Florida Gators

The Smart Choice

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After Georgia’s 41-24 loss to Alabama, Georgia fans took to social media complaining about head coach Kirby Smart. Some fans went as far as saying it was time for change.

If you want to start www.FireKirby.com or #FireKirby, let me, a longtime UGA adversary, drive that bandwagon.

All Kirby has done is build an Elite program in Athens, and I will happily let you idiots ruin that to benefit my Gators.

Getting back on topic, Georgia fans are a bunch of arrogant, spoiled, crybabies. Georgia has not won a National Championship since 1980 and up until 2015 Georgia has only been relevant a couple years at a time during the 1990s onward.

Fans have been comparing Smart to Mark Richt after Georgia’s loss to Alabama (again) last weekend.

Anyone who is honestly considering the idea that Georgia’s program is in the same place now as it was then should simply go look up the 2015 Georgia vs Alabama game.

All Georgia fans wanted was a program just like Alabama. Kirby achieved that goal in year two of his legacy in Athens. But, losing to Nick Saban three times (National Championship Game, SEC Championship game and October 17th) has Bulldog Nation on edge.

Kirby has constructed a program through recruiting. Georgia’s current class is ranked number third in the nation, and they have finished with the number one class in the country 3 out of the last 4 years. In my opinion, Kirby and staff are the top recruiters in the country.

The state of Georgia is a hotbed for high school football and Kirby gets who he wants in his home state. He also goes into Florida and recruits the top talent to their neighbor in the north.

The quickest take you’ll get on the last Alabama vs Georgia game: Matt Jones is better than Stetson Bennett!

Don’t get me wrong Kirby has his issues with hiring and firing offensive coordinators and five-star players transferring to other programs, he’s good but certainly not perfect.

I heard some Georgia fans saying he can recruit but he can’t coach. That is the biggest pile of bull. Kirby simply runs the defense and Georgia’s defense is simply the best in the country.

Kirby has outcoached Florida’s Dan Mullen the last two seasons. Completely controlling both games with his style of play.

Being 3-1 versus the Gators, Kirby knows the importance of this game as a player, and now, he coaches just like the Ole’ Ball Coach.

Mark Richt was 5-10 against the Gators in his 15 years in Athens.

So, the smug Bulldog fans who are whining about the Alabama loss, who are you hiring to replace Kirby?

There are only three other coaches in the country at the same level as Kirby Smart: Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney and Ryan Day.

The Bulldogs are the favorite in the SEC East to travel to Atlanta to face Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

If Kirby gets a chance in Atlanta to face Nick Saban again during this COVID environment shows his coaching prowess.

To Georgia fans, please just shut up and enjoy the greatness in front of you.

In my opinion, Kirby Smart is one of the top 5 coaches in college football.

Keys To The Game

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Dan Mullen was reprimanded and fined $25,000 for his actions in Saturday night’s fight between Florida and Missouri.  The brawl was sparked after Gator quarterback Kyle Trask was hit up high and late by Missouri’s defensive lineman Trajan Jeffcoat and no penalty was called on the play.

In my opinion, there is no place for this kind of conduct in college football. I do not condone Mullen’s actions and I think the fine was  insufficient.

Mullen down played his actions by stating, “from my understanding, I think our guys thought they took a late hit at our quarterback and they’re going to protect him.”

Reaction on social media started flooding in about potential fine and suspension. I heard from a few Bulldog fans on how Mullen is an embarrassment. Mullen’s reputation has taken a hit on social media with his recent comment about “Filling the Swamp.”

Former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush on FOX Saturday Football stated, “That was a dirty hit and I loved the way Dan Mullen and the Gators responded.”

Mullen’s actions had a positive reaction on his team’s play in the second half. Now can that carry over to the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party”?

Here are a few thoughts about the Florida vs Georgia game.

Georgia is a five point favorite.

Georgia has a huge advantage in talent if you believe stars matter.

The Saturday night injury suffered by All-American safety Richard LeCounte in a motorcycle accident had fans everywhere startled. My prayers for a full recovery go out to him and his family.

