Podcast: Previewing Florida Gators match-up with the Georgia Bulldogs

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we start to preview the Florida Gators big game against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown the big keys for the Gators on Saturday and how they can knock off Georgia in Jacksonville.

Andrew and Nick also get you caught up all the latest injury news for the Gators, plus we breakdown what Dan Mullen had to say on Monday.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re running a day behind, but we’re here. Gators-Georiga. Kind of what we thought it was going to be at the beginning of the year. Winner pretty much goes to Atlanta.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s kind of like order restored. This is what you expect Florida-Georgia to be, what we expected Florida-Georgia to be at the beginning of the year, during the off season. Maybe even Florida in a better spot than you or I would have thought heading into the year, because Florida comes in really in the driver’s seat. Their loss is to LSU in the West, and Georgia’s loss is to South Carolina in the East. When you start getting into tiebreakers and things like that, it’s better to lose to a team in the West than the East. With that being said, you got to win Saturday. You’re in the driver’s seat, but you quickly move to the backseat if you lose to Georgia.

Andrew:                 I was doing a couple radio shows, Nick, and I’ll ask you the same thing they asked me. They said before this season did you think Florida was as near talent-wise with Georgia or had caught Georgia as much as they have now? My answer was no. I feel like, definitely not the talent gap, because that’s not something you can gain in the middle of the year, but I feel much better about Florida’s chances against Georgia now than I did, say July.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think in July we both probably would have said there’s still the talent gap from recruiting. I did pick Florida to win, to win the SEC East, so I thought this is probably Florida’s chance. I think it was more, I still thought there was a talent gap. I just think X’s and O’s that Florida has the better staff. I think with the team that I knew Florida had coming back and their coaching staff, that I thought this would be the year that they could beat Georgia. But yeah, I agree with you. I still thought the talent gap was there.

Andrew:                 I agree with you. I think Mullen X’s and O’s on game day is better than Kirby X’s and O’s on game day. There was no doubt about that. I felt like Georgia was a little bit better of a team, but now that the season’s taking place, I think it’s a tossup, Nick. I said this, and I’ll ask you the same thing. For me, it’s a little bit of a weird year, in that we don’t worry about Florida’s offense showing up. We worry about Florida’s defense showing up. It’s kind of the same thing for a team like Alabama, a team like LSU. You don’t worry about either one of those offenses showing up. You worry about their defenses showing up. If Florida’s defense shows up on Saturday, you like Florida’s chances.

Nick:                         100%. I like Florida’s chances either way. By virtue of picking Florida to win the SEC East, I’m guessing way back then I picked them to beat Georgia, but I think I feel much more comfortable. If you’d have asked me at SEC Media Days, even after filling out the ballot, is Florida going to beat Georgia? I might have been like, uh … I don’t know. Let’s see. I think Florida is absolutely more than capable of beating Georgia. Georgia has shown to me that they bleed, just like everyone else does. They’re not this Alabama 2.0, they’re Alabama lite that gets whoever they want in recruiting, and then just runs roughshod through their entire schedule. They’ve proved that that’s not what they are.

Andrew:                 Right. First of all, there’s one Alabama. Kirby Smart is not Nick Saban. I don’t care what anyone says. You don’t lose games like he does for that. Good news for Florida though, Nick, is they’re healthy, for the most part. Jonathan Greenard and Jabari, I don’t think either one of them will be fully 100%, but they should be able to go out there and give you a good amount of plays. Then Kadarius Toney looks healthy to go, so Florida should be as healthy as they’ve been in a couple weeks, or actually more than a couple weeks, almost all year. They should be healthy for this game. Bye week came at the right time.

Nick:                         Yeah. We were talking to Jonathan Greenard, and he had never had a high ankle sprain, so when he got hurt against Auburn, he tried to go back into that game. Then obviously, he tried to play at LSU, and he made it one series and a drive. I think clearly for him, he just didn’t know the severity of a high ankle sprain, and for him the bye, getting him to sit out, or being deep enough to have him sit out against South Carolina, to give him two full weeks, I think that was huge for Florida and for Jonathan Greenard. It’s unmistakable how much he means to that defense, when you see what LSU was able to do, what South Carolina was able to do with some of those big runs. You need a healthy Jonathan Greenard in your lineup.

