State of the Georgia-Florida rivalry: Coach Boom’s seat a little warm

georgia floridaOne of the most gratifying things about the past couple of years in UGA football has been the flipping of the narrative when it comes to the annual game in Jacksonville.

Where once the Gators were seen (by those with short memories dating back only to 1990) as “owning” the Georgia-Florida series, the past couple of weeks leading up to this year’s game have produced headlines like this one in the Orlando Sentinel: “UF’s Muschamp is now officially coaching for his job.” And this headline in USA Today: “With another loss, will Florida’s Will Muschamp be on the hot seat?”

Yes, the page has turned in Cocktail Party history. As the Athens Banner-Herald noted this week, there are now only a half-dozen current Bulldogs who’ve played in a loss to Florida: Aaron Murray, Rantavious Wooten, Arthur Lynch, Kenarious Gates, Blake Sailors and Chase Vasser.

Where once Jacksonville loomed so large in the Bulldog psyche that Georgia fans were calling for the game to be moved elsewhere, that particular monkey appears to have scrambled off the players’ backs.

“I wasn’t here when they were beating us,” Bulldog linebacker Amarlo Herrera said at this week’s press conference, “so I couldn’t say if it was a mental thing. We just look at them as another SEC team. But it is a rivalry game so it is a big one.”

That much hasn’t changed. Despite Florida’s dominance in the previous couple of decades, the Bulldogs lead the series 49-40-2, and in the 80 years the game has been played in Jacksonville, Georgia holds a 42-37-1 advantage.

Still, it’s always been a streaky rivalry, with Vince Dooley having a 17-7-1 record against the Gators during his years as Georgia head coach, a fact conveniently overlooked by those who like to cite Florida’s winning of 18 games in the series after the Steve Spurrier era commenced.

Georgia fans have had reason to celebrate the past couple of years in Jacksonville. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia fans have had reason to celebrate the past couple of years in Jacksonville. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

But in recent years Georgia-Florida has become the Dogs’ most competitive rivalry, with the Gators holding a slim 5-4 edge in the past nine games (with one of those wins by just 3 points in overtime) and the series deadlocked 3-3 over the past six years.

More importantly, it’s the Dogs who have the winning streak now, and it’s the Gators and their coach who are feeling the pressure and fielding uncomfortable questions from the media about when they’re going to turn this series around.

Mark Richt certainly knows what that’s like. He told reporters this week that the “When are you going to beat Florida?” questions in the past got pretty old.

But, he noted, “That isn’t the big topic of conversation this year.”

Both teams enter this year’s game banged up and clinging to a slender hope in the SEC East, but what really matters to the Bulldog Nation is that Georgia can win three in a row Saturday against the Gators for the first time since 1987-89 and Murray can become the first Bulldogs quarterback since Buck Belue to lead his team to three straight wins over Florida.

Defensive lineman Garrison Smith said the team recognizes the importance of that. “It would definitely be big just because this rivalry is so important and it means so much to so many people. To be able to be a part of those winning teams would definitely be big. I would like to leave that with my legacy, being a senior.”

It’s great to be able to hear talk like that again during Georgia-Florida week.

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261 comments Add your comment

sigh

October 30th, 2013
9:31 am

UGA Insider

October 30th, 2013
9:46 am

I don’t know what to predict this week. Are we going to be the team I saw vs USCe or the team I saw against Vandy? With this coaching staff who really knows. The UGA special teams is the worst I have seen in 30 years and the D struggles against nimble QB’s…or QB’s in general really. The UGA has stunk since the Tenn game and Bobo would rather kick field goals and win a game 3-0. He has done a terrible job since the Tenn game as well and cannot seem to notice when there are 8 or 9 guys on the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

With all that said UF stinks but this game worries me. I’m afraid major changes are ahead at UGA this offseason and this is the beginning.

