Florida is vulnerable. But can Georgia do anything about it?

Florida is still No. 1 but the reality is that the Gators are bringing a very vulnerable football team to Jacksonville on Saturday to play Georgia.

The offense, which was unstoppable a year ago, is simply not playing well. There is no question that the Gators miss offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, now the head coach at Mississippi State. But more than that Florida misses the ability to stretch the field vertically as they did a year ago with Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. Nobody is scared that these guys are going to go deep anymore.

 Tim Tebow is starting to press a little and is trying to do too much. He was sacked six times against Arkansas, a game in which Florida turned it over four times. Tebow threw two pick-sixes against Mississippi State, which meant the Gators had to work way too hard to win 29-19 in Starkville (You may insert your officiating reference here).

 The defense is beat up and tired because it’s been on the field too much. Linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin) and several other defensive starters who sat out last week, however, may be back.

 Urban Meyer is taking the temperature of his team to make sure that guys don’t start pointing fingers. If I’m a Florida defensive player, I’m wondering why my offense is suddenly missing in action and is starting to give away points.

 The bottom line is that Florida has all kind of issues. They have a perfect 7-0 record but are playing less than perfectly. They look like a football team that is trying to tread water until Dec. 5 and the SEC championship game, when they expect to turn it up a notch. That’s a dangerous place to be, mentally and physically, in this league.

 But for the life of me I’m just not sure that Georgia can do anything to take advantage of it.

 Sure, Georgia has had a week off since beating Vanderbilt. But what is Georgia actually going to do on the field that would give them a chance to win this football game?

 Georgia has gone down to Jacksonville many times with the lesser talented football team. But all through the history of this rivalry the Bulldogs have found a way to win because players stepped it up and, in some cases, played the best game of their lives.

In 1966 Florida and quarterback Steve Spurrier were favored to win their first-ever SEC championship. Spurrier was on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. But a pair of defensive All-Americans, Bill Stanfill and George Patton, got after Spurrier in the second half and Georgia won, 27-10.

 In 1975 Florida was supposed to finally win the SEC championship with one of their more talented teams ever. But Erk Russell’s first “Junkyard Dawg” defense would not let the Gators score a touchdown. They kept it close so that tight end Richard Appleby could throw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Gene Washington and stun the Gators 10-7.

 In 1985 Georgia upset No. 1 Florida in Jacksonville because Tim Worley and Keith Henderson just ran the ball right through the Gators and defensive end Greg “Muddy” Waters had a career day rushing Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell and Georgia won 24-3.

 In 1997 Mike Bobo played one of his best games as a Georgia quarterback. Robert Edwards and Hines Ward were magnificent. Jim Donnan called his best game as Georgia’s head coach and the Bulldogs dominated the No. 6 Gators 37-17.

 In 2007 Knowshon Moreno ran for 188 yards, a career high, and Matt Stafford threw three touchdown passes. Florida was vulnerable that day because Tebow had a bad shoulder. Georgia rolled up 413 yards and beat No. 9 Florida 42-30.

 But as you look at this Georgia team, you wonder: Who can step up and do something exceptional?  Can somebody on this team have a career-defining moment and at least put Georgia in a position to win?

 I think QB Joe Cox is that kind of guy. I know A.J. Green is. Linebacker Rennie Curran is a warrior. But look at the numbers and tell me how Georgia wins this game:

 103rd in rushing (108 yards per game)

 84th in scoring defense (27.7 ppg)

 119th in turnover margin (minus-11)

 117th in penalties (9.29 per game)

 90th in passing defense (238.29 ypg)

 70th in total defense (365.57 ypg)

 95th in time of possession (28:28)

 The response to that question should be that the numbers don’t matter. It only matters how these two teams play for 60 minutes in Jacksonville. In the past some flawed Georgia teams have found a way to put it together and have a magical afternoon against Florida. But what about this team?

 I’m not here to beat up on a Georgia team that has clearly had its struggles since a 3-1 start. All I know is that I was down on the field for the last five minutes of the Tennessee-Alabama game last Saturday and I saw two football teams playing their guts out to win a huge rivalry game. I saw some great players make some great plays with the game on the line.

 At Bryant-Denny Stadium I saw the kind of effort Georgia is going to have to give to have any kind of shot in Jacksonville. I just wonder: Does this Georgia team have that kind of effort in them?

 Please follow me on Twitter:

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340 comments Add your comment

#2 BAMA FAN

October 28th, 2009
8:00 pm

I bet the dawgs rush for 50 yards against the great defense of the gators. AJ Greene may catch 150 yards , but the dawgs will not run against the best defense in the country!! Good luck dawgs!!

Mr. College Football is a Fraud

October 28th, 2009
8:14 pm

Hey Tony where was your in-depth analysis on Georgia Tech/Va. Tech, a game that really meant something. All week leading up to the game, not a word, just one paragraph in your prediction column. You bill yourself as Mr. College Football but all you are is a UGA/SEC homer.

