ORLANDO, Fla. — Georgia and Nebraska are hoping a New Year’s trip for Florida will be the perfect place to get over their conference championship game disappointments.
Both teams accepted bids to the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl on Sunday, just a day after falling in their respective conference championship games.
The Bulldogs (11-2) came up just a few yards short of winning the SEC crown and trip the BCS national championship game Saturday night, losing to defending BCS champion Alabama, 32-28.
For the Cornhuskers (10-3), their 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game might not have had the nail nibbling heartbreak Georgia endured, but was just as painful.
The New Year’s Day meeting at the Florida Citrus Bowl will mark only the second time Georgia and Nebraska have met. Nebraska defeated the Bulldogs, 45-6, in the 1969 Sun Bowl.
Nebraska is appearing the Capital One Bowl for the second straight season. The Cornhuskers fell 30-13 to South Carolina in last season’s matchup. It is their 49th bowl appearance overall.
It will also be farewell to former longtime coach and current Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, who will retire from that position on Jan. 1 as well.
Georgia won the SEC East division title for the second consecutive year. It is making its sixth appearance in the Cap One, having last beaten Michigan State in 2009. This will be the Bulldogs 48th bowl game.
This second matchup between Nebraska and Georgia should be closer than the first.
Georgia thrived this season offensively behind Tampa, Fla. native and junior quarterback Aaron Murray. He leads the nation in yards per passing attempt (7.8), while throwing for 31 touchdowns.
Defensively the Bulldogs had the SEC’s second-ranked pass defense, allowing just 120 yards per game. Linebacker Jarvis Jones has been a big part of that, with 12.5 sacks on the year.
The Cornhuskers also have a capable signal caller in junior Taylor Martinez. He is Nebraska’s all-time career leader in total offense with more than 9,000 yards.
Martinez has also gotten a lot of support from running backs Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah, a tandem that lead the most productive rushing attack in their conference, averaging 254 yards per game.