Georgia Football’s unique game history with Florida and the WLOCP

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 02: A general view of TIAA Bank Field during a game between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs on November 02, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 02: A general view of TIAA Bank Field during a game between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs on November 02, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Georgia football has a tradition that only Texas and Oklahoma understand: having a neutral field game against your biggest rival.

We all know by now it’s Georgia, Florida week, and the world’s largest beverage party has already begun in Jacksonville, even though it’s only Tuesday.

For the first time since 2017, this matchup won’t be between two top-10 opponents. Instead, the 7-0 top-ranked Dawgs against the 4-3 unranked Gators.

If we break down the history between Georgia football and Florida football, it’ll show some interesting tidbits as the Dawgs earned their 53-44-2 series lead.

Since 1933, the Dawgs and the Gators have met on a neutral field to duke it out and play for bragging or usually conference division rights.

Outside the World War II years and 1994-1995, when the Jacksonville stadium saw some renovations, this game has been in the same place, forming what has become one of the all-time best college football traditions.

Some like the game in Jacksonville, others don’t, and that’s okay.

After seeing what AJC reporter Chip Towers published on Oct. 25, hopefully, that will help change the minds of those who want to abandon this historic spot.

The Dawgs and the Gators have always hated each other, and it’s just in their blood. Since head coach Kirby Smart took over in 2016, he is 3-2 against the Gators, falling to them that first year and in 2020.

However, the three years between his Georgia teams have embarrassed the Gators and given them a taste of their own medicine.

This series flows up and down

It seems like every three years, Georgia or Florida would get beat depending on who won the previous three meetings. The Dawgs saw that happen just last year.

Before that, Florida won 2014, 2015, and 2016. The Dawgs won in 2013, 2012, and 2011. It’s crazy to look at it like that, but it’s something that carries throughout the rivalry — outside the 1990s decade, of course.

However, it’s no question before Smart got to town, the series was kind of lopsided. Before he took the job, Richt only beat Florida five times.

Granted, Florida won a national title during that time and had Urban Meyer leading the way, but still, that isn’t fun to witness, especially on the losing end of things.

It seemed like no matter if the Dawgs were playing well or not when the Gators game came up, it’s almost like they were just supposed to lose, and more often than not, they did.

2002 was the biggest heartbreak of Richt’s era

There were some heartbreakers in Richt’s era, but that 2002 game stings the most.

Not even the overtime loss in 2010 when Georgia should have won hurts more than 2002.

The Dawgs were 8-0 that season, ranked No. 5 in the country and coming into Jacksonville as favorites looking to clinch the SEC East for the first time since 1982.

David Greene was the quarterback, and he helped Georgia go up 7-0 in the second quarter, and then the Dawgs fell flat.

Richt decided to put DJ Shockley into the game at quarterback after the Gators scored to make it 7-6.  On that drive, Shockley threw a pick-six, and the Gators went up 12-7.

Georgia couldn’t do anything offensively and instead settled for field goals.

This game cannot be won on field goals, and despite kicking two in the second quarter to lead 13-12, Florida took off in the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion to win it 20-13.

The Dawgs would leave Jacksonville heartbroken again. That loss should have told Georgia fans what they were dealing with in Richt, but the head coach did help the Dawgs get to a higher level.

Some of his coaching decisions against Florida, though, are forever scarred in Dawg fans’ memories.

Let’s go way back to UGA’s first national championship

Why should we go back so far, well, because there was something similar between 2021 and 1942?

The Dawgs were No.1 in the country, which is the only other time they have been ranked this high going into the Florida week, and that was 1942.

Frank Sinckwich led the Dawgs with four scores that game and helped produce the largest margin of victory in the 99 meetings of this game. Georgia won that game 75-0 and went on to win the program’s first national title.

Now the Dawgs head into Jacksonville as the top-ranked team, but they must not let that matter to them.

Instead, they must treat this game as if they’re 0-7 and Florida is No.1 in the country.

Vince Dooley’s Dawgs handled the rivalry correctly

During head coach Vince Dooley’s era, from 1964 to 1988, the Dawgs saw more wins than losses against the Gators. Much like Smart, he had a 3-2 record against Florida through his first five years. In his sixth season, they tied the Gators 13-13.

He had a 17-7-1 record against Georgia’s top rival and had the second-longest win streak at six games from 1978-1983.

When the Dawgs won their second national title, his team beat Florida 26-21 and came into the game with an 8-0 record. That win produced the infamous “Run, Lindsay, Run” call from Larry Munson, and the rest is history.

That win was crucial for the Dawgs as it helped them stay undefeated and eventually win a national championship.

A new era of Georgia football

Despite losing to Florida last year, Smart is building something at Georgia. He keeps his teams in contention every year, and most importantly, he has a winning record over the Gators.

Remember, it’s the same one that Dooley started with, and thankfully, there aren’t ties in college football anymore.

Smart can start his coaching career with the best record against their arch-nemesis since the greatest coach was there.

This kind of dominance is overdue and one the Dawg fans have been waiting for so long. Some more than others, but this game is a turning point for Georgia.

If the Dawgs can come out of this game with the same result as it’s seen the first seven games, then it’ll be impossible to keep our hope contained.

Smart and his team have a point to make on Saturday. This game is usually when Georgia’s season ends in disappointment, or it means something great will happen.

Next. Georgia Football: 3 simple things Dawgs do to remain undefeated against Florida. dark

Georgia has the team, now can they get over the mental block that comes with playing Florida? Smart’s first five years say yes, but this isn’t a game to predict. Instead, it’s a game you hope the Dawgs come in and run over the Gators.