And coming in at number eight on my Top Ten College Football Rivalries list is…
#8 Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators. This rivalry has produced seven national titles. Three from Florida in 1996, 2006, and 2008 and Georgia won their national championships in 1920, 1927, 1946, 1968. This rivalry has also produced five Heisman winners. Quarterbacks Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerfel (1996), and Tim Tebow (2007) all won Heismans for the Gators. And running backs Frank Sinkwich (1942) and Herschel Walker (1982) won the only two Heismans in Bulldog history.
The Georgia Bulldogs versus the Florida Gators is one of the premiere college rivalries in the nation. This rivalry can be marked back as far as 1904. The Georgia fans believe that rivalry started in 1904 which is a year before the University of Florida was established. While, the Florida fans believe the rivalry started in 1915. Since there are two different start years, there are two different records.
Georgia believes they are winning the rivalry 50-42-2. Florida does not count the 1904-1914 games, so they think the rivalry is 49-42-2. But both fans will agree that this rivalry is especially important to the SEC.
Since the formation of the SEC in 1932, this has been one its staple rivalries. But in 1992, it became even bigger when the SEC split into two divisions. Georgia and Florida were both placed in the SEC East and since then they have dominated the East. Florida has claimed the most SEC East titles (11). Georgia has claimed the second most with seven SEC East titles. Florida also has seven SEC Championship Game wins, which is the most. The Bulldogs have two SEC Championships Game wins. This rivalry occurs every year.
The “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” (name was discounted in 2006) has produced many great games. The 2002 matchup between the Gators and the Bulldogs featured a top five undefeated Bulldogs team. By the end of the day, the Bulldogs suffered their first defeat. Gator quarterback Rex Grossman lead the Gators to a 20-13 win over the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs finished the season with that as their only loss.
If the Gators never had beaten the Bulldogs, the Ohio State Buckeyes would have never played the Miami Hurricanes in the BCS Championship Game. Think about how much could have changed if Miami would have won that game and there was no phantom pass interference call.
But one of the most memorable moments in this rivalry happened in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, Mark Richt ordered his Bulldog offense to celebrate after the first touchdown. It didn’t work out as Richt intended. Most of the team rushed the field and danced in the end zone after running back Knowshon Moreno scored the first touchdown of the game. This dance would be later referred to the “Gator Stomp.” Georgia earned two unsportsmanlike penalties from the celebration. That was about the last bad thing the Gators did that day. Moreno rushed for over 180 yards and the Bulldog defense sacked Gator quarterback Tim Tebow six teams. The Bulldogs would go onto win the game 42-30. In 2008, the Gators would comeback harder than ever.
In 2008, head coach Urban Meyer told his players they could not take about the 2007 game to media leading up to the 2008 matchup against the Bulldogs. This matchup featured two teams in the top ten of the national rankings, and two teams fighting for the edge in the SEC East. Going into the half, the Gators were leading 14-3. When the last whistle blew the game was nowhere close. The Gators beat the Bulldogs 49-10. That year the Gators won the SEC and the National Championship Game. This Gator team is the last SEC East team to win a SEC Championship and the last SEC East team to win a National Championship game.