After my Florida-Auburn preview, I’ve been asked to do one for every big game on Florida’s schedule.
I’ve got a better idea. I’ll do one giant post for every game on Florida’s schedule… except for Auburn and Georgia, because Florida has something personal against both of them.
With Alabama, I’m still debating whether to do a big separate one or put it in the giant post.
Anyway, it’s never too early to get psyched about the Georgia game.
This post is going to be gigantic, because I was using it to apply to write for bleacherreport (but I’ve graduated from B/R) and they require a long entrance sample of your writing.
But that’s good for you!!! If you want to spend lots of time reading up on some Florida-Georgia history, look no further. I will go into strategy breakdown later, perhaps tomorrow.
Anyway, here we go!!!
The Florida Georgia rivalry is one of a very certain few where the teams actually hate each other. Hate is the ultimate degree of dislike, and since there is no expanding on it, there you go. If you need clarification, kidnap your neighbor’s beautiful 13 year old daughter, torture her, sexually assault her and injure her badly enough to put her in intensive care. That should pretty much sum it up, up to and including vandalism of your most precious property, like your house.
What defines a rivalry?
For a series to be called a rivalry, it needs to pass three of five criteria.
1) Both teams must have rich histories and tradition.
2) Both teams must be conference rivals, with a higher ranking in the conference at stake when they meet.
3) Both teams must be in the same state, or one state apart.
4) Both teams must inflict acts of cruelty and humiliation to the opponent
5) The teams must play at least 75 times, so there can be deep history, before it can be classified.
Under these criteria, Tennessee gets the first two, but not the last three, so it is not a rival. And the Vols really are not a rival at all- they are merely a team in the same conference and division as Florida with a deep history.
But what really defines a rivalry more than any of the above 5 criteria is this: say both teams suck. Do you still want to destroy the other guys? Are you more afraid to lose and hear the other team’s fans taunt you for a whole year than you are wanting to win?
If the answer to that is no, then the series is a series, not a rivalry. Before Tennessee was any good, the game meant nothing. Only since Fulmer came aboard did the game mean something, but in the middle of the last decade it died down, flamed up briefly with Lane Kiffin then dropped again.
Same with Alabama. When both Florida and Alabama are on hard times, do you want to win more, or do you not want to lose and avoid a year of insults from Bammers?
No, I don’t like either team, but I don’t hate them.
Georgia… yeah, I hate ’em.
There’s always bad blood here.
The main image of this is Spurrier running half a hundred on Georgia with a flea flicker.
But the last four Cocktail Parties have featured intentional party fouls by both teams.
2007 was the dance-a-thon, 2008 was the timeouts, 2009 was the eye-poking and 2010 was the choke gesture.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
The hatred between Florida and Georgia has always been intense. Ways of showing the passion for this game include, but are in no way limited to, murder, fistfights, drive-by-rock-throwings, and tossing of nails onto the ground in front of the opposing team’s bench.
The players and even the coaches get into it, with one of the most recent examples including one entire team running out on the field to jump around and taunt the other team (Now which team might that be?) Others include the time one player on that team went to kneel down on a kickoff with the game already won, but decided, the hell with it, and took it 41 yards down the field.
In that same game, a certain guy called his final timeouts to give his running backs the chance to pile on more yards with a 49-10 lead (alright, now even the most ignorant fans HAVE to know who did this).
In other words, if you have anything resembling a heart on game day, then this game is not for you.
On the field, Georgia used to dominate Florida, but over the last 21 years, it’s been the exact opposite. The teams take great delight in crushing each other like grapes for a couple decades at a time, but overall the series is pretty even despite that fact. This game never lacks intensity due in part to the teams swapping turns destroying each other with regularity, and also because, well, the final score touches off a night-long, drunken celebration for the winning team.
And now there’s something new in store for the winner- the Okefenokee Oar, a permanent game trophy for the winner, which began in 2009. See why it’s a big deal now? Go 1-11, but win this one game, and you get to do two things: drink all night long, and run around like crazy, screaming and holding a wooden boat oar! What could beat that?
THE BEGINNING- 1915-1928, 6-0 UGA
As it turns out, the teams don’t even agree as to when the first game between the schools was ever played. Georgia whines that they beat Florida 52-0 in Macon in 1904. The only problem with that claim is that the University of Florida first fielded a football team in 1906, and never played Georgia until 10 years later (which UGA still won, so stop complaining, UGA fans). This began the Dawgs’ first period of dominance.
