WATCH: Why Georgia-Florida becomes the biggest game of Kirby Smart’s career
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s bid to match modern-era history is on the line in Jacksonville, pending the results of a Saturday showdown with Florida.
The No. 8-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) play the No. 6-ranked Gators (7-1, 4-1) with the SEC East Division on the line at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville (TV: CBS, 3:39 p.m. kickoff).
Smart is vying to become the first coach to win the SEC East Division three consecutive seasons since former Florida coach Steve Spurrier accomplished the feat from 1994-1996.
Georgia is also looking for a three-game win streak in the series for what would be the third time in the past 32 years (1987-1989, 2011-2013).
Smart, who once said “pressure is privilege,” seemed to be embracing the challenge in the days leading up to the showdown.
“This is really what college football is all about, to get a chance to play a neutral site game against a rival and Top 10 matchup, what more could you ask for?” Smart said on his coach’s show on Thursday. “I enjoy preparing for it, but the game is where all the action is.”
Georgia’s power-run game, which has led the SEC the past three seasons, will be looked to lead the way against a Florida team that leads the league in sacks and is tied for the lead in takeaways.
The Bulldogs defense, meanwhile, is expected to be tested by Florida’s Kyle Trask, the most effective Gators’ QB since Tim Tebow.
Florida, too, is trying to make a statement as it carries its highest rank since 2012 and is aiming for back-to-back 10-win seasons for what would be the first time in 10 years.