The Capital One Bowl, featuring Nebraska versus Georgia, looks to be a mismatch in Georgia’s favor.
According to Vegas.com, the Bulldogs are 10-point favorites over the Cornhuskers, and most pundits are expecting a comfortable Georgia win.
Nebraska fans may be feeling this lack of optimism as well, with NU ticket sales lagging for the game.
But there are reasons to hope for the Children of the Corn. Here are five reasons why Nebraska can pull off the upset against Georgia.
As one particularly smart and handsome analyst already observed, Nebraska’s unique, spread-based power-rushing option attack is something Georgia is not used to seeing.
Further, given that the Georgia rush defense is ranked only 79th nationally, while Nebraska has the eighth-best rushing attack in the nation, NU’s ground game will be a strong weapon that helps Nebraska put points on the board.
Sure, we can all agree that this isn’t a good thing for a team to have experience with.
But the fact remains that Nebraska has dealt with an ugly loss this season.
The Blackshirts gave up 63 points against Ohio State. After the game, Bo Pelini said his team would have to “win out” to make the Big Ten title game, according to Dirk Chatelain’s article in the Omaha World-Herald.
To the surprise of many (but forecasted by one particularly smart and handsome analyst), Nebraska did win out and make the title game. And while Nebraska’s performance in the title game was one to forget, the fact that NU could respond the way it did after the debacle in Columbus suggests that the team possesses the fortitude to do it again.
Nebraska is likely starting 10 seniors in the Capital One Bowl, compared to only six for Georgia. Both Nebraska and Georgia are coming off devastatingly disappointing losses in their respective conference championship games, making a bowl game with a month’s layoff a challenge in terms of preparation.
But Nebraska’s senior-laden squad will want to go out on a good note and wash the taste of Wisconsin’s 70-31 thrashing out of their mouths.
That senior leadership should help give Nebraska an edge in preparation for the bowl game.
There are all sorts of reasons why the Bulldogs could fall into the trap of being overconfident at the Capital One Bowl. Georgia was a whisker away from beating Alabama in the SEC title game. Nebraska had 70 points hung on its defense in the Big Ten title game.
The record of the Big Ten against the SEC in bowl games isn’t the greatest. Nebraska got pushed around by fellow SEC member South Carolina in last year’s Capital One Bowl.
Oh, and Nebraska is a 10-point underdog to Georgia.
So, no matter what Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt might say, it is possible that Georgia will be overconfident and not play sharply against Nebraska.
That may help to offset the Bulldogs’ likely talent advantage.
I will admit that trying to guess the motivational status of a group of college kids is a fool’s errand.
But having said that, Nebraska may have some advantages over Georgia.
Both teams are coming off awful losses in their respective conference title games. But Georgia missed a shot at the national title by four yards. Very little about a Capital One Bowl win will compare to what the Bulldogs were a whisker away from experiencing.
Nebraska, on the other hand, was embarrassed by Wisconsin.
While Nebraska did miss out on a BCS berth, NU’s pride was also wounded by the Badgers evisceration of the Blackshirts.
As discussed earlier, Georgia is expected to beat Nebraska comfortably.
That means Nebraska is coming into the Capital One Bowl with little to lose and much to gain, while Georgia enters the contest with little to gain and much to lose. These motivational factors should help Nebraska, both at the start of the game and as the contest progresses,
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