JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are a lot of reasons why Georgia should win Saturday’s game against Florida, but one of them is not revenge.

At least, coach Kirby Smart would prefer revenge not be a part of it.

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The Bulldogs’ sixth-year coach said he prefers his teams to leave emotion out of their weekly endeavors. The only discussions they’ve had with the players about last year’s humiliating loss to the Gators came in film study when they looked at plays and formations that might be repeated this year.

“I don’t try to use those extrinsic things like that,” Smart said of the revenge factor. “I’ve never had great experiences when you count on emotion. I don’t want the players emotional the whole time. That’s what the fan wants. But I want my players thinking about what they’ve got to do to win this game, and last year’s game has nothing to do it.”

No, but that doesn’t mean his players won’t access a little vengeance on their own. There’s still plenty to mine from last year’s debacle.

The Gators, then ranked No. 8, ran 80 offensive plays and piled up 571 yards in steamrolling the No. 5 Bulldogs 44-28 last year at TIAA Bank Field. Florida scored 38 consecutive points in a 23-minute span from midway through the first quarter until halftime to wipe out an early 14-0 Georgia lead and take control of the game.

The rest of the game was semantics, with the Gators kicking two field goals and Bulldogs recording a late third-quarter touchdown. By the end of it, most of Georgia’s 40,000 fans had left the building, while Florida’s 40,000 remained and reveled.

“That feeling coming off the field last year that we had, just knowing what we could have done and should have done, that’s what we’ve been holding onto this week,” Georgia running back James Cook said. “… We just want to beat these guys, and that’s what we’ve been preparing to do.”

Said senior receiver Kearis Jackson: “We don’t let emotions get in the way. We just try to have composure. That’s the main thing. Our team DNA is composure, connection, toughness and physicality. That’s what we’re built on. So, we’re not really worried about the emotion of the game.”

Emotion-less football has worked well for the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0 SEC) through seven games. They enter the Florida game undefeated for the first time since 2017, when they won 42-7 to go 8-0 in Smart’s second year. Georgia would advance to the College Football Playoff Championship game that season.

Georgia enters as a two-touchdown favorite this year as the Gators have struggled to a 4-3 start (2-3 SEC). As a result, this year’s game doesn’t have the SEC East implications it does most seasons. Georgia could still lose to the Gators and make it Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.

But no one in the Bulldogs’ camp is talking about that. They know how close the Gators were to knocking off No. 4 Alabama in Gainesville (a 31-29 loss). And they know the details of Florida’s other two defeats on the road at the hands of Kentucky and LSU.

For Georgia, this season is reaching an established and internally vocalized standard. Essentially, that is perfection.

“Everybody’s coming after us, so we have to go out there and put our best game on film every week and just show who Georgia football is,” Jackson said.

Quarterbacks will be the primary pregame discussion, and not just among Bulldogs. The Gators have played both Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson in all but the two games in which Richardson was sidelined with injury. Jones, who is from LaGrange and was recruited by Georgia, has started all seven games so far.

The Bulldogs’ situation is much more complicated. Junior JT Daniels, the starter coming into the season, has missed the past three games, and four overall, with back-muscle issues. In his absence, senior Stetson Bennett has played almost flawlessly.

All indications are that Daniels is close to 100 percent healthy and has been at least well enough to participate in all of Georgia’s practices in preparation for Saturday’s game. So, the decision regarding which quarterback should start and how much each should play falls squarely on the shoulders of Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

There are good arguments either way. All Smart would allow late in the week was that “both guys have done a good job” and they’re “comfortable with all our quarterbacks.” All indications are it will be a first-snap unveiling.

Just as critical to the outcome of this year’s contest is how well Georgia’s vaunted defense performs against a prolific Florida offense. The Gators are averaging 501.7 yards of offense, more than half of which is coming on the ground via the rush (254.3).

It just so happens that the Bulldogs are very good at defending the run. They’re No. 2 in the nation, allowing just 64.3 yards per game. They’re also No. 1 in total (209.1 ypg) and scoring (6.6 ppg) defense.

A big reason for that is nose guard Jordan Davis. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Georgia senior one of several key Bulldogs who missed last year’s game here. He was sidelined with an elbow injury suffered in the previous game against Kentucky. Wide receiver George Pickens and safety Richard LeCounte also sat out with injuries, and Georgia lost wideout Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (ankle fracture) and safety Lewis Cine (targeting disqualification) during the game.

For the Gators, it was the perfect storm. For the Bulldogs, there was nothing good about it.

“(The loss) really hurt me,” said Davis, who is the subject of grass-roots Heisman Trophy campaign launched by Georgia’s fan base. “I was sitting in Athens with my mom and I was like, ‘even if I can’t play, I’d just kill to be in Jacksonville right now with the team.’”

Davis will be with the Bulldogs on TIAA Bank Field on Saturday, and that’s another big reason why they could win this time around.

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