LeCounte is the heart of the Georgia defense, he was the SEC Player of the Week for his 13 tackles, three pass breakups, and a fumble recovery against Kentucky.

Georgia is suddenly hit by the injury bug with Jordan Davis, Quay Walker, Julian Rochester, Monte Rice, Lewis Cline, Tyrique Stevenson, George Pickens, Kenny McIntosh and Ben Cleveland all battling injuries.

Florida has two players suspended for the first half, starting defensive end Zach Carter and Antwuan Powell. Add those to the players that missed last week’s game due to COVID and the Gators could be short handed in the battle for the SEC East Division.

My questions going into this game:

Which Florida Defense shows up, the one that got shredded against Texas A&M or the one that controlled Missouri?

Which Georgia Offense shows up, the one that dominated Auburn or the one that struggled against Kentucky?

Who will be under center for the Bulldogs? Stetson Bennett, JT Daniel or Carson Beck

Can Dan Mullen out coach Kirby Smart?

Which team wins the turnover battle?

If you have the answers to these questions then you know who will win this game. The winner of this game is in the driver’s seat to represent the SEC East in Atlanta.

The Return

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I’m sure at some point over the past six months, most of us reached that moment where we had watched everything we were interested in and started binge watching television shows or movies we had no desire to see, just to pass the time.

(Personally, I began a weekend watching the first Police Academy and finished it with Mission to Moscow; something I’m both proud of, yet less than impressed with.)

If I may stick with the entertainment theme for just a minute longer, when the college football season started a few weeks ago it felt like watching “The Office” after Steve Carell left; the cast of characters and storylines were enough to keep watching, but it just wasn’t the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed watching some of the lesser known schools get their time in the national spotlight, but when the two best conferences in college football aren’t on the schedule the whole thing is a little underwhelming.

With the SEC beginning their season, it not only felt like another step towards some sense of normalcy, but there was a feeling of excitement about watching the games because of who was playing and not just because a game was being played.

I have to admit, even with it being the first games of the season for SEC teams, they did not disappoint, obviously with Mississippi State and Florida garnering a lot of the praise.

Speaking of the Bulldogs, me trying to find any redeemable quality in Mike Leach is like trying to find a pack of Skittles in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese.

However, what KJ Costello and the MSU offense was able to do to LSU forces me to begrudgingly give Leach credit.

I still think LSU will finish the season as the better team and I doubt the Bulldog offense will put up those type numbers again, but for right now Leach is deserving of the credit that’s come his way.

I also have to confess, I kind of like this schedule, where teams basically just play within their conference. I know we’re missing out on some of the big out of conference games we’ve started to see more of lately, but we’re also not having to be subjected to Alabama playing the Flying Griffindors of Hogwarts University, either.

I realize when you’ve got a new head coach, or new players at prime positions, like LSU and even Georgia to a certain extent, it’s nice to have easier games for everyone to get acclimated to each other.

On the other hand, it’s a nice change to essentially throw all the teams into the deep end and see who learns to swim first.

This isn’t to say the first few weeks of the season were rough to watch, they weren’t by any stretch. And there have been some really good storylines we’ve seen emerge that may not have otherwise gotten the attention. (A perfect example are the Miami Hurricanes. Imagine how much of the hype going to Mississippi State would be going to Miami after their annihilation of Florida State.)

Still, it’s nice to turn on a football game and see some of the major teams and players back in the field; it’s one of the reasons we love it so much.

I mean, we’re not watching Cobra Kai because it has the return of Daniel LaRusso’s mother, are we?

Lost Rivals

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC announced it would be moving to a 10-game only conference game schedule for the 2020 football season.

With this news it means it means people will not see Georgia/Georgia Tech, South Carolina/Clemson, Florida/Florida State, nor Kentucky/Louisville play their rivalry games this fall.

The start of the season will be pushed back until September 26th.

If you are a UGA fan this probably means you open the season in Tuscaloosa against Alabama on that date. It is unclear at this time which teams the Bulldogs would add to the schedule.

It’s assumed that they would play the six teams from the SEC East and keep the Crimson Tide, this year’s SEC West rotational opponent, and Auburn, the annual SEC West opponent, on the schedule.

