The annual late October trip to take on the Gators in Jacksonville is my absolute favorite time of the year. Even with the rough patch my Bulldogs have hit since 1990. We always heard about this weekend growing up from our parents, and ever since my first fall at UGA I haven’t missed the chance to experience the Georgia-Florida mayhem. It is hands down one of the best weekends of the year in the whole entire country. Hundreds of thousands of Gator and Bulldog fans flock to Jacksonville, FL to experience one of college footballs deepest traditions.
The one thing that gets me every year is how Gator fans think that football started in 1990? Ok, I get it you are on a 18-3 run, and if it was us, we would be rubbing it in your faces all day long. Let’s look at the entire picture for once though Gators. The Bulldogs still hold a 47-40-2 record over your Gators (46-40-2 according to UF). That means you have at least 7 years to go until you catch us, but probably more like 12 if things keep going on the same pace. We have also had our fair share of winning streaks in this rivalry, and claim the largest victory, 75-0 in 1942. So when we hear 18-3 this weekend, we can only respond with 47-40.
Even with the hatred for one another among the two fan bases, there is a mutual respect for being a part of this rivalry. There is a special feeling that only Bulldog and Gators get. It is a feeling that Yellow Jackets and Seminoles wouldn’t understand in their respective rivalries with these two teams. Call me snobby, stuck-up, or just plain crazy, but this rivalry runs deeper than a score sheet and a year of bragging rights. In a weird way this weekend brings together two brothers that have a love-hate relationship. It is about history and traditions. It is about SEC football at its best. The rivalry has seen names like Vince Dooley, Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith and Tim Tebow. Some of college footballs greatest moments have been born in this game: The “Gator Stomp” and “Run, Lindsay, Run!”.
It is a special feeling pulling over the Matthews Bridge on Saturday morning. The long line of bumper to bumper traffic that not one person minds to be in. The adrenaline rush hits as you slowly creep to the top of the bridge and get your first peek at the thousands of fans below. It is a view of tailgating and college football heaven that you can’t get anywhere else.
It’s finally Georgia-Florida time my friends. That late October weekend that you mark on the calendar a year in advance. The tailgate lots are divided, the stadium is divided, but the fans are all their to celebrate the same great tradition: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.