Mr. College Football is a Fraud

October 28th, 2009
8:17 pm

Did you know that Georgia Tech has more SEC titles than UGA, and Tech hasn’t been in the SEC since the early 1960s.

Mr. College Football is a Fraud

October 28th, 2009
8:23 pm

Did you know that Georgia Tech has more National Championships than UGA

Mr. College Football is a Fraud

October 28th, 2009
8:24 pm

Did you know that the national awards for the best football player and the best football coach are named after Tech’s coach Heisman, and Tech’s coach Dodd

Mr. College Football is a Fraud

October 28th, 2009
8:25 pm

Did you know that the current reigning Miss USA is a Georgia Tech College of Management graduate

45ACP

October 28th, 2009
8:26 pm

The Dawgs and the Yellow Jackets have to date met 95 times on the football field, with the Bulldogs leading the 107-year-old series, 53-36-5. In 2002, Georgia hosted Georgia Tech and boasted its largest margin of victory in the series, 44 points. During the rivalry, Georgia has compiled a winning record in 8 of the 11 decades, including the past four decades.

Mr. College Football is a Fraud

October 28th, 2009
8:27 pm

Did you know that for 10 years running Georgia Tech has graduated more black engineers than any other school in the country (and probably the world)

Louis

October 28th, 2009
8:36 pm

Tony thinks he’s a big-time TV star. Can’t admit fault.

Delbert D.

October 28th, 2009
8:39 pm

45ACP – As Miss Charlotte said, “Tomorrow IS another day.”

jason

October 28th, 2009
8:51 pm

Look for Gray in the zone option, but passing this time. Also, look for Charles on the TE Post route. It should be there after throwing long to Green and King a few times. Charles and White are the keys. The UF safties play deeper than anyone so to not give up the big play. If Charles and White get going, Green will follow with a huge game.

goodgator

October 28th, 2009
9:04 pm

I came here to see the UGA fans with hope of playing a good game against UF…….all Ive heard so far is “I dont see how we are going to win”, etc…….UGA fans, Im from GA, and even though Im a Gator fan, I would always, always, be optimistic………support your team! Dont go to Jax with that attitude, be it realistic or not.

aarh

October 28th, 2009
9:33 pm

To What Ever- What I’m saying…is that Ark had appeared to stop FL., but their were 2 missed calls that gave FL. the call first & goal, which pretty much gave FL. the TD. Considering that Ark. only lost by 3 points, then…yeah, it sure looks to me like it cost them the game. The refs even admited they missed the call, & that’s why they suspended the refs. They didn’t do it for nothing you know! I’m not trying to take away anything from FL., but I just hate how people go so much by record, ranking, media bias, & mystique. I’ve been around long enough to know upsets can happen. I’m just saying that for all of UGAs struggles…most of their games have been pretty close, except Tenn…for sure, & maybe OK St. On the other hand, FL. may be undefeated, but they’ve also had some close games that could have gone either way. I don’t know which team you like, but I just state facts, & it sounds to me like you’re giving a biased opinion. Again, I’m not saying UGA will win…just that I thin they have a chance, bc upsets do happen. Maybe you should try getting real?!

Not Welcome Here

October 28th, 2009
9:35 pm

So what if Florida is Vulnerable? This ain’t a game of bridge.

Top Dawg

October 28th, 2009
9:36 pm

The answer is NO.

aarh

October 28th, 2009
9:44 pm

Oh, & to these people that are talking jun about Vance not getting suspended. Ok. St. didn’t suspend Dez Bryant when he got in trouble, but of course when he got in trouble later in the yr…he hasn’t played for a while. That just means that UGA had to play OK. St. on the road w/ all of their weapons…unlike any other team. Just get over it people. If you haters really believe UGAs so terrible, then it shouldn’t matter if Vance plays, right? Richt normally does suspend his players when they get in trouble, but for goodness sakes…it was only a traffic violation! It’s not like the guy killed somebody. UGA actually hasn’t gotten in much trouble this yr., & when they have…the recent incidents have been traffic violations. I guarantee you people that there are other teams out there that let violations go more than UGA.

Fleischman in Chi Town's bed

October 28th, 2009
9:48 pm

Georgia football is IRRELEVANT!

4-4 Here we come

October 28th, 2009
10:44 pm

Not a chance. Insult will be added to injury as Tebow breaks Herschel’s TD record against the Dawgs, of all people. At least those watching on TV can sit back and reminesce about the good ole’ days as Herschel highlights are shown as a prelude to the fall of the record.
Gators 38-17

TC dog

October 28th, 2009
10:55 pm

We are: the Trembling Chihuahus! We are: Gator bait!

TC dog

October 28th, 2009
10:58 pm

We are: the Trembling Chihuahuas! We are: lucky to have 4 wins!