UGA 2
UF 3

ramblingbuzz

October 30th, 2013
9:53 am

Enter your comments here

ramblingbuzz

October 30th, 2013
9:55 am

UF’s offense is terrible. Dawgs should win this one if they can score points.

Fat Pie

October 30th, 2013
9:57 am

“With another loss, will Florida’s Will Muschamp be on the hot seat?”

Too late for that. He’s already there.

gbal

October 30th, 2013
9:58 am

I agree … Listening to CMR presser Tuesday, there sees to be little fire. Too casual…

gbal

October 30th, 2013
10:02 am

If they can score points…. That is the concern. We seem to have given up on the offense last week with game plan and play calling. Should have kept the petal down even with new faces; against Vandy, knowing the D was not going to change over night and that we would need to score points on UF and AU. Who knows what the plan will be this week? Maaaaaaybe we were hiding something against Vandy for UF???

1969 Graduate

October 30th, 2013
10:26 am

Can our coaching staff screw this one up? You bet. They’re capable of screwing just about anything up with their incompetence, arrogance, and lack of passion. Throw in a little bit of let’s-not-hurt-anyone’s-feelings, too.

Bad play calling? You bet.

Incomprehensible defense? Yes, sir.

Defense designed to make Herman “Second String” Klutz look like Peyton Manning? Of course.

Special teams? Well, can’t blame this one on the Special Teams Coach!

Go, Dawgs! Overcome both Florida’s ineptitude and that of your coaches.

old dog

October 30th, 2013
10:29 am

Back in the ’70’s, there was war waged to get those tickets. I was there when Goff brought us back in ‘76. It was always a great game. Now, both teams are mid-pack at best. Injuries to both teams have been tough, but like somebody told me: “We done lost our mojo…..!”

JRW7

October 30th, 2013
10:31 am

You just never know what you’re going to get with a CMR team!

SimpleDawg

October 30th, 2013
10:35 am

Thankfully, whatever the Dawgs have left in the tank, Florida will bring it all out this weekend.

This game will be won on grit, guts, and determination.

The defense may have found their ’sittin’ ducks’……..

The offense will have to play to their abilities.

Spanky

October 30th, 2013
10:40 am

I’m fairly optimistic about this game..Gurley,Bennett,Mathews, and possibly JHC, all coming back from injuries?! These guys are playmakers who will matter in a game! Also, I read that Rumph and Tibbs are making strides at WR! With Fla in the same injury-boat as us, and some of our guys coming back, I think the Dawgs win this by 10. Also, the (notso)Special teams have had a lot of attention in the past week and a half, so we’ll see! How Bout Them Dawgs!!!

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
10:43 am

Well guys…..if I haven’t posted by Sunday….that’s means I had a stroke before halftime of this game. This years team is not good for anyUGA fans health.lol

dawgfan

October 30th, 2013
10:44 am

State of the Georgia-Florida rivalry: Coach Richt’s seat should be warm but unfortunately it isn’t because a large portion of our fan base is satisfied with anyone who can do only a marginally better job than Jim Donnan.

“This game will be won on grit, guts and determination.”

If that’s the case we’re in serious trouble because we don’t win many of those games. Garrison Smith is still whining about the refs in the Vandy game. Let’s just hope Florida sucks as bad as I think they do. That’s our best chance.

UGA Insider

October 30th, 2013
10:46 am

Spanky,

UGA is going to screw this up I guarantee. Same game plan in place that was used vs Mizzou and Vandy.

ARdawg

October 30th, 2013
10:47 am

JRW7

I disagree. I generally know what we’re going to get with a MR coached team. Once in a while surprises true, but disappointment is becoming all to familiar

dawgfan

October 30th, 2013
10:51 am

I guess that’s why Florida wins championships and we don’t. Unlike us, they don’t tolerate underperforming coaches.

They’ll probably get Charlie Strong back and start kicking our arse again. Wait and see.

Fat Pie

October 30th, 2013
11:04 am

@gbal

“Who knows what the plan will be this week? Maaaaaaybe we were hiding something against Vandy for UF???”

