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SEC Football Showdown: Florida Gators vs Georgia Bulldogs

It’s that time of year again for the (unofficially) world’s largest outdoor cocktail party, also known as the showdown between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville. In this neutral site game, no. 7 Georgia is listed as a 6.5-point favorite over no. 9 Florida.

The last time the Bulldogs took the field, they were the victims of a 36-16 shellacking at the hands of LSU. That loss put a stop to Georgia’s six-game winning streak and means they have no margin for error if they want to reach the SEC Championship Game and the College Football Playoff. They still have tough games ahead against Kentucky and Auburn, but those games won’t mean anything if they can’t beat Florida.

The Gators, on the other hand, lost a game to Kentucky in early September but have rattled off five straight wins since then. Florida was a dark horse at best for the SEC title and CFP at the start of the season, but that’s on the table if they can win out. If they can beat Georgia, the Gators will be favored in all of their remaining games and with a little luck could find their way to the SEC Championship Game and the CFP conversation.

Running to Jacksonville

One of the biggest reasons why Florida has won five in a row, including two against ranked teams, is their rushing attack. Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine have turned into a bonafide rushing tandem over the past month. Both are averaging 5.4 yards per carry on the season, and having two viable backs makes it easier for the Gators to ride the hot hand.

The caveat for the Gators is what they’ll get out of quarterback Feleipe Franks. He’s been a good game manager this season but has rarely been asked to push the ball downfield or carry the team. With the talent on Georgia’s defense, the Gators are going to need more out of Franks. Even when the Bulldogs gave up 36 points against LSU a couple of weeks ago, they were able to bend but not break for most of the game. If they do the same against Florida, the Gators will need to get more out of Franks.

The Real Georgia

After a 20-point loss to LSU two weeks ago, it may be fair to wonder is truly an elite team. If you look back at their schedule, they really haven’t been challenged much outside of the game against LSU. The Georgia offense was held in check during that game. Even their dynamic rushing attack had trouble finding a rhythm. It’s also not a stretch to think that Florida can duplicate that kind of performance defensively.

In the end, whether Georgia is for real or not could come down to the play of quarterback Jake Fromm. He managed to steer the Bulldogs to the national title game last year, but he’ll need to do more to get Georgia back there this season. If nothing else, he’ll have to avoid turnovers after throwing two interceptions against LSU.

Gator Chomp

There are far too many questions about Georgia coming out of their loss to LSU to swallow the points. This game has all the makings of a classic Florida-Georgia showdown that comes down to the wire. The wise play has to be on the underdog and the points. Bet on Florida +6.5 to at least beat the spread against the Bulldogs.

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