Georgia football: why the Dawgs will crush the Gators this Saturday

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 27: Malcolm Mitchell (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 27: Malcolm Mitchell (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Georgia football travels to Jacksonville, Florida this weekend to play the no. 9 Florida Gators. The winner will be the favorite to win the SEC East.

I am sick of going down to Jacksonville just to watch Georgia football get their ass kicked. I know I am not alone. The thousands of other fans who make the annual trip to Jacksonville are tired of it. Fans in south Georgia who deal with Florida fans all the time are tired of it. The entire Bulldog Nation is tired of losing this damn game.

But now, Georgia has a coach who truly knows how we feel. Kirby Smart was Bulldog born and Bulldog bred. He was a player for the Dawgs in the 1990’s when Florida turned the tide in the rivalry, and he was a major factor in Georgia’s upset win over the Gators in 1997. He knows what that win meant for the fans and for the university in 1997. And after Florida’s continued domination through the following 20 years, he understands that Georgia fans are even more sick after losses to Florida now than they were in 1996.

Mark Richt understood the rivalry and how much the Gators stood in Georgia’s way throughout his time in Athens. But he didn’t empathize with fans the way Kirby does. For Richt, Florida was just a mountain he struggled to climb. Jim Donnan and Ray Goff rarely had teams that could beat the Gators in Jacksonville. Goff couldn’t even field a team to compete with them in Athens.

Kirby Smart won’t let this team fail. Especially not after the disaster we went through in Baton Rouge. For almost two whole weeks, he’s probably told the team how important this game is. It’s much bigger than just beating a highly ranked SEC rival. It’s bigger than strengthening the stranglehold on the SEC East.

A loss would show a severe regression from 2017 and everything that team did to change Georgia’s image. A loss would mean one more year of Georgia fans making that long car ride back home in a bad, disappointed mood. It would mean all the fans in south Georgia communities that deal with too many Gators on a daily basis would have to deal with their bragging rights for the 22nd time since 1990.

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Georgia is going to crush Florida. Kirby Smart is sick and tired of Georgia traveling down to Jacksonville and the fans travelling with them just to lose. He’s coached them these last two weeks harder than he’s coached them in three years. And if they somehow lose, he’ll coach them even harder because a loss this Saturday will be unacceptable. But this is a new era. This team has let their fans down once this year, Kirby won’t let that happen again.