Florida-Georgia, “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” might have a little less doubt than usual about who’s going to win this year, what with the Bulldogs being No. 1 by a mile and the Gators being out of the top 25. The last three seasons, the rivalry has been a matchup of top-10 foes, with the lower-ranked squad winning each of the past two.
It’s been a while since either SEC power came into the tilt atop the polls, what with Alabama and Clemson’s dominance — 2009, to be exact, when Florida enjoyed a Halloween romp, 41-17, on the way to the national title with Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow. Before that, the last time a Florida-Georgia combatant was No. 1 was in 1996, when Spurrier orchestrated a 47-7 blowout, the most lopsided win Florida has ever had over Georgia.
This week, Spurrier went on Paul Finebaum’s show and reminisced about forcing Georgia to punt — “11 or 12 times in that game, that’s how good our defense was. And Georgia’s right there with that.”
The passive-aggressive challenge is so beautifully done, because Spurrier has mastered this craft. Yes, this Georgia team is terrific, and this Florida team doesn’t stand a chance against them, but emotionally, the line on this game is the bookies’ 14, but the 40 that Spurrier won by on his way to a national title.
“Georgia offense, they don’t have to be fantastic,” Spurrier said. “They just have to be solid, and they are a good offense. They can run it. They can hit some long passes. They don’t need to throw over 20-25 passes a game, and that’s a good way to win football games — as we all know.”
A good way to win football games is nice, but would you rather be merely dominant, or dance in your rivals’ end zone all afternoon?
The biggest win in the rivalry’s history, by the way, was the only other time that Georgia came in as the No. 1 team in the country: 1942, when the Bulldogs scored 75 and the Gators scored zero. Saturday should be fun.