The University of Georgia and the University of Florida have been football rivals since 1904. Fans gather in Jacksonville every year for the big game, fondly nicknamed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” The game is held in Jacksonville because it is considered a neutral site so that neither team gains a home field advantage. But, Jacksonville is not truly a neutral site; Everbank Field, the stadium where the rivalry game is held each year, is 339 miles away from Athens, GA and only 73 miles away from Gainesville, FL. Even though the site is a much closer commute for Florida fans, an equal amount of supporters from each school show up yearly.
For fair weather fans, this rivalry is an excuse to day drink and hang out on Saint Simon’s island for a couple of days. But, for hardcore fans, the game can have serious implications. Many times this game has determined which team will represent the SEC East in the SEC conference championship. Florida has 10 SEC East titles, while Georgia has 5. This is in contrast to the overall record of the rivalry. Florida has won 40 games, and Georgia has 52.
In this study, I have only researched the rivalry from 2008 - 2015. Florida’s quarterback, Tim Tebow, won the Heisman Trophy award in 2008, then lead his team to the BCS National Championship game in 2008. This national championship year accounts for their huge 39 point win over Georgia. These successful years are often attributed to their head coach, Urban Meyer. Meyer left the University of Florida in 2011, causing UF to have to rebuild their coaching staff. When Urban Meyer left UF in 2011, UGA’s football program suddenly found success.
For 5 seasons (2011-2015), UGA has had a winning football record with an overall 50 wins and 17 losses. In 2011 and 2012, UGA made it to the SEC conference championship game, but lost both years. Under coach Mark Richt (UGA head coach from 2001 - 2015), UGA came very close to winning big games, but always failed at the last minute.
In summary, Florida has been able to profit off of their successes much more than Georgia has in recent years boasting a Heisman trophy winner, a BCS National title, an SEC East title, and an SEC championship title. For the first time in many years, UGA and UF have finished their seasons with the same amount of wins, which should make for an interesting game in Jacksonville on October 29, 2016.
Data Source: www.cfbstats.com