No. 3 Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) vs. No. 12 Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Spread: Florida by 6.5
Watchability: This one will likely determine the SEC East. Florida can clinch it with a win, while Georgia would take over first place with a win. The Bulldogs would then only need to beat Ole Miss and Auburn to win the division. Florida has been the far more consistent team this season, but a lot of its work can be undone if Georgia pulls the upset on Saturday. That’s part of what makes the SEC fun to watch every week.
Shining stars: Florida -- RB Mike Gillislee. Coach Will Muschamp needed a consistent back to emerge for his offense to excel, and Gillislee has been just that. The senior ranks fourth in the conference with 652 yards on the ground. He’ll be looking to bounce back after a quieter-than-normal 37-yard performance in the win over South Carolina last week. Georgia -- OLB Jarvis Jones. He missed last week against Kentucky with an ankle injury, but he was back on the practice field Monday and is expected to start at Florida. Georgia will need a big play or two from its defense to hang in this one. Jones, who has 5.5 sacks in just five games played this season, gives the Bulldogs their best chance at doing that.
Who could steal the show: Florida -- TE Jordan Reed. QB Jeff Driskel doesn’t have one go-to WR, so he looks Reed’s way often, especially in the red zone. The junior has 25 receptions for 281 yards this season. He had four grabs for 44 yards against South Carolina, including two short TD receptions. Georgia -- QB Aaron Murray. Taking care of the ball will be Murray’s top priority against the swarming Gators’ defense. Three crucial turnovers, including a fumble by QB Connor Shaw, cost South Carolina 21 points last week. Murray must avoid a similar mistake, while building on his huge performance (30/38, 427 yards, 4 TDs) against Kentucky last week.
You going? Ranking the road trip: The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, as it is unofficially known, is one of the few true neutral-site rivalry games left in college football. The tailgating scene is fantastic and the winner of this game is the likely SEC East champion. There aren’t many good excuses to miss this one.
Magic number for Florida: 2. That’s how many underclassmen Georgia has on its OL (freshman RT John Theus and sophomore C David Andrews). The Gators’ loaded DL will be coming after them.
Magic number for Georgia: minus-19. That’s how many rushing yards the Bulldogs held Florida to in Georgia’s 24-20 win in 2011. It’ll be a much harder task this season with the Gators averaging 212.7 yards per game on the ground.
The game comes down to: Which Georgia team are we going to see? The team that rolled to a 5-0 start, or the one that was pounded 35-7 by South Carolina and only beat Kentucky by five points. Expect the Bulldogs with a healthier Jones and a veteran QB to stick around in this one. However, Florida has risen to every occasion this season and there’s no reason to believe that trend will stop Saturday. The Gators have a knack for timely big plays and they’ll get a few of those against an inconsistent Georgia squad on Saturday.
Eye on College Football's take: Given the stakes of this game, it's fair to argue the entire SEC East race will come down to whether the Bulldogs can run the ball or not Saturday. After five games in which "Gurshall" gave the Dawgs one of the most explosive rushing attacks in the country, Georgia's ground game has come to a stunning, clattering halt over the past two, averaging just 3.2 yards per-carry against South Carolina and somehow just 2.4 against sad-sack Kentucky. Aaron Murray was able to put the team on his shoulders against the Wildcats, but the Bulldogs had no solutions vs. the Gamecocks, and the Gators -- third nationally in opponent's pass efficiency -- are far closer to the Gamecocks than the Wildcats. If the Georgia offensive line doesn't take a dramatic step forward over their performance the past two outings (or, alternatively, the Gator defensive tackle tandem of Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley dominate the way they're capable of), the burden on Murray will simply be too heavy for even him to carry anywhere close to victory. -- Jerry Hinnen
Prediction: Florida 21, Georgia 17
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