Kings of the East: Florida vs. Georgia is an SEC East Kingmaker

Want to know who will win the SEC East? The winner of the Florida-Georgia Rivalry game has become a conference kingmaker in recent years.

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Florida-Georgia. Georgia-Florida. Whatever you call the annual Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators rivalry game, it’s time to give it a new nickname.

The game is the SEC East Kingmaker.

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Florida vs. Georgia is an SEC East Kingmaker

For the past eight seasons, the winner of the Florida-Georgia Rivalry game has gone on to win the SEC East, representing the division in the SEC Championship Game every year since 2015. If you want to know the direction of the division, the “SEC East Kingmaker” is where you need to look.

The streak began in 2015 when the defensively dominant Gators limited Georgia to just 223 yards while forcing five turnovers in a 27-3 win. Jim McElwain’s team went back-to-back with a 24-10 win in Jacksonville the following year on their way to their 12th SEC East crown.

McElwain’s tenure was brought to a close in 2017 as Georgia took the upper hand in the SEC East. Over the next three years, the Bulldogs would go 3-0 in the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” as the Kirby Smart era began to take shape. Georgia won 42-7, 36-17, and 24-17 and Smart’s team recorded consecutive 7-1 conference records with the SEC East belonging to the ‘dogs.

MORE: Florida-Georgia Rivalry Annual Results 

While Georgia would dominate the rivalry on their way to consecutive national championships, the Gators permeated the Bulldogs’ success in 2020. Behind a 474-yard, four-touchdown performance from Kyle Trask, Florida inflicted a 44-28 beatdown on the Bulldogs despite falling behind 14 points early on.

It paved the way for the Gators’ 13th SEC East crown.

The two historic rivals have been the dominant force in the SEC East since the conference adopted divisions in the 1992 season. Between them, the Gators and Bulldogs have won 23 divisional titles. All other teams have combined to win just eight, with the Tennessee Volunteers contributing five of those.

A great barometer of the historical swings in success between these two great programs, Florida holds a three-title advantage over the Bulldogs despite Georgia being the dominant force in college football in recent years.

The Gators have won the SEC East on 13 occasions, with Georgia claiming honors 10 times.

Years That the Winner of Florida vs. Georgia Didn’t win the SEC East

This remarkable streak of Florida-Georgia Rivalry being the SEC East Kingmaker has been running since 2015. In the two years prior to that, they split the series 1-1, but Missouri won the division in consecutive seasons.

Ironically, if Florida were to beat Georgia in Jacksonville this weekend, it could open the door for the Tigers to win the division and break the streak.

MORE: Why Do Florida and Georgia Disagree on Rivalry Win Totals?

In 2010, Florida won a thriller 34-31, but the South Carolina Gamecocks won the SEC East after beating the Bulldogs in Athens and the Gators in Gainesville. It remains the only time that the Gamecocks won the SEC East.

In the five years that Tennessee won the SEC East outright (1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004) the Gators and Bulldogs split the series 2-2. However, in 2007, Georgia beat Florida 42-30 and put themselves in position to win the SEC East, but a 35-14 loss in Knoxville cost the Bulldogs the title on a tie-breaker.

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