For just the fourth time in University of Georgia football history, the Bulldogs this week will play a team ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Associated Press poll.
Florida -- Georgia's opponent in Jacksonville on Saturday -- returned to the top of this week's AP media poll and kept its No. 1 spots in the USA Today coaches' poll and BCS standings.
According to UGA records, Saturday's matchup will mark the first time since 1996 -- Jim Donnan's first year as coach -- and the fourth time since the advent of the AP poll in 1936 that the Bulldogs face a team ranked No. 1 entering the game.
Two of the previous three times, the opponent also was Florida. Georgia lost to the No. 1 Gators 47-7 on Nov. 2, 1996, and defeated the No. 1 Gators 24-3 on Nov. 9, 1985.
The Bulldogs' only other game against a top-ranked team came in the Jan. 1, 1977, Sugar Bowl, which the Dogs lost 27-3 to Pittsburgh.
Despite its lofty ranking, Florida has shown signs of struggle recently, at least on offense. The Gators have scored touchdowns on just two of their past 15 red-zone trips and have had six turnovers in their past two games. But they have continued to prevail, surviving Arkansas 23-20 and Mississippi State 29-19 the past two weeks to extend their winning streak to 17 games.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday he expects the Gators "at their best" on Saturday.
"You know that's what you're going to get . . . against Georgia," Richt said. "I think we're always going to get Florida's best shot, and that's what we've got to be expecting."
About to surpass Herschel
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is on the verge of breaking a prized Herschel Walker record -– and of doing it against Walker's old team, no less.
Tebow ran for one touchdown against Mississippi State on Saturday, tying Walker's SEC career record of 49 rushing touchdowns. Tebow's next will break the record Walker set in his three years at Georgia, 1980-82.
Florida coach Urban Meyer last week said he is "a little bit ... in awe" of having a player on the verge of breaking Walker's record.
"I was a Herschel Walker fan, like nuts about him, when I grew up," Meyer said. "He was [at Georgia] right at the point I was in high school [in Ohio], and I was actually a huge Georgia Bulldog fan because of Herschel Walker."
Richt said linebackers Akeem Dent and Marcus Dowtin are "both very probable" to return for the Florida game from hamstring and finger injuries, respectively ... Georgia has used four different offensive-line combinations this season and, based on its practice-field lineup late last week, appears to be planning a fifth. Clint Boling was at first-team left tackle, with Cordy Glenn at left guard, Chris Davis at right guard, Vince Vance at right tackle and Ben Jones -– the only constant on the line this season -– still at center. ... Georgia is 3-16 vs. Florida since 1990, including 2-3 since 2004.
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