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.

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

Want to sound off on the Bulldogs-Gators rivalry or the complicated SEC East race? Got something else you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

261 comments Add your comment

JB

October 30th, 2013
2:51 pm

Tell Coach Boom we will have an opening soon in Athens for a DC, and he can come HOME. Also, I for one would give him a shot here as the HCIW. I would. I like the guy.

BankerDawg

October 30th, 2013
2:51 pm

Sorry for the grammar – geese

BankerDawg

October 30th, 2013
2:52 pm

Smart and Muschamp at home with Hines Ward and Herschel added to the staff at WR and RB coaches

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
2:57 pm

Banker

I do know Hines Ward wants to coach in some capacity at UGA; I just dont see our athletic dept willing to have that much excitement on the sidelines

JB

October 30th, 2013
3:01 pm

Our side line is pathetic during games. That’s the ONLY props I give to Grantham….he does have a pulse. Richt looks like he’s waiting for his car at the car wash.

Silly Bloggers

October 30th, 2013
3:01 pm

I’d still love to have Chris Petersen. I know he has stated he will never leave due to his child’s conditon and excellent treatment in Boise…but the rumor mill suggests maybe USC. I’m hesitant about Kirby Smart, but then again, Saban’s coaching tree has had much more success than failures…and he is a UGA alum. Can you imagine the fire he would bring to Athens?

Those are the only two that come to mind. One thing is certain…UGA is an unbelievable coaching opportunity. The list should be extremely short for candidates. In hindsight, I still think Dooley made a great decision on Richt, but whether the game changed or he changed, he hasn’t been the same the 2nd half of his tenure with us.

JB

October 30th, 2013
3:04 pm

Richt hasn’t changed…………and THAT’S THE PROBLEM. NO NEW WRINKLES AT ALL. EVER. You can scheme for Georgia watching 7-8 year old tape.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

October 30th, 2013
3:06 pm

JB

So you’re saying teams that play us have to dust off the Beta Max video’s ;)

Silly Bloggers

October 30th, 2013
3:08 pm

LOL, that is sad but true. Richt’s perceived success has also been tightly wound with our defense. Richt is by no means a defensive coach. His one bit of influence is his impact on who gets hired. I miss the days watching Thomas Davis pancake receivers and Champ being all over the field. Seems like 10 years ago…wait, it was…sigh.

Fat Pie

October 30th, 2013
3:10 pm

Georgia needs a HC who knows how to get a hot, young chick onto his Harley. Florida will probably wind up with him though.

Dawggie

October 30th, 2013
3:15 pm

If Muschamp continues to struggle, Florida will act decisively to replace him with a proven, successful coach who will rebound quickly from the Muschamp era. Meanwhile, we’ll still be debating about Richt and Bobo…

lynn bohannon

October 30th, 2013
3:26 pm

their will be no scalpers at the game its hard to give them away now I have never seen it like this.

Fat Pie

October 30th, 2013
3:26 pm

2014 looks like it could be The Year of the Dawg!

I hear they’re already getting votes to be the pre-season Number 1 team. ;-)

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 30th, 2013
3:30 pm

So UGA wants to be the UGA before Mark Richt? What was so awesome about Donnan and Golf? This may be the best you can get.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing can Stop it

October 30th, 2013
3:32 pm

Two years ago, your fan base wanted to make Todd Gratham the head coach. Oh wow I wish that would have happened.

Perhaps you guys should realize that you really don’t understand football in the penal colony.

ShowMeYurTD's

October 30th, 2013
4:50 pm

Dawgs over Gators by 14. You heard it here first. Come on Dawgs just go out whip up on the lizards and have fun doing it ! Gurley 286 rushing yards! DAWGS 41- Lizards 27.

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
4:50 pm

Uh oh, Jarvis Jones ain’t here to cover up for Murray no more. If Murray throws for his average three turnovers a game vs Florida, we gonna lose this boys and girls.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
4:52 pm

I remember Ray Goff’s first game…we beat Baylor 15-3. It’s funny how time changes everything. Baylor would beat us by 30 points if we played today…gee

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
4:56 pm

Richt said he was going to Skype Shawn Williams and have him give an motivational speech…..gee coach you couldn’t do that yourself? Maybe Richt should go ahead and call Obama up and have him give a speech.

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
4:57 pm

Oh oh, Murray only has 4 3rd down conversions in each of the 3 losses. As bad as Florida’s offense is, they’ve only had 1 game all season that bad. Murray is averaging 4 3rd down conversions in his last 2 games. Florida had 5-6 in last 2 games each.

