GA/FL agreement with the city of Jax runs out in 2025. I know Dawg Nation is pretty bitterly divided about this one , but I fear the game’s days in DUUUVAL are numbered.

Enjoy it while you can, my fellow 912 Dawgs. The end of our halcyon days may be approaching.

Gritty Gators

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

It’s crazy to think that Florida has not been a national title contender in quite some time.

The last time the Gators won the national championship was 2008. The following year, they finished the regular season undefeated but lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Somehow, their decline coincided with Nick Saban taking over in Tuscaloosa.

After Urban Meyer left in 2010 there has been a revolving door of head coaches. Billy Napier was hired in 2022 and so far, his record is just above .500. He is only in his second season but some fans are wondering if he is the right man for the job.

I actually think he is. I also think it would create a bigger problem for the program if he were fired after this season.

A coach needs some time to establish a winning culture and recruit. Napier coached at Louisiana for four seasons prior to arriving in Gainesville and his record was 40 – 12. He had double-digit wins the last three seasons.

It is tough to watch rival Georgia in the same division win back-to-back national championships while UF is struggling to be bowl eligible.

So far, I think the season has gone well for the Gators. They are 5 – 2 heading into the Georgia game so they are on track to have a good season. They have a chance to upset some teams the last half of the season, starting with UGA.

Coach Napier spoke about some of these things during the bye week. He was asked about how Georgia tight end Brock Bowers’ ankle injury will affect Florida’s preparation:

“Yeah, we’re in the middle of the open date now. We’re working on ourselves. We’re obviously right in the middle of evaluating what we do well and the things we need to do better. We’ll start commenting on Georgia and work on Georgia later in the week.”

Running back Montrell Johnson played for Coach Napier at Louisiana and was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (2021). He transferred to Florida last season once Napier took the job and he is one of the best players on offense. He leads the team in rushing and he is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Coach Napier spoke about Johnson’s progression:

“Montrell is one of the more impressive young men we have. Obviously he’s physically talented. More importantly, he’s got really good practice habits. He’s tough, he’s durable, he’s smart. He can catch, he can protect. He’s been very productive. The guy’s over 2,000 yards now in his career. He’s been with us, this will be Year 3. I think Montrell wants to please; he wants to have success; he works as hard as anybody; and he’s a selfless guy. So anytime we ask him to block he does a fantastic job. I think one of the things you gotta do is try to get the ball to your players that are explosive and capable. Sometimes that will require the running back to be a blocker and Montrell has done that really well.”

Trevor Etienne is right behind him in rushing and he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

Florida is outmatched against Georgia but I think they will play hard and make it a close game. Their final three games of the season are at #19 LSU, at #20 Mizzou and #4 Florida State. I think they will beat at least one of those teams.


Shot Callers

By: Colin Lacy news services

The Georgia/Florida game (or Florida/Georgia depending on which side you’re on), has been riddled with outstanding individual performances.

Many of these come from the quarterback from either side, so with that in mind, since both sides have a starting QB in their first year starting at their school, let’s dive into the signal callers for both sides.

Carson Beck: Georgia

Although Beck is not an unfamiliar name to Dawg fans, he is in his debut year as QB1 for the red and black.

Beck served as the backup for the last 2 years on the National Championship Georgia squads behind Stetson Bennett.

The Jacksonville, FL native will return home to start his first Geogia/Florida game after making twelve appearances from 2020 to 2022.

Through some competition in the pre-season with Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton, Beck came out of the 2023 pre-season camp with the starting nod from Head Coach Kirby Smart and hasn’t looked back.

Beck has accounted for at least 261 yards through the air in every game this year (season low of 261 coming his last outing against Vanderbilt) and topping the year with 389 passing yards in the dominant 51-13 victory against Kentucky.

Beck, the former Mandarin High School Mustang, will be playing just 20 miles north of his high school football stadium where he garnered a 4-star ranking from ESPN, and was named the Florida Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.

Big games and big moments have never been a problem for Beck, who most recently completed two of three passes in the National Championship game against TCU to cap off the back-to-back titles for UGA.

In his high school career, Carson led Mandarin to the first state championship in school history and just the second title by a Duval County public school when he threw for 329 yds and 5 touchdowns (one shy of a FHSAA record in a title game).

At the end of the day, through some scrutiny, Beck has led the Dawgs to remain #1 in the country and to a perfect 7-0 record (4-0 SEC) entering the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party”.

