Laura Rutledge and Tim Tebow announced SEC Nation was heading to Jacksonville to be on-site for the Gators’ matchup against Georgia. Rutledge, a UF graduate, made clear that the name of the rivalry has never been set in stone in a video posted to Twitter.
“SEC Nation, we’ve never missed a Florida-Georgia (game),” she said alongside Tebow before catching herself, “or Georgia-Florida (game).”
Tebow, naturally, caught the verbal tick in time to give his input.
“Florida-Georgia,” he mouthed before the video cuts off.
There has always been a small discrepancy in naming the game this Saturday in Jacksonville. What isn’t up for debate is that the game formerly known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will likely be the deciding factor in the race for the SEC East title and the right to play Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
There has been at least one ranked team featured in this matchup the last four seasons. Historically, the winner has usually represented the East against the West several weeks later. Since the inception of the SEC Championship Game in 1992, this matchup has decided the East’s representative 14 times. On three occasions (2002, 03 and 05) Georgia has earned the right to play in Atlanta despite losing to Florida.
History aside, the winner this Saturday will also have an inside track to a long-shot playoff berth. Both teams have favorable schedules through the remainder of the regular season. Georgia has the only ranked opponent remaining on its schedule out of the two sides, and Florida’s only traveling will be to Tallahassee for its rivalry game against FSU.
UF quarterback Feleipe Franks, however, doesn’t see this matchup through the lens of history or the future of the SEC race.
“I don’t think you look at them because it’s a big game,” he said. “I think you just look at it because it’s the next opponent.”
One of the themes coach Dan Mullen has worked with this season has been to fight against complacency. Franks said the fight to get better during the bye week was something he was looking forward to.
“These guys on our team, they have drive,” he said. “They have motivation to go out there every day, and they’re not satisfied with 6-1.”
That hunger, Franks said, has driven him and his teammates to approach every game from a renewed perspective.
Follow Morgan McMullen on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) said the Gators are still working on fundamentals in practice. "You can't get complacent," he said.