Home » blog » World’s Largest Outdoor ?!@! Party

Posted by on October 20th, 2011 in blog, Brady Baylor | 6 Comments

In honor of my esteemed colleagues and their favorite institutions of higher football, Florida and Georgia (order of appearance chosen by alphabetical order to avoid backlash), I hereby dedicate this layman’s history of what was formerly known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”.   Why formerly, you might ask?  Did prohibition return?  Did college students suddenly decide that partaking of libations was bad?  Did they finally decide that a football contest could be better enjoyed with one’s memory and other faculties fully intact?  No, no, and no.  Shockingly, excessive alcohol consumption, and the ensuing sub-par decision-making by its consumers, would lead both schools and the SEC to ask both the host city of Jacksonville and CBS to drop the label.   It’s akin to the former “Red River Shootout” featuring Oklahoma and Texas, which has been replaced by the incredibly original “Red River Rivalry”.  “Boy, ma, can’t wait to go on down to the big ‘rivalry’ this weekend, how ‘bout you?”

 

So, what has the former “cocktail party” tag been replaced with?  Well, depending on which school claims home team status, it’s either the Georgia vs. Florida Football Classic or the Florida vs. Georgia Football Classic.  Yep, it’s a mouthful, and somehow I doubt it has had much of a reducing effect on consumption of adult beverages.  Nevertheless, it is what it is.

 

As great as the drama surrounding the nickname is, it only scratches the surface of this match-up’s historical intrigue.  Even the year of the first meeting of the two schools is heavily disputed, with Georgia saying that 1904 marked the first contest, and Florida claiming 1915.  Why the dispute?  Well, apparently the school that Georgia faced on that day was the University of Florida at Lake City, which was formerly Florida Agricultural College, and not the University of Florida as we now know it, which ultimately emerged from four earlier institutions.  So, Florida claims, since it wasn’t really THE U of F, the game shouldn’t really count.  I, as a completely unbiased outsider, would have to agree.  It should go without saying that Georgia won that 1904 contest and likes to have that extra win on the left-hand side of the win-loss column, particularly given the game’s recent history.  Although the Dawgs dominated the series early, Florida has won every game since 1980.  Well, not exactly, but they have claimed 18 of the past 21 and, in Dawg years, that’s like 126 out of 147 (yes, Georgia fan, I realize you won it all in 1980; it’s all part of the show, so settle down).  So who owns who in the all-time series?  According to Georgia, it’s Dawgs: 47, Gators: 40, and 2 tie-ups, with the Gators claiming Georgia has but 46.

 

How about some memorable moments?  Undoubtedly, this rivalry has featured a few of them (“few” being slang for “many”).  Who can forget All-American end Dale Van Sickel and the Phantom Four backfield of Brumbaugh, Cawthon, Crabtree, and Goodbread (later a successful law practice down in Briny Breezes, I think), when they knocked off the Bulldogs in 1928 after a six-year drought?  Come on, we all remember where we were that day, right?  I, for one, was on the back porch sipping tea, listening to a little Cliquot Club Eskimos on the Neutrodyne….ah, the memories.

 

And, how about the 1942 Georgia national championship team, hanging seventy-five on a hapless Gator squad (minus most of its veteran players, who were busy becoming actual veterans on actual WWII battlefields)?  It seems that Georgia’s ROTC program had won it a few draft deferments, and likely won it a national title.  By the way, Florida countered with zero points to the Bulldogs’ seventy-five.

 

Back in ’56, you’ve got the “Slappy Sallsworth to Dizzy DeMarco” trickery, when Dizzy pretended to be talking to the cheerleader on the sideline until Ol’ Slappy took the snap and hit Dizzy in stride for 87 yards and the Gator game-winner.  Oh, I had to make up one somewhere along the way.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

 

Back to reality:  in 1966, The Head Ball Coach, prior to his days as The Head Ball Coach, was a newly-anointed Heisman winner and would celebrate with a three-ball donation to the Bulldog defense en-route to a 27-10 Georgia victory.  By the way, the Gators were 7-0 and were looking to clench their first SEC championship.  I’m not sure he was the first to experience the “Heisman curse”, but he certainly was not the last.