Graham Mertz: Florida

There are a lot of similarities between Carson Beck and Graham Mertz.

Mertz is also following a quarterback that is now on an NFL roster (Anthony Richardson served as the Indianapolis Colts starting quarterback before a shoulder injury has recently forced him out for the remainder of the year).

Both have worked through a ton of scrutiny at times from the outside noise.

There also is one glaring difference between the two…EXPERIENCE.

Gram Mertz transferred into Billy Napier’s Gators after four years at Wisconsin.

Mertz started every game for the Badgers for three years straight (32 consecutive starts from 2020-2022). He racked up over 5,400 yards through the air and 46 touchdowns for Wisconsin before former Head Coach Paul Chryst was let go.

Before heading to Madison in 2019, Mertz set the Kansas state high school record with 51 passing touchdowns as a senior in 2018.

This year, Mertz has tried to silence some of the nay-sayers with almost 2,000 passing yards, and an impressive 423 yards with 3 touchdowns through the air on the road in a much-needed victory over South Carolina last time out.

The Mertz family is no stranger to college athletics. It began with his father Ron playing for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1989-92. Then the legacy was passed to his two sisters who both played college hoops as Lauren took her talents to Kansas State and Mya laced up on the hardwood for Drake.

So, what does all this mean? First and foremost, you’ve got two big time competitors meeting in arguably the best rivalry in college football.

As it is in every college football game, the quarterback is going to be key in this Georgia/Florida (yes, again maybe Florida/Georgia depending on your side).

Especially with Brock Bowers out for this game for the Dawgs, and Florida riding the high of the victory over the Gamecocks, quarterbacks are going to be huge in this matchup.

History Lesson

By: Colin Lacy news services

“The World’s Largest Cocktail Party”, is it the Georgia/Florida game or the Florida/Georgia game, one thing that everyone can agree on.

This game is one of, if not the single, greatest rivalry in college sports. The game between these two goes WAY back into the history books (how deep is a point of contention…. we’ll get to that), so let’s dive into what this game has been!

Where do we start? Well… it depends on who you ask. For the Georgia contingency, the first Georgia/Florida match-up took place in Macon, Georgia way back in 1904. Georgia ended up with the victory with a final score of 52-0.

The point of contention comes that the fact that the University of Florida Athletic Association doesn’t recognize that game because technically the team that Georgia defeated was officially named Florida Agricultural College.

The following year, the state legislature officially made the name change to what we know as University of Florida, but it took another year until 1906 that Florida officially says the football program began.

Either way, the first mutually agreed upon meeting took place in Jacksonville one mid-October afternoon in 1915, where Georgia handled Florida 37-0.

It took thirteen years for Florida to notch their first victory in the budding rivalry, defeating Georgia 26-6 in 1928.

Although the first mutually agreed game was in Jacksonville, it wasn’t until 1933 when the city became the official home for the game and has been the home for all but two (1994 and 1995) since that 1933 meeting.

We’ll fast forward in time to 1942 when everybody on the field in Red and Black was a “Damn Good Dawg” as Georgia obliterated Florida 75-0 in a game where Florida completed more passes to Georgia defenders (7) than their own receivers (6).

Jump ahead nearly 40 years when everybody tuning into the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network heard the Legendary Larry Munson urged Lindsay Nelson to “Run Lindsay Run” 92 yards down the sideline to score to take the late lead over Florida. The Dawgs held on to the win thanks to a Mike Fisher interception after Munson broke his metal chair.

The mid-1990s saw the first on campus matchups (1994 in Gainesville, 1995 at Sanford Stadium in Athens) since the early 1930s. We saw Florida score ‘half a hundred’ on UGA at Sanford Stadium, which had never been done.

The two-year hiatus was a necessity because the then named Jacksonville Municipal Stadium was being built to accommodate the expansion franchise of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

One that will live in celebration or infamy (depending on the side of the fence you’re on) comes in 2007. What some call “the celebration game,” Georgia defeats the Gators 42-30.

This broke a streak where Florida won 15 of 17 meetings from 1990-2006.

It gets the name because on the first touchdown scored by the Dawgs’ Knowshon Moreno, the entire Georgia Bench floods on the field to celebrate as a team.

Head Coach Mark Richt admitted after the game that he had told the team before the game that “it was going to be a team celebration not an individual celebration.” He would go on to clarify, “I was expecting the 11 players on the field to be doing the celebrating, not for the bench to clear as it did.”

