The Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs will dance in Jacksonville once again, but the stakes are higher than they’ve been in some time for these SEC foes.
It has been a polar opposite first eight weeks of the college football season for the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators. Kirby Smart’s team, on one hand, started the year riding high and seemingly on cruise control before crashing into a brick wall of an LSU team two weeks ago. Contrarily, Dan Mullen and his group had some hiccups early on, but have since gotten things on track and have been rolling since.
Now a pair of one-loss SEC East teams will meet in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon in a titanic clash. Not only is this the Florida-Georgia rivalry game, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but this is a game with immense implications. The winner stays alive in the College Football Playoff and SEC Championship hunts. The loser is all but out.
Georgia looked a shell of themselves last time out in the loss to LSU. Jake Fromm looked mediocre and so too did the Elijah Holyfield, D’Andre Swift led run game. However, their defense did them no favors either as a young group overall looked the part as the Tigers had their way. With a week off to prepare for this rivalry game, the hope is that things have been shored up in a big way.
Florida actually beat the same LSU team the week prior and has been rolling since a Week 2 loss to Kentucky. Mullen has instilled new confidence in the ninth-ranked Gators, most obvious with quarterback Feleipe Franks. Though he’s not been perfect, he’s been far more a playmaker and far less of a liability than he was a year ago. And with a fierce defense led by the likes of Cece Jefferson and Jachai Polite aiding him, this team can get after it.
Coming off a bye week, the Bulldogs will be favored by nearly a full touchdown in this game over the Gators. Having said that, it’s clear that the oddsmakers think this game will be somewhat akin to the UGA-LSU game as the Over/Under total is set at the combined score of that matchup.
Betting Odds (via Odds Shark)
Point Spread: Georgia -6.5
Moneyline: Georgia -250, Florida +230
Though we haven’t seen the Bulldogs always play up to their talent this season — most notably against LSU — I don’t think that happens here. They have the better top-to-bottom roster than Florida and more quality experience overall. With the week off to prepare, Georgia will bounce back and not just win, but make a statement to assert themselves well in the College Football Playoff picture.
Final Score: Florida Gators 16, Georgia Bulldogs 31