Early Georgia-Florida primer (and why Meyer is catching heat)

It wasn't that long ago when Urban Meyer had both John Brantley (left) and Cam Newton on the depth chart. (Gatorsports.com)

It wasn't long ago when Urban Meyer had both John Brantley (left) and Cam Newton at Florida. (Gatorsports.com)

(UPDATE II BELOW)

It’s Georgia-Florida week. Here’s a novel idea: How about a Georgia-Florida blog?

Here are five headlines you never could have imagined going into this week:

1. “It’s all Urban Meyer’s Fault!”

Last week we told you about the website that is calling for Urban Meyer’s firing. This is almost that unbelievable. Some fans apparently are now blaming Meyer for Cam Newton transferring following his arrest and suspension for the stolen laptop episode. This is happening, of course, because Newton is now a Heisman Trophy candidate at Auburn, the Tigers are undefeated, the Gators have lost three straight, they rank 89th in the nation in total offense and it turns out John Brantley isn’t better than Tim Tebow after all (go figure). But this whole thing is silly. Newton was buried on the Florida depth chart (behind at least Tebow and Brantley) in 2008, plus he carried the stigma of the arrest. Florida had just won another national championship. Newton’s departure was to be expected. But as for Meyer, I really would like to see a copy of his discipline guidelines. Is buying a stolen laptop worse than a player texting a death threat to a former girlfriend? Speaking of which . . .

2. “Chris Rainey May Play!” (Shocking, I know.)

This is Chris Rainey without his cell phone.

This is Chris Rainey without his cell phone.

From the moment the Gators’ receiver was suspended indefinitely, didn’t you sort of figure that the “indefinite” period would end this week? For the record, Meyer has only partially reinstated wide receiver Chris Rainey following the player’s arrest for aggravating stalking (he eventually pleaded down to a misdemeanor) He hasn’t said yet if Rainey will play this week, only that he is eligible to return. Anybody buying this? Given the struggles of the Florida offense, it would be stunning if he is not on the field. Meyer has caught a lot of heat for this. At least 31 Florida players have been arrested since 2005. There’s also the high-profile issue of violence against women. But two things trump heat in sports: Talent and desperate coaches. (See: Houston Nutt and Jeremiah Masoli.) It would be shocking if Rainey didn’t play.

3. “Dogs Can Win East With 4-4 Record”

Steve Spurrier: Still in charge.

Steve Spurrier: He still controls the East.

After conferring with Tim Tucker, I’m almost certain this is correct. There are two ways for Georgia to win the SEC East: 1) Outright, which means the Dogs would have to beat Florida and Auburn and hope South Carolina loses to Florida and Arkansas; or 2) If Georgia, South Carolina and Florida finish in a three-way tie. In that scenario, the teams would be 4-4 because they couldn’t be 5-3. (This assumes a South Carolina win over Tennessee.) In this scenario, Georgia would beat Florida but lose to Auburn. The first tiebreaker, games against each other, wouldn’t break the tie (each would be 1-1). The second tiebreaker, games within the division, would eliminate South Carolina. The Gamecocks would be 3-2, the Dogs and Gators would each be 4-1. Georgia then would get the edge on Florida for winning the head-to-head meeting. Here’s the bottom line: South Carolina still is in control in SEC East.

4. “It’s the ‘Others Receiving Votes’ Bowl”

This was Vince Dooley in 1979. He wasn't aware what would happen the following year.

Here's Vince Dooley in 1979 (a year before the title)

As Mr. Tucker points out in his blog, this is the first time the Dogs and Gators both will be unranked entering the game since 1979. (Florida received two votes in this week’s AP poll, Georgia none.) But here’s what you may not know: That non-ranking could be great foreshadowing! In 1979, Georgia (4-4) destroyed Florida (0-6-1) by a score of 33-10. The Dogs went on to finish 6-5 under Vince Dooley, the Gators 0-10-1 under Charley Pell. The following season, Dooley’s Dogs went 12-0 and won the national championship. So the way I figure it, if Georgia wins this game, it goes undefeated next season. (Coming soon: winning lottery numbers.)

5. “Georgia favored. Wait. What?”

I'm pretty sure I helped fund this place.

I'm pretty sure I helped fund this place.

