It's Florida-Georgia, not Georgia-Florida, "The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." The annual showdown in Jacksonville is when fans of both teams rent out those condos on the first coast, especially the students from both schools.
The game was not moved to Jacksonville until 1933, so fans of both schools could easily get there by train, and it was also during the depression. This rivalry is so heated that both teams couldn't even agree when the first meeting was between the two schools. According to Georgia, the first meeting was in 1904 in Macon, and there is no way that is true because football did not start at Florida until 1906. The first actual meeting between Florida-Georgia was played in 1915 in Jacksonville, which was a 37-0 Georgia victory. The Gators first-ever win over Georgia came in 1928 in Savannah with a 26-6 victory, and Georgia currently leads the series 53-44-2.
The last time, The Florida-Georgia Game was played on campus was in 1995, with a 52-17 Florida win in Athens, and the last time that the Bulldogs visited The Swamp was back in 1994, with a 52-14 Gators win. The largest margin to victory in the series was a 75-0 Bulldogs win in 1942 in Jacksonville. This rivalry has had some great coaches involved, such as Vince Dooley, Ray Graves, Steve Spurrier, and Urban Meyer, who only lost to the Dawgs once.
During the Vince Dooley era, the Dawgs won 15 out of 20 against Florida. When Steve Spurrier arrived in Gainesville, his number one goal was to beat Georgia due to his struggles against them when he was playing quarterback at Florida. From 1990-2003, the Gators owned Georgia with a record of 13-1 until Georgia snapped the streak in 2004. Since 2011 Georgia has had Florida's number with a 7-4 record in the post-Urban Meyer era.
The longest win streak in the series from the Gators was from 1990-1996, with seven games, and the same amount from Georgia from 1941-1948. Saturday will be the 100th meeting between these two rivals from Florida's point of view, and I hope it will be a good one because there have been great games in the history of this series. I will list my top games below.
2002: The Gators were coming into Jacksonville with already three losses on the season in Ron Zook's first season in Gainesville. Georgia was having a dream season coming in at 8-0 and number four in the country and hopes of ending a four-year losing streak to the Gators. The Dawgs would strike first to take an early lead, but Florida would score but would miss the two-point conversion. Florida was down 7-6, but Jacksonville native Guss Scott would pick off Georgia quarterback DJ Schockley for a pick-six to give the Gators their first lead of the night. Georgia would answer back to take a one-point lead. Rex Grossman and Ben Troupe would go to work as they would march the Gators into scoring position. Grossman found Troupe for a touchdown to give the Gators the lead back. The Gators would try for the two-point conversion again, and Rex Grossman would convert to give the Gators the 20-13 upset win.
2003: This game was similar to the 2002 meeting in Jacksonville, with Georgia coming in at number four in the country. The Gators again had three losses, but two key road wins over ranked opponents. If you like defense, this was your game because it was a defensive struggle throughout the day. Florida got their first touchdown of the game after a touchdown pass from Chris Leak to Carlos Perez. Georgia would score a late touchdown, but Florida would move the ball down the field to get in field goal range for Matt Leach. Florida upset the Dawgs again 16-13 after a Matt Leach field goal.
2008: The year before, Georgia took advantage of a hurt Tim Tebow and a young Gator defense in 2007. After a Knowshon Moreno touchdown, the whole Georgia bench stormed the field in Jacksonville, and it would be a fight the entire game. The 2008 game would prove otherwise, as this game would be revenge for the Gators. Florida would dominate Georgia 49-10 in Jacksonville.
2010: Florida had been struggling on offense the entire 2010 season and was having trouble finding an identity in the absence of Tim Tebow moving on to the NFL. Junior quarterback John Brantley was in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Gators, a job he had waited patiently for. Georgia got back into the game and took it to overtime, but the game looked to be won as Will Hill ran, which looked like a pick-six back for a touchdown, but it was called back. Urban Meyer called on punter Chas Henry who had taken over kicking duties, to kick a game-winning field goal, and it was good to give the Gators a 34-31 victory.
2014: It already seemed like Athletic Director Jeremy Foley was ready to pull the plug on Head Coach Will Muschamp regardless of the Georgia game. The Dawgs were coming into Jacksonville number nine in the country and already had an early score until holder Micheal McNeely faked a field goal for a touchdown that changed the game's momentum. Florida dominated the Dawgs the rest of the game without hardly throwing the football and leading them to a 38-20 win over Georgia.
Billy Napier comes into his first Florida-Georgia game as the Gators head coach. He said that he grew up watching this game as he is from the state of Georgia, and that is great that he is familiar with this historic rivalry. The Florida-Georgia game's days of being played in Jacksonville seem to be numbered, but having the game in Jacksonville is part of the tradition. Whoever wants the game out of Jacksonville seems to have yet to experience the pageantry of the tailgating next to the St. Johns River right by the stadium. Not to mention seeing the stadium half full of orange and blue and the other half red and black.
Despite the Gators being an underdog, I am so excited about Saturday, as this is the game I look forward to the most all year long. I hope that the Gators at least keep the game competitive, and most of all, I hope they upset the number-one-ranked Bulldogs.