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12/13/2013 10:40:00 AM
This year's meeting between the two schools takes place at
Everbank Field in Jacksonville
after the schools accepted invitations to the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. ESPN2 has the broadcast for the high noon
(ET) kickoff on New Year's Day.
A year ago, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Georgia Bulldogs each
came up short in their conference championship games to set up a collision in Orlando at the Capital
One Bowl. This time, each team lost
three conference games to finish out of the Big Ten and SEC title tilt
pictures, and the result is a postseason rematch in another Florida locale.
Georgia is a decided favorite for the battle, settling in as
9 point chalk at most shops monitored by SBR's live college football odds. Bettors intent on playing the total are
currently deciding 'over/under' on 60.5, up a half from the opener.
This is the third time Nebraska
have squared off, each clash in a bowl game. The Bulldogs have won the previous two contests, whipping the
Cornhuskers 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl before handling them last New Year's Day
in Orlando by a
45-31 count. Georgia was laden with a similar
spread in the Capital One Bowl (-9.5) 365 days ago when Aaron Murray threw a
Bulldogs bowl record five touchdown passes. The total was also close to the same (61.5), and had skipped above the
mark before the teams got to the fourth quarter.
College Football Bowl Picks & Predictions
Injuries To Top QBs
Give This Meeting A Different Look
The Cornhuskers won't have to worry about Murray shredding
them again this year after the senior quarterback suffered a season-ending knee
injury in a romp past Kentucky on Nov. 23. The SEC career record holder in TD passes, yards passing and total
offense, Murray underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, and
his next stop should be the NFL where's he is currently projected as a
middle-round pick in next April's draft.
Hutson Mason replaced Murray
in the season finale against Georgia Tech and helped rally the Bulldogs to a
41-34 victory in double overtime.
Murray isn't the only injury
concern for Georgia (8-4 SU,
3-8-1 ATS) and head coach Mark Richt who just completed his 13th season in Athens. A pair of safeties, Corey Moore and Tray
Matthews, are listed as questionable for the Gator Bowl. Moore
is nursing his own knee injury while talented freshman Matthews could miss with
a bad hamstring.
Bo Pelini and Nebraska
(8-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) could be without two quarterbacks for
the matchup, including 1st-stringer Taylor Martinez who hasn't played since late-October
because of a hip injury. Tommy Armstrong
Jr., a redshirt freshman out of Cibolo,
Texas, is questionable due to an
ankle injury, leaving senior Ron Kellogg III as the likely starter under center
for the 'Huskers in the Gator Bowl.
Kellogg actually finished the season with more pass attempts
and yards than either Martinez
or Armstrong, but was nowhere near the dual threat that the other two provided.
Read SBR's sportsbook reviews!
Change At QB Means Slight
Change In Offensive Attacks
It would have been interesting to see Murray test what was a
pretty good Nebraska pass defense that ranked 21st in the nation allowing a
little more than 200 yards per game. Now
it will be interesting to see if Richt allows Mason the same freedom to direct what
was first and foremost an aerial assault behind Murray, or if he goes a little more
The Bulldogs do have a solid rushing attack, led by
sophomore Todd Gurley who gained more than 900 yards in nine games. Freshman JJ Greene, who filled in for Gurley
when he missed three games midseason, is also a threat to break off a big run.
Meanwhile, the Georgia
defense can focus mostly on Nebraska
tailback Ameer Abdullah and not worry much about Kellogg beating them with his
legs. Abdullah averaged over 130 yards
rushing per game, seventh in the country, and ran for more than 100 yards in 10
of the Cornhuskers' 12 games.
I don't have a lot of confidence in whoever quarterbacks
each side in this game, and will be counting on the defenses to do their job to
keep this final below the total for my free college football pick.
My pick: Nebraska-Georgia