No. 11 Florida Gators football is coming off a bye week into its most pivotal game of the season, a rivalry showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party once again has significant implications, especially for the Gators, which could all but clinch the SEC East and a spot in the SEC Championship game with a victory against the rival Bulldogs.
Here’s a look ahead at Saturday’s game: what to know and how to watch Florida-Georgia.
Event: World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, Florida [Capacity: 82,871]
Weather: 81°F, sunny (0% chance of rain), winds E at 8 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Allie LaForce)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|No. 11 Florida Gators||Georgia Bulldogs|
|Head Coach: Jim McElwain||Head Coach: Mark Richt|
|Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)||Record: 5-2 (3-2 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
Spread: Florida -2 | O/U: 46
No matter what the status of the Gators and Bulldogs entering the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, the annual rivalry showdown always has serious implications for both teams. Florida has an opportunity to all but clinch the division just eight games into the season, while Georgia can ruin UF’s shot all while regaining relevance after dropping two league contests earlier in the campaign.
Though the teams are only eight games apart in the rivalry, the Gators have been absolutely dominant since 1990, going 19-6 against the Bulldogs over the last 25 years. On top of that, the UF-UGA game has often led to the winner going on to capture the SEC East title. Of the 15 seasons in which either Florida or Georgia has won the division, the victor of the rivalry game has been the same team to lead the SEC East at season’s end.
Yet while the Gators have gotten the best of the Bulldogs in the long-term, Georgia is 3-1 against Florida since 2011. UGA also has revenge on its mind after being seriously upset by UF last season in a game that the Bulldogs were heavily favored to win. Upsets are common in the rivalry, not only straight up but against the spread, too.
Putting all that aside though, Florida enters Saturday’s contest with the better defense and an offense that appears to be in sync, even though the running game is still leaving a lot to be desired and sophomore Treon Harris threw a total of six passes in this game last year. Even in a tough loss to LSU two weeks ago, UF has been playing much better than expected this season and is proving to be a team that can compete against seemingly any opponent.
Georgia’s offense is a mess with running back Nick Chubb sidelined and Grayson Lambert apparently on the outs as starting quarterback. Sony Michel is a more than capable replacement for Chubb, and reports of the Bulldogs starting their third-string quarterback, Faton Bauta, are certainly interesting … but what exactly does Georgia have up its sleeve … and will it actually work? Perhaps UGA plans to run downhill all day and use Bauta as a Tim Tebow-esque rusher with Michel taking direct snaps. If the Bulldogs can’t pick up big chunks of yards, though, can they do enough to break the Gators’ stout defense?
Yes, Georgia opened the season -12 in this game, but this is not the start of the season. Florida was the pick at -3 and is even sexier at -2. Anything can happen in this game, of course, but the Gators are the side to be on in this edition of the rivalry showdown. As far as the total, it’s truly a toss-up, but the over is more likely to come in than not.
ATS picks: 5-1-1 | O/U picks: 5-2
Injuries and absences
» Probable (6): Offensive linemen Travaris Dorsey and Kavaris Harkless, kicker Austin Hardin (hip), safety Marcell Harris (high-ankle sprain), tight end C’yontai Lewis (hand), running back Case Harrison (thumb)
» Questionable (1): Wide receiver Antonio Callaway (foot)
» Doubtful (3): Defensive backs Chris Williamson (leg) and Kylan Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Thomas Holley (hip), linebacker Matt Rolin (undisclosed)
» Out (2): LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder), quarterback Will Grier (suspension)
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) October 31, 2015
The team captains, which change weekly, are solely responsible for choosing the uniforms ahead of each game. Florida and Georgia will wear their team-color uniforms with white pants, a throwback to the 1960s that the teams honored last season. The Gators have not worn a uniform combination that was not a solid color all season.
» Florida is 49-41-2 all-time against Georgia, 44-38-1 in Jacksonville and 19-6 over the last 25 seasons. However, UGA has won three of the last four against UF.
» Richt has a losing record against three of the last four Gators coaches, going 0-1 against Steve Spurrier, 1-2 against Ron Zook, 1-5 against Urban Meyer and 3-1 against Will Muschamp.
» Florida and Georgia first squared off in 1915. The teams have played annually since 1926 and in Jacksonville all but two years (1994-95 due to stadium renovations) since 1933.
» The Gators and Bulldogs are both coming off bye weeks.
» Georgia has not beaten Florida four or more times in a five-year span since 1978-83.
» This is the sixth season that Florida started 6-0 dating back to 1995. The Gators finished the previous five seasons with at least 11 wins.
» McElwain is the first UF coach since Galen Hall (1984) to win the first six games of his career at the school.
» Florida returned to the top 10 of the AP Top 25 for the first time since the 2013 preseason.
» The Gators’ defense has been a hallmark of the program; it is 199-11 since 1990 when an opponent scores 21 points or fewer in a contest.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC since 2000 (410).
» UF is +8 in turnover margin this season, best in the SEC and fifth nationally.
» The Gators own the nation’s longest streak of returning either a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, doing so in 11 straight seasons, including 2015.
» Florida is one of only four teams nationally to play three or more consecutive games away from home in 2015 (Arkansas, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe). UF continues that trek Saturday against Georgia.
» Florida has the second-most wins in the nation since 1990 (245, Ohio State – 254).