The SEC is developing a formula based on strength of schedule to determine the remaining two games for each SEC team.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the shift to late September will allow schools to reintegrate their entire student bodies on campus amid the new challenges presented by the pandemic.

“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” Sankey said in a statement. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”

Clemson and South Carolina have played every year since 1909.

Georgia and Georgia Tech, which have played 114 times, have met in each season since 1925.

Florida and Florida State started playing each other in 1958. I hate losing these three games as a fan in 2020.

Other Big SEC non-conference games that were cut in 2020 are Alabama vs. USC in Arlington, Texas, was canceled when the Pac-12 opted to play only conference games.

Two other ACC-SEC games Georgia vs. Virginia and Auburn vs. North Carolina at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta are gone.

Other games that won’t be played: Texas at LSU, Arkansas at Notre Dame, Tennessee at Oklahoma, Missouri at BYU, Vanderbilt at Kansas State and Mississippi State at NC State.

2020 will go down as one of the worst years in history with the Covid-19 pandemic. I lost a family member to this deadly pandemic.

College football is like comfort food to many of us in the South, currently. I’m hoping the season takes place. As a UGA fan it bothers you that you can’t play a rival that is only 70 miles from your campus, but I applaud the SEC and the University Presidents for doing everything in their power to have a football season.

Questions to be answered now:

Once play begins will we even have fans in attendance?

Will UGA/UF be played in Jacksonville this year?

With the conference only format, will Florida and Georgia lose a home game?

What does a competitive balanced additional two SEC games mean?

Does that mean Florida picks up Texas A&M and Auburn while Alabama picks up Vanderbilt and Missouri?

Long time SEC fans know how everything seems to benefit Alabama in the long run. Yes, I said it prove me wrong from a historical perspective. It is going to be interesting when the additional two game rotation rolls out.

The ultimate goal is to have SEC football this fall, and Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate will resume in 2021 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

I Will Take My Talents To…

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

With the Early Signing Period in the rearview mirror and bowl season over, the last big day for college football before spring practice is National Signing Day.

With many of the top recruits from the 2020 class already signed, who is left for the top programs to pick up on Wednesday, February 5th?

Five Star Running Back Zack Evans is the number 1 running back in the class of 2020.

By far the wildest recruitment of the 2020 cycle. Evans signed a LOI (Letter of Intent) with the Georgia Bulldogs back in December, got cold feet, and asked to be released from his LOI.

Georgia obliged and now Evans is back on the market as an extremely talented athlete with some off the field issues.

This recruitment still seems very cloudy through, as Evans has left a lot of coaches guessing. This is shaping up to be a Tennessee, Ole Miss and Georgia battle. Alabama, Florida and LSU have rescinded their offers over the past few weeks.  My Pick: Georgia

Four Star Safety Avantae Williams backed off his early commitment to the Oregon Ducks back in December.

Williams is the 9th ranked safety in the 2020 class.

He is a hard-hitting safety that can cover a lot of ground. Williams’ recruitment is a battle between Miami, Florida and Georgia. My Pick: Florida

Four Star Offensive Lineman Sedrick Van Pran has been committed to Georgia since August.

Van Pran has taken official visits to Alabama and is scheduled to be at Florida this weekend.

With the departure of former Offensive Line coach San Pittman, Van Pran seems to have opened up his recruitment. It would be shocking if Van Pran is not a Bulldog come National Signing Day. My Pick: Georgia

Four Star Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs has been committed to Georgia Tech since May.

After a very strong senior season, Gibbs has received offers from Ohio State, LSU, Georgia and Florida.

While Florida and Ohio State have put on the full court press, Gibbs will stay firm to his commitment. My Pick: Georgia Tech 

Four Star Athlete Damarcus Beckwood has hopes of playing college football and basketball.

The 6-foot-4, 220 pounder is a versatile weapon on offense playing both wide receiver and tight end in high school.  This is a battle between Tennessee and Florida. My Pick: Florida 

February 5th marks the final day of the 2020 recruiting cycle. National Signing Day will still be important as there are a couple highly touted 2020 high school prospects that remain uncommitted.

