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College Football Game of the Year – Georgia Vs Florida
As I write today, we are a full day away from the college football game of the year. Tomorrow in Jacksonville, Florida, the Georgia Bulldogs take on the fearsome Florida Gators of Gainesville, Florida. Even if you live on another planet or hate college football to the max, you will have heard or come into contact with certain aspects of this game. It’s the game of the year, maybe even of the decade, hands down. hand. I’m a biased Georgia fan but I’ll try to explain why this game is so special.
The game will be played in Jacksonville, Florida at a “neutral” venue. Jacksonville seems to be a perfect dividing line between the two states. Fans start arriving early in the week to take part in all the activities in and around Jacksonville. They come in motorhomes. They come in cars with divided family loyalties. They come dressed in red and black, blue and white. All these fans mingle, party and chat together. It lasts all week and turns into fury around 3:30 p.m., match time on Saturday. Where else in America can this happen without violence and bloodshed?
This year will again be a preview of two certain NFL QB draft picks going forward. Georgia’s Matt Stafford and Florida’s Tim Tebow are arguably two of the best quarterbacks in college football today. Georgia Stafford is a back pocket quarterback who can identify passes on the field. His team leadership and cool attitude have NFL scouts gasping. Florida’s Tim Tebow is a deadly, punishing competitor who can beat you with the passing and with his running game. Tebow has the Heisman but he and Stafford seek the national championship that eluded them in their college careers.
This game will naturally have national and conference implications. Georgia is ranked 6th in the BCS and has an outside chance to play in the championship game in Miami. Florida is ranked 8th and steadily rising in the polls. Every year, it seems these two teams compete for the SEC East title for the right to play in the conference championship game in Atlanta. Whoever wins this game will be in the driver’s seat for many of the season’s accolades. These circumstances always seem to add spice to an already heated rivalry. Year after year, tough competition in a major football league saw the cream rise to the top of both programs. Having something in play every year when you play sets this game apart from a lopsided USC or boring Ohio State game. Big plays are the norm in the SEC.
This game features two innovative and highly respected coaches. Mark Richt of Georgia and Urban Meyer of Florida are both offensive-minded coaches who seem to enjoy playing against each other every year. They say they are friendly, but both are very competitive and surely want to beat the other. Florida’s Meyer has already won a national championship that Coach Richt has so far eluded. Each is a master motivator who will always have a special trick or two planned just for this game. It’s truly exciting to see fans, coaches and players compete together in a rivalry that has spanned over 70 years. As a kid growing up in Chicago, I naively thought that we only knew how to play football and how to be football fans. After moving to Atlanta in early 1991, I found a football atmosphere beyond anything I had ever imagined. This game of rivalry is what college football is all about. GO DOGS! Don’t forget, if you’re in Jacksonville around the end of October, be sure to get a ticket to THE game and experience it for yourself.
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