Andrew:                 Yeah. To go with that, this is an interesting stat that I found. It’s floating around the internet a little bit. Georgia’s 0-5, Nick, when Jake Fromm throws 30 times or more.

Nick:                         The whole offense runs through D’Andre Swift.

Andrew:                 That’s right. Run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball.

Nick:                         Listen, it’s not a bad player to have your offense running through.

Andrew:                 No, absolutely not.

Nick:                         But.

Andrew:                 I think when you talk about big games, and here we go again, we’re talking about those key factors. If you can shut the opposing team’s running game down, you feel pretty good about winning. You look at the Auburn game. Florida shut down the running game. You look at the LSU game. LSU ran the ball really well and shut Florida’s running game down. Guess what happened? They won. Guess what happened in the Auburn game? Florida won.

You feel like it, and, again, this is one of those games, you and I say it all the time, anything can happen in this game. Would it surprise me to see Florida come out and run for 300 yards? No, because it’s this game. Anything goes in this game. It wouldn’t surprise me in this game. It just wouldn’t. But it does, like you say, go to show you where this team goes. I mean, you look at a quick look at the yards here. Georgia’s got 1,658 yards rushing, only 1,641 passing. Pretty balanced.

Nick:                         I think they will try to be balanced against Florida. Obviously, you got a guy like D’Andre Swift. Jonathan Greenard said it himself yesterday. He’s like, when he’s going, they’re just going to keep feeding the ball. When he’s not going, they’re going to find different ways to give him the ball, because that’s their offense. He’s a great player. He’s a guy that I think the biggest thing for me, and I’ll see if you agree, the biggest thing for me is he can make you miss in space. Florida’s shown that they can miss in space.

Andrew:                 Yup.

Nick:                         So, that’s a big one. We talk about it all the time, just in terms of don’t turn the no yard gain into a four-yard gain. Don’t turn the four-yard gain into a 40-yard gain.

Andrew:                 Absolutely. Swift and James Cook both have 13 receptions out of the backfield, so they’re capable guys to catch the ball out in space as well. This is a team, like you said, that if D’Andre Swift’s not able to run right up the gut, they’re going to go toss. They’re going to do something to get him the ball. That’s just where their offense goes.

For me, Nick, and it’s the key, and we’ll talk about it all week long, the key is get pressure, get pressure, get pressure on Fromm. Make Fromm uncomfortable. That is the winning key to beating Georgia. It has been for the last couple years, and it’s once again the winning key.

Nick:                         Yeah. Can you do it?

Andrew:                 They’ve given up just four sacks though, compared to getting 18. They’ve done a good job there. But you go back, and you look at that South Carolina game, Nick. Will Muschamp didn’t get very many sacks in the game, but he got pressure.

Nick:                         That’s the thing. I think Bill Connelly, he’s with ESPN now, was with SB Nation. He comes out with his own stats and things like that. They call it the havoc rating. Todd Grantham talks about havoc. It’s not just necessarily you got to get sacks, but it’s just affect somebody.

Andrew:                 Yup. Put pressure on them. Make them feel uncomfortable in the game. Make them feel like they’re rushing. Even at times when they’re not getting a ton of pass rush on them, make them feel uncomfortable out there. Make them feel that they have to get rid of the ball a little bit. South Carolina only had three sacks in that game, Nick, but when you look at Jake Fromm, he’s 28 of 51.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think Jake Fromm is a good quarterback.

Andrew:                 I think Jake Fromm is a very good game manager. I don’t think Jake Fromm, a lot like Kyle Trask, is a guy that you want to throw the ball 50 times in the game, is a guy that maybe you don’t want to put all the pressure on, but you feel like they’re going to lead your team to wins.

Nick:                         Yeah. I asked Dan Mullen that, because Dan Mullen, some people use that word game manager, or those words game manager, as like a dirty word to them, or a diss. That’s not for Dan Mullen. He thinks the world of game managers as quarterbacks. Thinks that’s what they’re supposed to do. He said exactly the same thing about Jake Fromm. Gets their guys in and out of plays that they don’t need to be in. Doesn’t try to force the ball. Doesn’t try to do too much. Let’s the game come to him, and just sticks with the game plan. Sometimes that can work, and sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it isn’t. Like you said, huge key for Florida is getting to him, affecting him, and just not letting him sit back there and manage and pick things apart. Bring it to him.