How lopsided was it? Florida never scored on offense in all 6 of these games, and got shut out in 5 of the 6. Willie Green of Florida blocked two Georgia punts, one returned for a touchdown, and another bounded out of the end zone untouched, giving Florida something other than a goose egg under their name on the scoreboard (OK, Dawg fans, you want it, here it is… UGA 32, UF 9, in Athens). By the way, I’ll be doing a bit of score quoting throughout.
FLORIDA’S ‘TURN’- 1928-30 2-0-1, UF
In desperate need of a reason for southern football players to even consider UF, Florida finally started winning. At least temporarily. A pair of Florida wins got the Gators on the board, and a scoreless tie the year after that made Georgia crazy.
It was such an insult to Georgia’s high powered offense at the time. It was fun while it lasted, but now that the Gators had insulted Georgia on one of the first ever games broadcast on live radio for the whole country, the Black and Red plotted revenge. I’d really love to stop here and skip this part, but hey, I’ll just get a drink and it’ll all work out fine.
THIS IS HOW REAL MEN DRINK- 1931-51 17-3 UGA
During the wartime years, Georgia fans and grads really had only two ways of finding real pleasure- watching their children grow up, and watching their Dawgs pound on Florida.
Yes, pound. As in 38-12, 34-0, 33-6 and so on. But the classic gesture of this UGA tenure of dominance is probably best characterized and summed up by a 75-0 blowout of my beloved Gators smack in the middle of World War II. Bulldog star running backs Charlie Trippi and Frank Sinkwich- yes, the same Frank Sinkwich that took home the Heisman- ran rings around Florida’s ‘defense’.
The two of them combined for seven touchdowns. In all fairness, Florida did have half their team in Europe, where the Dawgs had their ENTIRE team. Georgia also won the Rose Bowl that year.
So, Gator fans, use that info as methods of consolation.
Georgia players weren’t good enough to make the army, Florida’s players weren’t good enough to belong on the same field. As always, both teams have an argument for this. Let’s move on, the next part is more fun for Gator fans.
UGA TURNS TO GATORBAIT- 1952-63 10-2 UF
The University of Georgia picked the worst possible time to introduce their new mascot, UGA- right in the middle of a Florida Period of Dominance!!! Except that it wasn’t all that dominant; Florida eked a bunch of them out just barely.
The last four wins in this span came by exactly one touchdown. However, imagine how annoying this was for Georgia; losing to Florida by a touchdown every year.
For a while after, however, each team had the other in a stranglehold, but nobody could honestly claim superiority over the other.
IT EVENS OUT- 1964-1973 5-4-1 UGA
Well, boys and girls, this is why Steve Spurrier hates Georgia.
In the 1966 game against the Dawgs, Spurrier threw three picks in a 27-10 loss. But this was a rare game where both teams received big gifts from god. The Gators got the Orange Bowl berth and Spurrier got the Heisman, while Georgia got the SEC Championship.
Four years later, Jack Youngblood pulled off one of the greatest plays in Florida history in a 24-17 Florida victory. With Georgia ahead 17-10, and the ball at the Gator two-yard line, Youngblood stuffed UGA back Ricky Lake, forced a fumble and fell on the ball. “They ran a lead play to my side, and I cut it off,” Youngblood said. Thanks, man!!! John Reaves then hit Carlos Alvares twice to pull out the 24-17 Gator win.
GEORGIA’S LAST GASP- 1974-89 13-3 UGA
Now, we’re starting to get to some games that you might remember. These games, unfortunately, were not very pleasant memories. First came a 17-16 heartbreaker in 1974. Then came 1975.
Tony Green scored an early TD for Florida to put them up 7-0. Georgia managed a field goal and it was 7-3 Gators with a couple minutes left in the game. Then came the defining moment in the game; head coach Vince Dooley did something rare: he called a trick play.
Richard Appleby took a reverse to the right, but instead of running it as he did earlier in the game, he threw it downfield to a wide open Gene Washington for an stunning 75 yard touchdown. The Gators’ final field goal attempt had no chance, as the snap was rolled to the holder. Georgia won 10-7.
The next year was even worse. This was the worst play-call in Florida Georgia history. Doug Dickey ordered a dive (hey! That sounds familiar!) on fourth and 2 on their own 29, and Gator tailback Earl Carr was denied. Georgia seized the momentum and rallied from 27-13 down to a 41-27 win.
But it was 1980 that makes this era really memorable. To avoid heartache, I’ll just be blunt: Lindsay Scott 92 yard TD.
