Georgia football: remember when the Bulldogs didn’t have the off week before Florida game?

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 28: Sony Michel (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 28: Sony Michel (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Georgia football is finished with the off week and now are focuses 100-percent on game planning for the no. 9 Florida Gators.

Before the schedules are announced, there are always three dates Georgia football fans don’t have to wonder about. Georgia Tech will always be the regular season finale, the Florida game will always be on Halloween weekend, and an off week will always come before the Florida game.

But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago when Florida came into Jacksonville rested, while Georgia had a game the week before. Georgia has had the benefit of the off week since 2013. Before that, it was rare that to see Georgia have a week off before playing Florida.

The Dawgs were fortunate just to get that break in 2007, 2009 and 2011, and they won two of those games. Prior to 2007 however, the Bulldogs almost never had a Saturday off the week before the Florida game. In the last 40 years, the only other times Georgia took that week off was 1991, 1990, and 1987.

Georgia sure could have used an off-week in 2006 when they played 11-straight games before hosting Georgia Tech. Or in 2005 when D.J. Shockley injured his leg the week before against Arkansas.

Florida on the other hand, has almost always benefited from a break before playing Georgia. The last time they didn’t was in 2012. Neither team had the off week. Before that was a stretch of seasons from 2007-to-2009. They also didn’t have the off week in 2004, but to find the last instance before that, you’d have to go all the week back to the 1992, 1991 and 1990 seasons. The Gators miss out on the off-week almost as often as Georgia gets the off week.

Thankfully, the bye is one of the things we can thank Greg McGarity for. Since taking over as director of athletics in 2010, he’s lobbied to keep Georgia idle before the Florida game. And it may have paid off. Since successfully getting the Dawgs a break in 2011, Georgia is 4-3 against the Gators with a three-game winning streak happening from 2011-to-2013. True, Georgia wasn’t idle in 2012, but neither were the Gators.

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An off week may seem minor, especially when both teams now get the week off. But when a team has beaten you as often as Florida did Georgia in the 1990’s and 2000’s, you’re never going to have a mental advantage. Florida having the off-week always seemed to help their mental advantage. They always seemed more prepared and Georgia’s teams always psyched themselves out as being underprepared. Regardless, the numbers do not lie, since shedding that one mental disadvantage, Georgia has beaten the Gators more often.