The Bulldogs have headed into the last two offseasons after losses in the Outback and Liberty bowls.
That’s quite a change of fortune for a program that had won four in a row and seven of the previous eight under coach Mark Richt.
Getting back on the winning track in the postseason is added incentive for an 11-2 Georgia team that is favored by 10 points over Nebraska in Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl.
“It is definitely some motivation there,” said fifth-year senior receiver Tavarres King. “We’ve lost our last two bowl games. I’m 2-2 in bowl games. This senior class wants to win their last bowl game. This team wants to win their bowl game.”
Georgia’s current players want to avoid losing three consecutive bowl games for the first time since the Bulldogs lost four in a row in the 1970s (1974-76 seasons and 1978).
“They know we’ve got a very serious bit of business to take care of here,” coach Mark Richt said. “In between the business time, there’s going to be some time for fun, too.”
That was a trip to Universal Studios on Thursday afternoon after a morning practice. This afternoon players have the option of going to SeaWorld or the Virginia Tech-Rutgers Russell Athletic Bowl game.
“You come down here to win,” senior snapper Ty Frix said. “It’s not a fun bowl trip unless you go away with a win.”
Georgia’s last bowl win came at the end of the 2009 season when it was shorthanded three defensive coaches who were dismissed after the regular season. Georgia rolled over Texas A&M 44-20 in the Independence Bowl.
Georgia lost to Central Florida 10-6 in Memphis at the end of the 2010 season and 33-30 to Michigan State in triple-overtime in Tampa at the end of last season.
“I know me personally I want to win a bowl game,” junior quarterback Aaron Murray said. “I haven’t won one as a starter. I know I’m going to work extremely hard to win this game. And this senior class has just meant so much to this program to bringing Georgia back to where it needs to be.”
Richt has said he would challenge the team to finish better than a year ago, but ending the season with losses the past two years hasn’t been devastating. The Bulldogs followed those losses with 10-2 and 11-1 regular seasons and trips to the SEC title game.
“You want to go out on top, you want to go out with a W,” King said. “You want to leave those young guys something to feel good about for the season to come. … People believe in Georgia again. I think people believe we’re a great team now. What better way to continue that belief than going out there and beating these guys.”