Georgia Bulldogs: Eric Zeier
It’s not the BCS championship game, where Georgia could easily be playing, or the Rose Bowl, which Nebraska expected before laying an egg in a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. But the winning program on Tuesday could very well wind up where it has not been in quite some time.
Georgia was once a top-10 team essentially every season under coach Mark Richt, but it has not finished the season in the Associated Press top 10 since 2007. Likewise, Nebraska finished the season ranked in the AP top 10 eight times in nine seasons between 1993 and 2001, but it has not finished the season there in the last decade.
Let’s take a look at how they might make it there with a victory to inaugurate the new year:
No. 7 Georgia vs. No. 16 NebraskaTuesday, 1 p.m.
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Records: Georgia 11-2, Nebraska 10-3
Last game: Georgia lost 32-28 to Alabama in the SEC championship game on Dec. 1. Nebraska lost 70-31 to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game on the same day.
What’s the Story? Georgia and Nebraska are both trying to snap two-game bowl losing skids and end their seasons with a milestone victory of sorts. Nebraska hasn’t won at least 11 games in a season since 2001 and Georgia has only won 12 games twice in school history.
Twenty-seven days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.
27. Aaron Murray
6-foot-1, 210 pounds
Today being the Fourth of July, we expect to see fireworks and parades. Georgia football has had its share of fireworks through the years, if we talk about individual performances and astonishing victories. With that in mind we asked the staff and DawgNation's readers:
“What is the biggest fireworks display, figuratively speaking, you have seen at a Georgia football game?"
David Ching: I'd have to say it was the 2007 Blackout game against Auburn. Because of the final score, people often forget that Georgia didn't play very well in that game until it flipped the switch midway through the third quarter. And when it did, holy cow. Touchdown after touchdown. Impromptu sideline dancing to "Soulja Boy" that got everyone on the home sideline and throughout the stadium hyped. I've never been in a stadium that was as electric as it was in Sanford that night in the fourth quarter. It was unforgettable.
Radi Nabulsi: My first response would be the Blackout, or the 1991 Georgia game against Clemson in Sanford Stadium. I was in the stands and not working. That game was special, as freshman quarterback Eric Zeier came off the bench to lead the unranked Bulldogs to an upset of the No. 6 Tigers. Clemson had the No. 1 defense in the land, and Georgia won 27-12 in a rollicking night game. As if that weren’t enough, at some point during the game the stadium announcer let everyone there know that the Atlanta Braves had just won the Nation League West for the first time in 22 years. People went crazy. After that my memory gets really fuzzy.
But I would say the greatest fireworks display was the 2006 Georgia vs. Auburn game at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Bulldogs had lost a heartbreaker to Kentucky the week before, and the 9-1 Tigers were ranked No. 5 in the nation. Georgia had lost four of its last five games, giving up 19 turnovers, and Auburn was looking to move up in the BCS rankings. Will Muschamp was Auburn’s defensive coordinator. The feeling going into the contest was that Auburn was going to make mincemeat of the reeling Bulldogs. And it was going to rain.
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The top five freshmen in the SEC
0:51 2nd Qtr South Alabama 7 Bowling Green 20 Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State