Nebraska, Georgia to meet in Jan. 1 Cap One Bowl
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Georgia and Nebraska are hoping a New Year’s trip for Florida will be the perfect place to get over their conference championship game disappointments.
Both teams accepted bids to the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl on Sunday, just a day after falling in their respective conference championship games.
The Bulldogs (11-2) came up just a few yards short of winning the SEC crown and trip the BCS national championship game Saturday night, losing to defending BCS champion Alabama, 32-28.
For the Cornhuskers (10-3), their 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game might not have had the nail nibbling heartbreak Georgia endured, but was just as painful.
The New Year’s Day meeting at the Florida Citrus Bowl will mark only the second time Georgia and Nebraska have met. Nebraska defeated the Bulldogs, 45-6, in the 1969 Sun Bowl.
Nebraska is appearing the Capital One Bowl for the second straight season. The Cornhuskers fell 30-13 to South Carolina in last season’s matchup. It is their 49th bowl appearance overall.
It will also be farewell to former longtime coach and current Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, who will retire from that position on Jan. 1 as well.
Georgia won the SEC East division title for the second consecutive year. It is making its sixth appearance in the Cap One, having last beaten Michigan State in 2009. This will be the Bulldogs 48th bowl game.
This second matchup between Nebraska and Georgia should be closer than the first.
Georgia thrived this season offensively behind Tampa, Fla. native and junior quarterback Aaron Murray. He leads the nation in yards per passing attempt (7.8), while throwing for 31 touchdowns.
Defensively the Bulldogs had the SEC’s second-ranked pass defense, allowing just 120 yards per game. Linebacker Jarvis Jones has been a big part of that, with 12.5 sacks on the year.
The Cornhuskers also have a capable signal caller in junior Taylor Martinez. He is Nebraska’s all-time career leader in total offense with more than 9,000 yards.
Martinez has also gotten a lot of support from running backs Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah, a tandem that lead the most productive rushing attack in their conference, averaging 254 yards per game.
South Carolina will face Michigan in Outback Bowl
TAMPA, Fla. — No. 19 Michigan has been invited to represent the Big Ten in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference..
The Wolverines (8-4) and Gamecocks (10-2) were selected Sunday.
It’s the second trip in five seasons to the New Year’s Day game for No. 11 South Carolina, which lost 31-10 to Iowa in Tampa in January 2009.
Michigan hasn’t played in the Outback in 10 years. The Wolverines beat Florida 38-30 to conclude the 2002 season and faced Alabama in two previous trips to Tampa.
Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl
NEW YORK — Northern Illinois has been selected to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the official Bowl Championship Series lineup was to be announced later Sunday. The story was first reported by SI.com.
Northern Illinois (12-1) won the Mid-American Conference championship on Friday, lost its coach (Dave Doeren) to North Carolina State on Saturday, and moved into the top 16 of the final BCS standings on Sunday.
Once the Huskies reached the top 16, they earned an automatic spot in the BCS because they are ranked ahead of the Big Ten (Wisconsin) and Big East (Louisville) champions.
Louisville would have figured to be a fine fit for the Orange Bowl, with the Cardinals having a sizable number of standout players from the Miami area, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Instead, the Huskies will bring a roster mostly composed of players from the Midwest, with just a handful of Floridians.
And while Northern Illinois — and its BCS-busting status — will surely be a fun story line throughout bowl season, the Huskies earned their way into the conversation. Since last Oct. 2, Northern Illinois is 21-1, the best record in the country. For comparison’s sake, that’s two more wins than Alabama and four more than Notre Dame over that stretch.
If it wasn’t for a one-point loss against Iowa on Sept. 1, the Huskies might have even been coming to Miami with an undefeated record. Northern Illinois led Iowa by eight points with 10 minutes to play, gave up the game-deciding touchdown with 2:15 left and fell to the Hawkeyes 18-17.
Otherwise, who knows — maybe NIU would have found some way to bust into the BCS title game, also coming to Miami this season.
Northern Illinois’ greatest football achievement will likely come at the expense of Oklahoma.
The Sooners (10-2) won a share of the Big 12 title and lost only to Notre Dame and Kansas State. The Wildcats earned the Big 12’s automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl, but the Sooner seemed like a lock to get an at-large bid — most likely to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to play Florida.
But NIU gobbled up what would have been an at-large spot. Florida is expected to be selected by the Sugar Bowl as an at-large team and Oregon is expected to be picked by the Fiesta Bowl.
With NIU heading to the Orange Bowl, Louisville, the Big East automatic qualifier, is likely to land in the Sugar Bowl.