Day One: The History
Every Gator fan knows that Florida-Georgia weekend is more than just a game. It is a weekend-long event filled with excitement and some trash-talking to our rival, the Georgia Bulldogs.
Arguably the biggest rivalry in all of college football, the Florida-Georgia game has been played since 1915, with only one interruption in 1943 due to World War II. It was such an intense rivalry, it moved to neutral ground in Jacksonville, FL in 1933. It is one of the few remaining neutral-site rivalries in college football.
The game attracts huge crowds from both Florida and Georgia who attend the game, tailgating, and the weekend events. It became known as the “Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” However, the schools and the City of Jacksonville no longer officially use that name.
In this weeklong series, I count down the days until the big game by sharing history, recipes, stories, traditions, fashion and a bit of trash-talking.
Now, let’s get started.
In the Beginning
The two universities can’t even agree on the start of this rivalry. According to Wikepedia:
The University of Georgia’s athletic department counts a 1904 match that its football team played against a team from a school known as the University of Florida. The game was held in Macon, Georgia, and Georgia won 52–0. However, this was not the modern University of Florida in Gainesville, but one of its four predecessor institutions: a school was previously known as Florida Agricultural College, based in Lake City. Florida’s University Athletic Association does not include this game in the series record, as it occurred before the modern university was established by the Florida Legislature in 1905, and before the new entity fielded its first officially recognized football team in 1906.
However, the first game officially acknowledged by both schools was held in Jacksonville in 1915. The rivalry was renewed annually since 1926, except for the 1943 season. That season Florida didn’t field a team due to World War II.
This game often holds championship implications for both teams especially when the Southeastern Conference (SEC) split into Eastern and Western Division in 1992. As we know, Florida and Georgia both ended up in the Eastern Division. This means that the FL-GA often determined who would represent the Eastern Division in the SEC Championship Game.
To date, Florida has fourteen Eastern Division titles while Georgia has eight.
Overall Series Winner? – Disagreements Continue
Unfortunately, we can all agree that Georgia leads the overall series, we can argue about the overall series record. This is due to the disputed 1904 game mentioned above. As of the 2017 season, Georgia leads with a 51-43-2 record by its count, and 50-43-2 by Florida’s count.
Prior to the 1950s, Georgia dominated the series with Florida winning just five of the first 29 contests. Georgia also had an advantage in the 1970s and 1980s, leading the series 15-5.
Florida dominated the series 18-3 in the two decades following Steve Spurrier’s return to Florida in 1990.
Since 2010, the series has been split 4-4.