Georgia-Florida arrives: What to know about Saturday’s SEC showdown

Florida Georgia helmets

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Georgia-Florida football game arrives in Jacksonville this week. Here’s what you should know about the game.

When is it?

Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field.

The teams

Georgia is 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the country. Florida is 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the SEC.

What’s on the line?

For the Bulldogs, the opportunity to stay at the front of the SEC East and on track towards a giant matchup against Tennessee for the division title on Nov. 5. For the Gators, it would be a massive chance to knock off their biggest rival and give first-year coach Billy Napier a signature win.

The betting line

Georgia opened as a record 22.5-point favorite over Florida, the largest line in the series.

How can you watch or listen?

The game will be televised on CBS. The game can be found on local radio at 1010AM and 92.5 FM. In St. Augustine the game can be found on 102.1 FM and 1240 AM. In Lake City, the game can be found on the radio (103.7 FM, 98.1 FM and 850 AM). It can be found on satellite radio at SiriusXM, Channel 156 or 206, or on the SiriusXM App on Channel 969.

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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

What about the history?

The two schools can’t even agree on when the series began. The Bulldogs say it began with a 52-0 victory over the Gators in 1904. Florida doesn’t count that game, and, for good reason. The university itself didn’t open until 1906. Georgia claims a 54-44-2 record against the Gators. Florida says it is 44-53-2 against the Bulldogs.

The ebbs and flows

The Bulldogs dominated the early portion of this rivalry, winning 24 of the first 30 games. Things have balanced out since then. The Gators dominated in the 1990s-2000s, winning 17 of 20 games. Steve Spurrier went 11-1 against the Bulldogs from 1990 to 2001. Urban Meyer went 5-1 against the Bulldogs from 2005-10. Even Ron Zook was 2-1 against Georgia during that timeframe, including a massive win in 2002, knocking off the fourth-ranked Bulldogs 20-13, a win that likely prevented a national title shot.

The history here

The series was played here in 1915, 1927 and ‘29 before landing in the area on a permanent basis in 1933. It has been held in Jacksonville continuously since, although it went to Gainesville in 1994 and Athens in 1995 as the stadium was undergoing renovations after the city was awarded the Jaguars. This series has also been played in Macon, Tampa and Savannah.

Florida coach Billy Napier, front right, and quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) watch from the sideline during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Utah, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Will the game remain in Jacksonville?

That’s been a question that’s asked time and again and picked up some new legs with Kirby Smart pushing for a home-and-home series. Smart’s argument for a home-and-home series is that playing the game in Jacksonville gives Florida a built-in advantage because of its proximity to Gainesville. It also deprives both schools of a valuable recruiting weekend

The schools know that the future of the game in Jacksonville is a major topic. This week, they released a combined statement on the future of the game here:

“The annual game between our two universities is an important tradition. At this time, both programs are focused on our current seasons. Typically both schools begin conversations regarding future games in the series as the last contracted game nears. We anticipate following that timeline. When those discussions take place, we will consider a multitude of factors, including tradition, finances, future SEC scheduling models with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, and what is best for both schools’ football programs overall.”

The game is tied to Jacksonville through 2023. There is a two-year extension option through 2025.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.