The Florida Gators (4-3) and the #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs (7-0) are set to meet for the 99th time this Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. The Gators are coming off an embarrassing 49-42 loss to unranked LSU that saw the Gator defense get gashed for 321 yards on the ground. Their next challenge will be the hardest of the season and possibly the hardest of Dan Mullen's career at Florida.
The Bulldogs boast the best defense in the SEC and have been stingy all season. The Bulldogs are only allowing 6.6 points per game and 207 yards per game. In comparison, Florida has let up 21 points per game and 338 yards per game. That doesn't bode well against a Georgia team that plays well from the lead and has not lost a game all season.
The Gators are hoping to rescue a moral victory from a season that is on the verge of being completely lost. Dan Mullen has faced growing criticism for his recent spate of losses as the Gators have stumbled against six of their last eight Power 5 opponents. A loss to Georgia on Saturday will bump that number to losing seven out of the last nine Power 5 games and drop the Gators to a paltry 4-4 overall and 2-4 in SEC play.
A win would settle down the fan base and give Dan Mullen some breathing room. Though the task will not be an easy one. An unranked team has not beat the number one ranked team in the country since 2008 when Oregon State beat then number one USC 27-21. Georgia has beaten Florida three out of their last four meetings. Each of those wins came by an average of 20.3 points.
But there is cause for hope. This college football season has been beset by baffling upsets. It seems like every week there is a new headline blaring out the latest unranked team to pull of the impossible. Just recently, unranked Illinois downed #7 Penn State in a record nine overtimes. Alabama lost to an unranked Texas A&M just a few short weeks ago proving that even the best teams are beatable.
The Gators need this win, badly. Even with a loss, Georgia controls its own destiny. A loss to Florida will tarnish their undefeated season and add fuel to the legendary rivalry but does not put a trip to the SEC Championship in immediate jeopardy.
If Dan Mullen and the Gators want to salvage a disappointing season and propel themselves to a reasonable finish it has to start by beating their archrivals.
Georgia is currently a two-touchdown favorite over Flordia (-14) and the over/under on the game is a mere 51 points.
Kickoff is scheduled to take place in Jacksonville at 3:30 PM Eastern under blue skies and fabulous weather.