Spoke to my pal Todd Fuhrman, Race and Sportsbook analyst at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Georgia is a three-point favorite, despite the fact Florida has won17 of the last 20 meetings since 1990. (Georgia’s wins: 1997, 2004, 2007). Odds are set by perceptions. The past often feeds into those perceptions. But Fuhrman said: “Going as far back as the Colorado game, when A.J. Green came back, Georgia looks look like a completely different football team,” Fuhrman said. “The perception is that Georgia is playing its best football and going in the right direction while Florida is going in the wrong direction, even with them having a week off.”

UPDATE II (CORRECTION): According to Fuhrman, Georgia actually was favored by 1 point in 2003 and the 2002 game was “pick ‘em.”  Earlier, he noted the Dogs were favored over Florida by 6½ in 2004. That was the last year they had been favored  over the Gators before this week.

So does that have you feeling confident — or not so much?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

297 comments Add your comment

Bama in Atlanta

October 25th, 2010
1:35 pm

Should be a fun Halloween weekend……go Dawgs!

mdawg

October 25th, 2010
1:35 pm

JSS

October 25th, 2010
1:35 pm

The only thing with a longer and more boring season of no consequence is NASCAR! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!

Bama in Atlanta

October 25th, 2010
1:36 pm

I didn’t say “1st” because we’re 7th!

mdawg

October 25th, 2010
1:37 pm

JSS

October 25th, 2010
1:39 pm

Come on last weekend of November, so then all we have to do is listen to a bunch of crazy folk act like the Bowl season actually means something…

Hankie Aron

October 25th, 2010
1:40 pm

meh

October 25th, 2010
1:41 pm

DIT

October 25th, 2010
1:44 pm

Have to see our Dawgs beat Florida to believe it. Such a mental thing going on with the football team right now against UF. Tech goes through the same thing with UGA. When you keep getting beat by the same team for a couple decades it takes a toll on confidence.
Stiil, backing my Dawgs all the way! Go Dawgs!

Pinky Lee

October 25th, 2010
1:46 pm

WHAAAAAAAAAT IFFFFFFFFFFF!

outkasted

October 25th, 2010
1:47 pm

all I know is overall UGA leads the series 46-39-2…. yeah florida has won 17 of the last 20 which means b4 then it was 43-22-2 UGA…. so the tide has to turn the other way eventually and why not now? we have the better QB and he’s just a freshman….he’ll win at least 3 of these games…..10-4

Uuugh...

October 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

Meyer will no doubt play Rainey. Meyer is trash. I hope UGA wins with Rainey playing. I hope our DB’s say “Time to Die B_tch” before every snap Rainey plays.

I wonder if Meyer’s daughter had some sort of altercation with a boyfriend…if Meyer would still base his punishment entirely on how well the perp. plays football.

I hope this smug snake-oil-salesman’s time is up.

hard to imagine

October 25th, 2010
1:52 pm

I just want a win! Go DAWGS! It is our time in this series for sure. When we win out we can play the largest “what if” game imaginable.

Roaddawg80

October 25th, 2010
1:52 pm

I don’t care if Rainey plays or not. Even though I am a UGA fan I don’t think he’s that big of a impact. At least he wasn’t before they were suspended.

However, I will say this. That if Urban Cryer plays him then he has no discipline nor class. I understand txting something and actually doing something are two different things. That either way it should not be taken seriously.

Coach Cryer needs standards! Thanks CMR for yours.

wawel78

October 25th, 2010
1:54 pm

I’m pretty sure UGA was favored a couple of times this decade.

ATL is TigerTown

October 25th, 2010
1:59 pm

Greetings from the SEC Best. How are things in the SEC Least? Am I clever or what! War Eagle!

tim from trion

October 25th, 2010
1:59 pm

game?there is gonna be a game?i,m here for the cocktails

1eyedJack

October 25th, 2010
2:05 pm

@ATL is TigerTown

A wise hen doesn’t cackle until after the egg has been laid.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 25th, 2010
2:06 pm

I can’t wait to see what Meyer does for the endzone dance revenge. Call three time outs if they are winning? Fake a take a knee. Throw a bomb on the last play? Wonder what Richt will do if we do manage to get a head and win.

Why don’t we call Will Muschamp and ask him what he thinks of those Iowa State Cyclone m*th#rf&ck@rs? I bet he can’t even look at his Dyson vacuum cleaner after that game. Can he be our next headcoach?