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:09 pm

Tyler Murphy–UF Qb, has only thrown 2 interceptions all season.
Aaron Murray has thrown 6, 4 in the last 2 games.

Tyler Murphy completes 62.7 of his passes
Aaron Murray completes 62.1 if his

Tyler Murphy completes 61% on 3rd down
Aaron Murray completes 54% on 3rd down

TM has 0 turnovers on his own 0-40 yardline
AM has 4 turnovers there

TM completes 72% against unranked teams
AM completes 61% against unranked teams

TM has a 5 to 1 td to int ratio vs unranked teams
AM has a 3 to 1 int to td ratio vs unranked teams

TM has 0 turnovers in the 4th quarter
AM has 3

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:16 pm

UF’s offense has 44 3rd down conversions
UGA has 33.

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:17 pm

UF has 2 games where they lost the turnover battle
UGA has 4 games where they lost the turnover battle

Dawggie

October 30th, 2013
5:20 pm

You do understand that AM has attempted more than twice as many passes (224 vs. 110) this season as TM, right? Their yards/attempt are very different too (AM – 8.65 vs. TM – 6.7). AM is asked to win games. TM is asked not to lose games. Their roles are completely different.

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:21 pm

UGA defense has given up more than 30 points 5 times
UF defense has given up more than 20 points 2 times

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:25 pm

Aaron Murray averages 3 turnovers a game vs Florida over his career.

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:30 pm

UF is in the top 2 in the SEC in opponents punt & kick return
UF is in the top 3 in punt return and kick return–UGA is 11th and 14th

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:32 pm

UF is #2 in the SEC in scoring defense @16 points per game
UGA is is LAST @33 points per game

VillageIdiot

October 30th, 2013
5:34 pm

UF is +1 this season in turnover margin
UGA is -5

Note:
Aaron Murray has NEVER beaten an SEC team when he loses the turnover battle

Gertbeet Frobe

October 30th, 2013
5:41 pm

I hope I’m wrong but I don’t see GA hitting 20 in this game and the Grantham D will make FL’s offense look like the 49er’s from the ’80’s. I don’t even know if I want to watch. Ugghh… But let’s still talk about the possibility of going back to the SEC championship where AL can destroy us by 30.

Gertbeet Frobe

October 30th, 2013
5:42 pm

The village idiot makes some good points. In a game like this with contrasting offenses and defenses, I’ll take the team with the best defense.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
5:43 pm

Village idiot……how many screen names do you have??? You definitely got the idiot part right.

Bulldawg35

October 30th, 2013
5:44 pm

Also….I think fat pie is pig iron. Haha! I strongly believe.

Elmer Fudd

October 30th, 2013
6:00 pm

Muschamp is Florida’s own version of Ray Goff.

NCDawg

October 30th, 2013
6:56 pm

“Richt hasn’t changed…………and THAT’S THE PROBLEM. NO NEW WRINKLES AT ALL. EVER. You can scheme for Georgia watching 7-8 year old tape.”

It didn’t seem to do Chavis any good did it? How about Ward at SC? Do you really think at all before you post? Most of you guys seem to have very spotty memories. Or convenient memories. Our offense was unstoppable for the first month of the season and then came the injuries. The drop off was inevitable because of the depth of those injuries. But to hear you people tell it our offense ALWAYS sucks and Bobo is a complete moron. If you really are Bulldog fans then you sure weren’t thinking that when Murray found JSW wide open against SC, were you?

Dawg89

October 30th, 2013
7:03 pm

I can hardly believe how bad the Vandy game was. If they play and coach like that, Muschamp will be just fine.

NCDawg

October 30th, 2013
7:10 pm

The blog is eating my posts yet again… no way to know what will randomly pop up later. I don’t have time to waste on this… very frustrating. Have fun dwelling on ONLY the negative.

dawgfan

October 30th, 2013
7:36 pm

Keep on fighting the good fight NCdawg.

BankerDawg

October 30th, 2013
8:48 pm

GA/FLA week and we’re talking about whose seat is “hot”. Wow, could this be any more exciting? Look, this game is not a battle of the titans by any means. I wish both AD’s would collectively make a satement and hold a press conference together. “Attention all GA and Florida fans. This weekend will be a battle of coaches. The winner gets to coach another week. The loser is sent packing.” I know how absurd that sounds, I could barely write it. Do you think Richt would have given the boys 2 days off in preparation?

Mobile Dawg

October 30th, 2013
9:21 pm

Nothing Mark Richt does surprises me. I would like to fall asleep and have that dream you posted in the two o’clock hour Banker. Kirby, Muschamp, Ward, and Walker. We’re “stuck” with Richt and doomed to mediocrity.

