The World’s Greatest Cocktail Party is the worst best game on the schedule.
Yes, I know that doesn’t make a lick of sense, but I’ll explain.
First off, the game is played for the worst “trophy” in all of sports, the Okefenokee Oar. Yup, the winner claims owner to a 10 foot wooden oar. Each side of the trophy contains monograms to each of the school. In Athens it is displayed at the Tate Center on the second floor. Hopefully, you can stop by and see it when the Dawgs return home to play Auburn November 12th.
“The Streak”. Both teams have been on rolls in which the other side gets absolutely sick when they see this game roll around. Games between the two began in 1904 and Florida failed to beat the Dawgs until 1928. If you are keeping score at home that is 24 seasons. Ok, so they only played six times, but still. UGA also outscored the Gators 242-0 in the process.
The Dawgs also racked up a record of 24-5-1 though 1955. Pretty good streaks I would say. That’s when the shoe went on the other foot. The late 50’s and 60’s were dominated by the Gators with a record of 13-5-1.
The tide turned again in the 70’s and 80’s. Run Lindsay Run! The Dawgs racked up a 15-4 record which included a 9-1 stretch. Then the Ray Goff era began, and so did the long rides back from Jacksonville. From 1990 until 2010 the Gators OWNED the Bulldogs with a record of 18-3. That included streak of 7 and 6 games in a row. When the decade turned things changed, or so we thought. For the first time since 88-89 UGA won more than one in a row, hitting a three game streak before Florida came back and has won the previous two.
Both teams have had this game change the course of its season. For UGA, there have been some great memories. First, the defeat of the undefeated Steve Spurrier team in 1966. Spurrier was on track for his undefeated Heisman campgain when the Dawgs went in and stole away his magical season. He has never forgot… or let us forget in the 90’s.
When the Gators had a chance to do that to UGA in 1980 they failed. Hershel Walker and the Dawgs rolled into Jacksonville undefeated and yet down late in the ball game. A pass from Buck Belue and one magical Larry Munson call later, the Dawgs ran to the Super Dome and their last national championship.
In 1985 the Dawgs did it again. The Gators were the number one team in the country. UGA was Hershelless and looking for wins where they could get them. This time freshman running backs Keith Henderson and Tim Worley ran away with the game and left the Gators in shock.
We will not talk about 1995 and the half a hundred.
Personally, 2002 has been the hardest in my lifetime. It was actually my first game in Jacksonville. UGA’s magical season had everything going right. Win after win. Ron Zook was a joke and the Dawgs were looking forward to improving to 9-0. However, late in the fourth quarter Terrence Edwards missed a wide open catch in the middle of the field, which resulted in the Dawgs only loss that season 20-13.
Recently, the Gator Stomp in 2007 sparked fuel back in the fire for the teams. Florida had dominated the series and UGA was looking to change the direction. After UGA scored its first touchdown the entire team, and probably even the water girl, came out to the endzone for a little celebration. What joyous day that was.
The year after, again sitting in the stands, was not so much fun. Urban Meyer and his two late timeouts really shocked just how much class he did not have.
In 2012, Florida had one of the best teams in the country. Ranked number two and a shot to play for the SEC title and a National Championship was destroyed when the Dawgs upset the Gators and sent the program out of control. Florida has still yet to find their offense.
So what happens in 2016. The Gators are huge favorites and both teams are looking to get its program going. Florida is ranked in the top 15 and in my opinion that’s only because they have only played one game the month of October.
That could be a huge key. If they are overhyped and out of game mood the Dawgs could once again play spoiler to the Gators who are on a path to play for the SEC title. A loss here and Tennessee will most likely get the nod. For Georgia, a loss means a 4-4 record and a VERY hot seat for new coach Kirby Smart. The honeymoon is over and the rivalry games are about to begin for the Bulldog Nation. No room for errors. Time for the Dawgs to play “smart”.
Let’s make some more memories on the banks of the St. John.
So last week I repeated at 6-4 bringing my record on the year to 54-26. I am in serious need for a big week
Clemson over FSU
Tennessee over South Carolina
Ole Miss over Auburn
Louisville over Virginia
Duke over Georgia Tech
Wisconsin over Nebraska
Ohio State over Northwestern
Utah over Washington
Miami over Notre Dame
Florida over Georgia