'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,' explained: How the Florida-Georgia rivalry game got its quirky name

'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,' explained: How the Florida-Georgia rivalry game got its quirky name

“The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” may have been abandoned by Georgia, Florida and CBS, but its legacy lives on in the annual SEC East matchup.

The rivalry game, arguably the tailgating event of the year, is steeped in tradition. Jacksonville, Fla., becomes a college football town once a year for the raucous renewal at TIAA Bank Field.

It’s so raucous, in fact, that you won’t hear cocktails referred to at all on the broadcast. Many attending fans took the name too literally and they couldn’t handle their liquor, which led to a slew of gameday arrests. It is now referred to as the “War for the Oar,” a reference to the Okefenokee Oar the winner receives after the game.

With that being said, don’t expect to see students or those following these schools referring to it as anything else. Old habits die hard. Apparently, old rivalry names die harder.

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Why was Georgia vs. Florida called ‘The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’?

Georgia vs. Florida first got this nickname from the late Florida Times-Union sports editor Bill Kastelz in 1958.

As the story goes, Kastelz saw a drunken fan wobble up to an on-duty, uniformed police officer and offer a drink. And because the 1958 game was, frankly, boring, Kastelz decided to romanticize the event.

“It was just one of those things writers do when they can’t think of what to say about the game,” Kastelz told The Tampa Bay Times in 1974. “You kind of jack it up. I looked around for a phrase to describe this brawl that goes on … no, you see it’s not a brawl. It’s a social event. People don’t come here to watch the game so much as root for anything wearing their colors. It’s really fantastic. All these people coming in with booze or whatever.”

From there, the name lived on.

Why did Georgia vs. Florida lose the moniker?

When something is called the “world’s largest” anything, the pressure to live up to the hype builds. Georgia vs. Florida was no exception.

The city of Jacksonville was the first to drop the name in 1988 after myriad alcohol-related incidents during the ’80s. Florida and Georgia fans tore down the goalposts after storming the field in back-to-back seasons, which is obviously poor form on a neutral site. From there, the city decided to lose the branding.

The SEC and the schools followed suit in the 2000s. They asked CBS to stop using the nickname in 2006, and several other names have been workshopped since. The schools call it the War for the Oar. Others call it the River City Showdown.

College football fans, however, likely won’t ever lose the drunken version of the name.

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What is the history of the Georgia vs. Florida rivalry?

The Georgia-Florida rivalry dates to 1904.

Georgia leads the series 54-44-2 and has won four of the last five matchups after Florida won three straight.

