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FutureStarrFlorida Georgia Game OR
In recent years, Florida and Georgia have been competing in sports that defied logic, such as soccer, womens’ golf and ping-pong. Who would have thought a couple of states with delicate ecosystems and limited sporting tradition would be playing ping-pong? Now, as the two states ramp up their friendly competition, we thought it worthwhile to look at the history of the rivalry and its impact on the U.S. state economically.
Though highly contested on both sides, the series has gone through several periods in which one team has been dominant for well over a decade. Georgia dominated the early series while Florida held a clear advantage in the 1950s and early 1960s. Georgia again dominated from the mid-60s through the 80s under coach Vince Dooley, while Florida took the upper hand in the rivalry during the 1990s and early 2000s under coaches Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer. More recently, the series has been more evenly balanced. Beginning with the 2007 contest, the series is tied at seven, with the fierce rivals enjoying and then suffering through alternating sets of three-game win streaks. The Gators broke the Bulldogs' string of three consecutive series wins in 2020.
Georgia dominated the early rivalry. Florida did not score a single point against the Bulldogs until their fifth (or sixth) meeting. The Gators won their first two games against Georgia in 1928 and 1929, when coach Charlie Bachman's squads briefly brought Florida's football program to national prominence. However, after a scoreless tie in 1930, Georgia resumed its dominance, winning fifteen out of the next seventeen games in the series as coach Wally Butts led the Bulldogs to several SEC championships while the Gators suffered through a period of mediocrity in the 1930s and 1940s. Florida finally enjoyed longer-term success in the rivalry in the 1950s under coach Bob Woodruff, a trend that continued into the 1960s under coach Ray Graves. The hiring of new Georgia coach Vince Dooley in 1964 evened the rivalry for the remainder of the decade, and in the 1970s and 1980s, his Bulldog squads usually won the game in Jacksonville while winning a national championship in 1980 along the way. Coach Steve Spurrier's arrival in Gainesville turned the rivalry back around beginning in 1990, and his Gator squads went 11–1 against the Bulldogs. Coach Urban Meyer continued Florida's winning trend through the mid-2000s, but the rivalry has been unusually even since 2008. Florida began a three game series win streak in that season, which was followed by a three game Georgia streak, then another three game streak for Florida, which was answered by three Georgia wins, marking the longest evenly-divided dozen years in series history. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)