Behind The ScenesSEC Network

Dawg-Gator rivalry extends to SEC Nation

On Saturday, the SEC Nation set might seem a little tenser than most weeks.

The show is live from the Georgia-Florida “border war” in Jacksonville, Fla., for the first time, and two key SEC Nation contributors know firsthand how much this game means to each fan base.

SEC Nation reporter Laura Rutledge graduated from the University of Florida in 2011 and went on to represent her state as Miss Florida in 2012.

Behind the desk sits the host of SEC Nation, Maria Taylor, who graduated from the University of Georgia. While playing volleyball and basketball in college, Taylor built her own traditions for the Georgia-Florida matchup.

“Since volleyball season is in the fall, I remember piling into hotel rooms with my teammates to have our own version of a Georgia-Florida tailgate,” said Taylor.

Watch SEC Nation live Saturday

SEC Network’s traveling football pregame show, SEC Nation, will air from 10 a.m.-noon ET prior to the Georgia versus Florida game on Saturday, Oct 29. The show’s set is located outside of Everbank Field at Met Park 2. The full schedule of SEC Network’s programming can be found here.

Front Row sat down with the duo to discuss the upcoming game:

What will the rivalry be like between you this weekend?
Rutledge: “Maria better watch out because I’m going to be talking smack to her all weekend! [Georgia quarterback] Jacob Eason against this nasty Florida defense isn’t going to be fun for the Dawgs!”

Taylor: “It takes the bigger person in me to remain friends with Florida fans during Georgia-Florida week, but I always try to be the bigger person (as any good Bulldog would).”

How did going to your school prepare you for your job?
Taylor: “I had some amazing professors that taught me every aspect of live television. My first job was at Georgia as a radio analyst for women’s basketball and a production assistant/reporter for the athletics website.”

Rutledge: “I was able to cover a championship team and host a radio show on WRUF. It provided me the opportunity to formulate my voice and style at a young age.”

What do you want fans watching SEC Nation to know about this epic SEC rivalry?
Rutledge: “While this rivalry may not get as much publicity as the Iron Bowl or Egg Bowl, it has its own flavor and personality. It is fueled by a tradition built around hating the opponent, but also having tremendous respect for them.”

Taylor: “It doesn’t matter how good either team is, who they played the week before, or what the analyst and projections say. Georgia-Florida is one of those games that tends to defy all odds, create amazing plays and storylines.”

Caroline Tilton and Taylor Garrett produced the video below.

Rutledge- Front Row Answer from ESPNFrontRow on Vimeo.

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