Better than the Iron Bowl? Paul Finebaum makes the case for Florida-Georgia as the SEC's best rivalry
There are so many good rivalries in the Southeastern Conference, it’s tough to pick the best one.
The Iron Bowl has long been held up as the best in the conference — ESPN’s 30 for 30 series even made a movie on the rivalry — but the way Paul Finebaum views things, Florida-Georgia has overtaken the matchup between Alabama and Auburn as the league’s best rivalry.
Here is what Finebaum had to say during his latest appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program The Roundtable.
“I don’t want to say anything blasphemous a week and a day after Easter Sunday, but Alabama-Auburn is no longer really the driving rivalry, I think, in the Southeastern Conference,” Finebaum said on the show. “Because everyone understands the reality of it. Nick Saban is going to win, maybe 92.3% of the games or whatever.”
Finebaum added that his show provides him a good barometer of how heated a rivalry can currently be based on his callers’ reactions.
“I don’t want to speak for you because you live there and I don’t anymore but, on my program, which you know, is a more of an SEC-centric show — if I want to just drop some blood into the water and see sharks circling, it’s about Georgia or Florida. And it’s vicious,” Finebaum added.
“They love nothing more than to remind Georgia fans they haven’t won a national championship in 40 years. It doesn’t matter what Kirby Smart has done, so yeah, I think this is a continuum of the SEC’s current-day great rivalry. And it is vicious.”
The ESPN host went a step further and got in a dig at Auburn’s place in the Iron Bowl rivalry and its former coach.
“Even the most ardent Auburn fan has almost just waved the white flag when it comes to (Nick) Saban now,” he concluded. “Yeah, you know (Gus) Malzahn won three times, which is extraordinary, still got him fired, didn’t he?”