Thanks so much to my friend Frank Frangle for once again providing tremendous insight into the Georgia-Florida game. Frank personifies Jacksonville sports. He is the Voice of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a highly acclaimed sports talk show host. He knows the game as well as anyone. And Frqnk is one of my all-time favorites
What is your feeling on the Gators, who seem to be hitting their stride with these last two wins?
I think the Gators hired the right guy, but it will take time. They needed someone who can go head to head on the recruiting trail with Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, and Billy Napier seems to be that guy. His last recruiting class was very good and this next one will be even better. So I think they will be back, more with this guy and then all of his recent predecessors. But it will take awhile. He gutted it, is playing mostly young players, and will have a tough time lining up against the elite teams like Georgia. At least this year. But I will add this: I love the players — portal additions and recruits – he has brought in in his brief time there. The quarterback from Wisconsin, Graham Mertz, has been terrific. What a find. He just spends a lot of time running for his life against a very leaky line. But when protected, is very good.
What does Florida need to do to win?
To beat Georgia, they pretty much have to play a perfect game. Take care of the ball, get a few takeaways, get the running game going and shorten the game. I think you’ll see running plays, checkdowns on offense. Probably a gadget or two as well. I’m not sure Florida’s guys can get open against Georgia or the line can protect. Mertz will do what he can, but they are up against it here. And I think they crowd the box on defense and take their chances against the Georgia passing game. That is what they did to beat Tennessee. Against Kentucky and South Carolina, they played softer up front in fear of not getting beat over the top by Devin Leary and Spencer Rattler and it backfired. Lost big to Kentucky and barely beat South Carolina.
What is your take on Georgia?
I think Georgia is loaded, per usual. College football has really never changed — the team with the most really good players usually wins. Kirby has loaded that roster with NFL guys year after year. He has stockpiled good players waiting their turn. I think Carson Beck is an NFL quarterback and he waited years to get on the field. Nobody waits to play any more, but the Georgia guys do. And then they’re great when they play. He has great players, has instilled a culture of toughness and accountability and the expectation to win. That’s what Saban did. It’s what Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer did at Florida. Georgia might just win their third in a row. They are that good.
How about the Bulldogs playing for the Jags?
Tyson Campbell has been fantastic. Fast, tough, long — one of the top 10 corners in the league. He is out with a hamstring now and they really miss him. Great, great find. Travon is a very good football player. Tough, never gets push around, big part of their very good run defense. But he hasn’t emerged yet as a pass rusher or big time playmaker. Hopefully that happens — he’s still only 24 games as a pro. Developing pass rush moves, at this level, can take time. They like him. But we’d all like to see him make more plays.
How about the relationship with Jacksonville, the game and the future with the new stadium coming?
The city will do all it can to never lose this game and that includes the new stadium. The new stadium deal will get done, I’m confident of that. And it will be amazing. Construction won’t begin until after the current Florida-Georgia contract expires in 2025. My guess is a new deal will be signed with the two schools before that. Then I’m guessing each school will get one home game in the series – 2026 and 2027 – just like they did in 1994 and 1995. But for folks who hope it lands home and home one day, I doubt that happens. Right now, the schools make close to $6 million per year each to play here, which means $12 million over a two-year period. Per school. If it went home and home, the schools would make $3 million or so for the home game and nothing for the road game. So it would be $3 million over a two-year stretch per school for home and home and $12 million during those two years if it stays here. I just don’t think, in this day and age, schools are going to walk away from an easy $9 million. And the heritage and tradition that comes with it. And one more thing — what we’ve learned over all these years is playing the game here has very little do with who wins. When Florida was better from 1990 through 2010, they dominated the Dawgs. When Georgia was better — the Vince Dooley years and now this current stretch — they’ve dominated the Gators. The best team usually wins, wherever the game is played. History tells us that.
How would you like to see the SEC do the scheduling when the new model comes out for 2025 and beyond?
We have an eight-game schedule next year (1 set opponent, 7 rotators) and I think are ultimately headed to a nine-gamer (3 set, 6 rotators). I don’t like either. I would prefer a nine-game schedule with two set opponents. I know the math doesn’t allow teams to play every other team over a four-year stretch like the other two models do, but I don’t care. I think every team should have two — not one and not three — to play every year. Two real rivals. Florida would have Georgia and Tennessee. Georgia would have Florida and Auburn. And so on. I shared that with Greg Sankey over the summer, but he explained to me that the math wouldn’t work for their ultimate goal, which I understand. But that is what I would do. Under the two current models being discussed, Florida and Tennessee would no longer play every year. The FIRST year Florida doesn’t play Tennessee, they will have gotten it wrong. Very wrong. I would hate to see that.
What is your score prediction?
Georgia 34, Florida 17. Maybe close early but the Dawgs have too many dudes. It gets away from the Gators at some point.