Like any rivalry, the one of Georgia and Florida has had its eras.
Over a good bit of time, it was marked by Georgia holding the overall upper hand. Of course, much to many on this site’s disdain, that changed with the arrival of the Head Ball Coach in 1990. Even with Mark Richt gaining a few wins in a series, it was too back and forth for the liking of some fans (really?! Losing to Ron Zook!!)
Sure, each team has had its moments of dominance. The intensity has never been an issue for both fan bases. But there has never been a visible genuine dislike by both programs. Sure, you had shoving matches and Spurrier’s one-liners, but he didn’t limit those to just Georgia (Free Shoes University and the UT Citrus Bowl are on the line 1...).
That’s changed with two coaches in Kirby Smart and Dan Mullen that straight up don’t appear to care for each other. It’s almost as if the dislike from each side mirrors from both the point of the fans and actual coaching staffs.
Dan Mullen has no shyness about taking back-handed swipes at the head coach that has had his team’s number at Mississippi State and now at UF. Who can blame him? To get a foothold with recruiting, job one has to be not being lost in the big, bad Bulldog shadow. It’s not a coincidence that any recruit from Georgia committing to UF, their homestate is highighted from the UF standpoint.
For this reason at the same time, it’s also a shot across the bow by Georgia with the recent commit of QB Carson Beck, from right in the Gators backyard.
Like anything else, everything the Georgia program does is calculated to a purpose. The “Jacksonville, Ga” talk? That wasn’t just thrown together. It was a message and ‘MO’ set forth that the days of Georgia being owned by the Gators at a ‘neutral site’ were over.
Plus - like any one from South Georgia will likely tell you - the biggest UGA rival is Florida. Kirby Smart grew up around this, and that line of thinking does not appear to be lost right now for Georgia.
There’s no shortage of dislike from any part of these two programs - just scan social media these days to see for yourself.
Point is - this may be the funnest time in the Georgia-Florida rivalry.