Florida vs. Georgia: Can UF Overcome Will Muschamp's Cocktail Party Curse?
Under both his helmet and his headset, Will Muschamp is o-fer in the Florida-Georgia series.
Muschamp is at an 0-2 record against UGA as UF's head coach and went 0-4 against the Gators when he player for the Dawgs from 1991 to 1994.
While there are no stats for him in the '91 game, in '92 Muschamp recorded one tackle and he posted seven in both '93 and '94.
"Playing with guys like me. They got better players now." - Muschamp on why Georgia never beat Florida when he was on the team— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) October 28, 2013
The former safety for the Bulldogs will face his old team for the third time this weekend as the head honcho for the Gators. In 2011, No. 22 UGA topped UF, 24-20, and last year, the No. 12 Dawgs upset the No. 3 Gators, 17-9.
It's fair to call this his Cocktail Party Curse.
During his press conference Monday, Muschamp was asked if he had some desire to beat Georgia for himself Saturday (Via GatorZone.com):
No. For our players and for the Gator Nation, absolutely. But I hate to give you the boring answer, but I don’t approach this one any different from the other ones, it’s a critical game for us obviously being a great rival of the University of Florida, and a great rivalry game, it’s one of the best college football games year in year out to be a part of. It’s exciting to be a part of it, but there’s no question where we are in our season. It’s an SEC East opponent and a great rival it’s an important game for us.
Associated Press reporter Mark Long then asked Muschamp what he considered worse: going 0-2 as a head coach or going 0-4 as a player in the series.
"0-2 as a head coach," Muschamp replied without hesitation. "None of it is fun, but certainly being here at the University of Florida understanding the importance of this game to us and our people, we need to get a win.”
This year, UGA is favored by 2.5 points and is on the brink of extending its winning steak vs. UF to three. In the offseason, Muschamp was confident that streak would be snapped soon. As Hays Carlyon of The Florida Times Union wrote in his May article, Muschamp flashed his "sharp words" for the Dawgs when he spoke to the Gator Club of Jacksonville.
"It's not going to be a long winning streak, I can assure you," he said. "We feel very comfortable."
Now, more than halfway through the season, Muschamp and his Florida team could be comfortable enough to break his o-fer curse in the series. For just the second time in history, the Gators and the Dawgs enter the rivalry unranked. The two parallel each other in their 4-3 overall records with 3-2 runs in the SEC. Both teams have experienced major blows to their depth charts thanks to injuries, as well.
In Jacksonville, the two will be scratching and clawing in an ugly battle to stay alive in the SEC East race, and Muschamp's Gators have a fair shot at leaving EverBank Field on top.
In his media session earlier this week, Florida defensive lineman Dante Fowler, Jr. showcased the Gators' desire to win for Muschamp come Saturday.
“It’s not like he can go out there and play for us," Fowler said. "We have to get the W for him and that’s what we’re going to try to do." (GatorVision)
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