ATHENS -- Aron White didnt dance around it. Hes a fifth-year senior and has been through enough Georgia-Florida games to dispense with the just another game nonsense.
Everybodys just a little on edge. Thats top to bottom, said White, the Bulldogs tight end. You definitely can tell its Florida week.
Georgia might be on edge for this matchup a bit more than in past years.
The reason this rivalry has a national profile -- and has the CBS prime afternoon spot despite each teams records -- is that its normally played with more at stake than just bragging rights.
This year, its Georgia that has the most to gain and to lose.
The Bulldogs are tied for first place in the SEC East, and a win in Jacksonville would seem to put them in better position than South Carolina, whose remaining schedule is more difficult.
The outcome should also have a big effect on the job security of head coach Mark Richt, who can blame the Gators for eight of the 36 defeats in his 11-year tenure at Georgia.
The history of this game is a constant reminder for Georgia players. Theyre fully aware of it -- although not from the coaches, who have tried to be businesslike this week, not using the past as motivation.
We havent really talked about the rivalry. But (Richt) doesnt have the need to, junior defensive end Abry Jones said. Everybody is constantly reminded of it by fans. So theres no need to put anything more in it than everyone else already has.
The comments from some players this week approached defiant. But the defiance wasnt about being better than Florida; players were careful to credit the Gators (4-3), who are on a three-game losing streak this season -- but on a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs.
Were coming to get them, and we dont care what happened last year because were a new team, White said.
Quarterback Aaron Murray was dismissive of Floridas recent 18-3 record against the Bulldogs.
Its not like weve lost those 18 games, Murray said. Since Ive been here Ive been a part of two losses, but its not 21 or 18 or whatever it is. So youve just gotta put that behind here. Like I said, no one here is really talking about that.
Murray, a Florida native, did admit that last years game was a bit on his mind. That was when he had perhaps his worst game of the year, getting picked off three times, including the decisive interception in overtime.
The sophomore quarterback gave a flat no when asked if any game disappointed him as much from last year.
Maybe the bowl game a little bit, Murray said. But the Florida game was the toughest, as well.
White is one of the few players on the roster who can remember beating the Gators. That happened in 2007, when Richt allowed his players to celebrate en masse in the end zone as a motivational ploy.
Such tactics arent likely to be employed this year. The stakes, whether its the division race or Richts job status, seem like enough.
Its not something I think we need to harp on, White said. We dont need to hear all that to get up for Florida.