It is finally game week for Georgia Football. Christmas has come and gone, and now the eyes of the bulldog nation are set on the Orange Bowl. Later this week, we will get into the game's meaning and what to look for, but we will only talk about the history between Georgia and Florida State for this blog.
Georgia and Flordia State will play for the 12th time in both programs' history. This will be the first time the Dawgs and Nole have squared off since the 2003 Sugar Bowl, a game that all Dawg fans will fondly remember. That was the first Sugar Bowl Georgia had played in since 1983. Also, that game was the first time Georgia had been the SEC Champion since 1983.
Since then, the Dawgs have won 3 SEC and two National titles. At that time, that was the biggest game Georgia had ever played since the ‘84 Cotton Bowl. The Dawgs won 26-13 and finished the season #3, with a record of 13-1. With Georgia's recent success, that Sugar Bowl win against FSU has largely been forgotten, but it should never be forgotten.
What Mark Richt and that 2002 team did was no small feat; they finally brought Georgia back to the national stage. The success that Georgia has today is directly correlated to that 2002 SEC and Sugar Bowl Champion team.
The first time these two programs faced each other was in 1954. Georgia traveled down to Tallahassee and beat the Noles 14-0. Georgia and FSU played each other almost every year to close out the 50s. The only year they did not play one another was in 1957. Fun fact: Lee Corso and Burt Reynolds were on teams in the 50s that played against Georgia. Both Corso and Reynolds were roommates during their time at FSU.
The first time that Georgia and FSU played inside Sanford Stadium was in 1956. Georgia won in a barn burner of a game 3-0. Another interesting note about this series is that Georgia and Flordia State played in Jacksonville, Florida. The game was held on October 10, 1958, which was a Friday.
The strangest part of that note is that it was not a bowl game but a regular season game. College Football today is a completely different game, but it is odd that Georgia and FSU played on a Friday in Jacksonville. Georgia also played Florida in Jacksonville two weeks later. Could you imagine if that happened in today's college football world?
Georgia and FSU also played two home-and-home series in the early to mid-sixties. Georgia lost all four of the games and the 60s. The games were played in 1961,1962,1964, and 1965. 1965 is also the last time the Dawgs have lost to the Noles. The Dawgs lost to the Noles 10-3 in Tallahassee.
The only other time the Dawgs have faced the Noles in a bowl game was on December 22nd, 1984. The Bowl game was the Citrus Bowl, which is still held in Orlando, Florida. The game used to be called the Tangerine Bowl, and then it was the Citrus Bowl from 1983 to 2002, and then it became the Captial One Bowl, which Georgia fans are really familiar with. Then, it went back to the Citrus Bowl in 2015.
The ‘84 version on the Citrus Bowl was the first time Vince Dooley and Bobby Bowden coached against each other. The game was a 17-17 tie in a game with two legendary coaches. Yes, a bowl game ended in a tie.
The Dawgs forced the Noles to punt the ball with under a minute remaining. The Dawgs got the ball back for a chance to break the tie and win the game. James Jackson, UGA QB, threw the ball deep two times but could not connect to any of his receivers downfield.
Dooley then trotted out Kevin Butler for a 71-yard field goal attempt. Butler, known for his leg, missed the kick by a foot or two. Butler walked off the field disappointed, almost as if he was sure he would make a 71-yard field goal. Watch it on YouTube; it is one of the most impressive missed field goals I have ever seen.
Anyway, the game ended in a tie, and both coaches took a picture with the Citrus Bowl trophy at the end of the game. That was the last time the Dawgs faced FSU until that 2002-2003 Sugar Bowl.
The Dawgs will face the Noles again in the Orange Bowl. The Noles are ranked 5th in the country, and just like Georgia, they are upset that they are not in the CFP playoff. However, the Noles have a ton of opt-outs, and Georgia does not. The line currently sits at 16.5 (Caesars), favoring the Dawgs.
I don’t have a prediction yet, but I can guarantee that Kirby Smart will not put Peyton Woodring out there to kick a 71-yard attempt and that the game will not end in a tie.