October 15, 1904Macon, Ga.Georgia52-0
November 6, 1915Jacksonville, Fla.Georgia37-0
October14, 1916Athens, Ga.Georgia21-0
October 25, 1919Tampa, Fla.Georgia16-0
November 13, 1920AthensGeorgia56-0
October 30, 1926AthensGeorgia32-9
November 5, 1927JacksonvilleGeorgia28-0
November 10, 1928Savannah, Ga.Florida26-6
October 26, 1929JacksonvilleFlorida18-6
November 1, 1930SavannahTie0-0
October 31, 1931Gainesville, Fla.Georgia33-6
October 29, 1932AthensGeorgia33-12
November 4, 1933JacksonvilleGeorgia14-0
November 3, 1934JacksonvilleGeorgia14-0
November 2, 1935JacksonvilleGeorgia7-0
November 7, 1936JacksonvilleGeorgia26-8
November 6, 1937JacksonvilleFlorida6-0
November 5, 1938JacksonvilleGeorgia19-6
November 11, 1939JacksonvilleGeorgia6-2
November 9, 1940JacksonvilleFlorida18-13
November 8, 1941JacksonvilleGeorgia19-3
November 7, 1942JacksonvilleGeorgia75-0
November 11, 1944JacksonvilleGeorgia38-12
November 10, 1945JacksonvilleGeorgia34-0
November 9, 1946JacksonvilleGeorgia33-14
November 8, 1947JacksonvilleGeorgia34-6
November 6, 1948JacksonvilleGeorgia20-12
November 5, 1949JacksonvilleFlorida28-7
November 11, 1950JacksonvilleGeorgia6-0
November 10, 1951JacksonvilleGeorgia7-6
October 25, 1952JacksonvilleFlorida30-0
November 7, 1953JacksonvilleFlorida21-7
November 6, 1954JacksonvilleGeorgia14-13
November 5, 1955JacksonvilleFlorida19-13
November 10, 1956JacksonvilleFlorida28-0
November 9, 1957JacksonvilleFlorida22-0
November 8, 1958JacksonvilleFlorida7-6
November 7, 1959JacksonvilleGeorgia21-10
November 5, 1960JacksonvilleFlorida22-14
November 11, 1961JacksonvilleFlorida21-14
November 10, 1962JacksonvilleFlorida23-15
November 9, 1963JacksonvilleFlorida21-14
November 7, 1964JacksonvilleGeorgia14-7
November 6, 1965JacksonvilleFlorida14-10
November 5, 1966JacksonvilleGeorgia27-10
November 11, 1967JacksonvilleFlorida17-16
November 9, 1968JacksonvilleGeorgia51-0
November 8, 1969JacksonvilleTie13-13
November 7, 1970JacksonvilleFlorida24-17
November 6, 1971JacksonvilleGeorgia49-7
November 11, 1972JacksonvilleGeorgia10-7
November 10, 1973JacksonvilleFlorida11-10
November 9, 1974JacksonvilleGeorgia17-16
November 8, 1975JacksonvilleGeorgia10-7
November 6, 1976JacksonvilleGeorgia41-27
November 5, 1977JacksonvilleFlorida22-17
November 11, 1978JacksonvilleGeorgia24-22
November 10, 1979JacksonvilleGeorgia33-10
November 8, 1980JacksonvilleGeorgia26-21
November 7, 1981JacksonvilleGeorgia26-21
November 6, 1982JacksonvilleGeorgia44-0
November 5, 1983JacksonvilleGeorgia10-9
November 10, 1984JacksonvilleFlorida27-0
November 9, 1985JacksonvilleGeorgia24-3
November 8, 1986JacksonvilleFlorida31-19
November 7, 1987JacksonvilleGeorgia23-10
November 5, 1988JacksonvilleGeorgia26-3
November 11, 1989JacksonvilleGeorgia17-10
November 10, 1990JacksonvilleFlorida38-7
November 9, 1991JacksonvilleFlorida45-13
October 31, 1992JacksonvilleFlorida26-24
October 30, 1993JacksonvilleFlorida33-26
October 29, 1994GainesvilleFlorida52-14
October 28, 1995AthensFlorida52-17
November 2, 1996JacksonvilleFlorida47-7
November 1, 1997JacksonvilleGeorgia37-17
October 31, 1998JacksonvilleFlorida38-7
October 30, 1999JacksonvilleFlorida30-14
October 28, 2000JacksonvilleFlorida34-23
October 27, 2001JacksonvilleFlorida24-10
November 2, 2002JacksonvilleFlorida20-13
November 1, 2003JacksonvilleFlorida16-13
October 30, 2004JacksonvilleGeorgia31-24
October 29, 2005JacksonvilleFlorida14-10
October 28, 2006JacksonvilleFlorida21-14
October 27, 2007JacksonvilleGeorgia42-30
November 1, 2008JacksonvilleFlorida49-10
October 31, 2009JacksonvilleFlorida41-17
October 30, 2010JacksonvilleFlorida34-31 (OT)
October 29, 2011JacksonvilleGeorgia24-20
October 27, 2012JacksonvilleGeorgia17-9
November 2, 2013JacksonvilleGeorgia23-20
November 1, 2014JacksonvilleFlorida38-20
October 31, 2015JacksonvilleFlorida27-3
October 29, 2016JacksonvilleFlorida24-10
October 28, 2017JacksonvilleGeorgia42-7
October 27, 2018JacksonvilleGeorgia36-17
November 2, 2019JacksonvilleGeorgia24-17
November 7, 2020JacksonvilleFlorida44-28
October 30, 2021JacksonvilleGeorgia34-7
October 29, 2022JacksonvilleTBD