While some in the sports media have tried to change the name of the annual Georgia/Florida game, it’s still the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party to everyone who matters: the Georgia fans and the Florida fans. More often than not, this game is one that decides who will represent the SEC East in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. Realistically, only Florida has a chance to go this year, but should the Bulldogs pull off an upset, it opens the door for Tennessee to lock up that spot.
Barring the second half collapse against Tennessee, it’s been a pretty good year for the Florida Gators. They’re 5-1 and have an excellent shot to win the SEC East and make it to their second straight SEC Championship Game. The best news that they’ve had all year is that quarterback Luke Del Rio is back under center taking snaps and should be good to go for the Cocktail Party. Del Rio got suffered a knee injury in the third game of the year against North Texas but was back for the Gators last week against Missouri. Backup QB and Purdue transfer Austin Appleby did about as well as expected during that time, though the Gators will probably be much better with Del Rio starting against LSU (that game was of course reschedule and was the center of so much controversy). Florida’s defense has also been outstanding this year, again barring the Tennessee game. In fact, the Tennessee game is the only game this year where the Gators defense has given up more than 14 points.
It’s safe to say that it’s been a disappointing debut season for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs sit at 4-3 with a drubbing at the hands of a mediocre Ole Miss team, a soul crushing loss at the hands of Tennessee and an embarrassing loss at home to Vanderbilt. Throw in the fact that two of their wins were ugly, close games over FCS school Nicholls State and SEC East doormat Missouri and it’s easy to understand why a mood of doom and gloom is prevailing in Athens. At quarterback, Jacob Eason seems to be the guy going forward. Eason has thrown for 1,366 yards and 9 TDs and led a clutch game winning drive against Missouri. But against those 9 TDs he’s also thrown 5 INTs. While Eason has been just ok, Georgia’s running game has suffered tremendously. Nick Chubb had a monster game to start the year against North Carolina, but he hasn’t been remotely good since. On the season he has just 586 yards and 5 TDs. For Georgia to improve and make a decent bowl game, Nick Chubb is going to have to find his form from last year.
- As alluded to above, the new “official” name for the Georgia/Florida game is the River City Showdown. This is dumb for two reasons: a) nobody calls Jacksonville the River City and b) this game shall forever be known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
- The last time this game was not played in Jacksonville was 1995 when it was in Athens.
- During last week’s Alabama/Texas A&M game, CBS commentator Verne Lundquist correctly referred to this game as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, leading color commentator Gary Danielson to jokingly tell him he was not allowed to call it that. Lundquist said in reply, “Well what are they going to do? Fire me?” Lundquist of course is retiring at the end of the year.
- Luke Del Rio’s father, Jack Del Rio, was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars for nine seasons. The Jaguars play at EverBank Field, where this game is being played.
EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL
Georgia leads 49-42-2
EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL
Current AP Ranking
Next Games Up
Georgia @ Kentucky
Florida @ Arkansas