Rivals Florida, Georgia meet in high-stakes ‘Cocktail Party’
No. 9 Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) vs. No. 7 Georgia (6-1, 4-1) at Jacksonville, Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS).
Line: Georgia by 6½.
Series record: Debatable. Georgia counts a victory in 1904 and says it leads 51-43-2. Florida insists it didn’t compete at the varsity level until 1906 and calls it 50-43-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Quite possibly a spot in the conference title game in Atlanta. The winner of the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” has advanced to the league’s showcase event eight times in the last 12 years. Kentucky still controls its destiny in the Eastern Division, but Florida and Georgia like their chances if they win Saturday.
Florida’s improving defense against Georgia RBs Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift. Holyfield and Swift have combined for 850 yards rushing and eight touchdowns this season, helping give the Bulldogs the best ground attack in the league. The Gators were gouged early, but have been considerably better in recent weeks.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Florida: DE Jachai Polite has 8½ tackles for loss, including seven sacks, and has the ability to wreck Georgia’s offensive plan. The Bulldogs have allowed 12 sacks in seven games, but three in a loss at LSU.
Georgia: CB Deandre Baker has 25 tackles, two interceptions and a league-leading 10 pass breakups, and Florida’s Feleipe Franks has a tendency to telegraph throws.
FACTS & FIGURES
First time since 2012 that both teams are ranked entering neutral-site game. First time since 2008 that both teams are ranked in top 10. Florida won that one 49-10. ... Georgia has won four of last seven in series. ... Seventh time in series history that both teams are coming off bye. ... The Gators are 3-0 against Georgia when ESPN “College GameDay” broadcasts from Jacksonville. ... Florida coach Dan Mullen went 3-1 against Georgia as Florida’s offensive coordinator (2005-08). ... Georgia coach Kirby Smart is 2-5 in the series, winning as a rookie head coach last year, going 1-3 as a player for the Bulldogs (1995-98) and losing as an administrative assistant (1999) and as a running backs coach (2005).