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"The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"

by Douglas Kroll

Even though officials from both schools are asking CBS and other media outlets not use the nickname ‘The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’ for the annual game between the No. 12 Florida Gators (6-1, 4-1) and No. 32 Georgia (6-2, 3-2), how can we resist?

The two schools will meet for the 84th time in history on Saturday, in Jacksonville for the 74th year, and although both institutions don’t want the game to be known for the partying that goes on in the parking lots before the game, one can be rest assured that nothing will change if you are attending. And, oh yeah, it should be a battle inside Alltel stadium as well.

Although this has been a nationally established rivalry, it has been lopsided over the last couple of decades, with Florida dominating the series. The Gators have taken the last 14 of 16 games, and 16 of the last 22 against the Bulldogs. One would also have to think that Florida will be playing with a chip on its shoulder after losing its first game of the season two weeks ago against Auburn. They have also had two weeks to prepare for the floundering Bulldogs, who have had losses to Vanderbilt and Tennessee while pulling out a game against Colorado in the final seconds.

Good news for the Gators is that head coach Urban Meyer has lost consecutive games only once in his career, and that was back in 2002. He is 10-1 in games after a loss.

It’s a classic game for many reasons, but one constant through the years is that most of the players in the game are from either Florida or Georgia. This year there are 172 players from the states of Florida and Georgia.

One constant for the Gators has been a potent offensive attack, gaining an average of 394 yards per game. Within that offense, there is a nasty one-two punch at the quarterback position that has turned into one heck of a weapon for Meyer to use. Starting quarterback Chris Leak hasn’t lived up to his Heisman Candidate hype that surrounded him before the season, but he has still managed to average 214.7 yards per game through the air, and toss 15 touchdowns.

The lightning rod to the Gators’ offense is Tim Tebow, the backup quarterback. Nearly everytime that he’s been in the game, he’s taken the snap and run with it, and it has usually resulted in a big play. Tebow is the Gators second leading rusher, gaining 35 yards per game on the ground and scoring four rushing touchdown. The freshman has also tossed two touchdowns.

A tough Georgia defense (excusing the Tennessee game), will greet the Gators in Jacksonville. The defensive unit is ranked 12th in the nation and second in the SEC in total defense, giving up just 267 yards per game.

Freshman QB Matthew Stafford will be making his fourth career start for the Bulldogs, and has gone 3-0 in his first three. Shockingly, last week he was the first Georgia QB to start and finish a game this season. Stafford is the first true freshman to start for the Bulldogs since 1998 when Quincy Carter held the position.

Also See: Fast Facts

Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football


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