And there will always be the few flipped prospects that make headlines on National Signing Day.

Since Dan Mullen’s time at Florida, the Gators have used the transfer portal to pluck talented players. The Gators have landed four star Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes in Mullen’s first year at Florida.

Last season, the Gators landed five-star defensive end, Brenton Cox.

This season is much different, the Gators signed a pair of five stars in running back Lorenzo Lingard and wide receiver Justin Shorter. Both players have applied for waivers with the NCAA.

Kirby Smart used the portal to add quarterback Jamie Newman. Newman has one season of eligibility and should be the front runner for QB1 for the Bulldogs.

Can Newman do what Joe Burrow did for LSU?

The Best All-Time

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

LSU just finished one of the most dominant football seasons in recent memory with a 42-25 win over Clemson for the National Championship.

It was LSU’s third national championship this century to go along with titles in 2003, and 2007. I have been watching college football since the 1970’s and here are my top five college football teams in the window:

Honorable Mention: 1976 Pittsburgh 12-0: The Panthers with Heisman winner Tony Dorsett drilled SEC Champion and 4th ranked UGA in the Sugar Bowl 27-3 as Dorsett rushed for over 200 yards.

1999 Florida State 12-0: The Seminoles beat a Michael Vick led Virginia Tech team in the Sugar Bowl to win Bobby Bowden’s second National Title in Tallahassee. Where have those days gone FSU fans?

2005 USC: 12-1: The Trojans were a great team that lost to Texas for the National Title. Reggie Bush and company were defending champions but this team was better than their 2004 title team.

1979 Alabama 12-0: This was Bear Bryant’s last National Title team at Alabama.

They won seven games by 20 or more points. The Tide led the nation in scoring defense and beat a very good Arkansas team 24-9 in the Sugar Bowl.

2018 Clemson 15-0: This team beat Alabama 44-16 to capture the National Title, and blew out Notre Dame in the semifinals 30-3. Dominant defense with four NFL players on the defensive line.

My Top Five College Football Teams of All-Time:

  1. 1996 Florida 12-1: This was great football team and Steve Spurrier’s only National Champion that blew out unbeaten FSU 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl to avenge a 24-21 regular season loss to the Seminoles.

Bob Stoops was the defensive coordinator and the team was led by Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel at QB and All-American receivers Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony.

The Gators outscored their opponents 612-228 during the season. The Ole Ball Coach put Florida football on the map when he took the job in 1990 and won 127 games in 12 years in Gainesville.

  1. 2005 Texas 13-0: Vince Young led the Longhorns to a classic 41-38 win over USC in the Rose Bowl.

Texas scored 652 points during the 2005 season while giving up only 213. The Rose Bowl that year may be the greatest college football game I have ever watched on television.

  1. 2001 Miami 12-0: The 2001 Canes only allowed 117 points all season, and hammered Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl for the title.

Many say this was the most talented team in the history of college football with players like Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, Andre Johnson, this roster was littered with future Pro-Bowlers.

  1. 2019 LSU 15-0: The first team in the history of the SEC to go 15-0. Led by Heisman winner Joe Burrow, who tossed for 60 TD’s to only 6 Int’s on the season.

This LSU team will go down as the best team in the history of the SEC. The Tigers beat Clemson for a National Title, while Clemson was riding a 29-game winning streak.

This team beat five teams ranked in the top 10 of the final rankings, and six of the top 15. This team will stand the test of time for greatness.

1.1995 Nebraska 13-0: The most dominant team in college football history. The 1995 Cornhuskers averaged 53 plus points a game and defeated four teams ranked in the Top 10.

No team all year came closer than 23 points to the Huskers, and this team beat a great undefeated Florida team 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl and it looked like men playing middle schoolers.

27 players from this team played in the NFL. QB Tommie Frazier is one of my favorite college football players of all-time. He Led the Huskers to back to back National Championships in 1994 and 1995.

There you have it folks. College Football is our greatest game. Nothing really comes close.

Sunshine Rivalry

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

This is the best week of the year for college football fans.

