Creature Vs. Creature: A Bulldog on Georgia-Florida
If there is a bigger game this season, please tell me where it is.
For those of us in the Southeast, I doubt many would argue. The hype for this game started in the final minutes of last year's game.
If you don't remember, Georgia won that one, 42-30.
This year both teams enter the game having lost one game. Both teams are ranked in the top 10, and both teams still feel they have a shot to play for the National Championship in Miami.
That dream ends for one of these teams on Saturday. The loser will most likely not play for an SEC championship this year either.
This game means everything to the players, the coaches, and the fans.
If you are looking for a game with everything, you just found it.
Star players, fast-paced offense, a wild and crazy crowd, and of course, a little drama too.
So settle back and enjoy. Verne and Gary D will have the call on CBS at 3:30pm.
Georgia wins the game if...
The offensive line keeps doing what it's been doing...
The young UGA offensive line has been talked about all year long. Despite numerous injuries, shifting positions, and playing freshmen and sophomores, this group appears to be coming together at just the right time.
Matthew Stafford is finding the time to survey the field and find the open receiver. Knowshon Moreno is finding holes and lanes to shift in and out of on his way to 100-yard rushing days.
Why? Aside from the obvious talent that these two have, one of the main reasons for their success is the way the offensive line is playing.
If they continue that on Saturday and give Stafford and Moreno time and space...Georgia stands a very good chance of winning.
Georgia gets some serious pressure on Tebow, just like they did last year.
Everyone knows that Tim Tebow won the Heisman last year. He is truly a great talent. He has plenty of weapons around him.
Georgia must find a way to pressure Tebow. Blitzing is dangerous when you are playing a team with speed. Florida has plenty to burn.
Willie Martinez will need to scheme and disguise and try to keep Tebow guessing. If Georgia can succeed and not let Tebow beat them, we should win the game.
Georgia sacked Tebow six times last season. Pressure will help keep Timmy T out of rhythm.
A couple of turnovers and three or four sacks should go a long way in doing just that.
Georgia loses the game if...
Florida jumps out early (the way Bama did) and gets a big lead.
No doubt that Georgia can come back when down. But in this game, this year, emotion will be running high. If the Gators jump out early the way they did against LSU, or the way Bama did against Georgia, it could be a long day.
This game could end up resembling a track meet before the fourth quarter ends. While Georgia certainly has the speed to play with the Gators, they would be better served to grind out a 10-minute drive in the fourth quarter.
Urban Meyer would love to get a big lead. He would score as many points as possible to embarrass Georgia. We all know why.
But if Georgia can go into halftime tied or in the lead, they will stand a good chance of pulling it off. At Florida, Urban Meyer is 4-6 when trailing or tied at the half.
Harvin, Demps, Moody, Murphy, and Rainey break off some big plays.
As stated earlier, the Gators have plenty of weapons, and they are extremely fast.
Georgia will depend greatly on their linebackers to slow down these speedsters out of the backfield, and their safeties to come up big when they get out in space.
If Florida hits on several big plays Saturday, it could be a long day for the Dawgs.
It will certainly be a tough task to shut these guys down. But Georgia must at least slow them down.
The return game.
Both Georgia and Florida have great return games. This could be a big key to the game.
If one team can get a big return to either change the field position game or put points on the board, it could be the difference in the game.
How many times do you see a game change on just one play? Momentum changes on that one play, and one team rides that change to victory.
On Saturday it could be the punt return teams that make the difference.
Richt and Meyer.
I didn't really want to mention the "incident" from last year. I think that whole ploy has been beaten to death. I'm sure CBS will mention it 15 times at least on Saturday.
But Urban Meyer strikes me as the kind of man that does not like to get "showed up," whether it is intentional or not. When he does, he may refer to himself in third person.
Mark Richt does not strike me as the kind of man who would intentionally show someone up.
But obviously last year's "incident" ruffled a few feathers. Deny it all you want, Gators, but Coach Richt and the Dawgs, with that one move, got under your skin.
So look for something a little special in this one. Both coaches will have something up their sleeves...no doubt about it.
Will it be big enough to make a difference? We shall see.
But after all was said and done last year, the Gators had three-and-a-half quarters to answer the Dawgs...and they didn't.
It all comes down on Saturday in Jacksonville.
Both teams know this is as big as a regular season game can get. One team will win, and one team will lose.
When it's over, they will both still be good teams (possibly even great ones), and they will both still have great programs.
But only one will still have a shot at a National title, and most likely a berth in the SEC Championship game.
So how does this Dawg see it?
Georgia played as well as they have all year last week in Baton Rouge, where LSU seldom loses. The Dawgs appear to be getting it all together at the right time.
Florida warmed up for this one by kicking the Cats (the UK variety). They most likely played with one eye on the calendar.
Call me biased, but I just don't think the Florida defense has been tested to date.
Only one of the teams they beat returned their starting QB from last year.
Only one of those teams had a rushing offense that ranked higher than 40th in the country. Four of the teams had a rushing game that ranked 100th or lower nationally.
Georgia learned a lot in the Bama game. They put it to good use last week in Baton Rouge.
This Saturday they show the nation they deserved the preseason number one ranking that so many scoffed at.
Georgia 38, Florida 27
Check out what the Gators are thinking by clicking HERE and getting the scoop from Michael the Gator...
Also check out Jay and Joesph going head to head with another Creature vs Creature feature on this game.... For a Gators take see what Joseph has to see... here.
For a Dawgs view check out what Jay Butler thinks about this one... here.
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