Florida vs. Georgia: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

By Adam Silverstein
October 30, 2021
Florida vs. Georgia: Pick, prediction, spread, odds, football game time, watch live stream, TV channel

Image Credit: Michael Nash

The Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs are set to square off in yet another important edition — aren’t they all — of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, Florida. No matter the season or situations of the respective teams entering the game — a top-10 matchup, No. 1 team on a national championship push seeking to advance past a rival or just a showdown between two of the winningest teams of the last few decades — the Florida-Georgia game always takes on additional meaning.

The 2021 version of this matchup features a rare situation for the Gators given the Bulldogs have not been the No. 1 team in this game since 1942. Furthermore, Florida will be playing its second No. 1-ranked team in the AP Top 25 poll, the first time in program history that’s happened in the same season.

The lower-ranked team has also won five of the last nine meetings between these rivals. The Gators enter unranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2018, but they’ve actually won this game twice as an unranked team facing a top-10 Bulldogs program since 2002.

Florida is in a tough way coming off a pathetic loss at LSU as it tries to avoid dropping four SEC games before the month of November for the first time since 2011. Georgia, meanwhile, has obliterated its opponents with a shut-down defense the likes of which appear unmatched this season.

There’s been much angst over who starts at quarterback for the Gators between redshirt junior Emory Jones and redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson. Neither the Gators nor the Bulldogs have listed a starter with the Dawgs deciding whether to go with Stetson Bennett IV or JT Daniels. Still, fans are losing patience with Mullen’s dedication to Jones, particularly after Richardson came in as a replacement in the second half to lead four straight scoring drives against LSU.

Who will start for both teams, and what will go down Saturday when Florida and Georgia meet up in Jacksonville? Let’s find out.

Tale of the tape

Florida GatorsNo. 1 Georgia Bulldogs
Head coachDan MullenKirby Smart
Record4-3 (2-3)7-0 (5-0)

Injuries and absences

Probable (1): WR Ja’Markis Weston (undisclosed)
Doubtful (1): WR Trent Whittemore (knee)
Out for season (3): LB Ventrell Miller (torn biceps) CB Jaydon Hill (knee), DB Kamar Wilcoxson (knee)
Notable inactives (?): To be announced before kickoff

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 30 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: TIAA Bank Field — Jacksonville, Florida [76,700]

TV: CBS (Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson, Jamie Erdahl)
Live stream: CBSSports.com | SiriusXM: 85 (app) | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Game notes

» Georgia holds a 52-44-2 edge all-time against Florida, though the Gators are 22-9 in the last 21 meetings since 1990 with an 8-7 edge in the last 15 games. The Dawgs are also 46-41-1 all-time with the teams playing in Jacksonville.
» Prior to UF’s win last season, UGA had won three straight in the series (and six of the last nine) by a combined score of 102-41, an average margin of victory of 20.3 points.
» Saturday marks the first time since 1942 that Georgia enters the game as the nation’s No. 1 team. It is also the first time UGA has been favored by two touchdowns or more since at least 1995 but likely far longer.
» The Gators are playing two No. 1 ranked teams in the AP Top 25 for the same regular season for the first time in program history.
» An unranked Florida team has defeated a ranked (and top 10) Georgia team twice this century (2002, 2014).
» Under Mullen, Florida is 24-5 when scoring first, 27-3 when leading at halftime, 29-2 when leading after the third quarter, 23-1 when allowing 20 points or fewer and 25-2 when outrushing its opponents. The negative marks in those last two statistics have come this season to Kentucky (both) and Alabama, respectively.
» UF is 7-9 when being outrushed by an opponent and 6-7 in games decided by 10 points or less.
» Florida is 6-9 against ranked opponents (2-3 vs. top five teams, 4-6 vs. top 10 teams) and 25-5 against unranked teams under Mullen. It is also 12-1 against nonconference opponents.
» The Gators have scored 24+ points in 32 of their last 36 games.
» The Gators’ 501.7 total yards per game are ninth among Power Five teams, and the team’s 3,512 total yards are the second-most through seven games since 1991.
» UF’s 400 yards rushing in Week 1 vs. FAU were the most under Mullen and the most for any FBS team this season. The Gators are fourth nationally with 254.3 yards rushing per game, and their 1,780 yards rushing through seven games are the most for the program in that span since 2009.
» Florida is one of two FBS teams nationally (Alabama) that has not lost to an opponent that finished the season with a losing record since 2004.
» UF has scored in 417 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida +14.5 | O/U: 60

It’s actually wild, when you break it down, that Florida enters this game as more than a two-touchdown underdog. The Gators boast the ninth-ranked offense in the nation, and while their defense is not consistent, it is still 38th despite giving up 80 points combined to Alabama and LSU. Georgia, meanwhile, has the first-ranked defense but just the 42nd ranked offense. The expectation is that UGA’s defense will simply smother UF’s offense given it beat the two best offenses it faced (Arkansas, Auburn) by a combined 71-10.

Neither of those offenses have Mullen at the helm, and neither beat this Georgia defense — not identical but similar — last season like Florida. The loss to LSU was so spectacularly pathetic that it drastically shifted national sentiment for UF, which has seen its three defeats come by a combined 16 points on the season.

This may be a prime spot for Mullen to spring an upset coming off a bye with an opportunity to reevaluate some things. This is not to say Smart is overlooking Florida, which is not only Georgia’s toughest remaining game but arguably the most difficult of its regular-season schedule, rankings be damned. The Dawgs know, if they get past the Gators here, they can cruise into the SEC Championship Game and potentially the CFP, win or lose that game. Still, they haven’t really been tested, and their rivals have the talent and coaching to hold their feet to the fire?

Will that actually happen? It’s difficult to see given Georgia’s absolute dominance defensively. But out of the 130 FBS teams, how many offensive coaches do you actually believe can out-scheme a defense like this? Maybe a handful? Mullen is among those five or so names.

So while I will not actually predict an upset, which is unlikely, Florida covering 14.5 points feels like more of a possibility than many believe entering the game, even if it happens in a backdoor scenario. The Gators would spring that cover with defense, because even if they have some success offensively, it’s unimaginable that any team will be able to pile up points on the Dawgs defense, keeping this game under the total.

2021 records: ATS picks 1-6 | O/U picks 3-3-1

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear traditional blue jerseys, white pants and orange helmets.

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