Back in January, when Brian Schottenheimer was being publicly introduced as Georgia’s new offensive coordinator, Mark Richt joked about some of the new terminology the one-time back-up quarterback at Florida needed to pick up immediately.
In these parts, we drink PowerAde, not Gatorade, Richt informed his new OC.
“And then we talked about the game we have in Jacksonville and he did refer to it as the Florida-Georgia game,” Richt said. “I said that’s rule No. 2: It’s the Georgia-Florida game.”
Presumably Schottenheimer, Danny Wuerffel’s backup in Gainesville from 1994-96, has adopted the correct nomenclature for his surroundings by now. But this raises a question that extends beyond the boundaries of the Butts-Mehre Building: Really, what is the proper way to refer to Saturday’s contest?
Annually these two schools gather at the neutral site near the Florida-Georgia border – or is that the Georgia-Florida border? – cleave the stadium almost precisely in half with their clashing team colors and play the most balanced kind of rivalry game possible.
So, Saturday, is this the Georgia-Florida game; or the Florida-Georgia game?
Obviously, certain regional or fan leanings will determine that among the real partisans. But there has to be a better, more rational, way to title this thing for the audience at large.
If you determine it by overall series record, Georgia would have to get the first billing, considering its 50-41-2 advantage. Or is it a 49-41-2 edge? The two schools, naturally, disagree. The Bulldogs count a 1904 victory over a University of Florida precursor in Lake City while the Gators disregard that result. Either way, the Bulldogs own the slight historical advantage.
A more current measure might be which team has the superior record/higher ranking entering the game. In that case, it’s the Florida-Georgia Game now.
If you respect seniority – Georgia’s Mark Richt is in his 15th season at his place while Jim McElwain is coaching in only his first cocktail party – then this remains the Georgia-Florida Game.
But there is, I believe, only one proper way to settle this: You win the game, you get to call it anything you want for the year following. Winners write the history and they should determine the order of the names on the marquee. That’s just another perk of victory.
So, this year – sorry Coach Richt – it’s the Florida-Georgia game.
That may change as early as Saturday evening, but only if the Bulldogs physically push the Gators to the rear of the billing.