***

So, you think CMR has been playing that old “holding back” trick that he used in the Clemson game?

He’s a sneaky little devil, ain’t he? ;-)

7576DAWG

October 30th, 2013
11:06 am

I like Mark Richt a lot and hopes he will be at Georgia for a long time but I do think he is too complacent with not having more of a drive to set the standard. Georgia takes one game at a time and plays each game against the team they are playing by exploiting their weaknesses in hopes that if we don’t beat ourselves it will produce a win. I don’t think that kind of mindset is enough and I am surprised that McGarity hasn’t talked to Richt about setting the standard. I honestly feel the way Saban conducts his expectations is to treat every game like he is playing against the hardest team in the nation for the National Championship. That he is playing only 13 or 14 games a year and there is no one game more important than the others. Just like Richt let his team take 6 out of 8 days off after the Vanderbilt game. I wonder how many days Saban would have let his team take off after they lost to Vanderbilt. Our season will essentially be over in 30 days when there will be plenty of time for rest. When I was playing sports if I made a mistake , I didn’t take more time off I doubled or triple my effort so I would get better and not make that mistake again.
I know these are 18 to 23 year old kids at Georgia but only a few of the kids have a personal drive that is where it needs to be and I think the reason is because Richt is way too easy and his personal expectations and team expectations are a reflection of our success on the field. Whether you like him or not Saban’s expectations and personal drives for himself and his team reflects his success on the field, also. There seems to be a huge difference and I wish that Richt could swallow his pride long enough to admit that he could learn something from Saban. I’m counting on McGarity to help Richt accept that he is not where he needs to be as a Head Coach.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
11:09 am

I was going to this game….but my wife said I would probably pass out before crossing the St. John’s river. So ya know I declined the tickets…I think my wife was right.

Columbus Dawg

October 30th, 2013
11:11 am

I can not believe that a UGA sportswriter would actually write a column suggesting that a coach of a rival SEC East team, one that has won THREE National Championships since UGA sniffed one, has a coach on the hot seat, while UGA has the biggest JOKE of a coaching staff in the league from top to bottom. That is absolutely rich.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
11:14 am

I don’t have confidence in this game because the back up WR’s are not getting separation from sec db’s……I tell ya now…as soon as Murray gets sacked a couple of times and he throws an interception. Bobo will shut down the offense….he will to just try to run the ball and win it with the defense. I hope gurley can go the whole game…cause if Douglas gets more than 10 carries….he usually fumbles the game away.

GoneGator

October 30th, 2013
11:14 am

FIRE MUSCHAMP!!!! AND WE THOUGHT RON ZOOK WAS A JOKE

HE’S A UGA ALUM, AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN HIRED. RON ZOOK NEVER LOST TWO IN A ROW TO THE DAWGS, AND NOW YOUR BOY MUSCHAMP IS ABOUT TO MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW!!!

COULD HE BE THROWING THE GAME TO FAVOR HIS ALMA MATER, OR IS HE REALLY THAT BAD OF A COACH??????

Fat Pie

October 30th, 2013
11:20 am

Muschamp is a danged good coach, but he’s a DC — not a HC.

He’s like a weed. Not a bad plant, just placed in the wrong environment.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
11:25 am

Richt and bobo held back the offense against Clemson….I guess they didn’t want to break the Death Valley visiter points record….so FSU much obliged. Richt didn’t want to hurt dabo’s feelings.haha!

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
11:28 am

Gone gator…

Don’t worry…..Tyler Murphy will look like Payton manning and kelvin Taylor will look like Barry sanders. Trey burton will look Percy harvin…….so don’t worry…Grantham is your get well card.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
11:39 am

As long is Richt is our head coach….we will never win in Columbia sc again…sad but true

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
11:42 am

The problem is with Richt we know what we got and what we have ain’t getting us where we need to be…..8-4 to 10-2…is the best we will ever have with Richt!