Like many “rivalries” have evolved, now there is a trophy to play for in the Georgia/Florida border war.

In 2009, the rivalry winner began taking home the Okefenokee Oar. The Gators would win the inaugural Oar with a 41-17 victory, taking home the 10-foot-long Oar, which had been carved from a 1,000-year-old cypress tree taken out of the Okefenokee Swamp which runs along the Georgia/Florida border.

In recent years there have been some classics. Whether it’s Aaron Murray leading the comeback in 2011, or the Dawgs shocking the #2 Gators in 2012, or maybe Florida causing five Dawg turnovers in 2015 for the 27-3 win.

Either way, the series has only gained momentum since it began in 1904 (or 1915…) the 2023 meeting sets up to be a classic with half the stadium in red, half in blue per usual.

Take The Money And Run?

By: Joe Delaney news services

Well, I wanted to be writing this article about Brock Bowers and his push to win a Heisman Trophy. The big, fast Georgia Tight End had all the parts in place to be the first true Heisman candidate in decades and the first Tight End to win the award since Leon Hart in 1949.

Brock’s statistics are off the chart. He is the reigning Mackey Award winner and his team is ranked #1 and coming off 2 National Championships. Pretty heady stuff.

Add in that he has been putting up award winning stats since he walked on the field as a freshman and the rising junior was definitely in the mix with all the QBs and RBs.

I mentioned in my last article about Bowers that barring injury, he had a real shot. All that changed in Nashville, Tennessee on October 14th against the Vanderbilt Commodores when that injury happened.

An ankle sprain that required a follow up surgery will sideline the Georgia great for 4 to 8 weeks. That could take Brock out for the remainder of the regular season or maybe the entire year. There is also a possibility that the Bulldog Nation has seen Brock Bowers in Red and Black for the last time.

Georgia will still have one of the best TE groups in the country. Oscar Delp would start for 90 per cent of the teams Georgia play. He will step into the starting position with speed, athletic ability and experience. He is very good. But he aint Brock.

Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie back him up and are solid young pups that are coming on. Some pundits have compared the young Luckie in many ways to Brock.

Some going as far as calling him Brock 2.0. Very high praise but they aint Brock.

Add in the upgrades, experience and athleticism of the current Georgia wide receivers and Carson Beck will have plenty of options to throw to. He and the Georgia offense will continue to have success. But he aint got Brock Bowers.

In Georgias first 7 games Brock had 41 receptions for 567 yards and 4 scores for a 13.8 YPC. Add in 6 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Then take into account that in some of those games he rarely played in the second half and you get the picture what Georgia is losing.

The inevitable question is where do we go from here. The best scenario is Brock is back for the playoffs, not missing a beat, helping and leading Georgia to a “3 in 23”.  The other end of that is that he is done as a Dawg.

Brock Bowers was and is still a lock as a first round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Some have listed him as a “generational talent” and expect him to go top 5.

Either way he is looking at a payday for life as a first round NFL pick. With all he has done for the University of Georgia and the Bulldog nation, should he even think about coming back? He will.

He will think long and hard about it and try his best to rehabilitate that ankle. That’s the type of young man he is.

Kirby Smart has long said that Brock Bowers is the hardest working Dawg around. Bowers has a deep love for the school, his teammates, coaches and the Bulldog Nation.

If he can comeback and it makes sense then he will. He has all the support he needs and Kirby will shoot him straight. If he dons the Red and Black again it will be for the right reasons.

I lean toward him not coming back. My heart says yeah he’ll be back but my mind says no.

He has the opportunity to set himself and his family up for life. To jeopardize that and get reinjured would be the worst thing imaginable.

Brock Bowers has done everything he can for his University. He is the best tight end and one of the top 5 players to ever play for the Dawgs. He has done his part. I hope I’m wrong on this, but it may be time for Brock to take the money……and when he can…RUN.

Kirby Hates Florida

By: Robert Craft news services

Kirby Smart Hates Florida. He hates them with the fire of a thousand suns.

He gives the media plenty of coach speak about how Florida is another game, and all league games are important. He tells the cameras that he and his staff must prepare the same every week.

He says that great talent exists across college football, and anyone can beat you any day of the week. Despite all of that talk, Kirby Smart lives to beat Florida.

He has made beating the Gators a priority and celebrated the last two victories over Florida with a level of expression that ‘Stern Smart’ rarely shows.

