Three big things, in fact:
- Keeping the SECCG hopes alive. This is the weakest reed of the three, but it’s still plenty relevant. Georgia’s chances for a repeat appearance may be flickering, but they got fuel when South Carolina beat Missouri. And it’s not like this team hasn’t played behind the eight ball before when it came to needing help to get to Atlanta. One thing’s for sure, whichever team loses in Jacksonville is toast.
- The series psyche. When’s the last time we had 3-18 thrown in our faces? (Nowadays, there’s a lot more soul-searching going on.) If Georgia wins Saturday, here’s a new set of numbers to toss around: 5-5. That will be Mark Richt’s record over the last ten games against the Gators. Even more remarkably, Richt will have a winning record against Florida over the last seven games. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, maybe this expert opinion will change your mind: “We had better teams most of the years and the psyche of losing to them, we were able to get rid of after maybe two or three in a row,” said Spurrier, now coach at South Carolina. “But yeah, now there’s a little psyche on the Gators, I guess. Coach [Will] Muschamp hasn’t won that game, I guess.” Weiszer notes that only six current Dawgs have played on the losing side of a game against Florida. Win this one and next year’s team will be closer to having total ignorance of that feeling.
- The rest of the season. Here’s what Bill Connelly noticed about how Georgia plays after the Cocktail Party: “Since 2005, the Dawgs have gone 3-4 versus Florida. Following their three wins, they have gone 12-0 with an average score of 39-14 for the rest of the regular season. Following their four losses, they have gone 12-5 with an average score of 32-23. After their loss to Florida in 2006, they lost to Kentucky. After their loss in 2008, they barely beat Kentucky and lost at home to Georgia Tech. They lost to Kentucky again in 2009, three weeks after the Florida loss.” That’s a significant momentum swing.