The Georgia Bulldogs have defeated the Florida Gators in each of the past three seasons. In that same time, Georgia has won the SEC East in each of those years.
But in the eyes of the oddsmakers and the national media as well, the Gators seem to be closing the gap. Both Georgia and Florida are expected to rank inside the top-10 when the first polls come out, as each ended the 2019 season ranked in that space.
In the latest odds released by SuperBookUSA, Georgia does have ever so slightly better odds than the Gators to win the conference at 7/2. Florida is just behind them at 4/1. Both those programs sit behind Alabama in the list of favorites, as the Crimson Tide come in at 5/4.
Updated odds to win SEC via @SuperBookUSA:
Texas A&M 10/1
Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina 80/1
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 17, 2020
Both Florida and Georgia bring back a number of key contributors for the 2020 season. It’s just that they happen to come on opposite sides of the ball. Florida brings back quarterback Kyle Trask along with four of their five starters from the offensive line. Throw in tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Trevon Grimes, and it’s easy to see why some are bullish on what Florida’s offense might look like in 2020.
With Georgia, much of the returning production comes on the defensive side of the ball. Georgia returns eight of 11 starters from a year ago along with a host of contributors who played significant snaps. And that 2019 defense ranked first in the country in rush defense and scoring defense.
From a raw talent perspective, Georgia does have an edge. Using the Blue-Chip Ratio, coined by Bud Elliott of 247Sports, 82 percent of Georgia’s roster is made up of former 4- or 5-star recruits. Florida’s is at 63 percent. But while appearing on DawgNation Daily this week, Elliott cautioned against using the blue-chip ratio to say that one school is superior to another. The ratio is just a tool to tell us which schools have the proper amount of talent to win a national title.
Oddsmakers and recruiting are just two of the metrics one can look at when determining the potential differences between Georgia and Florida. Dan Mullen, Florida’s head coach, stated after last season’s loss to Georgia, the difference was just, “seven points,” a reference to 24-17 defeat.
Florida has played Georgia closer in each of the past two seasons compared to the 42-7 blowout in 2017. And given Georgia has major question marks at the quarterback position compared to the known entity of Trask, some do think there’s a very real case to be made about picking Florida to win the SEC East over Georgia.
Brandon Marcello of 247Sports made that very case last week, while also pointing out a possible easier path to Atlanta for the Gators. It’s mentioning Florida has to play a reloading LSU squad from the SEC West along with a new-look Ole Miss team. Georgia, on the other hand, visits Alabama on Sept. 19 and then hosts Auburn on Oct. 10. While Georgia might have a slim edge over Florida, the Gators do have a far easier schedule.
When you factor in the onfield results, along with the other metrics discussed above, whatever gap existed between Georgia and Florida in recent seasons has closed a bit. As far as whether the gap still exists, that won’t be known until the two teams meet on Oct. 31 in Jacksonville, Fla. With all that figures to be on the line, it should easily be seen as one of the most intriguing games of the season.
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