In a flash, the Florida-Georgia game has suddenly become a massive deal once again

Last we checked, Georgia had lost its football manhood, while Florida had begun to find its way. Suddenly, the party full of cocktails known as Florida-Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS) looks like a shaker-full of margaritas.

In other words, it's a toss-up.

Well, maybe not in the Las Vegas line (Georgia is a touchdown favorite) but increasingly the court of public opinion.

We are at the end of two long weeks since each team played. Georgia is vulnerable based on the LSU thrashing. Florida is the upstart ready to put the Dawgs' championship dreams to sleep.

How did it ever get this way? Before the season, No. 7 Georgia was practically bequeathed the SEC East and a postseason rematch with Alabama, this time in the conference championship game.

Dan Mullen's bar was considerably lower. He just needed to make Florida football fun again. Mullen has done more than that. The No. 9 Gators are the only squad to figure out the phenomenon known as LSU. That accomplishment alone should give Florida a fighting chance. Those same Tigers handed Georgia a 20-point loss reminiscent of its 23-point Auburn loss last November.

The transitive property of the football universe, then, suggests Florida > Georgia.

If only it was that easy. Lately, it looks like the Dawgs are trying like hell to meet the Gators in the middle. While Florida is ascending, Georgia has been knocked down a peg or two.

In short, the Dawgs have to win this game. This game, the SEC East and a College Football Playoff spot were the expectations before the season. Everything might be off the table with a loss.

Florida would be delighted if it won this game.  This season represents progress, a major step forward after years of mediocrity -- or worse. Georgia's season is at stake.

There's a reason ESPN's "College GameDay" is in Jacksonville, Florida, for the first time in 13 years.

LSU pushed UGA around. The physicality that has defined Georgia football for decades was lost for an afternoon. The Dawgs have to prove to themselves they can not only bounce back but fight back. LSU had scoring drives of nine, 12 and 15 plays; the Tigers ran 81 plays in that game.

"They know what's at stake in this game," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.

His quarterback, Jake Fromm, became unraveled against LSU behind an offensive line that featured two freshmen because of the injuries. Speaking of that unraveling, it might be a good idea to get freshman Justin Fields involved against Florida.

The Gators would still be on an upward path, even with a loss. There is definition on defense where Florida is No. 1 in SEC against the pass. Feleipe Franks has thrown the most touchdown passes by a Florida quarterback (15) since Tim Tebow in 2009, all through seven games. This after throwing nine touchdowns to eight interceptions in the entire 2017 season.

It's important to understand this Florida-Georgia game is not even for the SEC East superiority. Kentucky still controls its own destiny in the division. The Wildcats will be playing Missouri about the same time Saturday afternoon as the Gators and Dawgs. Georgia then meets Kentucky next week.

That the division is still a toss-up this late in the season might be this fortnight's biggest surprise. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

Compete for Prizes & Play Against Friends with College Pick'em

Our Latest Stories