TV: CBS – 3:30 PM (ET)
With the main focus of the college football world and the state of Florida focused on Saturday night’s Miami vs. FSU game it is easy forget there is another game being played 165 miles east on I-10.
The Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs face off on Saturday in Jacksonville for their annual college football battle named “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”. Given the way the two teams have played thus far this season the Gators coach Will Muschamp and his counterpart the Dawgs Mark Richt could likely do with a cocktail of their own before the two rivals square off come Saturday.
Both team enter the game with 4-3 records and both head coaches are under heavy fire for their jobs. This is the first time in over a decade that the game is meaningless for both teams. By that I mean for one or the other team this game meant winning at the very least the SEC East and in some cases it meant staying in a possible BCS Bowl picture. But not this year, in 2013 this Florida vs. Georgia is for pride and bragging rights.
The Florida Gators are looking to end their two year losing streak to rival Georgia and at the same time end their two game losing streak this season. Florida is coming off of a bye week after losing to Missouri and losing the week prior to LSU. The Florida offense just hasn’t been effective this season as they are averaging 21.1 points per game and 336.9 yards and they have turned the ball over 13 times.
Tyler Murphy has completed 62.7 percent of his passes but he has thrown for just 737 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions and he has rushed for two touchdowns. Mack Brown has rushed for 359 yards and three touchdowns and Matt Jones has rushed for 339 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Gators ground attack.
The UF passing attack has been lacking but Trey Burton is their leading receiver with 29 catches, Solomon Patton has 28 catches with four touchdowns, and Quinton Dunbar has 22 catches. The Florida defense has been put to the test by the offenses ineptitude and they are allowing 16.3 points and 273.1 yards per game with nine interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and 11 sacks. Michael Taylor has 41 tackles, Antonio Morrison has 39 tackles, and Jaylen Watkins 38 tackles. With Florida having top recruiting classes year after year it is tough to figure out why the offense just lacks punch.
The Georgia Bulldogs were hoping to bounce back from their opening game loss at Clemson and get back into the SEC and National Title picture but those hopes and dreams have died as the Dawgs have dropped their last two games. The Georgia offense is averaging 36 points and 475 yards per game and they have turned the ball over 12 times.
QB Aaron Murray has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,938 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions and he has rushed for five touchdowns. The Georgia running attack was one of the most feared in the nation coming into the season but they have been banged up badly but they should get Todd Gurley back this week, which should be an immediate injection of life. Chris Conley has 30 catches and four touchdowns and Arthur Lynch and Michael Bennett each have 14 catches and two touchdowns.
The Georgia defense has struggled allowing 33.3 points and 390.1 yards per game with three interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and 19 sacks. Ramik Wilson has 69 tackles, Amarlo Herrera has 65 tackles, and Ray Drew has five sacks. The UGA defense just isn’t creating the turnovers they need to have a big season.
Florida is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven SEC games, 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games following a bye week, and 1-8 against the spread following a loss. Georgia is 1-6 against the spread following a bye week, 0-3-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, and 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five games. The favorite has covered the point spread in four of the last five meetings of these two.