Georgia QB Aaron Murray
Under normal circumstances, the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party between Georgia and Florida is one of the games of the season in the SEC.
These aren't normal circumstances.
The 2012 edition of the event at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., is for the top spot in the SEC East. Unless Florida loses to Georgia and Missouri, South Carolina wins out and Georgia loses to either Ole Miss or Auburn, the cocktail party will determine the SEC East champion.
Two traditional rivals squaring off for the division title?
Unfortunately for Georgia, it is going to have to play much better than it has the last two times out to knock off the mighty Gators.
I wrote following Georgia's win over Kentucky on Saturday that there's no need to stress over the close win on the road, because road wins in the SEC should be cherished. It's a survive-and-advance sport, but if Georgia doesn't play better this week, it's going to get run out of the building.
With so much talent across the board and linebacker Jarvis Jones likely to return to action after missing last week's game, it isn't out of the question.
But Jones doesn't play offensive line, and that's where Florida will dominate the game this weekend.
In Georgia's 35-7 loss to South Carolina two games ago, quarterback Aaron Murray was harassed by the fast and physical Gamecocks defensive line that notched 5.5 tackles for loss.
That's not an overly impressive number, but the speed and strength of Jadeveon Clowney and Co. made a living in the backfield and limited Georgia's running attack to just 115 yards, 45 of which were by backup Ken Malcome on the Bulldogs' final drive.
Last week against Kentucky, Georgia's running game was again held in check to the tune of 77 total rushing yards. Granted, Murray was slinging the football all over the field, but Florida is the type of defense that can take control of any game, particularly against teams that one-dimensional.
From front to back, the Gator defense is as fast and physical as any that Georgia has seen this year thanks to guys like defensive lineman Dominique Easley, linebacker Jon Bostic and safety Matt Elam.
Yes, technically, Florida's offense is one-dimensional too. But it's a different story in Gainesville. Florida is successful because of the threat that Jeff Driskel brings on the ground, in addition to the solid work by Mike Gillislee—the SEC's fifth-leading rusher (93.14 YPG).
Who will win on Saturday?
Florida hasn't had to display a potent passing attack due to Driskel's dual-threat ability. That shouldn't be used as a knock against the Gators, it should be used as a point of praise.
Georgia better bring its big-boy pants to Jacksonville, because there will be some serious grown man football being played in at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday.
The last time Georgia played that type of game, it got beat 35-7.