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History of rivalry between Florida and Georgia

The annual showdown in Jacksonville between UF and UGA will take place this afternoon. We take a look back at the history of this border rivalry in the SEC.

University of Georgia Lindsay Scott Set Number: X25051 TK1

One of the more notable neutral site rivalries in college football will be renewed in Jacksonville this afternoon when the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs meet the Florida Gators at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Florida-Georgia, Georgia-Florida, World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, whatever you want to call it, these two SEC border rivals have been duking it out in Jacksonville for over a century. Legends of both programs have had memorable moments in this series as traditionally, this game has served as a huge obstacle in the way of their SEC/national championship aspirations.

Below, we’ll dive into the history of UF vs. UGA.

History of Florida vs. Georgia

Total games played according to Georgia: 101
Total games played according to Florida: 100
Record according to Georgia: Georgia leads 55-44-2
Record according to Florida: Georgia leads 54-44-2
First game according to Georgia: October 15, 1904, Georgia wins 52-0 in Macon
First game according to Florida: November 6, 1915, Georgia wins 37-0 in Jacksonville
Last game: October 29, 2022, Georgia wins 42-20 in Jacksonville

As you can see, the rivalry runs so deep that there is a dispute between the two schools as to when it actually began.

In 1905, the Florida state legislature passed the Buckman Act, which established the modern University of Florida at its current campus of Gainesville. Prior to that, one of UF’s predecessor institutions located in nearby Lake City, FL, had a short-lived football program and were hammered by Georgia in its final season of 1904. The modern Gator football program in Gainesville was started two years later in 1906 and they wouldn’t play UGA until 1915. So in summary, UF holds the position that the 1904 team in Lake City was totally separate and shouldn’t count, while UGA holds the line that it does count since it was the predecessor institution. Gotta love early college football pettiness.

Anyway, the Bulldogs would absolutely dominate the early stretches of this rivalry with them outscoring the Gators 190-9 in games from 1915 to 1927. Florida finally got on the board with back-to-back victories in 1928 and 1929 before the 1930 game ended in a 0-0 ties. Considering that Florida was a younger program compared to several of its SoCon/future SEC counterparts, the team played several of its games off campus prior to the completion of Florida Field in 1930. Having already played in Jacksonville a few times, UF and UGA agreed to play in the River City in 1933 and it would become the permanent site of the series moving forward.

Georgia would continue to dominate Florida over the next two decades, as the Dawgs established themselves as a national power. Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich and the 1942 Bulldogs crushed the Gators 75-0 on their way to winning the program’s first national title. However, the tide of the rivalry would begin to turn in the 1950’s and 60’s with UGA fading as a national power in the late stages of the Wally Butts era. Under head coaches Bob Woodruff and Ray Graves, the Gators would win 11 of 14 matchups from 1952 to 1965. With still relatively new head coach Vince Dooley in charge of UGA in 1966, the Bulldogs would upset the Gators 27-10 and ruin their shot at winning their very first SEC title. That 1966 UF team was led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier and surely he’s not the type of guy who would hold a decades-long grudge against Georgia for that loss, right?

The rivalry was back-and-forth throughout the rest of the 1960’s and into the mid-70’s before Georgia regained total control. From 1974 to 1989, UGA beat UF in 13 of 16 matchups during a period where Dooley re-established the Dawgs as a national title contender. The iconic 1980 game propelled Georgia to its second national championship in program history and in 1985, the Bulldogs defeated a Florida team that was ranked No. 1 heading into the game (the Gators were on NCAA probation that year, so the loss was extra salt in the wound).

Hey, remember that Spurrier guy I just mentioned? Well, he returned to Gainesville as the head coach in the 1990’s and unlocked Florida’s potential as a national power. Under the Ol’ Ball Coach, Florida would dominate the SEC throughout the decade and finally win their first national title in 1996. And he did it at the expense of a fledging UGA program in the post Dooley years. Spurrier dominated Georgia during his run, with the Dawgs’ only victory over him coming in 1997. UF’s run of success against the Red and Black would carry over into the Ron Zook and Urban Meyer eras, with Georgia’s only bit of reprieve coming in victories in 2004 and 2007 under Mark Richt. The 2007 victory was famous for the entire team coming out to celebrate after Knowshon Moreno’s touchdown in the first quarter. Tim Tebow and the Gators would respond with a 49-10 drubbing the following year and Meyer made sure to use all of his timeouts in the final minute.

Outside of a three-game winning streak by UGA in the early 2010’s, UF held control of the rivalry even as it began to fade as a national power. However, Georgia hiring alum Kirby Smart turned the tide back into the Dawgs’ favor as they have taken five of six games off the Gators heading into today’s game.

Biggest game in series history: 1980

“There’s going to be some property destroyed tonight!”

The aforementioned 1980 game provided the most famous moment in the rivalry’s history and one of the legendary radio calls in college football history. Down 21-20 and deep in their own territory in the final minute, the 8-0 Bulldogs’ perfect season hopes for a perfect season and a national championship hung in the balance. That’s when quarterback Buck Belue hit wide receiver Lindsay Scott and he housed it 93-yards for the go-ahead score.

Take it away Larry Munson:

Odds for 2023 via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Georgia -14
Total: 49.5
Moneyline: Georgia -550, Florida +410