by Chris Altruda
World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party Odds: No. 6 Florida vs. No. 8 Georgia Odds
Welcome to Part II of the Southeastern Conference’s “Round Robin of Death,” as high-profile intradivision
college matchups also serve as de facto elimination games for the College Football Playoff.
After last week’s Auburn-LSU matchup that propelled the Geaux Tigers atop The Associated Press Top 25, the scene shifts to the East Division on Saturday as No. 6 Florida and No. 8 Georgia make their annual trek to Jacksonville for divisional supremacy. While the game no longer carries the title of “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” a sellout crowd of 84,000 is expected at EverBank Field, with nearly as many fans from both schools descending upon the city.
The Gators (7-1, 4-1), who are +185 on the money line and 6.5-point underdogs at -110 according to the FanDuel Sportsbook, have a one-half game lead on the Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1) and also have the “better” loss of the two considering it came to LSU in a cross-division clash. Georgia has already absorbed one loss within the E
ast, losing to South Carolina, and still has challenging crossover games versus Texas A&M and at No. 11 Auburn remaining.
With the first CFP rankings scheduled to come out Tuesday, this game will also provide a road map of sorts to see just how many teams the winner will have to overcome to be a player for the four-team national semifinal should they emerge as SEC champions.
Both teams are coming off bye weeks, with Georgia having blanked Kentucky 21-0 on a rain-soaked field Oct. 19. D’Andre Swift had a season-high 179 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns as he looks to having another big game versus Florida. He totaled 104 yards and a TD on just 12 carries in last season’s 36-17 victory.
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From Top to Bottom: How Georgia’s Quarterback Could be the Difference
But for Swift to be effective, quarterback Jake Fromm must be on his game. Fromm has thrown for 1,406 yards but only nine touchdowns – well off his 2018 total of 30 in just 306 attempts. One of his top receiving options, Lawrence Cager, is expected to return after missing the win over Kentucky with a rib injury.
Fromm, who is seeking his 10th victory in 15 starts versus AP Top 25 teams, is 230 yards shy of becoming the fifth 7,000-yard passer in school history.
Florida is playing its third AP Top 10 team of the season, having defeated Auburn before losing to LSU. The Gators bounced back from the loss to the latter before their bye week, fending off South Carolina 38-27 on Oct. 19. Kyle Trask threw a career-high four touchdown passes as he continued to excel since repacing the injured Feleipe Franks under center.
Trask has thrown for 1,225 yards and 13 touchdowns in his five starts for Florida while completing 66.9 percent of his passes. He will also get a key offensive cog back for this game as Kadarius Toney has returned to practice after missing six games with a shoulder injury.
Toney had a 66-yard touchdown catch before getting hurt, and he averaged 10.9 yards per touch on his 46 combined rushes and receptions in 2018.
Georgia has retained the Okefenokee Oar the last two seasons, with Florida last laying claim to it with a 24-10 victory in 2016. Depending on which school you believe, Georgia leads the all-time series either 51-43-2 or 52-43-2. The first “game” between the teams in 1904, a 52-0 victory by Georgia is disputed by Florida since the university was not established by the state legislature until the following year.