Georgia is heavily favored over Florida for the first time since the 2014 season.
Given what happened then, the Bulldogs aren’t putting too much stock in it.
Georgia enters this year's rendition of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party a two-touchdown favorite. In 2014, Georgia was considered a 10-point favorite.
What transpired then was a surprise to almost everybody with a stake in that game.
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After Georgia scored the game’s first touchdown, Florida would go on to rush for 418 yards in a 38-20 victory.
“I was playing a little bit that game. It was a crazy game,” nose tackle John Atkins said. “They really imposed their will on us.”
A parallel exists from that game and this one. In 2014, Florida had already suffered three losses while Georgia was the SEC East front-runner with only one defeat. This week, Georgia enters the game unbeaten and Florida, like 2014, has dropped three games.
Rivalries can sometimes bring the best out of underdogs. It’s why the old cliché of throwing out the record books actually applies in games such as the one Georgia and Florida will play Saturday. While this year’s Florida team hasn’t been up to its usual standard, there is still a feeling it still has a great chance to pull off an upset due to recent history.
Not only did the Gators ruin Georgia’s SEC East aspirations in 2014, but they previously diced national championship hopes in Georgia's 2002 and 2005 SEC title seasons.
“Every year you’re going to have teams in different places, who might be better this week or not play as well this week,” senior defensive back Aaron Davis said. “You just know that this is a guarantee where they’re going to come ready to play.”
Georgia enters the game the third-ranked team in the nation in both the AP and coaches polls. Still, the stigma that Florida has Georgia’s number exists. After Georgia appeared to turn the tide in the series with three consecutive wins from 2011-13, the Gators have taken the previous three games.
Florida receiver Josh Hammond poked fun at Georgia with that tidbit Monday.
“They might be the No. 3 team but they can't beat Florida,” Hammond said.
So while the oddsmakers may feel Georgia has an edge this time around, the Bulldogs are doing their part not to buy into that storyline.
Given the history of this rivalry, head coach Kirby Smart has indicated to the players that anything can happen.
“Coach Smart always says that it doesn’t matter if you’re the favored team or the better team, it’s about who plays the best that day,” tight end Jeb Blazevich said.