Andrew:                 One thing too, Nick, when you go back and you look at that South Carolina game a little bit, Joyner had some abilities in that game to get out in space when he came in the game. This could be an opportunity for Emory.

Nick:                         Well, you’d think.

Andrew:                 He was last year. He did okay last year.

Nick:                         Right.

Andrew:                 It’ll be interesting to see. I think that’s the chess match, or however you want to say it, that Dan Mullen has every week, because you know he’s preparing every week to have Emory Jones in there. It’s just whether or not the opportunity and the time presents itself. I’ll say this. I think that’s a weapon for Florida to make Georgia prepare. When is Emory coming? Preparing for that, that’s a little less time you’re preparing for Kyle Trask.

Nick:                         Yeah. When we see Emory Jones get into the game, it’s really been, I want to say it’s really been running, it’s really been this and that, but there have been some plays.

Andrew:                 The Kyle Pitts play.

Nick:                         The Kyle Pitts play. Maybe he got hit in the elbow. I got he got hit in the back. I’d have to watch it again. If that play’s a touchdown, then I’m not saying mostly we see Emory Jones come in, and he just runs the ball. It’ll be interesting to see how much he’s used, because I’m not confident. As soon as you brought it up, my initial thought, if I’m just being honest, is yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it. You know what I mean?

Andrew:                 Right. That’s kind of every week, honestly.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Honestly, it’s every week where we say, Emory could have a big impact in this game, and then it doesn’t happen. Every week I think we hold our breath and say, this is the week. We’re right every now and then. Clock’s right at least twice a day. We’re right every now and then. Again, I think you look back at last year’s game plan, and Emory had a chance to have a really good game. He had several wide-open passes. If I’m remembering correctly, one was caught and one or two was dropped in the game. They weren’t respecting him. Absolutely, they’re going to respect him now in this game. Then to flip the field, remember how bad Vosean Joseph was exposed. Amari Burney is going to be a key on Saturday.

Nick:                         Here’s the thing. I think the game last year, and I was at a wedding, but was able to watch most of it, I think the game last year was probably closer than the final score would say.

Andrew:                 100%.

Nick:                         That was without Marco. That was without CJ. I think these are two just totally different teams. I think they confidence wise are at different points of their season. Does confidence score points, and does it win you games? No, but I think it’s actually a big thing, especially when you think of 18, 19, 20-year-old kids getting ready for a game. Sure, like you said, nothing would surprise you in this game, but for me I think that still means something. You know? I think that you see that on the field.

It’ll be interesting for me to see how the teams come out. I’m really excited to see if Florida, listen, no one’s healthy. Jonathan Greenard said that yesterday. He goes, you can call anybody in the country, and no one in the country is 100% healthy. They’re dinged up. Something’s happened. For me, it’ll be interesting to see. I just think Florida’s going to be much better off after that bye week.

Andrew:                 I’m with you. I’m with you for sure on that. I think Florida is much better off after the bye week. I think Florida needed that bye week probably more than anyone, simply for that case of getting their guys back healthy again. For me, when you look back at last year, if CJ plays, might be a completely different game. McWilliams was picked on all day long, and it wasn’t even, I’m not going to pick on CJ McWilliams anymore, but it was just simply he was outmatched.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s probably the nice way to say it.

Andrew:                 It is what it is. They knew. There’s a backup in the game who hasn’t played very much. They weren’t going to go after Trey Dean, because he had been playing, and playing extremely well. So, they said we’re going to go after the guy who hasn’t played much. They kept going back and back and back and back and back.

Nick:                         Smart. If the faucet’s leaking, just keep going at it.

Andrew:                 Exactly. Anything else that Dan Mullen said on Monday, Nick?

