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Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Capital One Bowl
Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ABC)

About the Bulldogs: Had Georgia spiked the ball after its last first down against Alabama, maybe its bowl game would be in Miami in a week. But instead, the Bulldogs finish the season not in the BCS Championship Game, and not in a BCS game at all, but in the Capital One Bowl. The bowl berth might have been disappointing, but this Georgia team is one of the best in the nation. The offense, led by quarterback Aaron Murray and fantastic freshman running back Todd Gurley, scored at least 37 points nine times this season. The defense struggled early but was very good in the second half of the season. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones are two of the best defensive players around.

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(USA Today Sports Images)

About the Cornhuskers: No matter what happened in Nebraska's first 12 games, the first image of the 2012 team that pops to mind is it getting run off the field by Wisconsin at the Big Ten Championship Game. The defense had two spectacularly awful performances, giving up 70 points to the Badgers and 63 in a loss to Ohio State. Nebraska won six in a row after being embarrassed by Ohio State, so perhaps it will bounce back strong this time too. Quarterback Taylor Martinez can be fantastic at times and maddening at others, but he is helped out by the return of running back Rex Burkhead, who missed six games this season due to injury.

Key number: 47
Each of these teams has played in 47 bowl games, which is tied for the fifth most bowl appearances of all time.

The breakdown: What happens when both teams involved in a bowl are disappointed to be there? These teams went from playing in conference championship games with a BCS bowl berth on the line to being sent to a good but not great bowl game. There's no question Georgia is the better team, but Nebraska is solid too. The Cornhuskers, not surprisingly, have a top 10 rushing attack and that can keep them in the game. So can their pass defense, which was second in the nation in pass efficiency allowed.

Predictions
Frank Schwab: Georgia 35, Nebraska 20

By the end of the year, there weren't many teams playing better than Georgia, and coming up just a few yards short against Alabama doesn't change that. While the Bulldogs' excitement level for this game is tough to predict, the same can be said for Nebraska.

Graham Watson: Georgia 31, Nebraska 17
There is the feeling that Georgia might not be motivated to play this game, but I think the Bulldogs will be motivated to show that they deserved a shot in the BCS and take those frustrations out on a Nebraska team that is coming off a horrible loss to Wisconsin. Georgia is the better team and if it shows up, it should win this game handily.

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