"A long ride back from Jacksonville,
500 miles from a game we should have won,
Man we ought to burn down that stadium."
Georgia's annual trip to Jacksonville has turned into a nightmare over the last 20 years. A series that the Dawgs once dominated by Georgia has now completely swung in the other direction. With the Gators taking 17 of the last 20, many Georgia fans have become accepting of the fact that this game is a loss on the schedule every year. But in a series that has been this lopsided, the games are usually pretty close...until the last two years.
Florida has absolutely waxed the Dawgs the last two years. In 2008, the Georgia team that was preseason #1 kept it close until late in the first half, but seemed to give up in the second. Hell, the only touchdown came late in the fourth quarter on a touchdown by Joe Cox. Last year, clearly the Gators were more talented than the Dawgs and once again sent the Dawgs north with a bad loss. But this year, things may be different.
While Georgia struggled in the early part of the season they have gotten it together lately. Scoring over 40 plus in three straight SEC games, even if they are bad teams, is still an accomplishment. Throw in the fact that the defense is also playing better and things are looking pretty bright for the Dawgs. With the best receiver in the country and a star in the making at QB, Georgia has some weapons similar to what they had back in 2007.
Florida has struggle all season long, not just in their last 3 losses. If they were not playing the likes of Miami(OH) and South Florida in their first games, they may have more losses than the Dawgs right now. John Brantley has not been the answer they thought, their receivers have really struggled, and Florida fans are left questioning the ability of offensive coordinator Steve Addazio.
For once, everything appears to be set up in Georgia's favor. But history tells us that Florida will make the changes needed to beat the Dawgs. While their offense has been bad, the Florida defense has been solid. I don't expect the Dawgs to walk up and down the field like they have the last few weeks. The return of the criminal texter, Chris Rainey, and a healthy Jeff Demps will also provide a spark to the Florida offense. I'm not expecting the Florida team from last year to be back on Saturday, but I certainly expect a better one than we have seen this season.
Mark Bradley of the AJC wrote a column yesterday entitled, "What if Richt DOESN'T beat these Gators?" What kind of question is that? Yes, Florida is struggling, but they are still a team filled of 4 and 5 star players with a two-time national champion coach. If the Dawgs lose on Saturday, then it is another Georgia loss and the 2010 season will go on. The Dawgs may miss a bowl game for the first time in forever, but that is about the worst of it. No one is getting fired if we lose on Saturday. Nothing is worse than the Colorado loss this year, even if we lose by 50 on Saturday.
Do I think the Dawgs can win tomorrow? Hell yeah. Are we going to win? I may not be so enthusiastic, but it just seems like this Georgia team is playing harder right now. If they win, we may have a return trip to Jacksonville in January for the Gator Bowl.
Dawgs 23, Florida 21