The game of the conference championship losers, in other words. Georgia had a great season, but two losses in the SEC is too much to overcome if you want a BCS Bowl to end your season. Nebraska? Despite a 10-win season, they were humiliated in the Big Ten championship game, and it’ll be interesting to see how much from that carries over.
The Bulldogs managed to bounce back from a devastating loss against South Carolina to win the SEC East, mostly thanks to a big win over Florida. That set them up with Alabama in one of the best games of the season, won by the Tide 32-28.
One of the big questions for Georgia is what they’re going to do except for running the ball. Todd Gurley (1260 yards) and Keith Marshall can put up big numbers, but Aaron Murray’s ability to handle the Nebraska pass defense, allowing only 148.2 yards per game for quarterbacks, might be even more crucial. On the other hand, they saw Montee Ball and the rest of the Wisconsin players go for 539 yards in the Big Ten title game, so why not them? Murray leads the nation in yards per passing attempt (7.8), throwing for 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions, but finds it hard to be at his best against the tougher defenses in the SEC.
Nebraska have Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah and quarterback Taylor Martinez, the school’s all-time leader in total offense, combining for 2,597 yards on the ground. They are eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game (254.5). Georgia allowed 350 yards against Alabama in the SEC title game, despite the presence of Jarvis Jones, possibly the best linebacker in the nation.
Georgia are 4-1-1 in the Captial One Bowl, making its first appearance since beating Michigan State 24-12 in 2009. Nebraska are playing in it for the second straight season, losing to South Carolina 30-13. They have a chance to win 11 games in a season for the first time since 2001, They’ve met Georgia only once, beating them 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl. Georgia can reach 12 wins for the third time in school history, with a good chance to finish in the top 5 if they do win.
Prediction – Both teams can run the ball well, but Georgia do have the option of a passing game which is much more limited for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska have great runners, but not the physical presence of the Alabama front line. Just running and a suspect run defense might be too much to overcome against what might be the second best team in the SEC.