When Georgia and Florida play this weekend, it will be the first time since 1979 that neither team is ranked. Both teams are having extremely disappointing seasons as both were ranked in the preseason. Florida is coming off a three game losing streak (heck they have not won since September) while Georgia has a three game winning streak with wins against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky, but those opponents have a combined 2-11 in the SEC. On the contrary, the Dawgs have scored at least 40 points in each of their last three wins. Of course, that could be attributed with having WR A.J. Green back in the lineup.
Florida has struggled moving the chains throughout the season. Coming off a bye week this past weekend, Florida head coach Urban Meyer was allowed to assess what is wrong with his team beside not having Tim Tebow anymore. Although Meyer has a long list of problems for his offense, which ranks 9th in the Southeastern Conference and 89th in the nation, he attributes all of them to practice. Simply put, poor practices have made the Gators imperfect.
Injuries certainly have been an issue. Running backs Jeff Demps, Mike Gillislee and Emmanuel Moody are banged up. So are offensive linemen Xavier Nixon and Jon Halapio. And QB John Brantley has played with bruised ribs, a sore shoulder and a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. But the offensive woes have been a problem all season, even when those guys were healthy. On top of that, WR Chris Rainey was suspended for the last 5 games because of an aggravated stalking arrest on September 14th. Meyer has allowed him to re-join the team and is eligible to play as he has the capability to line up as a wide receiver and in the backfield as a running back.
The winner of this game usually has the inside track to the SEC East title and a trip to Atlanta. In addition, the winner usually still had a shot at the national championship game, but not this year with neither team in the Top 25. Florida controls it’s own destiny while the Dawgs need to win out and have South Carolina lose two more SEC games. On top of that, Georgia still has to play Cam Newton and Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium – no easy task. It’s safer to say Florida has a better shot of going to Atlanta in December to play than the Dawgs.
Florida has won 17 out of the last 20 contests between these two schools. The last time the Dawgs won was in 2007 when the whole team celebrated in the end zone after the Bulldogs scored the first touchdown - which ruffled Urban Meyer. He got his revenged the following year as Florida trounced Georgia 49-10 with Meyer prolonging the game by calling timeouts at the end. But both coaches are vulnerable this year with first year quarterbacks. Georgia did some soul searching after the Colorado loss and has build momentum with the three game winning streak. QB Aaron Murray has gotten better each week and the defense is playing with intensity. If Georgia can score quickly as they have done in their in their last three wins, this could get ugly. But don’t count out Urban as he had an extra week to practice to install a few wrinkles to his offense. This game will be exciting with the loser having no shot at a New Year’s Day bowl game, and having to answer tough questions on the direction of their respective program.
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Written by Bob Ballard