Dawg fans are saying “Free Gurley” and Muschamp is hoping the NCAA can lose his paperwork to keep the SEC leading rusher on the sidelines this Saturday. UF Head Coach Will Muschamp is coaching for his job, and rumor has it that he will be fired on Sunday if this is an embarrassing loss. Muschamp has never been on the winning side of this fierce rivalry, and desperately needs to pull out the upset to stay employed. Lucky for Muschamp and UF, the NCAA made their ruling of a 4 game suspension for Todd Gurley so he will not be playing this weekend or next against Kentucky.
The game will have 2 new comers at quarterback with both players first ever starts in this rivalry. Hutson Mason lost to Nebraska in his 2nd start last year in the Gator Bowl, and true Freshman Treon Harris will be making his first ever start as a Florida Gator. Both teams and quarterbacks have a lot to play for. If UF wants any chance to play in the SEC championship, they have to win and hope for losses by UGA and Missouri in the future. If UGA wants a shot at the Final 4, then this game is a playoff game.
Both teams are coming off of bye weeks, but both are coming off opposite 2 game streaks. UGA went on the road and dominated Missouri 34-0, and the following week Missouri outscored the Gators 42-13 though Missouri was held to 120 yards of offense. LSU got back on their winning ways at the Swamp 30-27 the same day that UGA beat Mizzou, and UGA won on the road for the second straight week in Little Rock beating Arkansas 45-32. UGA is looking to win 4 straight over UF for the first time since the Herschel years in the early 1980s. Muschamp is looking for his first ever win in this series, going 0-4 as a player at UGA against Spurrier and now 0-3 as a coach.
New coordinators are also having their first experience in this neutral site game (Oklahoma-Texas and Army-Navy are the 2 other annual neutral site games). Jeremy Pruitt is the new defensive coordinator in Athens, and his version of the Junkyard Dawgs is helping UGA lead the nation in turnover margin. Kurt Roper is the new offensive coordinator in Gainesville, and he will need to help his freshman QB not make any mistakes if they want to come out of Jacksonville with a win. UGA is a 13 point favorite in this rivalry this weekend, and will need full team participation for Mark Richt to win his 6th game in 14 tries. UGA leads the overall series 49-40-2