Like it should be, Georgia will have to win in Jacksonville to all but lock up another SEC East title.
It’s interesting seeing how confident the Georgia fan base is. If you’re a long-time fan, your childhood was filled with the Dawgs winning on the banks of the St. John’s River against Florida teams was more talent but less heart. If you are like me and came of age as a fan under Goff, Donnan or even Richt, your memories are of utter embarrassment by the HBC and inexplicable losses to teams coached by the likes of Zook and yes, Muschamp.
If you are new to this fan base, however, you are probably more confident, a true sign that you didn’t get properly Munsonized as a child.
Here’s three keys to beating Florida.
Emotions, emotions, and emotions
Honestly, I won’t be shocked if there’s not a near-fight pre-game. These teams detest each other...and despite public statements, the same goes for each head coach. For Florida, this game is their whole season. For Georgia, the loss last year has been rubbed raw, and losing to Florida never sits well. Neither of these teams care for each other, and the key for Georgia will come early on - not to get called for a late-hit penalty early that’ll kill a Georgia drive or extend one of Florida’s as well as not to get tossed out for a post-whistle penalty, as well. The team that keeps its head on straight will win this game.
The kicking game
The job that a placekicker does looms large in big games, and it’ll be even more large, here. That’s because TIAA Bank Field, the artist formerly known as The Gator Bowl, can play zany tricks on kickers with its location on the St. John’s River and wind currents that can come off of it. A missed field goal can stunt momentum, we saw this in Georgia’s loss to a Will Muschamp-coached team, in Jacksonville. It’ll be the closest thing to a home game for Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny, and he’ll need to have a good day.
The good side of an off week before this game? Time to rest up? The bad? Time for Florida to do the same. I know we’ve mentioned a loss to Muschamp already, but it’s the most recent thing that comes to mind, when he staved off losing his job for the moment as Florida reworked its offense to run for more than 400 yards in 2014 in a win for the Gators. There’s no telling what Florida will do with its offense of quarterbacks. The flip side is that Georgia may play Stetson Bennett..or it may play JT Daniels. The team that can adjust the best of the change-ups likely wins.