The Georgia-Florida rivalry has been back-and-forth over the years, with the Bulldogs owning a 51-43-2 overall record over the Gators historically.
Now that Dan Mullen is Florida’s head coach, the pressure will be on to beat the Dawgs and reclaim the Gators’ spot atop the SEC East within the next couple of years.
That will be easier said than done, but Mullen is excited for the rivalry. At SEC Media Days this week, Mullen said he appreciates that “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” rivalry doesn’t get as nasty as others do:
“Well, I think it’s such a great rivalry, because you’re looking at, you know, two teams, two fan bases, universities, and really football programs that expect to win championships,” he said. “So that makes it an awful big game, because you’re looking at two teams right now that, you know, usually you have to beat the other one if you want to get there and to do that. But the rivalry is a fantastic rivalry. It’s one of the most fun games you can be a part of down in Jacksonville.
“And I do see, you know — I think it’s a very healthy rivalry. And I think a lot of times in college football and college sports sometimes you can get some rivalries that maybe are not as healthy. I mean, they are tough, they’re nasty, it’s a great rivalry, but they can become unhealthy. One of the great things is that’s a healthy rivalry between the fan bases. Everybody enjoys the game. I think both programs know it’s such a critical game to accomplish the goals you have, which are to win the SEC East.”
The Gators have won three of their last four games against the Bulldogs, but got trounced 42-7 last year. This year, the Dawgs are expected to contend for a College Football Playoff spot again, so Mullen may not get the Gators back on the winning side of the rivalry this year.
But in 2019 and beyond, the pressure will be on to win the game that has served over the years as one of the biggest games on the SEC East schedule.