Every year, the University of Georgia and University of Florida football teams meet in Jacksonville, Florida, for the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” a game that’s often high-profile and high-stakes. The winner often goes on to win the SEC East division, with Georgia winning seven times and Florida winning 12 times since the divisions were established in 1992. However, despite the celebrated and well-documented history of the series, the rival schools curiously cannot agree on the number of games played.
The debate, however, is futile. A quick glance at the past shows that Florida is clearly right.
Every year, CBS puts up a graphic of the series history showcasing the odd discrepancy.
Georgia claims that the schools have played 97 times and that the Bulldogs hold a 52-43-2 edge in the series. Florida, on the other hand, believes the schools have played only 96 times, with the Bulldogs winning only 51 games.
The dispute concerns when the series began. According to Georgia, the first game in the series occurred in 1904. In that game, Georgia beat a school called the University of Florida by a score of 52-0 in Macon, Georgia. However, this was not the modern UF. Instead, this was one of Florida’s predecessor schools. According to the UF website, the school named the “University of Florida” that year was originally established in 1884 as the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City, Florida. In 1903, the school was renamed the University of Florida.
However, all public universities in Florida were abolished in 1905 by the Buckman Act so that they could be consolidated into a few schools, one of which is the modern UF.
This history renders Georgia’s position untenable. The UGA library website said, “one could argue that whichever school or city the team came from, it was representing itself as playing for the University of Florida.” However, that’s a poor argument.
An institution cannot be represented by another institution simply because they share a name. Georgia should concede that the 1904 game does not count. Doing so would put to rest a long-running dispute and ensure accurate historical records for one of the premier rivalries in college football.
CORRECTION: A graphic in the previous version of this article said Georgia claimed it had 51 wins and Florida claimed Georgia has 50 wins in the series. In reality, Georgia claims to have 52 wins, and Florida claims Georgia has 51 wins. This has since been corrected The Red & Black regrets these errors.