The UGA-FL game will come down to whichever local jail has the better weight room. Conditioning will be the key.

pbj

October 25th, 2010
2:07 pm

Florida 27-17

Vain Jangling

October 25th, 2010
2:08 pm

Urban Meyer’s “retirement” had nothing to do with stress, or health, or family concerns. He just finally admitted to himself that Dan Mullen was gone and he really wasn’t coming back. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d pay good money to see Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Bobby Petrino get into a slap fight. BTW, I read #3 five times (”Dogs Can Win East With 4-4 Record.” I got all dizzy and threw up a little bit. I think I’ll just wait ’till next year. Thanks anyway.

ATL is TigerTown

October 25th, 2010
2:09 pm

@1eyedjack
Oh! The pain!

Vince Dooley

October 25th, 2010
2:09 pm

The only thing more boring than ACC football this year, is the GA-FL game this weekend.

gomdawg

October 25th, 2010
2:09 pm

Been waiting all year for this HUNKER DOWN DAWGS, HUNKER DOWN ONE MORE TIME. LOVE THEM DAWGS

McDawg

October 25th, 2010
2:10 pm

one game at a time

Bug Zapper

October 25th, 2010
2:10 pm

For some reason I think the Dawgs win a close one but have no idea how they will do it……Urban has had two weeks to prepare and I’m thinkin there will be a new QB under center for them which is better suited for their offence……I also have no reason to think our secondary is capable of slowing down even a weak offence…..The Gator D is still stout and can our offensive line block a good defensive front?….Who knows…….AM and AJ may be the difference though……C Rainey could very well be the same difference to them that AJ is for us……..Sic em!

ATL is TigerTown

October 25th, 2010
2:11 pm

@Vain Jangling

Here’s my 5 dollars.

Mark "Crimson Crier" Ingram

October 25th, 2010
2:11 pm

Yea Roaddawg80, Whining’ Richt shows a lot more discipline and class with the curdawgs’ 40 arrest during the same period of time that Urban’s Gators have had 31 arrest!

Andy

October 25th, 2010
2:16 pm

Would love to see the Dawgs run up the score against the Gators, but I’ll settle for a win.

Dawg_Mike

October 25th, 2010
2:17 pm

Look for the lizards to have Burton run the spread.

SECWasteManagement

October 25th, 2010
2:18 pm

I love how mum Urban is about Rainey playing. You didn’t make him eligible so that he could sit on the bench and drink Gatorade for 4 1/2 hours Meyer! I hope Justin Houston gives a few eye examinations while he is tearing the backfield apart, and I will be there to witness it!

Dawggie

October 25th, 2010
2:18 pm

I would be shocked if Brantley got the start for Florida.

We will see Trey Burton until we can prove we are able to stop his spread style. And I am just hoping we are able to do so.

Blitzing will be the ABSOLUTE KEY to the Dawgs defending the spread. Get across the line of scrimmage, and attack the ball before they get to the line of scrimmage, and we may be in good shape. JUST TACKLE!!! DO NOT BUMP!!!

Cautiously optimistic, i predict Dawgs- 27 Swamp Lizards- 21

JB

October 25th, 2010
2:19 pm

All the pressure will be on Florida…… Lose 4 in a row…………Been a longgggggggggg time since that has happened. Gators losing for a reason. Not the weather, bad luck, Karma, Meyer on drugs.etc….They are just not very good…..I said all summer, Great athletes don’t mean a great team. Now, that said, they will be sky high….Meyer will have them foaming….Tebow will conference call the team this week…..They will pull out all the stops….but after all that’s gone in 5 minutes, they still have 55 minutes of football to play…..I like our chances….

Hairy Dawg

October 25th, 2010
2:20 pm

If we play hard and well, we can win this game. If we play like we have the last two years in Jax, we’ll end up losing by three TDs and wondering why Florida owns us. It’s really up to our guys to man up. That is true every year. Stop playing like s*** in Jacksonville and wins will come.

Heath

October 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

UGA offense is on fire, UF has no offense. How is this only 3 points?

lawzoo

October 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

Carolina beat ga. 27-20 in 1979. Lost to ga. 13-10 in 1980. Won back to back over ‘ em dawgs….88 & 89 also 93. 1989 and 93(didn’t play in 90 & 91) were under Coach Sparky Woods(?).

