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Laura Rutledge: Florida Gators ‘closest that they’ve been’ to beating Georgia

The ESPN and SEC Network host also said Kyle Trask could be the SEC's Player of the Year this season.
ESPN's Laura Rutledge still gives Georgia the edge over Florida, even though she thinks quarterback Kyle Trask could be the SEC's Player of the Year.
ESPN's Laura Rutledge still gives Georgia the edge over Florida, even though she thinks quarterback Kyle Trask could be the SEC's Player of the Year. [ Times ]
Published Jul. 2, 2020
Updated Jul. 3, 2020

The state’s biggest on-field question of the offseason centers on Florida: Can Dan Mullen’s Gators finally top Georgia to win the SEC East and challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff?

ESPN and SEC Network host Laura Rutledge isn’t going that far yet.

ESPN and SEC Network host Laura Rutledge
ESPN and SEC Network host Laura Rutledge [ Associated Press ]

“I’m not quite ready to do it,” Rutledge told the Tampa Bay Times’ Mari Faiello during a conversation Wednesday. “But this is the closest that they’ve been.”

Rutledge said the gap is closing in part because of the quarterback position. UF returns Kyle Trask, whose 25 touchdown passes and 66.9 completion percentage are the best among any returning starter in the conference.

Rutledge said Trask “could be the Player of the Year at the SEC.”

Related: Is Florida Gators’ Kyle Trask the SEC’s top returning quarterback?

“The potential is so great with him,” she said.

Georgia’s expected starter, Jamie Newman, also has a lot of potential. But the Bulldogs lack continuity after Newman arrived as a grad transfer from Wake Forest and former Bucs assistant Todd Monken took over as offensive coordinator.

Former Bucs assistant Todd Monken seems like a nice addition for Georgia, but how well can he mesh with the team given the restrictions from the pandemic?
Former Bucs assistant Todd Monken seems like a nice addition for Georgia, but how well can he mesh with the team given the restrictions from the pandemic?

So why does Rutledge give the edge to the Bulldogs?

“I think just overall Georgia is slightly more talented,” Rutledge said. “And I think they’ll end up winning that game, although I think it’s going to be really, really close, and then that will be the battle, in my opinion, for the SEC.

Related: Kyle Trask thinks Florida can make the College Football Playoff. He’s right.

“As for what Florida needs to do, it’s just more of the same, because they’re right there, and they’re nipping on Georgia’s heels, and they’re going to end up getting there. And I hope that it’s this year for everybody’s sake…

“But if it’s not this year, it’ll be really, really soon.”