Desert Fox

October 30th, 2013
11:51 am

This game is a toss up. With all the injuries on both teams it’ll come down to coaching and which team really wants it most. FL, statistically, is still a good D. Even w/TG and Bennett back, AM still needs his OL to block and protect. If not FL has the edge. FL O is worse off then GA’s. Even GA’s D as porous as it is, ought to be able to keep them in check. Dawgs have slight edge on D. Have to give ST’s edge to FL. No team in the USA is worse then GA in T/O’s that lead to opponents TD’s or FG’s. Officiating is even. There’s no telling where that axe will fall. With all the “hate” expect the ref’s to play this close to the hilt. Fans on both sides have little faith in their respective coaching staffs. I think FL’s HC needs this win more then CMR to keep his job at the end of the season. The winning coaches get a reprieve of sorts so there’s a lot riding on this game for them. Give the edge to FL since they’re playing for their pay checks more so then the Richt crew. Intangibles will play big in this game. T/O’s, stupid mistakes, THE REF’s, more injuries to already depleted rosters, can turn this carriage back into a pumpkin for one of these teams. Hope it ain’t the dawgs.

Skokie Dog

October 30th, 2013
11:54 am

I wonder if CBS regrets choosing this as their feature game from this week’s SEC schedule. They made that decision long ago, before both teams were banged up so badly.

NCDawg

October 30th, 2013
12:01 pm

Columbus Dawg
October 30th, 2013
11:11 am

I can’t believe that any FAN would be so short sighted either. Did UF win the East division the past 2 years? NO. The were BEATEN on the field by this “joke of coaching staff” as you say. Muschamp should be on the hotseat. He has a great defense but his offense is abysmal. He doesn’t even have the pieces in place after 3 years of recruiting to put a respectable offense on the field. That is why he is on the hotseat. He should have WRs lining up to play for his school but instead they are woefully undermanned at all the skill positions. This is why they HAVEN’t EVEN played for an SEC championship under Muschamp.

The “joke of a coaching staff” played the past 2 years. And took the defending National Champions to the last play. Coach Saban would LAUGH at you and call you a joke of a FAN for calling our staff a “joke” That would be absolutely RICH to behold.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
12:11 pm

Yeah y’all keep disrespecting the Florida offense and watch them just magically rip us a part! I agree what’s Richt’s record against coaches on the hot seat??? It’s not to good.

NCDawg

October 30th, 2013
12:13 pm

Ok… well I’m bailing… I have no wish to sit in on the “Lets Bash Coach Richt and company” daily b!tch fest. Every damn day you slime bags ruin these blogs. There is no discussion only complaining. SOSDD.

What great supposed fans we have! Way to stand behind your team! I could handle it if it wasn’t the same people making the same comments over and over and over. I used to tell me kids when they would whine and carry on “you know, repeating the same thing over and over isn’t going to help you get your way.”

Same holds true for you children. Just go do something else if you are so disgruntled. Then maybe there can be some genuine discussion of Georgia Bulldog football on these blogs.

Just damn…

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
12:15 pm

I’m just going to go ahead and have my melt down now….when we lose….this season is really going to get away from us….the sad thing is….vandy is probably better than Florida…but ya know we want be able to see that sat……

We have no WR ’s left….I just don’t know how in the hell we are going to win!!!!!

krazdawg

October 30th, 2013
12:23 pm

Florida needs a new HC. We need a new defensive coordinator. I wonder who we get?

GTBob

October 30th, 2013
12:25 pm

I wonder if Muschamp would be on the hot seat if he were the coach at UGA with similar results.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
12:46 pm

Whatever it takes for this coaching staff to lose this game…they will find a way. You can take that to Vegas.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
1:11 pm

The only way we beat fla…is if Todd gurley breaks Herschel walkers single game rushing record of 283 yards. Real talk baby!

