Even if Florida is ripe to be had, has UGA ripened yet?

In 2008 Florida scored at least 30 points in all nine games against SEC opposition, including the one it lost to Ole Miss. Its average margin of victory in those games was 30 points.

In 2009 Florida has scored 30 points against one SEC opponent, that being Kentucky. The Gators managed 23 against Tennessee, 13 against LSU, 23 against Arkansas and 29 against Mississippi State. Their average margin of victory in those five games was 13.4 points.

As silly as it sounds to say of the nation’s No. 1 team as led by the nation’s No. 1 player, Florida isn’t playing well. It was lucky to beat Arkansas in the Swamp — remember, Georgia scored 52 points against the Razorbacks on the road — and needed a phantom interception to escape Starkville with a 10-point victory. (Remember, Georgia Tech beat MSU by 11 points on the same field in a game that was only cosmetically close.)

Tim Tebow ranks 45th in the nation in total offense. By way of comparison, Joe Cox ranks 53rd. After the Mississippi State game Tebow didn’t meet the media, which was an utter shock. (He said later he wanted to spend time with MSU coach Dan Mullen, formerly Florida’s offensive coordinator, and family.) But Urban Meyer acknowledged this week: “Tim Tebow is not playing at his highest level.”

Tebow told reporters on Monday: “It’s kind of new and it is frustrating.”

Put simply, Florida is vulnerable. And looky who the Gators play this Saturday.

Georgia is coming off its most impressive game of 2009, albeit against Vanderbilt. It has had a week to rest and ready a new end-zone dance. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) When last the Bulldogs had a bye before Florida, they beat the Gators and Tebow in a performance so stunning it rankled Florida for the next calendar year.

But let’s get serious. Georgia is 4-3. It needed a last-gasp pass breakup to beat South Carolina and a last-second field goal to subdue Arizona State. It lost by 26 points — the second-worst defeat under Mark Richt, topped only by 49-10 in Jacksonville last season — to unranked Tennessee. It led Vandy only 17-10 after 40 minutes.

Some team is going to beat Florida. Georgia, sorry to say, is not that team. It doesn’t defend well enough, and it isn’t going to score many points against Charlie Strong’s inspired bunch. (Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation in total defense; Georgia ranks 70th.) The Bulldogs will play hard and keep it close for a half, and then superior forces will carry the day/night.

It’s weird. Georgia hasn’t beaten a No. 1 team since it stunned Florida 24-3 in 1985, and these Gators don’t look nearly as impregnable as those Gators did. But this isn’t a vintage Georgia team. In almost any other year it would be easy to pick the upset. Not this time.

563 comments Add your comment

Joey

October 27th, 2009
12:59 pm

Dawgs are past ripe Mark, more like rotten….

Jason

October 27th, 2009
1:01 pm

Agree…unfortunately – but alas, go dawgs!

brewdawg

October 27th, 2009
1:02 pm

My first weekend working in almost two months comes during the UGA-Fla game. This, after four consecutive trips to Jacksonville ( 1-3 record :( ) . I will be requesting off next year. You guys hold the fort down for me, and let’s see if UGA can surprise us all. Be well.

PMC

October 27th, 2009
1:03 pm

Tebow not playing well is more a result of not having Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy than anything else. Tebow is killing it on the ground. They had some injuries and they don’t have anywhere near what they have had at the receiver position. He’s got Hernandez and Cooper and a whole lot of young question marks. Harvin and Murphy were special players who never go their true due at Florida.

homer

October 27th, 2009
1:06 pm

Joey

October 27th, 2009
1:08 pm

Right, Mark. This is not Dooley’s Dawgs that used to show up at the Gator Bowl with a gleam in their eye, and knew they were the real favorite, no matter what the Gators were ranked. This is 2009 and Willie’s soft D is just what Tebow needs to get back on track.

Lindsey Snot

October 27th, 2009
1:10 pm

After all the sick games both teams have palyed this year, this is the game where UF gets well. Sorry ugaggers, the TimTebowBrigade gets a 40 point win. Droopy dawgs go home to await their now annual drubbing by CPJ.

Rob

October 27th, 2009
1:11 pm

If the zebra’s call a straight game, UGA might have a chance.

Rogers Redding

October 27th, 2009
1:11 pm

Good call Mark on Florida winning this Saturday. There is no way I’m letting anybody beat the Gators or Bama before the SEC championship game. Gotta take care of my boys. Oh yeah, go TECH!

RonnieGarDner

October 27th, 2009
1:12 pm

Yes they are and no they Can’t.

Delbert D.

October 27th, 2009
1:15 pm

Tebow really misses Percy Harvin. Riley Cooper and the tight end, Hernandez are the only go-to guys he has this year. UF’s punting is less than 40 yards net. UGA should win all the field-flips with Butler.

Hagood

October 27th, 2009
1:16 pm

Douche 3:16 is going down!

