ATHENS — Kirby Smart threw out a number of descriptions for the Georgia-Florida game on Monday. At one point Smart, who has played and coached on Georgia’s side in Jacksonville, called it “what I think is one of the best neutral-site games there is in all of college football.”
But then Smart was asked what else he called it, having grown up in south Georgia, and steeped in the rivalry, when it had another formal name?
“I’m not following,” Smart said. “Are you trying to lead me into saying a word, is that what you’re trying to do?”
Is it the Cocktail Party, or the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party? What do you call it?
“I call it the Georgia-Florida game,” Smart said, leaving it at that.
The Cocktail Party moniker was de-emphasized in the 2000s, though many people still call it the Cocktail Party on an informal basis. Here’s a story that was done on the subject last year in the lead-up to the game.
Smart’s debut in the game actually occurred during one of the rare non-Jacksonville games. He played Florida at Sanford Stadium in 1995, in the photo posted above. As a player at Georgia, Smart was 1-3, and as an assistant coach was 0-1, on the losing end in 2005 when he was Georgia’s running backs coach.
Asked his general thought on rivalries, Smart echoed his predecessors, including Mark Richt, declining to put one of its many rivalries over any other.
“We’ve said before, there’s five, I think, states that are contiguous with Georgia, so they’re all huge rivalries,” Smart said. “So to say one’s more important to Georgia, I think that’s unfair. I think when you say SEC East, you’ve got to rank those opponents first, because in order to advance you’ve got to beat those teams. … And then you cross over to the West and it makes it a little different.
“But this game is big, and they’re all big. Not to say that one is bigger than the other.”