Fat Pie

October 30th, 2013
1:29 pm

Skokie Dog

October 30th, 2013
11:54 am

I wonder if CBS regrets choosing this as their feature game from this week’s SEC schedule. They made that decision long ago, before both teams were banged up so badly.

***

Arkansas vs. Auburn
Missouri vs. Tennessee
South Carolina vs. Mississippi State

I’m sure they’d rather have any of those games right now.
Jax is the Turnip Bowl this year.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
1:41 pm

“Mark Richt certainly knows what that’s like. He told reporters this week that the “When are you going to beat Florida?” questions in the past got pretty old.”

I guess someone didnt like tough truthful questioning

Dawggie

October 30th, 2013
1:42 pm

Florida lost a starting offensive lineman in practice this week, and their line already was a major liability. The only way they score is if we turn the ball over or give up special teams plays. Even Muschamp called his offense “inept” – and that was before the latest injury

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
1:43 pm

Bob

He would get a pay raise just like Johnson

McDawg

October 30th, 2013
2:04 pm

–i really hope this game doesn’t come down to a blocked punt

Bulldog Born & Bred

October 30th, 2013
2:08 pm

I hope Musschamp gets fired &we hire him for our defensive Coach

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
2:20 pm

Muschamp as our defensive coach

we actually might start doing something if that were to happen

1969 Graduate

October 30th, 2013
2:31 pm

Our offense isn’t too hot right now, but Florida’s defense is quite good.

Our defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone is quite a while, but maybe Florida’s offense will make our day. I doubt it, but I hope so.

So, at best we’re 50-50. At best.

Then, what about Special Teams? Honestly, I don’t know how their ST has been playing, but we all know how ours has performed. Let’s call it a draw out of my ignorance.

Will it all come down to coaching?

Go, Bulldogs.

Silly Bloggers

October 30th, 2013
2:36 pm

NCDawg. I don’t frequent the blogs very much since the trolls took over, but you are part of the last pocket of resistance that puts the blinders on to Richt and Company. I doubt anyone would consider Richt a bad person or even a bad coach…but he isn’t the coach we need.

We have lost openers again OkSt, Boise State, and Clemson. We got to the SECCG on the coattails of an easy schedule. We did come very close to knocking off Bama, but we gave up 400 yards on the ground with the closest you will come to an NFL defense.

Fast forward to this year. You can argue we have lost two games alone on Special Teams play (or lack thereof). We have had other games closer than they needed to be due to Special Teams. Our defense is an embarassment. Youth only goes so far as an excuse. If anyone “deserves” a pass at all, it would be Bobo…but his gameplan against Vandy reminded me of Jim Donnan playing not to lose.

At the end of the day, we have some great men who are great recruiters. These same men are too stubborn to solve an atrocious special teams issue that has been ongoing for years. They are not talented enough to make our defense play even average. They have never had the ability to go for the jugular.

There are games lost on bad officiating, there are games lost because the ball bounces funny, and there are games lost because a key player simply has a bad game. The issue is and has been that when our offense does not show their A game, we have no other facet of the game to fall back on. Instead of picking our offense up, our defense and special teams compound the problem.

I don’t have the answer, I just know Richt ain’t it.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
2:41 pm

There’s really no excuse in losing this one FL’s QB has been hurt and they have been trying new people on their O-line

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
2:49 pm

NCDawg

What new posts (or should I say excuses) do you bring other than the same ones everyday

BankerDawg

October 30th, 2013
2:50 pm

Who cares, both of these coachs should be ran out of town, but for different reasons. NCDawg was right in the fact that there is no excuse for FLA’s offensive woes, the state is extremely deep in skilled 4 and 5 star players. GA is no different excwpt that we have signed the right players. The problem is, a duly noted by others, is that we dont sign enough of them. Both coached are not equipped to be HC’s in this league and at every turn they have made the wrong decisions regarding supporting staff. No matter who wins the game, neither program is a winner right now.