At this point, it’s well known that Smart was a safety at Georgia from 1995-1998. He recorded 13 interceptions for the Bulldogs and was an All-SEC selection his Senior year. Smart’s time wearing silver britches also coincided with some of the worst beatings in the history of the Florida-Georgia rivalry.

Smart’s teams lost to the Gators 52-17 in 1995, 47-7 in 1996 and 38-7 in 1998. Kirby and the Dawgs did get to taste victory in 1997, when they pulled a 37-17 upset over the Gators. It would be Georgia’s only victory out of 14 meetings against the Gators.

Steve Spurrier hated Georgia for beating him in his senior season of 1966 when the Dawgs upset the Gators 27-10. The loss cost UF their first SEC Championship, and Spurrier never forgot. That loss kept him from becoming a champion. Needless to say, Spurrier made beating Georgia a priority throughout his coaching career.

For years UGA had a lovely habit of beating Florida anytime the Gators had a good season, and that ownership created the monster that ended Georgia’s dominance in the rivalry.

Let’s go back to the infamous 1995 game against the Gators. Georgia and Florida played in Sanford Stadium due to the old Gator Bowl being renovated, and prior to the game Steve Spurrier found out that no opponent had ever scored 50 points between the hedges.

With the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter, and the Gators leading 45-17, Spurrier continued to call passing plays for backup quarterback Eric Kresser.

The Gators ran a flea-flicker, at one point on their final drive and moved the ball down to Georgia’s 10-yard line instead of running out the clock. With 1:10 remaining Kresser threw a touchdown on a slant to Travis McGriff.

I found something fascinating watching the end of that game on YouTube. Do you know who McGriff jogged past right after he caught that final touchdown?

True freshman safety, Kirby Smart.

The Gators ran the score up to embarrass the Dawgs, and that’s when Spurrier passed the flaming torch of revenge to Smart.

A little over 24 years ago, Steve Spurrier created the man who would bring Spurrier-style vitriol and hatred to the Bulldogs’ side of the rivalry.  That man is Kirby Smart.

Bowers-less Bulldogs

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

It’s not often that the best offensive player on a college football team is the tight end.

The last time we saw that was in 2020 when Kyle Pitts was at Florida.

That is also the case for the Georgia Bulldogs. Junior tight end Brock Bowers is a two-time All-American and he’s a projected top five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Bowers suffered a high-ankle sprain in the first half against Vanderbilt.

After being helped off the field and attended to in the medical tent on Georgia’s sideline, Bowers was escorted out of the stadium and taken for a magnetic resonance imaging, MRI exam. The Bulldogs knew what they were dealing with before their plane left Nashville.

He will have surgery on his ankle and that raises several questions. Will he return this season or is his college career over?

Bowers could choose to come back for a College Football Playoff run for the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs. Due to his on-field success and numerous Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities over the last two seasons, he is represented by a considerable management team. Along with Bowers and his parents, that group ultimately will decide whether he will continue his collegiate career.

The tight-rope surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain requires on average a recovery time of four to six weeks. Starting right tackle Amarius Mims underwent the same surgery on Sept. 18 and has yet to return.

Freshman tight end Lawson Luckie also had this procedure in mid-August and recently returned to the field.

Bowers has been the centerpiece of Georgia’s offense this season. He leads the team with 41 catches for 567 yards and has 4 touchdowns. He had more than 100 receiving yards in each of the past three games.

“Next man up,” quarterback Carson Beck said after the game. “That’s what we’re all about here at Georgia.”

With Bowers sidelined, Georgia will turn to sophomore Oscar Delp, freshmen Pearce Spurlin III and Luckie.

“I was proud of them,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “… Those guys practice every day. They take all of the same reps. I thought our guys did a great job.”

As it stands, Bowers would finish his Georgia career fifth in receiving with 2,395 yards, sixth in receptions with 160 and second in touchdown catches with 24. He would leave unchallenged as the greatest tight end ever to play for the Bulldogs.

It’s never a good time to have a star player injured but UGA is getting to the toughest part of their schedule.

That starts with playing rival Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28. Then the Bulldogs play home games against No. 20 Mizzou on Nov. 4 and No. 13 Ole Miss the next week before going to No. 17 Tennessee on Nov. 18.

Georgia is clearly not as good as they have been over the last couple of years, so they might struggle without Bowers. The SEC is not as strong as it has been in previous years so that will help. We will see what playmakers step up in his absence.