Line: The odds for this year's Cocktail Party vary only slightly depending on whom you ask; the general consensus seems to jibe with 5Dimes.com's line of Georgia -2.5, with an over/under of 47.5.
A few more expert picks to add to what Jason posted the other day: The Atlanta media -- or at least the folks at the Journal-Constitution -- seem divided over the Dawgs' prospects this weekend. Mark Bradley, reversing the prediction he made in the preseason, is now picking UGA to beat Florida, 24-17. Columnist and longtime student of the SEC Tony Barnhart concurs, picking Georgia to win by 4 and explaining thusly: "Great quarterbacks are defined by this game and Murray, the redshirt freshman from Tampa, puts his stamp on his first Georgia-Florida game by leading the Bulldogs to a victory." The dissent comes from Jeff Schultz, who points to Urban Meyer's 31-3 career record with more than a week to prepare and picks the Gators.
Elsewhere, ESPN.com's SEC blogger, Chris Low, says Georgia by 6: "The Gators' offensive problems were such that they weren't going to get fixed in a week . . . the fact is that Georgia's playing better football right now in all facets of the game." SI.com's Stewart Mandel, on the other hand, says Florida's "20-year hex" over the Dawgs will lift them to a 20-19 win. But Phil Steele, the dean of obsessive CFB number-crunchers, picks an equally close Georgia win with all of his computer evaluations pointing -- ever so slightly -- toward the Dawgs.
And now for some decidedly non-expert picks.
Best-case scenario: Aaron Murray plays with the same poise and coolheadedness he's exhibited over his first eight games and, despite Florida's dangerous secondary, continues to avoid game-killing interceptions. A suddenly punchless Gator passing game can't take enough advantage of Georgia's suspect pass defense to keep up, and the Dawgs cruise home on the legs of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey to win 34-23.
Worst-case scenario: The Dawgs succumb to the same case of acute tropical OBCS (Offensive Bed-Crapping Syndrome) they've suffered in four of their previous five matchups with Meyer's Gators -- the offensive line's supposed progress of late turns out to be a mirage once they have to face an actual defense, and Murray's confidence under center crumbles as a result. Meanwhile, Meyer's bye-week tweaks finally inject some life into his struggling offense, and the Gators' convincing 31-16 win makes it 18 wins in the last 21 Cocktail Parties.
My pick? Jason and most everyone else at SBN know I'm way too superstitious to ever throw out an exact score prediction here, though I will say this: If you trust in (or, alternatively, are intimidated by) Urban Meyer's bye-week black magic, not to mention the dark sway the Gators have held over the Dawgs for two decades, nobody's going to blame you for putting your money on Florida to win straight up. But if you've ever been sitting at a blackjack table in Vegas and felt a beam of light shine down on you that made you think you just had to hit on 17, take the Dawgs.