Rivalry week is finale week to yet another college football season.

The feast begins Friday night at the Bounce House with “The War on I-4”, and ends Saturday night with Florida vs. Florida State.

We have heard it so many times in our college football lives, “You can throw the record book out when these two teams get together.”

This year it may be different, both UCF and Florida are heavy favorites in their respective matchups.

“The War on I-4” is the end of the year battle between UCF and South Florida. The Knight’s open up as a 23-point favorite. These are two teams heading in polar opposite directions.

The Bulls lead all-time series 6-4, but the Knights have won the last two games of the “War on I-4.”

Take it from me, this game is going to be a blow out! The Bulls have lost three home games in a row against Temple, Cincinnati and Memphis. Coach Charlie Strong is on the “HOT SEAT.” We can call it a local rivalry game, but the Bulls are no match for the Knights in 2019.

UCF has been one of the best offensive teams in the country with the points to prove it. The Knights have 30 or more in 31 straight games, which is the longest streak in the AP poll era (1936).

On Friday night, the Knights will extend the 30 or more point streak as they boat race the Bulls.

My prediction is this game is going to be ugly if you are a South Florida Bull.

Like all UCF home games this season, the game will be over by half time.

UCF 56 South Florida 20

Florida versus Florida State: The sheer richness of noteworthy games, assures us some wild rides and crazy results.

The Gators haven’t beaten the Seminoles in Gainesville since 2009. Since 2000, Florida State holds a 10-9 advantage, despite how close the record is the games have not been close.

Just two short years ago, the Florida Gators were in the same boat as this Florida State team. Florida fired Jim McElwain mid-season and the Seminoles thumped the Gators 31-13.

Fast forward to 2019, Florida State has fired Coach Will Taggart. Florida State is 2 and 0 since Intern Coach Odell Haggins took over the reins. The Seminoles became bowl eligible with a convincing 49-12 victory over Alabama State.

Coach Haggins is 4 and 0 for his career as a head coach at Florida State. Saturday night in the Swamp Coach Haggins will take his first lost.

Florida State has been a dumpster fire since the day Willie Taggart was hired. Don’t get me wrong, the Seminoles have a lot of talented players on their roster. It’s just those players talent has not translated into wins for the Seminoles.

Quick fact: Florida State ranked 124 in the NCAA in pass defense (the lowest in School history). The Gators ranked 19 in the NCAA in pass offense.

Florida State will start the game with a lot of fire and desire but at the end of the day they are no match for this year’s Gator team.

The Gators are playing for a New Year’s 6 bowl, and they would like to send their senior class of 18 players off with a victory.

The Seminoles have given up 36 sacks and 102 hurries in 2019, whereas the Gators have sacked the quarterback 38 times and 134 hurries.

Side note: Florida State’s search for a new head coach has taken a few turns over the past few weeks.

First, FSU strikes out on Bob Stoops. Next, brother Mark Stoops tells FSU no thanks.

The hot names are Norvell, Campbell, Clawson and Haggins.

Also, a report surfaced that Willie Taggart did not sign his contract. This report is not correct Willie Taggart signed his contract, but FSU administration did not sign. Just like the regular season FSU cannot finish.

Final Score:  Florida 45 Florida State 20

Dropped The Ball

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2002 Georgia Bulldogs finished the season as SEC Champions for the first SEC title in 20 years for UGA.

UGA beat FSU in the Sugar Bowl and finished ranked #3 nationally. This was Mark Richt’s best football team in his 15 years at UGA, but the only blemish on the schedule was at The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party. Here is that dreadful day through the eyes of this writer.

November 2, 2002 was a beautiful day in Jacksonville.

Weather was great and Georgia fans were in Jacksonville in force.

UGA was unbeaten, Spurrier was gone to the NFL and Florida was down. They were coming into the game with three losses for the first time since the 1980’s.

This was going to be the year that UGA put UF in its place and took control over the series again.

UGA fans had been beaten into submission by the Evil Genius before he took the Washington Redskins job. Spurrier had gone 11-1 against UGA in his 12 years in Gainesville.

