A few notes on Monday of Georgia-Florida week:
— Oddsmakers have made Florida a whopping 16-point favorite over Georgia on Saturday, even though the Gators have won their past three games by an average of 7.7 points — 10 over Mississippi State, 3 over Arkansas and 10 over LSU.
— As you know, Georgia is coming off a bye week and Florida is not. So here’s the data on open dates as they relate to the Georgia-Florida series: Georgia is 3-2 vs. Florida when coming off a bye week, while Florida is 14-4 vs. Georgia when coming off a bye week. The Bulldogs’ most recent win over the Gators -– in 2007 -– followed a UGA open date. That’s the only time since 1991, until this year, that Georgia had an open date before the Florida game. Florida, on the other hand, has had a bye week before playing Georgia 13 of the past 16 years. For whatever all of that is worth.
– Mark Richt was asked Sunday about the impact of the bye week. “With this game or series, I think there’s probably a little bit too much made of it,” he said. “Georgia, quite frankly, hasn’t had many open dates [before the game] and Florida has, but I don’t know if that has been the biggest factor other than whoever’s better that day.” He added: “It’a always nice to have a break, no doubt about it, and you hope you can turn it into a positive for your football team. But there is just no guarantee of that.”
– Overall, Georgia is 11-3 under Richt following an open date, including 1-0 vs. Florida.
— Just to put Florida’s defense in perspective: It has allowed only four touchdowns this season – two rushing, two passing. (The other two touchdowns scored against the Gators were on interception returns.) Florida is No. 1 in the nation in total defense, No. 2 in scoring defense, No. 2 in pass defense. Said Richt: “They’ve got guys at just about every spot that are better than your average bears, you know. They are just going to be a great challenge for us, no doubt.”
— Among the many strengths of the Gators’ defense: cornerbacks Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins. “If you had to draft two corners, I know the two I’d pick for my team,” coach Urban Meyer said. “And we got them.”
— Tim Tebow had perhaps his worst game as a Gator last week, and that did absolutely nothing to lower Richt’s regard for him. “I’ve said Tebow is one of the finest players in the history of college football,” Richt said Sunday, “and my opinion of him hasn’t changed a bit.” Tebow, you’ll recall, accounted for five touchdowns vs. Georgia last season — three rshing and two passing.