A view from Jacksonville ...
by Jeff Dantzler
photo by Ryan Scates
Frank Frangie, esteemed talk show host, radio and television personality, good friend, and one of the great college football minds in the country gives us his take on the Dogs and Gators.
What’s your take on Georgia?
As loaded as I’ve seen them in awhile. I thought South Carolina would beat the Dawgs, but I’m surprised by the margin. I called that game for Touchdown Radio and that is as electric as I’ve ever seen Williams-Brice Stadium, and that was my 12th time there. So it was going to be a tough challenge for anyone who came in there that night. But I’m surprised Georgia got beat so badly. And I’m a little surprised they aren’t a little more dominant defensively. Still think Georgia is awfully good, though.
What are some of your most memorable games in Jacksonville?
Two that will always stand out for me are 1980 and 1984. The latter
was a 27-0 Florida win after they had lost six in a row and finally
broke the streak, with what ultimately still might be their best team, but
one on probation that couldn’t win the SEC title.
The 1980 game of course was the Florida-Georgia debut of Herschel
and Buck to Lindsay; I was a student at Florida and devastated by it.
Funny story — the following summer I faced Buck in a summer
league/college league baseball game. I vowed to get even. He and John
Lastinger both played for the Valdosta Red Sox, I played for a Florida
team. In the first inning, with Lastinger on third (he lead off, Buck hit
third) and one out and an 0-1 count, I threw Buck my best fastball. Belt
high. The result? I don’t think it has landed yet. If it did, it was somewhere
around Bainbridge. Buck and I laughed about that for years.
Should the game stay in Jacksonville?
Without a doubt. It is one of the great spectacles in college football, 40,000
fans from each team, the weekend starting on Thursday, Mardi Gras on the First
Coast. Dallas got the hint — starting in 2014, Arkansas and Texas A&M will play
their SEC game there every year. Why ruin a wonderful thing?
Is there are concern that the Jags may move to Los Angeles, and if they
do, that the city may lose the game?
First, I don’t think the team will ever move to Los Angeles. The lease the team
has with the city makes it almost impossible, a fact the national media often
misses. Beyond that, even if it happened, it would have no effect on the Florida-
Georgia game. If anything, the city might pour even MORE money into it — in the
way of guarantees to the teams — because it would be even more important to
Who do you think will play for the national title?
Alabama and Oregon. I don’t see anyone getting either one of them.
What does Georgia have to do to win?
Get a lead and stop the run. The achilles heel for the Gators is they still don’t
throw it downfield all that well, but they haven’t had to. They haven’t faced a
deficit or more than 10 all year, and 10 only once, so they have been able to run
the ball and wear people down. But we’ve all wondered what would happen if they
got down a few scores.
Are the Florida people in love with Will Muschamp after all the big
wins this year?
I’m not sure they are in love yet — probably too early for that — but there
is a general feeling that he is the right guy. Unlike Urban Meyer, who was a
great coach, but a bit of a standoff guy, Will is a regular guy, a southern guy,
who really connects with Gator Nation. And it looks like he may be a pretty
darned good coach. That is a combination any fanbase would covet.
Who do you think will win?
Boy, since we’re doing this BEFORE Florida-South Carolina, I’m not sure.
(How is that for a copout?) Tell you what, if Florida beats South Carolina, then
I think the Gators are headed for a huge season and will beat Georgia, too. If
the Gamecocks win, my guess is I will pick Georgia to beat the Gators.
If Georgia does win, to make it two straight and give Muschamp an 0-
2 record against Georgia, do you think Florida’s domination can be put in
the rear-view mirror a bit, and perhaps signal a shift in the series?
I don’t know if I would go that far. Georgia has won 4 times in 22 years. I’m
not sure 5 times in 23 years signifies a shift, but for the ‘Dawgs, it certainly
would be an important step in the right direction. It would be the first time
they won in back to back years since 1989.
Here is another reason its important for the Dawgs. The general thinking
around here is that Muschamp will have his best team next year with Driskel
having a year under his belt, defensive end Ronald Powell returning from ACL
surgery, very few impact seniors on this year’s team, etc. So this is a big game
for Georgia for sure.