The Gators tried to turn things around by pummeling Georgia 27-0 in 1984, but the Dawgs won four of the next five, ending that thought… for the time being.
NOW THE FUN BEGINS- 1990-PRESENT 18-3 UF
Since this section is far more fun, it’ll take up far more space, too!!! Let’s go game by game, and make the few Georgia fans reading this miserable!!! Just a coincidence, but 1990 is when Spurrier came along.
1990- Florida 38, Georgia 7- this game was never even close.
1991- Florida 45, Georgia 13- Georgia hung around for a quarter but couldn’t stay alive any longer.
1992- Florida 26, Georgia 24- this was a good game, but merely the first in a long line of torment at the hands of Florida for the Dawgs.
1993- THE TIMEOUT GAME
Eric Zeier had hit Jerry Jerman for the game tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. However, Anthony Lott of Florida had called timeout just before the snap. Georgia was forced to replay the down, and Jerman appeared to be wide open again until Lott slammed into him.
Flags flew, and pass interference was called. Georgia had one last shot- but Zeier’s bomb fell incomplete, and Florida won, 33-26.
1994- THE GAINESVILLE MASSACRE
But this was never a game. The Gators jumped out early, and kept the foot on the accelarator in a 52-14 beatdown.
1995- HALF A HUNDRED BETWEEN THE HEDGES
Spurrier, still pissed at the 1966 loss, came into this game breathing fire. The Gators opened up a 45-17 lead late in the game, but that wasn’t enough for the Ole Ball Coach (and it wasn’t enough for me, either. And I was a year and a half old, and there is video of me crying at the TV, “more please! more please! more please!”).
Spurrier obliged, calling a flea flicker bomb to break 50. Florida’s 52-17 win still marks the most points ever put on the Dawgs in their own kennel.
1996- Florida 47, Georgia 7- the biggest Gator victory over Georgia of all time.
1997- Georgia 37, Florida 17- well, Georgia has to win SOMETIMES, don’t they?
1998- Florida 38, Georgia 7- another Spurrier leveling.
1999- Florida 30, Georgia 14- and another.
2000- Florida 34, Georgia 23- well… at least it was a game for a half.
2001- Florida 24, Georgia 10- Spurrier’s farewell to the rivalry was a success.
2002- Florida 20, Georgia 13- the Gators handed UGA their lone defeat of the season.
2003- Florida 16, Georgia 13- even Ron Zook had Georgia’s number!
2004- Georgia 31, Florida 24- well, Ron Zook finally came back to earth.
2005- Florida 14, Georgia 10- Ah-HA! Urban Meyer arrives on the scene, and the Gators gave the Bulldogs their only loss of the season- again.
2006- Florida 21, Georgia 14- Ray McDonald returned a fumble for a TD to put Florida up 21-0, and UGA could not recover.
2007- DUNCE DUNCE REVOLUTION
Mark Richt ordered his entire team to charge the field following UGA’s first TD, warning them that if they failed to draw excessive celebration penalties, they would be running in the mornings. They did draw the flag.
And Gator Nation’s ire.
Though it didn’t matter on this day.
Knowshon Moreno ran rings around Florida, but the dagger came when Matthew Stafford hit Mikey Henderson to make it 35-24. The Gators couldn’t recover, as Georgia stunned 9th ranked Florida 42-30.
2008- THE REVENGE
Well… how do I put this game? Do I say that it was just another matchup?
No, because it wasn’t.
Quite simply, there was nothing I did but celebrate the night of this game following the timeouts that Urban Meyer called to rub in what was nothing short of a complete and utter beatdown Florida administered to the Dawgs.
But perhaps I’ll let you watch it.
2009- Florida 41, Georgia 17- Tim Tebow broke Herschel Walker’s TD record in another rout reminiscent of the Spurrier days.
2010- Florida 34, Georgia 31- The Gators won the first ever matchup to go into OT when Chas Henry drilled a 34 yard field goal.
So let’s recap all of this.
The teams take turns beating the crap out of each other, and love it more than anything in the world. Seriously. More than ANYTHING.
Anything else need to be said?
Remember, I’m not really a rah-rah guy, so the next shot I get, I’ll launch into a strategical breakdown of this game to prove that.
I don’t care that Will Muschamp went to Georgia- he’ll love to join in. This is his type of battle. This is his thing.
Expect him to discard his relationship with UGA for this game 100%. Georgia will be tough though, with Aaron Murray and their Dream Team recruiting class.
But I’ll save my pick and my reasoning for tomorrow.