Nick:                         I wanted to get into, I put it in my notebook, but I wanted to get your opinion on it, and I don’t want to go too crazy into it, because I get yelled at every time, because everyone wants the game to stay in Jacksonville. Kirby Smart, he can say what he wants to right now, but for me it’s make no mistake about it, Kirby Smart does not want the game to be played in Jacksonville.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         He’s named a number of reasons. He doesn’t think that it’s a true neutral site. Listen, Jacksonville’s a lot closer to Gainesville than it is to Athens. Doesn’t think it’s good for either team when it comes to recruiting. That’s what I wanted to ask you, because they’re not going to move the game to Atlanta. If anything, they would do some kind of home, Athens, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Jacksonville kind of rotation, if anything.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Until 2023, they’re playing all the games there. This is what Kirby said, and I think there’s a lot to it, and then I can go a little bit into what Dan said about it as well, because he kind of agrees. Kirby Smart’s quote, “I think the landscape of college football is such now that your home and homes are so valuable, as you try to go out and find other teams to play. When you play those other teams that we’re playing out in the future, you got a home and home. So, now there’s one less home game.” That’s the case for Florida when they go and play Texas, that year that they’re in Texas. They lose out on a home game that season. “The team that use the bye to come and play you, they have one less home game.”

He goes, “Now, some years when we do it, now we have two less home games. So, it makes it tougher in that perspective.” Then he goes into the part about kids. He goes, “It’s a two-year commitment. We’ll continue to see where it’s going in college football. I think as you look across the board, you see more kids committing on these official visit weekends when they come to a home game, and they feel that. It’s a really important weekend. We just have one less shot at those. That’s the toughest thing.”

Do you think you could appease? I mean, he’s talking about the whole home experience there. Being able to see the facilities. They can take them around. They’ve got their whole support staff there that’s doing nothing but catering to these kids, giving them a five-star luxury resort experience. If they got the NCAA to allow them each to host in Jacksonville, which would be them talking to them, I guess? Because the teams turn around real quick and go home.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Would that help?

Andrew:                 I mean, yes and no. Florida and Miami had kids at the game in Orlando earlier this year, and it’s an opportunity to see the game play. I think we overreact a little bit about what kids do on trips. A lot of kids come on campus, Nick, in Gainesville, and don’t even see the facilities. They just come watch the game. The only difference would be, from what I understand, the coaches will not be able to talk to the kids in Jacksonville. So, that does kind of defeat the purpose a little bit.

I don’t know, Nick. This is just me. Listen, I understand. I could be wrong here. You and I have seen a lot of games around the country, a lot of atmosphere’s around the country. I don’t want the game out of Jacksonville. I love the atmosphere in Jacksonville. To me, when I think of Florida-Georgia, I think World’s Largest Cocktail Party, Jacksonville, 50/50 split. That’s what the game’s about. For me, I don’t want the game to be moved.

While, yes, it is one less opportunity, recruiting’s changed so much. You host kids on officials in the summertime. You get kids on campus so much. Are you really sweating missing one game?

Nick:                         So, Kirby Smart’s just whining.

Andrew:                 In my opinion, yeah. I think he’s using that a little bit as an excuse. I mean, find one kid that’s not going to go to Florida or Georgia because they didn’t get to go to that game. You know what I’m saying? Listen, I’m the old-school, and I may be too much old-school in this, but I have always said one game, one experience does not change a kid’s mind.

Nick:                         Yeah. Now tell me what you think Dan Mullen’s opinion is. I’ll read a little excerpt from his quote here.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         He said, “It’s a really unique scene for college football. Not many games like it in the country, so I think that part of the game is pretty special. The landscape of college football is constantly changing, so I think right now for the next couple of years it’s beneficial for that, and we’ll see if it continues going forward, if that’s the case. All the schools will continue to look. The landscape of college football is constantly changing. Right now, the next couple years we’ll see how it’s moving forward.” That’s kind of where he left it off. Just repeats himself. He seemed to kind of be talking in circles. From my perspective, it seemed like he also didn’t like it. Not to the level of Kirby, but he understands that Florida’s going to keep tinkering with their schedule to get this big home and home games, and I think he’s not as passionate about it as Kirby, but I think he’s kind of in the same boat.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I can see that, for sure. I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe you and I are, or me specifically, is just old-school. I don’t know. For me, it’s like the Texas Fair for Oklahoma-Texas. It’s just what that’s all about. I think college atmosphere is so special that I like it. Listen, I said this too on a radio spot this week. I said, I would love to go to Athens and watch a game. Absolutely. No doubt about it. But I also love going to Jacksonville and watching the game in Jacksonville and enjoying the atmosphere in Jacksonville. I love that. I think that that’s special. We talk about it all the time. That drive over the bridge for Florida, that’s a special, special thing.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s a really unique environment. It kind of sucks for us. I’ve said this before, but because the stadium is split. We’re not tailgating with you guys. There’s no beer for us or the tailgating stuff for us. I think that’s the really the experience. If you haven’t been to a game, you should.

