Georgia vs. Florida: A Look Back at This Great Rivalry
The "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" will take place again this coming Saturday in Jacksonville. The Dawgs and the Gators will renew a rivalry that dates back to 1904.
The Gators are the heavy favorite again this season. They are also the number one team in the nation.
If you are a Dawg fan you are thinking, sounds like a great time for an upset.
Of course, to hear the Gator nation speak, the Dawgs don't even belong on the same field with Tim Tebow and his pals. Urban Meyer is busy this week, reminding his team how the Bulldogs disrespected them in 2007.
Not since John Travolta took to the floor in Saturday Night Fever has one dance caused such a stir.
But amidst all of the talk, remembering the dance, and the late timeouts by Urban Meyer last season, it is easy to forget what this series is all about.
Many Florida fans talk as though they have dominated Georgia forever. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, Georgia dominated this series at one time just as shockingly, if not more so, as Florida has done in the past two decades.
So since we all know what goes around does indeed come around, let's look back on a little Georgia vs. Florida history.
The Rivalry: 1904 - 1989
This rivalry began in 1904. The two teams would battle on the playing field five times between 1904 and 1920.
Georgia won that first game, 52-0. There is no truth to the rumor that the Georgia coach at the time said he "wanted to hang half a hundred" on the Gators.
Georgia won all five of those first meetings, outscoring the Gators in the process, 184-0. The Dawgs won again in 1926 and 1927. The Gators did finally get on the scoreboard in the sixth game, losing 32-9.
If you are keeping track, Georgia outscored the Gators, 243-9, in those first seven meetings. It doesn't sound like Gatorade had been invented at this point.
Florida finally got back-to-back wins in 1928 and 1929, and in 1930 the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
In the decades of the thirties and forties, Georgia continued to dominate, winning 16 of 19 games. After 29 games, Georgia led the series, 23-5-1.
If Al Gore had invented the Internet at this point, can you imagine what all the sports vents would have looked like? Can you imagine the outrage from the Gator faithful?
Florida's first success in the series came in the decades of the fifties and sixties. The Gators won 13 of the 20 games played. The second tie in the series also occurred.
But Georgia was not ready to let Florida take control just yet.
Vince Dooley and his junkyard Dawgs ruled the seventies and the eighties. Dooley won 15 out of 20 against Florida. There is also no truth to the rumor that in one of the Florida wins, Dooley complained about a late time out, saying, "that's not right and I can assure you that Vince Dooley will not forget this moment."
In 1980, the Dawgs' comeback win against the Gators is considered by many to be one of the greatest of all time. Buck Belue to Lindsey Scott will forever be remembered in Georgia football history as "the play."
While Tim Tebow has certainly dominated college football the past three years, Herschel Walker dominated the scene in the early eighties.
Walker's numbers against the Gators alone might qualify him as a Heisman candidate. Georgia won all three games against the Gators while Herschel was in Athens. Walker put up huge rushing numbers (238, 192, and 219) in those three games, scoring eight rushing touchdowns in the process.
With Georgia's uncertainty at running back these days, I wonder if we could get Herschel cleared for one more year of eligibility? Probably not.
But of course, all good things must end. The eighties came to a close, with Georgia dominating the series, 43-22-2.
Not many Gators want to talk about their football history prior to 1990...now you know why. But turn the page, because things do change.
The Rivalry: 1990 - Present
The University of Florida hired Steve Spurrier in late 1989 as their head football coach. Florida football would change on that day. Gator fans had no idea just how much it would change.
Unfortunately, the Georgia-Florida rivalry also changed.
The visor, the "Swamp," "Free Shoes University," "Ray Goof"—the list goes on and on. Steve Spurrier made his mark on Florida. He also pushed every button an opposing team or head coach had.
Ray Goff replied publicly to the "Ray Goof" comment: "He's a good coach, but I'd like to run into him some night down a dark alley."
Florida fans loved the man who brought winning football to Florida.
Against Georgia, win is what he did. Spurrier won 11 of 12 games against the Dawgs while he was at Florida. Dominating the Dawgs just as Dooley had once dominated the Gators.
When Spurrier stepped down after the 2001 season, Dawg fans celebrated. Unfortunately, the trend continued without Spurrier.
Many Georgia fans hoped that Mark Richt could turn this thing around. So far that has not happened. Richt is 2-6 against the Gators.
The future of this rivalry may be just as interesting as the past. A new page will be added this week.
When the Dawgs and Gators meet again this Saturday, it will be the 88th meeting in this rivalry.
Yes, the Dawgs do still hold the advantage in the series, 47-38-2. But everyone knows the Gators hold the momentum.
Georgia has lost 16 of the last 19 in the series. Mark Richt knows it, Urban Meyer knows it, and most of college football knows it.
Motivation? It shouldn't take much. No celebration is needed. No build up necessary.
This is Georgia and Florida, simply one of the greatest rivalries in college football.
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