‘Cocktail Party’ serves as CFP elimination game for UGA, UF

Georgia coach Kirby Smart talks to his players during a timeout in the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By The Associated Press

No. 8 Georgia (6-1, 3-1 SEC) vs. No. 6 Florida (7-1, 4-1), at Jacksonville, Florida, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT (CBS).

Line: Georgia by 6 1/2.

Series record: Debatable. Georgia counts a victory in 1904 and says it leads 52-43-2. Florida insists it didn’t compete at the varsity level until 1906 and calls it 51-43-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

It’s essentially an elimination game for the College Football Playoff, with the winner moving a step closer to securing a spot in the conference title game in Atlanta. The “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” has helped determine who goes to the league’s showcase event nine times in the last 13 years. Missouri still controls its destiny in the Eastern Division, but Florida and Georgia like their chances with a win Saturday.

KEY MATCHUP

The team with the most rushing yards has won the last 13 meetings. So can the Gators bottle up Georgia’s D’Andre Swift, who leads the league with 107.7 yards a game on the ground? Or can the Bulldogs keep Florida’s Lamical Perine in check?

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Georgia: QB Jake Fromm wasn’t good in a loss to South Carolina in mid-October, throwing three interceptions and getting sacked three times. But his performance against Florida last year was memorable because he threw three TD passes — all on third down.

Florida: WR Kadarius Toney returns after missing six consecutive games with a shoulder injury. The Gators found ways to move the ball and score without him, but they have no one on the field as elusive as the speedy junior.

FACTS & FIGURES

Top-10 matchup for the second straight year. … Both teams are coming off a bye week for only the eighth time in series history. … Four former players inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame: Jarvis Jones and Rennie Curran for the Bulldogs; Brad Culpepper and Brandon Spikes for the Gators. … Georgia is 6-3 against top-10 teams during coach Kirby Smart’s four seasons. Florida is 3-2 against top-10 teams during coach Dan Mullen’s two years. … The Gators have won six games under Mullen after trailing in the fourth quarter, including three (Miami, Kentucky, South Carolina) this season. … Florida expects to get its top two pass rushers, Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, back after missing games with high-ankle sprains.

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More AP college football: HERE and TWITTER.

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