ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Kelin Johnson doesn't need to look at a
schedule to know who Georgia is playing this week.
Florida must be next, judging from all those desperate Bulldog
fans yapping in Johnson's ear, urging him and his teammates to find
some way _ any way _ to beat their hated south-of-the-border rival.
The single-mindedness of the red-and-black faithful may be
annoying, but it's easy to understand. Every year about this time,
the Bulldogs must cope with their albatross, which just happens to
take the form of a Gator.
Coinciding (not so coincidentally) with Steve Spurrier's arrival
in 1990, Florida took one of college football's greatest rivalries
by the tail. Seventeen years later and two coaches removed from
Spurrier, the Gators still have NOT let go.
The Bulldogs have managed all of two wins within that timeframe,
turning the ``Cocktail Party'' into one long Gator hoe-down. Even
on its way to winning two Southeastern Conference championships
over the past five years, Georgia's season was marred both times by
losses to Florida.
Not surprisingly, the Bulldogs' frustration has grown to epic
proportions, especially among the older fans who remember Georgia
dominating this series under former coach Vince Dooley.
Georgia went one-and-eleven against Spurrier, including a 52-17
loss between the hedges when the Ol' Ballcoach called a trick play
in the final minutes because he wanted his team to be the first to
hang ``half a hundred'' on the Bulldogs in their own stadium.
But Spurrier's ill-fated departure for the N-F-L did little to
change the complexion of this series. Even Ron Zook beat Georgia
twice before losing in 2004, just days after Florida announced that
he would NOT be back for another season.
The 2002 loss might have been the most painful of all for the
Bulldogs. They entered with an 8-0 record and ranked Number Four in
the country, but Florida _ which was 5-3 and struggling in Zook's
first year _ pulled off a stunning 20-13 upset.
It was Georgia's only loss of the season.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)