Growing up in St. Simons Island, Georgia, you learn a few things. Southern Soul has the best barbeque on the planet, Sweet Mama’s pork pops are to die for, and you despise the University of Florida. Being so close to this game, there are many different outcomes and experiences to take away. You are used to showing up to Jacksonville for the “neutral site” game where there is a sea of blue and orange outside the stadium. You are greeted by a plethora of jorts and jeers until you enter the stadium and see a direct 50/50 split down the middle of the field – partially red and black, partially orange and blue. There were many years of suffering through this game, but the Bulldogs have certainly taken back over this rivalry.
A large part of Georgia’s success against Florida has come from Kirby Smart’s arrival. You really cannot say enough about that man. He has won everything he could have possibly won in 6 years, and as he is midway through his seventh season as the Georgia head coach, he looks to improve his record to 5-2 against the Gators.
This season, Georgia comes into Jacksonville in a very similar situation as last year. They are once again the number one ranked team in the country going up against an unranked Florida team. Stetson Bennett will be leading out the Bulldogs once again where he looks to build off a mediocre performance in last year’s game that involved two interceptions. Bennett comes into the game with 2,033 passing yards and 12 total touchdowns with just one interception. Despite just 7 passing touchdowns, Bennett has been extremely efficient and has done a tremendous job taking care of the football. This has all been done without his top receiver, AD Mitchell.
As the Dawgs travel down to Jacksonville, don’t let the coaches’ and players’ generic praise and compliments distract you from how they truly feel. Georgia cannot stand Florida. Most importantly, Kirby Smart cannot stand Florida. Expect the Dawgs to come into this game with the mentality to stomp on the Gator’s throat. This game is never an easy one, but it is surely one Coach Smart will have the Dawgs ready for.