Ron Zook was the Florida coach and UGA came into this game very confident that they would blow out Florida.

I was supremely confident also. You could tell early in the day that the Gator Nation was nervous, and we smelled that and it was like a hungry football team attacking an all you can eat country buffet.

The game was the first and only night game at the Cocktail party. I have never talked so much trash at a football game in my life.

I just knew unbeaten UGA was going to blow out the Gators. I had my best trash talk lines ready like “Shreveport in December at the Poulan Weed Whacker Bowl, you better have a winter jacket Gators”, or my favorite “The Grand Ole Opry at Christmas time is the highlight of a Music City Bowl Trip”.

We knew well because UGA was just there the previous season, but when talking trash facts do not enter into the mix, and it’s UGA/UF and we had an 8 hour tailgate experience and who cares Georgia keeps Florida from falling into the ocean on any map or atlas you can purchase.

We started the walk from our tailgate spot to the stadium looking like Ric Flair making a championship match entrance and talked down to just about every Florida fan that would make eye contact.

We got to our seats and settled in, thankfully. Drink of the day was Jim Beam and 7-Up.

Fred Gibson was hurt and could not play. Billy Bennett missed 3 FG’s and Rex Grossman threw the WR screen pass 237 times that day and UGA just could not stop it.

At halftime I talked Scott Spence out of walking back to the truck. When UGA struggles Spence will head to back to the vehicle in a New York second. Then it happened trailing 20-13 in the 4th quarter Terrence Edwards dropped a wide open TD pass that would have tied it and reality starts creeping in.

Well UGA blows the game and a National Championship appearance to UF, and in classic Gator form they were waiting on us on what seemed like 10 mile walk back to the truck.

One lady yelled in my ear “Same ole Georgia” It escapes me what my response was back. One guy was standing on top of a planter yelling “I heard a lot of crap coming in here today, but I don’t hear anything now”.

We labeled the one hour trip back from Jax to the Golden Isles as “The Trail of Tears”. I fired Mark Richt after this game. 5th straight loss to the Gators.

Looking back on this makes me understand now that this isn’t the same ole Georgia of 2002.

Kirby has instilled toughness in the program. Georgia has better talent, and a two game winning streak and has physically whipped Florida over the past years to a combined score of 78-24.

Give me UGA 27-20 in 2019, but the game is on November 2nd again, however which makes folks like me nervous.

Steve Spurrier created that doubt in all of us Dawg fans. Damn you Ball Coach. The WLOCP is a great American sporting event that you need to experience at least once in your lifetime.

Florida Georgia Line

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Florida-Georgia football rivalry began in 1915 and they have played every year since 1926, except for 1943(canceled due to war). The “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” started in 1933. Jacksonville has hosted the game with the exception of 1994 and 1995.

Georgia leads the series with 51 wins 43 loses and 2 ties.

Let’s take a look at the series by decades. Georgia owned the 1980’s winning eight times during that period.

The 1980 game, Georgia trailed 21-20 with time running out, facing a third down and long from their own 7-yard line.

Georgia quarterback Buck Belue scrambled around his end zone then found wide receiver Lindsey Scott open in the middle of the field.  I can still hear legendary Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson’s call of the play.  “Run Lindsey” lives on today in my memories.

In 1990, Florida hired its prodigal son, Steve Spurrier. The 1990’s belonged to Florida winning 9 times during that decade.

The 1993 game, Florida was leading 33-26 with five second remaining. Eric Zeier, the Georgia quarterback completed what looked like the tying touchdown to Jerry Jerman.

However, Gators cornerback Anthone Lott had called a timeout. On the next play, Lott was called for pass interference giving the Bulldogs one last chance. Zeier last pass was incomplete. Gators won 33-26

The 1994 and 1995 games are the only game since 1933 not played in Jacksonville. In 1994, the Bulldogs traveled to Gainesville and took a beating 52-10.

In 1995, the Gators went to Athens and embarrassed Georgia 52-17. Coach Spurrier stated after the game, “we wanted to be the first team to hang half a hundred on them in their own stadium, we heard no one had ever done that before.”