 

Out of respect for my readers’ time, I’ll fast forward to 1980, when an actual trick play known simply as “Run, Lindsay, run!” (in reference to Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson’s on-air excitement) featured Bulldog QB Buck Belue finding Lindsay Scott for a game-winning touchdown.  Georgia would go on to win the 1980 national title with some additional contributions from a freshman running back named Herschel Walker.  Incidentally, to this day Mr. Walker could snap my neck with a quick flick of his pecs.


 

There have certainly been more great moments in the past thirty-plus years, including The Head Ball Coach (then of Gator status) deciding to hang “half a hundred” on the Dawgs on their own turn in 1995.  In 2007, then-and-current Georgia head coach Mark Richt rolled out the “Gator Stomp” on Florida by having the entire team celebrate Georgia’s first TD in the end zone.  Richt claims he intended to only have the eleven men on the field engage in the festivities, but that is clearly not how it went down.

 

I apologize to all the Dawg and Gator fans out there whose favorite moments are notably absent here.  If you find yourselves inconsolably distraught, I suppose you can write your own history of the long-standing affair.  Otherwise, pencil in October 29th on your calendars as the newest installment of this formerly drunken brawl.  Well, from the fan’s perspective, at least.  Who knows, maybe Florida QB John Brantley will channel Slappy Sallsworth in bringing the Gators back from the brink of disaster, or Georgia QB Aaron Murray will pull out some real Buck Belue magic to save the day.

 

By the way, as far as rivalries go, this one is the real deal.  While there have clearly been long streaks of dominance, as we’re currently seeing with the series, just looking at the overall record tells you all you need to know.  So who has the upper hand?  Georgia has the better record, of course, but Florida can provide a decisive answer to the “what have you done for me lately” question.  And how does this one compare to the game’s most well-known rivalries?  Here’s a quick look, with the win-loss difference divided by total games played, expressed as a percentage:

 

Notre Dame – USC: 43-33-5 (advantage Notre Dame; does not count USC’s 2005 win, which is no longer officially recognized); 12% difference

Oklahoma – Texas: 59-41-5 (advantage Texas, I guess); 17% difference

Michigan – Ohio State: 57-44-6 (advantage Michigan, and you can reduce Ohio State’s total to 43 after their little ‘set-to’ in 2010); 12% difference

Alabama – Auburn: 40-34-1 (advantage Alabama); 8% difference

Army – Navy: 55-49-7 (advantage Navy); 8% difference

Florida – Georgia: 46-40-2 (advantage Georgia, and using Florida’s numbers): 6% difference

So, by my amateur math, as far as all-time rivalries go, it’s advantage Georgia vs. Florida.

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

6 Comments for this entry

  1. DP says:

    favorite quote from that announcer, “man is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight!!”

  2. Bobby says:

    I hope Mr. Richt has the dawgs dance on UF’s end zone again. Real class!! Who cares about ancient history, UF owns UGA. Great article.

  3. Josh H. says:

    On the way to “hanging half a hundred” on Georgia in 1995, the Ol’ Ball Coach called a flea-flicker for a touchdown with 5 minutes left and Florida leading 45 – 17. That’s a good way to add fuel to the fire.

    • BB says:

      You’ve got to pull out all the stops sometimes to hang half a hundred. It’s what any self-respecting coach would do, right? Well, probably not.

  4. Michael C. says:

    Being that I am a Georgia Bulldog I am a little biased but I have to say that if you are college student in the SEC this is a must attend event. It is one of the craziest weekends and largest parties around. There are many SEC events I would recommend but this has to be one of the best!!!!!

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