William

October 27th, 2009
1:18 pm

What will CMR say after the gators put up 56 on UGA!Maybe he will say,” Good try Willie! We will get them next time!” or the next or the next or the next or the next or the next or the next or the next or the next.

Dooley

October 27th, 2009
1:19 pm

Until We get some confidence, we will not beat a quality opponent. Player for Player i like the Dawgs, but I Agree with Joey @1:06, we don’t have that swag that we used to have.

Mark Bradley's Wife

October 27th, 2009
1:20 pm

I feel like Jow Cox will truly show his NFL potential this game. I expect hi to be the talk of the country for weeks and weeks to come. He should be drafted riht after Sam Bradford, and be taking snaps for Tampa Bay this time next year.

Owens will dominate the pocket and sack Tebow at least 5 times. Look for the Defense to have somewhat of a resurrection.

UGA- 45 UF- 13

Pi$$onaDawg

October 27th, 2009
1:20 pm

UGA has a chance to put THE DARK VISOR in the GA. DOME. Do it DAWGS. Help the hated one get a chance at BAMA or LSU. God that has to suck.

Hagood

October 27th, 2009
1:22 pm

I hate the term swag…Save that for crap for the U fans!

gatorman770

October 27th, 2009
1:22 pm

Mark, you’re not so much of a UGA Homer today as you displayed yesterday.
Good objective article!
I believe the curs could win this weekend if the Gators have their traditional yearly defensive holiday as they had against Mississippi last year and the Gators continue to display the lack of pass/rush balance. Whether it be from the lack of good fast experienced receivers (due to losing 3 to injurys before the season started)or Tim’s concussion or a combination of both, Tebow and the Gators passing offense is “suckin’ hind tit” and if Cox, Green, and UGAs running backs have a good day, it wouldn’t surprise me if they pull out a close victory.

That said…… GO GATORS!!!!!

Supes

October 27th, 2009
1:23 pm

Mark,

you are correct sir.

this UGA team doesn’t have it, starting with the coaching staff and to the players, esp. Joe Cox on offense and our entire secondary on defense.

FLA is superior in all stages of the game…except possibly field goal kicking and punting (edge goes to UGA)

As a UGA fan, with my heart I want to believe we’ve got a shot to beat FLA. However the cold reality is FLA is simply the better team, and unless THEY beat themselves…UGA has not shot if FLA plays up to it’s potential.

If the game is competitive…at least it’ll be something to build on for the remaining games (AUB, KY and Tech)

Pi$$onaDawg

October 27th, 2009
1:25 pm

I know there is noway even if UGA beats UF the UF will not be in the GA. DOME but it is fun to DREAM. You know like UGA beating the GATORS. HAHAHA.

Mike T.

October 27th, 2009
1:26 pm

Why don’t all you naysaying Dawg fans just dress out in orange and blue this Saturday.Be sure to wear a pair of cut off jean shorts.

Jekyll

October 27th, 2009
1:26 pm

59-35-5 ahahahahahahahahahahahaha !!!!!!

SEC Refs

October 27th, 2009
1:26 pm

Don’t worry everyone, if the game is close we’ll make sure Florida gets the “edge” if you know what we mean!

Randy Marsh

October 27th, 2009
1:27 pm

There is no way it’ll happen this year. FL’s D is too good so if they score 14, that’ll be enough, but they’ll probably score 45 and get Baby Jesus/Meyer’s spooning buddy’s heisman campaign back on track. After tech puts 50 on us, Willie can then get another big raise at the end of the season and we can continue to watch mediocre football for at least 1 more season. Sickening…

blazer

October 27th, 2009
1:27 pm

DOES PERCY HARVEY STILL PLAY? IS THE STATE SENATOR FROM FLAWDA GOING

TO LEAD THE CHEERS!! GO GATOR!

Moonlight Mile

October 27th, 2009
1:27 pm

We have the advantage at literally one position (AJ Green) on the entire field and sidelines. Only way UGA wins is with some luck and UF turning it over. You never know I guess. Brace yourselves though. This one could be ugly for us Dawg fans.

Joey

October 27th, 2009
1:27 pm

William, CMR would run his fingers through his hair and say “UF scored their 7 TDs on 50 yard pass plays, so again, remember our red zone defense is still terriffic!”

Bad Dawg

October 27th, 2009
1:29 pm

Man – I hope the Dawgs beat the pis* out of that milk-drinker, teacher’s pet Tebow and win the game. But I am a realist – the Gators will win – unfortunately.

Tebow reminds me of that friend everybody has who kisses other friends’ parents’ asses… says all the right things… winks at them, etc… and the parents adore him… BAAAARFFF…

ballboy

October 27th, 2009
1:29 pm

UF & UGA won’t be in GA Dome anytime soon. A verbal agreement has been agreed upon to play in Jacksonville through 2016 with Jacksonville throwing in some perks.

