Matt Stinchcomb: Georgia is being overlooked vs. Florida

Jake Fromm, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jake Fromm, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Matt Stinchcomb believes that the Georgia Bulldogs are still being overlooked heading into their huge rivalry game vs. the Florida Gators this weekend.

It’s the biggest game in college football this weekend, as the No. 6 Florida Gators will face the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs down in Jacksonville. The winner of this game not only gets bragging rights, but will presumably punch its ticket to the SEC Championship as the de facto SEC East division winner. There’s nobody better to talk Georgia-Florida this week than with Matt Stinchcomb.

Stinchcomb is a college football analyst for ESPN. He was a two-time All-American right tackle for Georgia in the late 1990s and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018. Stinchcomb spoke with FanSided on behalf of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, a team that he made back in 1997 for his work off the field in helping his community.

In his conversation with FanSided, Stinchcomb mentioned that three SEC players made this year’s team in South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker Spencer Eason-Riddle, Kentucky Wildcats offensive tackle Landon Young and Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm.

Fromm has been a talented, albeit unintentionally polarizing player in major college football. The true junior starting quarterback for the Dawgs has led Georgia to SEC Championship games and New Year’s Six Bowls in his first two seasons as the starter. However, his performances against South Carolina and Kentucky may have hurt his NFL Draft stock and Georgia’s overall perception.

When asked if this will be Fromm’s last year in Athens, Stinchcomb seemed to lean more in the vein that he’ll probably go pro, but could see a scenario with him coming back.

“You know, I don’t know,” said Stinchcomb. “I’m certain he’ll want to get an evaluation and it’s something Georgia will accommodate…I think he could come back. Look at Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Both came back for their senior years. That might be possible as well.”

Fromm is one of maybe half-a-dozen collegiate signal-callers that could go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s a high-character guy and has played in a ton of big games before in his college career. But a disappointing junior year for the team might be reason Fromm could come back in 2020. It happened with Chubb and Michel in 2017, despite having first-round grades.

While the criticism on Fromm for Georgia’s lackluster offense of late has been a tad overstated, it has hurt the Dawgs’ overall perception as a national title contender. The South Carolina loss was bad and not being able to throw the football in a monsoon at home against Kentucky wasn’t ideal, but Stinchcomb does believe that Georgia is being overlooked on Saturday vs. Florida.

“Yeah, I do. I think if you look at the way Georgia has played, the idea that the loss to South Carolina changed their perspective considerably. I don’t know if that was unreasonable, but to think that Georgia will play that similar again, it’s pretty presumptuous.”

Georgia opened as roughly a field-goal favorite on a neutral site in Jacksonville vs. Florida, but the line has moved closer to the Dawgs laying near a touchdown. The Dawgs were seen as the superior team entering the season, but Florida has played better of late than them, thus making the point spread much closer than most college football fans thought at the start of the year.

One player that has the potential to swing this game in Georgia’s favor is running back D’Andre Swift. As with Fromm, the true junior has a first-round grade in the upcoming NFL Draft. He can be a First-Team All-SEC player, be named First-Team All-American and even contend for the Doak Walker award this year. Stinchcomb likes what this tailback can do late in the season.

“I think his performance will be pivotal. He’s a guy that Georgia has had to lean on at times, especially in that Kentucky game…He’s the type of guy that gets better as the games have gone on. There’s opportunity for that to be the case this year.”

Looking to slow down Fromm, Swift and the Georgia attack will be Florida defensive end Jabari Zuniga, who has dealt with injuries much of this season. He and linebacker Jonathan Greenard have the defensive playmaking ability to completely wreck Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley’s entire gameplan.

“I think he can have a significant impact. He can flex inside and outside. He’s really good at penetration. He’s a really good pass rusher. They’ve got a potent defensive front with Jonathan Greenard.”

Stinchcomb would applaud Zuniga’s ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, as his ability to garner tackles for a loss of yardage are a reason he thinks he’s a better player for Florida than Jachai Polite a season ago, a player who was First-Team All-SEC and now on the Los Angeles Rams practice squad.

The Georgia-Florida part of FanSided’s conversation with Stinchcomb would conclude with this rivalry series staying in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future. It’s a great neutral-site event that fans of both schools certainly enjoy attending, but it’s been over 20 years since Georgia played in Gainesville and Florida played in Athens on the gridiron.

“I think it’s one of the great college football traditions,” said Stinchcomb. “It’s always fun for the fans…The idea that this tradition will persist brings a lot of interest to both sides. I’m not so sure it’s great for commerce. A lot of folks head off work an extra couple of days to go down there, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for a good cause. It’s a game that Georgia and Florida fans circle.”

Matt Stinchcomb spoke with FanSided on behalf of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

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