‘Em dawgs are hell ain’t they?

Urban Myth is toast he needs to retire …..again.

gdawg84

October 25th, 2010
2:25 pm

If Rainey had gouged his girlfriends eyes, he would’ve only been suspended for half of a game-just saying

Dawggie

October 25th, 2010
2:26 pm

lawzoo….

What in the HECK was that about??

John

October 25th, 2010
2:28 pm

UGA wasn’t favored in 2002? As I recall, they came in 8-0 and UF was 4-3 or 5-3. Maybe UGA had a key injury that I’m forgetting. Obviously it doesn’t matter, but I’m curious.

JB

October 25th, 2010
2:28 pm

Dawgs, for once, came out and played with some energy from the git go last Saturday. They need the same this week……….Sometimes they come out for the first half with those puppy dog eyes of Richt’s looking for a nap. They need Ross, our middle linebacker from the 80 team, who’s an exec. at Coke, to give the pre game speech. Don’t let Mark give it….LOL

Facts about Meyer

October 25th, 2010
2:31 pm

Actually Meyer is to blame for Cameron leaving. He never was kicked off the team for the laptop incident. Meyer had promised that he would play two quarterbakcs which would be him and tebow and never did it. Cam was never behind Brantley on the depth chart. 2008, Cam sprained his ankle and asked to be redhsirted because Meyer was not keeping his word and was forcing Mullen to keep Cam out of games. Cam outplayed both Brantley and Tebow in his first Spring Game fresh out high School enrolling early. went 20-30 for 275. He played more his freshman year when Brantley redshirted. Meyer never let him get that much playing time his sophomore year thus making him request a transfer. He was leaving regardless of his legal issue and yes its Urban’s fault.

UGA Insider

October 25th, 2010
2:32 pm

42-17 UGA. Easily. Justin Houston has his second SEC defensive player of the week award. He will abuse whoever UF has trying to block him. This game will set us up for maybe the biggest upset ever in the UGA/AU series!!!! I never imagined this season would turn out to be this much fun. Damn I love the Dawgs!!!!!

UGA Insider

October 25th, 2010
2:33 pm

No pun intended on the abuse sentence to Chris Rainey. Sorry Gator fans.

suwaneedawg

October 25th, 2010
2:36 pm

To me, this game should be a toss up with neither team getting points on the spread. Yes, their offense is in the tank at the moment but, their defense is still solid. Not to mention that our D needs to have a better showing then the second half of Kentucky. We should win this game but, how many times have we thought that the week of the game only to be disappointed the following week and scratching our heads?

Herschel Talker

October 25th, 2010
2:38 pm

Schultzie:

I guarantee you that UGA was favored in 2002. They had to have been. So that would be 2 times in the last 9 meetings.

HT

WDE

October 25th, 2010
2:40 pm

In years past, this game was a snoozer because of Florida’s pure dominance of the series. Now, its a snoozer because neither team is playing for anything but a pat on the back and a moral victory.

gdawginkalamazoo

October 25th, 2010
2:43 pm

WDE, War Damn Eagle right on that one! Congrats on the #1 ranking. Hell of a show Cam put on Saturday. It was fun to watch.

Ted Striker

October 25th, 2010
2:43 pm

I’d like to see Greg McGarity put emphasis on getting UGA’s bye week before UF rather than Auburn. I was looking forward to the Oregon series but understand that he did what he felt was in UGA’s best interests. Juggling the schedule to match up with UF’s extra arrow in the quiver — and off week — might be just as good a decision.

Championships are won on the field but make no mistake about it, they’re also lost in the administrative offices too.

JB

October 25th, 2010
2:43 pm

Let SC lose to Gators and Arkansas, Spurrier will retire………………….Dawgs looking better every week and SC looking______________________…… you guessed it………weaker….

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 25th, 2010
2:45 pm

Tough to feel uber confident about the weekend. UF had the bye week heading in, Rainey there best weapon offensively looks to play. UGA has lost 17-20, so feeling overly confident after the past three weeks is not likely in my book.

I will give credit thought were it is due, and it is. The coaching staff has really worked hard to refocusing this team and it is evident. The team has stayed together and the hard work that they put in 9 months a year in the offseason is finally showing results. Congrats on the recovery and don’t let up the rest of the way!