The 2000’s belonged to the boys from Florida. The Gators won 8 times during the 2000’s.

The 2007 and 2008 games stand out during this decade. In 2007, after a short touchdown run by Knowshon Moreno, the entire Bulldog bench rushes the field to celebrate.

Coach Mark Richt stated that he ordered his team on the field after the touchdown.  That celebration fueled the Bulldogs to a 42-30 victory. This game is remembered as “The Gator Stomp.”

The 2008 game featured two top ten teams with an inside track to the SEC Eastern Division race. The Bulldogs dominated the first half on the field but missed two field goals and failed to recover an onside kick. The Gators lead at half 14-3.

The second half was all Gators just like the 2000’s. Tim Tebow lead the Gators to a 49-10 rout of the Bulldogs.

The 2010’s are up for grab this Saturday.  Georgia leads the 2010’s 5 to 4 wins. With a win on Saturday, Georgia would win the decade battle for the first time since the 1980’s.

This may be the most significant Florida-Georgia game since 2008. The winner takes control of the division and their college playoff hopes are still alive.

Keys to the Game for the Bulldogs:

  • Establish the running game (entire offense revolves around running the ball)
  • Win the turnover battle
  • Pressure Trask

 

Keys to the Game for the Gators:

  • Tackle, Tackle & Tackle (no yards after contract)
  • Contain D’Andre Swift (there is not a team in College Football that can stop him)
  • Win the cornerback/wide receiver battles

Georgia is a 3.5 point favor. My prediction: Florida takes it 24-16

The Good, Bad and Lucky

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As someone who grew up in North Carolina and didn’t start really following college football until the late 80’s/early 90’s, I never had much interest in the Georgia/Florida rivalry.

At that time Florida was dominating the series like a father does in basketball against his 7-year-old, so unless you had some connection to either team, it was just a regular game with a clever nickname.

It wasn’t until my wife and I began our short, two-year stint in Athens (‘01-‘03), that I realized just how big the entire game, and the festivities surrounding it, were.

I don’t remember much about the 2001 game, other than the fact Florida won, but the day before the 2002 certainly stands out in my mind.

All sports fans are superstitious to some degree, whether they want to admit it or not. In the case of a fellow employee I worked with at an Athens carpet store during the 2002 season, his superstition involved a Georgia t-shirt he wore every Friday before the weekend’s game.

Leading up to the Florida game, I suppose the superstition was working, since Georgia was undefeated and ranked in the top 5. So, you can understand my surprise when this person showed up to work on that Friday, the day before arguably the biggest game of the season to that point, without his Georgia shirt.

Now it wasn’t just those of us in the warehouse that were aware of this ritual, everyone else in the building, including the owner, knew about it.

As word of the forgotten t-shirt trickled throughout the store like a game of telephone, the owner, who was apparently well versed in superstition lore, decided to step in.

Not only did he send my co-worker home to collect his t-shirt, while on the clock, but he stepped right in and filled in for him while he was gone. He, like most everyone else, didn’t want to be the jinx that caused Georgia to lose.

Since I didn’t have a dog in the fight (no pun intended), I thought the whole ordeal was pretty funny, especially since I thought Georgia was going to win.

Florida had really struggled to begin the season and Georgia was clearly the better team; just goes to show records don’t matter in any rivalry, even if it’s one you don’t pay much attention to.

Even though Florida won, the magical shirt continued to be worn every Friday as Georgia finished the season with only one loss. I guess it wasn’t only that the shirt had to be worn, but it needed to be on his body before he arrived at work in order for its mystical powers to flourish?

Now, I realize this isn’t some scandalous story, or one that ends with my buddy running down Broad St. screaming “Danny Wuerffel is my Dad”, but, when was the last time the owner of the business you work for paid you to go home because of a superstition?

Plus, over the course of the two years I lived in Athens, and five years in Georgia overall, I never encountered a situation that embodied how important the Georgia/Florida game is to its fans.

If you’re a Georgia fan, I can only hope my former co-worker remembers to wear his shirt to work on Nov. 1.

From my experience, the outcome of the game depends on it.