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah.

Nick:                         Then we’re sitting in the press box. It’s just a different experience. I would like to see, and I think it would be cool if you are a senior at Florida or Georgia that you’ve had an opportunity to play at the Swamp or Between the Hedges. Am I super passionate about it? No. Every time I say it, people get really mad at me.

Andrew:                 I could be okay with your opinion.

Nick:                         You’d have to figure it out.

Andrew:                 We lost you for a second there, Nicholas.

Nick:                         You’d have to figure out how to do it. Let’s say you play in Jax, and then Florida’s the home team in Jacksonville. Then you go to Athens, and Georgia’s the home team. Well, now it’s Georgia’s turn to be home in Jacksonville, and then you’ve got teams that are home two years in a row. I don’t know that the home team matters when you’re in Jacksonville, but that’d be something to point out. I don’t know. Maybe I’m dumb. Maybe there is a way you can rotate the four, so that you don’t have two teams being home two years in a row, but I don’t know what it is.

Andrew:                 I don’t know either. I mean, these neutral site games though, Nick, are getting more and more out there, so why take away one of the best? I mean, that’s my opinion. I also will say this. You look at Florida-Florida State, you look at Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State, those games that are at their home stadiums are raucous as well. Listen, I’m open to both sides. I love that Jacksonville experience, and I get it. I really do. I get it. I understand both sides of it. I just, for me, just Kirby just say what you want to say, man. Say I’m tired of going to Florida to play Florida. Don’t use the excuse that it’s a recruiting, because I don’t get that.

Nick:                         I hear you. Yeah.

Andrew:                 You know what I mean? Find me one kid that says I went to Florida, or I went to Georgia, because of one visit. Now, they may return to campus more, but I don’t think there’s not one kid that committed to Florida because Florida beat Auburn. No. It’s just not that they got to see that environment. I don’t believe that. That’s just my take on it.

Let’s move forward a little bit here. Mullen had some good things to say about Kyle Trask and just his progression at the quarterback position, that kind of stuff. I guess, Nick, do you feel like the team has now taken on that mindset of Kyle Trask, of never getting too big for the moment, just that calm, cool, collected mindset of Kyle Trask? Do you feel like the team is now taking that same mindset?

Nick:                         Yeah. I think so, to an extent.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         I think the team, I mean, every team every year they’ll say we’re super close. We’re brothers and this and that. You kind of have to just feel it out, you know what I mean? Every team around the country says it, and then all of a sudden that team goes 3-5 in their first eight games, and now everyone hates each other.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         To me, you kind of have to look at it. I think I’m leaning towards I believe him. This is a really close team. I think the team has gotten closer through these injuries, because other guys have had to step up, and you feel bad for some other guys. I think this is a really close Florida team. I think they really care about each other, and I think that is not going to totally win you a football game, but I think it does help on Saturday, especially when shit hits the fan. If you’ve got love and trust for your teammates, there’s no panic. It’s okay, we got this, when you have that kind of bond with the team. So, I think that’s kind of what I’ve gotten from, at least the mindset of this team through going into the ninth game.

Andrew:                 Agree with that. I think the biggest for me, Nick, and we talk about this all the time, every coach is a little bit of a different answer when it comes to questions about their position. I think Mullen with his quarterbacks he always plays it down a little bit, but to say that he’s getting more confident in Kyle executing the plan, to me says a lot.

Nick:                         Do you think that Mullen has learned, or is still learning the best ways to game plan for Kyle Trask?

