JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The winner remains in contention in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division. The loser heads home with a three-game losing streak.
So the stakes are high even though border-state rivals Florida and Georgia are unranked heading into Saturday's annual game in Jacksonville. It's the second time in four years that both schools are unranked by the end of October, but it's the first time since 1926 that both programs enter the neutral-site game riding multi-game losing streaks.
Georgia (4-3, 3-2 SEC) dropped consecutive games against Missouri and Vanderbilt, plummeting from No. 7 in the country. Florida's fall was equally surprising. The Gators (4-3, 3-2) lost at LSU and at Missouri by double-digit margins, continuing to fade after starting the season at No. 10.
Now, they're trying to avoid weeks of talk about playing for pride and becoming bowl eligible.
"Both teams are in the same boat," Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy said. "We're both 4-3. Both teams probably expected to be undefeated or have a better record coming into this game. But both teams still have high hopes of finishing the season off well.
"It's kinda like a one-game playoff. If you lose, your season's kinda done and down in the dumps."
Both teams appeared done two weeks ago, but then South Carolina rallied to knock off Missouri in double overtime last Saturday and give the Gators and Bulldogs a glimmer of hope.
"I think everybody got a good little bit of juice from that," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "This game is obviously important, no matter what the situation is, but we still feel like we're in the race for the East, so it makes it a little bit more meaningful to everybody."
Florida may have a little extra motivation stemming from the last two years.
Georgia has won two in a row in the series, converting two huge fourth-down calls to win 24-20 in 2011 and taking advantage of six turnovers to eke out a 17-9 victory last year.
"We have a lot of anger from the last two years," cornerback Marcus Roberson said.
That 2012 loss prevented Florida from winning the East and possibly getting a shot at the national title. The Gators plastered the final score in their weight room for incentive.
Here are five things to know about Saturday's matchup:
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