ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia is going back to Florida for another New Year’s.
The Bulldogs (11-2) will face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3) in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day, marking the fifth time in coach Mark Richt’s 12 seasons that they have welcomed a new year with a bowl trip to the Sunshine State.
"To play a team with the history and tradition of Nebraska will be an exciting experience for our team and coaches, but also for our fans," Richt said in a university release. "Very few of our current players were on the 2008 team [the last to play in the Capital One Bowl] so this will be the first time most members of our team have the opportunity to play in Orlando and enjoy the fantastic attractions. The opportunity to play a top quality opponent like Nebraska will be a challenge we’ll look forward to."
Both Georgia and Nebraska lost in their respective conference championship games Saturday.
Richt’s team saw its potential game-winning touchdown drive stall at Alabama’s 5-yard line, with the 32-28 loss to the Crimson Tide costing Georgia an opportunity to play in the BCS Championship Game.
“Luckily we’ve got about a month off to try to put this thing behind us,” Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said after Saturday’s game. “It’s going to take a while. We have a great group of senior leaders and we want to send them off the right way and win the bowl game.”
Meanwhile, Nebraska’s performance in the Big Ten championship game was much more forgettable. The Cornhuskers surrendered 539 rushing yards and 10.8 yards per carry to Wisconsin in a 70-31 loss to the Badgers.
So while Alabama (12-1) and Wisconsin (8-5) secured BCS bowl berths -- Alabama against Notre Dame (12-0) in the national title game and Wisconsin against Stanford (11-2) in the Rose Bowl -- Georgia and Nebraska are left trying to complete the season with a flourish.
That’s something Georgia hasn’t done in a few years. The Bulldogs were 7-2 in bowl games in Richt’s first nine seasons, but they carry a two-game bowl losing streak into the Capital One Bowl after falling to UCF in the 2010 Liberty Bowl and Michigan State last season in the Outback Bowl.
The Bulldogs’ numerous veteran starters -- particularly on the defensive side of the ball -- insisted that ending that trend, and winning their final game in red and black, is an important goal for them.
“We need some time to rest up, get away from it for a little bit,” senior linebacker Christian Robinson said. “Getting back out there and playing again will make it [better]. We’ve got to wait a month, but practicing and just doing what we’ve done the whole season, that’s what makes it feel better. I’ve got one more game left in my career and I want to go out on a high note.”
After Saturday's loss Georgia slipped to fifth in the USA Today coaches poll and sixth in the Associated Press poll after ranking third in both polls and in the BCS standings last week. Nebraska tumbled from 12th in the BCS, 13th in the AP poll and 14th in the coaches' poll to 21st in the coaches' poll and 23rd in the AP poll on Sunday.
Georgia and Nebraska have met just once in the programs' illustrious histories. Nebraska beat Georgia 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl.