Georgia- Florida. WLOCP. Annual Celebration of the Repeal of Prohibition. Certainly not the River City Showdown.
Whatever moniker you choose, it’s here on Saturday for the Dawgs & Gators.
Here are three questions going into Saturday afternoon’s kickoff on the banks of the St. John’s River.
Will Georgia show up focused?
Look, you want to have this belief that Georgia won’t come out flat in this game solely because of how laser-focused Kirby Smart is against Georgia’s rivals, right?
But still, these are college student-athletes. It’s easy for us as fans to say ‘how can you not be focused?’ We probably thought the same this year seeing mind-numbing slow starts against Kent and Mizzou.
You never know how teams will play coming off a bye. Sometimes it’s pure adrenaline, other times there is rust. And with a bunkhouse brawl with Tennessee coming the next game (thanks for bending over, UGA Athletic Association), there’s an inherent danger of looking ahead. We’ll see how focused this team is on Saturday.
Will Georgia’s depth be a difference-maker?
If there is one thing that is different under Billy Napier than Dan Mullen, it’s that this Florida team plays with a lot more heart and toughness. Trouble is, that toughness only goes so far, since the Gators have talent in the first unit or so, but not as much behind them.
Florida is still playing recruiting catch-up, and may not ever catch up if FSU keeps progressing. The fact is, Georgia has a deeper roster that should be the difference late if this game is close.
Is the spread too big to cover?
I’ll admit, I grimaced when I saw a point spread earlier this week in the neighborhood or 22 points. One reason why? It has to do with an assistant coach currently with Georgia. Remember 2014 when the Dawgs were a double-digit favorite? All the Gators did was play for Will Muschamp’s job and run for more than 400 yards to an upset win. Wierd things happen in rivalry games. There is no science to it, it just does.
Is Georgia a better team than Florida? Yes. But it’s also a team with an offense that since beating USC has been inconsistent, and it once again won’t have AD Mitchell. It’s a team with one of its difference-makers, Jalen Carter not expected to play, and one of its grittiest defenders, Dan Jackson is now out.
Georgia on paper should win, but color me stunned if it’s by more than 20 points.