Bama Fan #2

October 30th, 2013
9:23 pm

Hope the dawgs wins the rest of the games this season!!
It is a shame that injuries cost the dawgs a chance for the
SECCG!! RTR

BankerDawg

October 30th, 2013
9:47 pm

BamaFan – thanks for the sentiment. Yes, injuries have plagued us this year. I guess that happens sometimes. But rest assured, we are not a championship caliber team this year. In some years we’ve had so much talent all over the field we could overcome deficiencies in other areas. This year, our coaching staff has been exposed. For years folks around CFB have said that Bama could win the MNC with their second team. What we’ve learned is that without our 5 stars, we are a mid to bottom SEC team. In my opinion, Our coaching staff has hidden behind these NFL caliber talent. 10 win seasons with easy schedules are empty to the true fan. I demand more. The testament of a great coach is not what he can do with a “star”, but what can you do with the rest. Richt has failed the test. Make no mistake, even with all our offensive starters we still are not a complete team and certainly not a championship contender. Yes, probably a legitimate Top 10 team with Murray, Gurley, Marshall, Malcom Mitchell, Justin Scott Wesly, Chris Conley, Michael Bennett, and Arrhur Lynch. But My lord, what coach couldn’t field that and win 9-10 games a year?

BankerDawg

October 30th, 2013
9:52 pm

Mobile – that’s what I’ve been relegated to, wishing. What’s so ludicrous is that we could probably make that happen. I’d take my chances with that crowd.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 31st, 2013
12:06 am

DAWGS win their 3rd in a row over the Reptiles ::: 16 – 10.

I would predict a Vowels upset over Mizz-who? except they will be starting a backup QB in this game who has little to no game time experience.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 31st, 2013
12:06 am

DAWGS win their 3rd in a row over the Reptiles ::: 16 – 10.

I would predict a Vowels upset over Mizz-who? except they will be starting a backup QB in this game who has little to no game time experience.

HotDawg

October 31st, 2013
12:30 am

Bye bye Lizards

Columbus Dawg

October 31st, 2013
4:32 am

NC, what I meant in earlier post is IMO, it is neither smart or classy to write a blog slamming CWM when the Dawgs coaching staff has left much to be desired this season. I will stand by what I said, if the Dawgs coaching staff had this team adequately prepared to open the season there would not have been a loss at Clemson, or Vanderbilt. Those games were lost because the basic fundamentals of football were not applied. That and for the zillionth time Murray fumbled it away at Clemson. Before you start in, I was very critical of Stafford’s constant turnovers as well. Also I have to mention the horrid special teams play that led to giving the easy points to Clemson as well. Missouri deserved their win much more than Clemson or Vandy for those reasons, although special teams sucked against Mizzou as well. Richt can’t help the injuries, but he can sure help the unprepared part.

Now, as far as the rest of the year, I actually think the Dawgs have a chance to run it out, and whether they return to the dome is neither here nor there as far as I’m concerned, but they have an excellent shot at finishing on a very good note, and 2014 sets up VERY well for Georgia if they will PREPARE for it. Right now beating the three rivals left on 2013 schedule would be sweet. Especially the upstart Auburn Tigers who think they are something again, and mouths are running already.

dawgfan

October 31st, 2013
4:59 am

I’m with Columbus Dawg. I like Bill’s columns but his comments on Muschamp are laughable. We should be worried about our own house right now. We’re in no position to scoff at anyone else’s coaching problems. Quite frankly, I find that arrogant and delusional. Richt’s seat should be every bit as warm as Muschamp’s. If it isn’t, I think that speaks volumes about the different standards to which these two programs hold themselves. The fact that we’re willing to tolerate mediocrity while our biggest rivals are not is nothing to celebrate.

This is really the problem with the whole Richt regime. While other programs are actively trying to improve we’re stuck in neutral doing the same thing we were doing 10 years ago.

I weep for the future of Georgia football.

Bulldawg35

October 31st, 2013
7:05 am

Does anybody know what happened to the Jeff danzler show??? I did enjoy watching it! I guess they threw in the towel after the vandy loss. I can’t say I don’t blame them though.

Bulldawg35

October 31st, 2013
7:19 am

Enter your comments herei expect fla’s defense will be enough,..to eat us. Remember they held LSU to 17 points at home. Nothing worse than losing to those slimy lizards…..but if we can lose to vandy..then we can lose to any sec then. This coaching staff is unpredictable.