The Georgia football team and their Florida Gator rivals continue to go in very different directions this offseason, and it’s for one simple reason. Culture.
Considering how the season ended, you could be forgiven for thinking that Georgia football and its rival Florida were closer than most Dawg fans would like to think.
The Dawgs turned in one of their worst performances under Kirby Smart and threw away the Sugar Bowl to Texas. The Gators, in contrast, hammered a Michigan team that many believed were pretty damn good.
Both ended up being ranked in the top 10 as the season ended and Gator fans have been crowing about it ever since.
With a fanbase believing that their team is on the cusp of once again beating its main rival, the Florida news media and their head coach have decided to throw plenty of red meat to their fans.
Rather than tempering down expectations, Dan Mullen has been throwing out shots at the Georgia Bulldogs at any chance he can get.
Whether it was making fun of them for losing Justin Fields or belittling their lack of a title at a Spring game, barely a press conference goes by where Mullen doesn’t say something designed to make fun of the team in Athens.
The news beat is no different. Orlando Sentinal reporter Mike Bianchi is making the rounds everywhere telling the world that Georgia is the most overrated program in sports. When he’s not making fun of the Dawgs, he’s bigging up Dan Mullen and hailing him as the second coming of Steve Spurrier.
He’s hardly the only one as more and more Gator writers continue to feed their readers with stories about how bad the Dawgs are compared to their beloved team.
Unfortunately for Mullen, Bianchi and Florida fans, the facts don’t actually back up this narrative and every week that goes by, actual reality seems to suggest that Florida is in a more precarious position than either wants to admit.
I harp on all the time about ‘culture’ and how important it’s been to Smart since he arrived in Athens, but after this past week, it’s appropriate to emphasize just how differently these two rivals operate.