ORLANDO — When asked the other day if he viewed this season as a missed opportunity to win SEC and BCS championships, Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “Every year is a missed opportunity, I think.” And that’s probably the right thing to say, even if it’s not every season the Bulldogs come within one tipped pass of winning the SEC title and going to the BCS championship game.
When Georgia faces Nebraska today in the Capital One Bowl, the question is whether we’ll witness any hangover from the last game. The Dogs (11-2, coming off a 32-28 loss to Alabama, No. 7 BCS) may be a more talented team than the Cornhuskers (10-3, coming off a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin, No. 16 BCS). But that doesn’t always mean anything in bowl games. Witness Georgia Tech vs. USC. Or witness Georgia’s last two bowl efforts — losses to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl two years ago and Michigan State in the Outback last season.
OK, a few quick things about today’s game and then I’ll open the cyber-venting lines:
– The Dogs’ defensive front will have to put up a better effort than it did against Alabama (350 yards rushing). Nebraska ranks ninth in the nation in rushing at 254.5 yards per game but only 81st passing, although quarterback Taylor Martinez has thrown 21 touchdown passes.
– The defensive line will be missing nose tackle John Jenkins, who is academically ineligible, and possibly end Abry Jones (ankle), who is questionable. Kwame Geathers will start for Jenkins.
– Nebraska’s defense ranks first against the pass, but that’s a little misleading. Opponents seldom have had to throw against the Huskers because they’re so weak against the run (97th, 194.8 per game). Also, the Big Ten is not full of wide open offenses. So expect a heavy dose of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall today.
Final thought: I think Georgia wins today. Finishing the year with a win and losing the last two bowl games should be motivation enough. A victory also could leave the Dogs as one of the top five ranked teams in the nation.
But if Georgia players are thinking about the SEC championship or the NFL draft, everything goes out the window, and they’ll lose today.
What are your thoughts? The floor is yours.
– Jeff Schultz