Article
http://onlineathens.com/stories/102709/bre_509514916.shtml

dostadawg

October 27th, 2009
1:30 pm

I hate to say it, but my beloved DAWGS are going down hard this weekend against a mad gayturd team. I just hope we keep it close and CMR shows some real emotion instead of looking like George Washington crossing the Potomac! GO DAWGS!! prove me wrong.

Ryno

October 27th, 2009
1:35 pm

I don’t think Georgia wins – but I’ll be damned if they don’t cover. The line is currently UF (-16). Nobody beats Georgia by 17 points coming off a bye week. Too much rest and too much time to prepare.

DawgTime

October 27th, 2009
1:36 pm

Would have been more shocked if you had picked UGA to win. We can always hold out hope!!! GO DAWGS!!!

Delbert D.

October 27th, 2009
1:36 pm

Cox needs to find AJ Green 15 times, and somehow produce some sort of running game, although with available talent, that is going to be difficult against the UF defense. If not, it’s blitz city.

RetiredSoldier

October 27th, 2009
1:37 pm

I agree with you Gatorman, but it should also be noted the troubles UF has had pass blocking. Our Oline has done well run blocking but has been very pouring pass blocking. UF certainly has all the defense it needs to win and win going away. The question is will the offense ever get untracted. That said:

Go Gators

Brian

October 27th, 2009
1:37 pm

Um. I think you may be referring to Washington crossing the Delaware.

Burdell

October 27th, 2009
1:38 pm

Joey–

You call that butt cutt thing on top of CMR’s head hair?

Bad Dawg

October 27th, 2009
1:39 pm

Just throw everything we have at them – all sorts of blitz packages – damn the bend-don’t-break-Martinez crap for the love of god. I mean, what do we have to lose???

FireMarkRicht.com

October 27th, 2009
1:40 pm

Hope the Dawgs spent their off week interviewing potential new coaches. Gators win 35-10.

jack bull

October 27th, 2009
1:40 pm

don’t worry, our defense will hand Tebow the Heisman this weekend. he’ll have that breakout game they’ve all been waiting for, against us. we have seen too many times this year where CWM can make a QB look like a heisman candidate, so why would this weekend be any different??

b.davis

October 27th, 2009
1:40 pm

Suspect Florida will get real healthy against the dogs and Richt`s hairdresser will have to be replaced.

Let`s say Florida 33 Georgia 10.

Sad to say this will just be the beginning of a real downward spiral.

At least We have Willie in charge of stopping CPJ.

Oh lord.

All I'm Saying Is...

October 27th, 2009
1:41 pm

Dawgs can win, sure, that’s why you play the game. Dawgs will not win b/c they are an inferior group despite Flawida’s struggles. Dawgs will lose to G-Tech.

Georgia is next

October 27th, 2009
1:41 pm

Sure , if the power of the Georgia defense can hold Florida to under 20 points because I guarentee you that Georgia will not score more than 20 points on the Gator D on Saturday, believe it. Gator D – 7 Games = 4 Touchdowns Allowed, 58 Points Surrendered……..by the defense.
Georgia D:
Average Points Allowed – 27.7
Average Total defense – 365.6 yards

Coach Spurrier

October 27th, 2009
1:43 pm

UGA gets all these great recruits, but then I don’t know what happens to them…

AceDawg

October 27th, 2009
1:43 pm

Last year against Florida, despite the defense playing poorly throughout the year, it was the offense that blew it. Terrible turnovers, dropped passes, missed field goals, etc gave Florida a thousand chances to pound us. The defense played noble that game.

DirtyDawg

October 27th, 2009
1:45 pm

Thanks Mark, we needed that. Not that we’re optimistic about this weekend’s game, but hopeful. Now that you, and I expect all your colleagues, will be picking Florida – I mean with a 16-point spread they’d be crazy not to – we can go into the game with little or no expectations, other than knocking Mr. Tebow’s d**k off and getting Mr. Myer to give the viewing audience a few, on-camera, mouthed, ‘Oh my Gods!’, like in the Miss State game.

XXXVII

October 27th, 2009
1:46 pm

I think the Gators will get a little too cocky and the Dawgs are gonna sneak up on them and pull an upset.

Bad Dawg

October 27th, 2009
1:46 pm

Jack Bull is dead on accurate – we make other teams – especially their QBs – look like world beaters. ((See Crapton))

Friggin Richt and his baaaable-totin’, sunday school approach to football!

Delusional

October 27th, 2009
1:46 pm

“Can UGA beat Florida?”

In a word – no. In two words — hell no.

Joey

October 27th, 2009
1:48 pm

CMR has a better tan than George Washington!

Gatorzone

October 27th, 2009
1:50 pm

UGA could win this game if Tebow continues his turnover prone play. That being said, i think 15 gets healthy this week.
Gators Roll!