This game is Florida's most important of the year. Win, and Florida makes this season an unquestioned success, no matter what happens afterward; lose, and Florida comes close to a dream it didn't know it could have and leaves fans unsatisfied without it.
But I want to tell you a joke.
One day, a reporter was driving north on a Florida back road when he came across a young boy trying to defend his little sister from a rabid dog. Before he could hop out of his truck, the boy swung a shovel and brained the dog, killing it.
The reporter rushed to the boy's side, made sure he and his sister were okay, and got their names and stories. As he was about to leave, he asked the boy if he was a Gators fan, so he could run BRAVE GATOR SAVES SISTER in the paper.
"No, sir," the boy replied.
"Well, surely, you're an FSU fan, then? LITTLEST NOLE IS HERO is just as good."
"No, sir," the boy said again.
"... Oh, you're one of those MIAMI fans, aren't you? I guess we can make 'CANES FAN DEFENDS FAMILY work, kid."
"No, sir, I'm sorry," the boy said. "Actually, I'm from Georgia. I'm visiting family. I'm a Dawgs fan."
The next morning, the headline in the paper read IDIOT CHILD KILLS BELOVED FAMILY PET.
Florida's rivalry with Georgia is deeper than I know and feel. It hasn't been much of a rivalry, lacking the back-and-forth that make rivalries great during the years since 1990 — also known as the years I've been alive — when Florida has gone 18-4 in the game, and so I haven't known what it's like to really want to beat Georgia, just what it's like to beat Georgia.
I've never been to Jacksonville for a game before today, either, so I can't say I've had bad experiences with adults barking at me. I met T. Kyle King, the fantastic proprietor of Dawg Sports, in Las Vegas at SB Nation's conference there in 2011, and he was kind and funny as could be. I don't hate Georgia like I hate Florida State, or Tennessee, or even Auburn or Miami.
I hope I never have to.
Florida winning this game, one that might truly be the biggest in series history and one that grants sweet revenge for 2011, would help a lot in that regard.
Go, Gators. Go get revenge. Go get the SEC East. Go pave a little more road on the magical mystery tour that is this season.