The Capital One Bowl between Nebraska and South Carolina will be here before you know it. Rest assured, at Bleacher Report, we’re here to make sure you know everything you need to be ready.
Legal Problems Dog Nebraska's Bowl Preparation Again
Probably the biggest news surrounding the game was the arrest over the weekend of Mike Caputo, Nebraska’s starting center, for driving under the influence. Bo Pelini has not yet announced the discipline he will impose on the senior as a result of the incident.
But last year, Pelini suspended defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler and safety Rickey Thenarse for the Holiday Bowl after each of them received a DUI citation. It’s fair to assume, then, that Caputo can expect to be wearing sweat pants and watching the game from the sidelines.
Should Caputo be suspended, it would be a significant loss for Nebraska. Caputo started every game for Nebraska at center, so NU will likely be dealing with a first-time starter in the middle of its offensive line facing a very stingy South Carolina defense. Sophomore Cole Pensick should get the starting job for NU if Pelini does suspend Caputo.
Defensive end Eric Martin was also cited over the weekend for leaving the scene of an accident. While any legal altercation is certainly troubling, it is less likely that Martin’s citation will result in him missing action for the bowl game.
Coacing Carousel Affects Both Squads
Carl Pelini is leaving Nebraska to take the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic University, succeeding legendary moustache Howard Schnellenberger. Pelini has announced that he will not be coaching the defense, and brother Bo Pelini has made no announcements with regards to Carl’s replacement. Most observers expect Bo to promote from within, although some sharp commentators believe an outside hire would be most beneficial for NU.
South Carolina has also had a coaching defection, with running backs coach Jay Graham jumping ship to Tennessee. Like Pelini, Graham will not be coaching the Gamecocks for the bowl game. No word yet from Steve Spurrier as to who will fill Graham’s duties for the Capital One Bowl.
Nebraska's Focus Should Improve From Last Year
Admittedly, that’s not a very high bar compared to the mental no-show NU put on for its rematch against Washington in the Holiday Bowl. But Nebraska knows that its 9-3 finish and absence from a conference title game didn’t meet its own standards in 2011. And the opportunity to play—and beat—an SEC team gives NU plenty of motivation. As Mississippi native Jamarcus Hardrick told the Lincoln Journal-Star’s Steven Sipple:
"Y'all don't play football up in the Midwest," said Hardrick, imitating his home crew. "You just play up there with all those slow boys. Come on down here and play some SEC ball."
Given Nebraska’s disinterested performance last year, NU fans hope that the lure of a victory over an SEC opponent will be enough to inspire a good performance from Nebraska.
Hey, did you know that Nebraska has played a Steve Spurrier-coached team in a bowl game before? Don’t worry, if you were surprised by that, you’ll hear about it at least eleventy billion times between now and kickoff
According to the Sports Business Journal, participants in the Capital One Bowl will receive a $420 Best Buy shopping spree and a Timely Watch Co. watch. Well, as long as we’re not in the business of paying college athletes. Amateurism, don'tcha know.
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