Andrew:                 No. I think that it’s out there now. I think that’s a big thing. During the bye week you self-scout a lot. You start to look at yourself and say, in this formation are we getting a little bit more lenient one way or the other? I don’t think that they are, but I think he’s a lot more comfortable with Kyle Trask. I think he understands what Kyle does. I think you’ve seen that a little bit. Kyle’s not a guy that’s going to drop back and throw the ball 70 yards down the field, but he’s a guy that can take you on those 15 play drives.

Nick:                         Game manager.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Again, it’s not a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing. Some people say game manager and say stop cussing. You know what I’m saying? It’s not a cuss word to be called a game manager. I think you can call Tom Brady a little bit of a game manager.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 I mean, honestly though, Nick, tell me this. What does Tom Brady do? What is Tom Brady’s greatest attribute?

Nick:                         You probably just say a winner, but how do you even quantify that.

Andrew:                 Right. He finds a way to win. Does he have the biggest arm? No. Is he the fastest? No. You know what I’m saying? He’s none of that, but when I think of game manager I think of coach on the field.

Nick:                         Right.

Andrew:                 I think Tom Brady is his offensive coordinator.

Nick:                         He’s definitely the offensive coordinator. He’s a little bit of the head coach when he’s out there.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s what I think. I feel like Kyle Trask, when he’s in the huddle, he’s the head coach. I think that’s the same thing with Jake Fromm. Listen, Alabama won with Greg McElroy being a game manager. Greg McElroy had zero great attributes. He was just a winner. He understood the game plan. He knew where to go with the ball.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 That’s just my take on it.

Nick:                         Your two cents.

Andrew:                 There you go. One thing that did kind of stand out to me a little bit, Nick, and I wanted to get your take on this. Mullen said he don’t put as much into rivalry games as a lot of people say he does. I think the quote was something like, if the players don’t get juiced themselves, then something’s wrong. Do you feel like that might be a little PC?

Nick:                         100%.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         100%. I don’t trust that statement as far as I can throw it, and it weighs a million pounds. He comes from the Urban Meyer school, where these games are bigger. In season no way you’re going to say this game means more than playing Vanderbilt.

Andrew:                 Right. Do I think he has to motivate them? No. But I’m just like you, Nick. This is a guy who learned under Urban Meyer, and Urban Meyer lived and died on winning rivalry games.

Nick:                         He didn’t die much.

Andrew:                 No. But I’m just saying, when you talk about Urban Meyer, you think that’s the biggest rivalry game coach out there.

Nick:                         Yeah. Listen, you don’t have to get the players up for this game.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         This is a game that before the year, before the schedule even comes out, you know when it’s going to be played. It’s going to be played right around Halloween, November 1st. You know what the stakes are going to be, and it’s circled. Before you even have anything to circle, you’re circling it.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         This game is bigger than other games. It’s because of the rivalry. It’s because of what is normally, or recently has been at stake in this game. That’s just what it is. To say it’s just another game, or it’s just the biggest game because it’s the one we’re playing this week.

Andrew:                 Don’t work here.

Nick:                         No. It’s a lie. Doesn’t work here. It’s like when Charleston Southern comes into town. This is the biggest game, because it’s this week. No. That’s not the biggest game.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         That’s not the biggest game.

Andrew:                 Right. No. I’m with you. I thought you would agree with me on that statement. I just wanted to ask and make sure, clarify with you a little bit, because I just feel like that was PC. I feel like that is Dan Mullen not wanting to say, this game means a lot.

Nick:                         Yeah. Every coach around the country does it. We’re not picking on Dan Mullen. It’s just you don’t want to make this weekend bigger than it already is. The players know how big it is. You just don’t want to add undo pressure. You don’t want to make it, at least until, now listen, Kirby Smart and all the Georgia players will say the same thing. It’s the biggest game, because it’s the game that we just played. Then if they win the game, after the game it’s that was the biggest game. Can’t believe how great it was. If you lose the game, then you’ve just set yourself up for this happened, this happened, and we got to go out next week, because next week’s the biggest game that we’re going to play all year.

