Addressing Will Muschamp's Prediction: Will Gators Beat Bulldogs in 2013?
by Chris Stephens
May 23, 2013 3:48 PM EDT
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The rivalry between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs got interesting last week when Florida head coach Will Muschamp said the Bulldogs' winning streak was going to end soon. According to the Palm Beach Post, Muschamp was speaking to a group of fans at a "Gator Gathering" in Jacksonville and vowed Georgia wouldn't be victorious for long. “Well, it’s not going to be a long winning streak, I can assure you,” he said. “We feel very comfortable. Obviously, last year, when you turn the ball over six times, you’re not going to win many games. We fought through a lot of adversity we created for ourselves in the game. It just didn’t work out … Very disappointed for our football team and the Gator Nation that we didn’t get the job done. Looking forward to the game this year.” For some Georgia fans, those are fighting words. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham responded to the comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The bottom line is, in this league you win with individual performance and mental and physical toughness and you do it on the field. The fact is, the last two years we’ve won in Florida and we’ve won the SEC East. From that standpoint, that stuff has no effect on me.” So, which team has the advantage at this point in the year? Keep in mind, the game is still five months away. Multiple things can and will change between now and then. THE STORY OF LAST YEAR Turnovers were the story of last year's game, and the fact remains the Gators had six of the nine, including one near the end of the game that could have tied things up (if Florida converted an ensuing two-point conversion). But the turnover in the end zone happened. The fact is, Georgia's defense made more plays and that's why they won the game. Neither offense was able to muster much, but the Bulldogs did get 118 yards on the ground from Todd Gurley as the Bulldogs averaged 3.5 yards on 35 carries. The Gators averaged 1.9 yards on 40 carries. THE KEY THIS YEAR Both defenses lost a good mix of players from last year's squads. Georgia's offense should be the story this year as they can put up a lot of points. With fourth-year starter Aaron Murray under center, Florida is at a significant disadvantage as Jeff Driskell returns for the Gators. Where Florida can do its damage is on the ground, but who takes over there remains to be seen. Both teams have an off week before the game this year, something that hasn't happened in a long time. Injuries could play a large role as the team that wins could be the one that is the healthiest. WHAT TO MAKE OF MUSCHAMP'S COMMENTS They're just words. Muschamp made those comments to get his fans fired up. Do you really think he would've been apprehensive to say Florida was going to win this year? Mark Richt has likely made those same comments to Georgia fans. So, there's really nothing to these comments. Muschamp is doing his job as the coach and giving the fans belief that the Gators will get the job done. In the end, it's what happens on the field that counts.