Bud

October 28th, 2009
11:00 pm

Georgia is vunerable but can Florida do anything about it?

Tony Barnhart

October 28th, 2009
11:05 pm

Hey Mr. College Football is a fraud…… Who in the hell gives a rat’s ass about Tech!

Dawg Killer

October 28th, 2009
11:10 pm

Fans expect too much, still talking about Herschel 30 years later, haven’t beat a top 5 team @ Sanford Stadium in last 25 years, gonna get rolled by Florida and GT … will be lucky to get a bowl bid.

Get real and get a life.

Dawg Killer

October 28th, 2009
11:12 pm

Florida may be vulneralbe … but not to UGA. What a joke.

Tony Barnhart … looks like the polls do. Much more your sucky A$$

Dawg Killer

October 28th, 2009
11:29 pm

Dawg Fans … looks what train you’re gonna run in to @ end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51K32fK8nok
Ouch!

Pago Flyer

October 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

The greatest college qb will probably have his game of the year in JAX!
It won’t be a pretty picture….

Ed

October 29th, 2009
12:01 am

“Did you know that for 10 years running Georgia Tech has graduated more black engineers than any other school in the country (and probably the world)”

Who cares about an engineer’s race? I don’t get your point – are black engineers supposed to be superior to say, white, yellow or brown engineers?

What a strange comment.

david

October 29th, 2009
12:04 am

Red Dog 77

October 29th, 2009
1:05 am

1964, I believe, UGA is hosting #1 Bama and the Bear tween the hedges, NOBODY, I MEAN, NOBODY is giving the wounded DOGS a prayer, I saw it with my own two eyes, With just seconds left on the clock, The DOGS executed the flea flicker to perfection on as I recall about an 80 yard TD, with time expiring. DOGS WIN 18 to 17. In college football history tends to repeat itself from time to time…………GO DOGS!!!!!!!!!!

deputydelusionaldog

October 29th, 2009
3:18 am

Get on the PORCH and stay on it.Stevie got in all dawgs go to heaven heads and ever since a team of grand mothers could whip a pack of.Jawja don’t want it bad enough.Dog playa’s just waiting for NFL opps,to hell with now!

Cha-cha-cha-cha-changes

October 29th, 2009
5:26 am

Maybe Richt will really bring the heat and check the Gators for their Class C driver’s licenses.

SLIM PICKENS

October 29th, 2009
5:42 am

….Josh Nesbitt for Heisman

Robert Daniell

October 29th, 2009
6:33 am

Excellent point Douglas…but remember, most offenses back then were 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Ol Vince was a master at getting his players up….especially for Florida. We always had a chance, and were never facing impossible probabilities when Vince and Erk were there…God, I miss’em!!!! Maybe they’ll find some of that old “red and black” magic Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gooooo Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RADLY

Dagny

October 29th, 2009
2:11 pm

Realistically, UGA has no chance to even keep the score close.

Even in a fantasy dream, Georgia has little chance to win.

It’s all about coaching, and UGA doesn’t have it there.

Chuck Uga

October 29th, 2009
10:45 pm

“In the past some flawed Georgia teams have found a way to put it together and have a magical afternoon against Florida.”

Tony, what you are referencing is from exactly TWO seasons since Vince Dooley retired 1997 and 2007. T-W-O. 2. Two of 21 games. 2004 was a year when UGA was clearly a better team. So there are only two games where UGA was not truly favored and actually found a way to win. That is simply pitiful. With this in mind, Georgia simply does not have the players nor the organization to win this game. There simply is no way. The line is down to 14 and 14 1/2….lay the points.

Chuck Uga

October 29th, 2009
10:46 pm

To much use of the word simply, but I am tired as hell.

Chuck Uga

October 29th, 2009
10:48 pm

P.S. Georgia will upset Georgia Tech this season to save themselves from a losing record. The Tech D is probably the only D left on Georgia’s schedule that is highly vulnerable. I would say Auburn as well, but by then Auburn will have lost several games an d be very mad…and very much due to beat UGA again. Ben Tate will run wild on the UGA D (so will Tech, but Auburn’s D is better than Tech’s).

Chuck Uga

October 29th, 2009
10:55 pm

To the Tech moron/fan, Tech does NOT have more SEC titles than Georgia. You are typical of 90% of the Techie so-called football fans. You know little to nothing about college football, but you are sure to show up for a game once Tech has a decent coach. You people are pitiful and ignorant. There is nothing worse than chiming in to an argument with no facts. You may as well be a 4-year old. Enjoy CPJ since he will be gone after four or five seasons to a bigger and better job where the fans know some football history and actually sell out their stadium occasitionally (not just when their rival plays there and buys up all the tickets!)

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ROB TANK

October 30th, 2009
12:36 pm

The 1997 UGA QB was none other than Quincy Carter….NOT Mike Bobo