Andrew:                 Right. Here’s the thing too. It’s a big game, because it’s a rivalry game, but both teams at the beginning of the year, their first goal was to get to Atlanta. Well, this is your opportunity. This is basically your play-in game. So, if it’s not a big game because of the rivalry game, it’s a big game because this is the opportunity to get your goal. For Florida, it’s to get back to Atlanta. For Georgia, it’s to go back for third consecutive year? I think it probably means a little more for Florida, because they haven’t been to Atlanta in a few years. It probably means a little bit more for Georgia for the simple fact that they have bigger goals. They had bigger goals in the year, and that was to finally get to Atlanta and win, and then do well in the College Football Playoff.

Nick:                         Right. For Florida, not to get ahead of ourselves, but if you do well here, win this game, and then you win your other games, you’re in the playoff picture.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. This was brought up to me by someone earlier, and I was talking about it. This is my feel. First of all, I think my four teams in the playoff are LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State. Would you agree or disagree?

Nick:                         Say again. List the teams again.

Andrew:                 Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Ohio State.

Nick:                         Not necessarily in that order, just those are the four?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Those are the four.

Nick:                         Yeah. I have that as my four right now, probably. I would have had Oklahoma, and I think I did have Oklahoma until last weekend.

Andrew:                 I had Oklahoma over Clemson. That was just me. Here’s my thinking. The loser of the Alabama-LSU game and the winner of the SEC Championship game, barring that they don’t have more than one loss, will be representing the SEC in the College Football Playoff.

Nick:                         So, you’re saying that a one loss SEC team that doesn’t go to Atlanta.

Andrew:                 Right. Let’s just say LSU beats Alabama, and Alabama finishes the year with one loss. Then Florida beats LSU in the SEC Championship game. I think it would be Florida, Alabama.

Nick:                         In that scenario, Florida’s certainly in. It’d be tough to leave LSU out, you know what I mean?

Andrew:                 It’s just that perspective of you just got beat. Let’s face it. The team that loses has a chance to work their way back up that ladder. Like I said, I can see the argument for LSU, but I think that’ll be what happens, in my opinion. I think whoever wins the SEC Championship game, as long as the East does not have more than one loss, is in. Because Big 12 is out.

Nick:                         It could be. Could be. I mean, I’m trying to think, Big 10.

Andrew:                 Ohio State.

Nick:                         If Ohio State doesn’t run the table, is the Big 10 shut out?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, Wisconsin.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think you could be right.

Andrew:                 Wisconsin got two losses. No way Michigan makes it back in. I guess Penn State could get back in with one loss, but I don’t know. I don’t know. Have to see. At the end of the day, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves.

Nick:                         Cart before the horse.

Andrew:                 That’s just my thoughts there, Nicholas. Any final thoughts before we get out of here? We’ll be back and talking more Florida-Georgia for this big weekend. Just wanted to get this one out, even though it’s a day late. It’s definitely a mirror image of two teams, in my opinion. I think two teams that are playing really well. Two teams that have really good quarterbacks, and I don’t think Georgia can outscore Florida in a shootout.

Nick:                         Shoot, I don’t know. We’ll get more into that on our podcast. We’ll have a guest on. We’ll get more into that. I don’t think they can, but I’m not sure yet.

Andrew:                 Okay. Let me ask you this. Joe Burrow, if he beats Alabama, does he lock up the Heisman?

Nick:                         Maybe.

Andrew:                 Tough not to give it to him.

Nick:                         Maybe. He’s been incredible this year.

Andrew:                 Last thing for you. Gus Malzahn says the Swamp’s louder than Death Valley.

Nick:                         Yeah. I made people angry when I said I thought that Death Valley was louder that one night, but it’s okay. I can be wrong. I’ll be wrong again.

Andrew:                 I’ve heard them both. I think they’re very close. I think it’s just two different stadiums. I really do. I think Florida probably is louder to the players, because they’re so close, and maybe LSU is louder to the fans. Does that make sense?

Nick:                         Yeah. We were in like the highest part. We’re high up in the stadium, but there’s people on top of us even, and then it wraps around. I didn’t think it was the loudest place I’d ever been in, but it’s a good environment.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I’ll say this. For Gus to say that tells me one thing, Nick. The Swamp’s back.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s 100%.

Andrew:                 Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone later on this week, as we talk Florida-Georgia.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find the podcast wherever you consume your podcasts. Just search Gator Country. Never miss an episode. Hit that subscribe button. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. As always, guys, go Braves and chomp, chomp.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.