Georgia vs. Nebraska: Predictions for Compelling Capital One Bowl

Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 31, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 26: Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is sacked by John Jenkins #6 and Jarvis Jones #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Come for the BCS thrillers, stay for the Capital One Bowl. 

That's right, I said it.

The Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl may be garnering more New Year's Day hype, but Georgia vs. Nebraska in Orlando at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday has the makings to quietly steal the show to open 2013. 

It's a game that will depend on the motivation level of both teams, and that's exactly what makes it so compelling. 

Georgia is one play away from being in Miami for the BCS National Championship, while Nebraska is one horrendous performance in the Big Ten Championship away from being in the Rose Bowl.

How each team responds to being in a matchup it doesn't want to be in will be a major, potentially game-changing storyline to keep an eye on.

Let's take a look at what else you can expect in this must-see battle. 


Jarvis Jones Will Cause Mayhem

According to ESPN, the Cornhuskers have turned the ball over 32 times, which is sixth most in the nation. Taylor Martinez has thrown 10 interceptions while the team has lost 21 fumbles, tying it for most in the country.

In any normal game, that's a major cause for concern. Against the Georgia Bulldogs, it's cause to hit the panic button and start freaking out like the guys at the beginning of Super Troopers

Jarvis Jones, in particular, has been a menace for anyone trying to hold on to the ball. In addition to 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year has forced an NCAA-leading seven fumbles.

Nebraska's slippery hands and Jones' scary nature aren't a good combination for the Cornhuskers. Don't be surprised if the junior makes at least a few game-altering plays. 


Nebraska Will Run for 250 Yards

It's not exactly easy finding weaknesses in Georgia's defense, which is allowing just 18.8 points per game. But if a team is going to exploit the Bulldogs, it's going to be on the ground.

Mark Richt's squad is giving up a healthy 4.1 yards per carry and 177.8 rushing yards per game, both of which rank the Bulldogs near the bottom of the SEC. Granted, they improved those numbers as the year went on, but they also got torn up by Alabama in their most recent game.  

Nebraska has the tools to exploit this weakness. Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah are strong runners who don't go down easily via arm tackles while Taylor Martinez is one of the more dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.

The Cornhuskers are one of the best rushing teams in the nation (254.5 yards per contest), so this might not seem like a groundbreaking prediction, but anytime a squad can potentially cut up an SEC team on the ground like this, it's an impressive achievement. 


Georgia Wins a High-Scoring Battle

Most predictions you'll see will have Georgia with a very large number next to its name and Nebraska with a very small one. 

Judging be each of these teams' most recent performances, of course, it's hard to argue against that. 

But with neither team truly being hyped about being in Orlando, I don't expect this matchup to be indicative of just how much better Georgia is overall. 

Combine that with Nebraska having the weapons to move the ball swiftly on the ground, Georgia having one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country in Aaron Murray, the dynamic duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and the Cornhuskers' anemic defense (I think Wisconsin just scored again), and points won't be at a premium in this one.

Georgia 45, Nebraska 31