Teams typically go to Disneyland (or in this case World) after an amazing victory rather than an historic defeat, but the Nebraska Cornhuskers will be making an exception. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and all of the fan favorites will be there to greet Bo Pelini’s squad. A likely very spiteful bunch of Georgia Bulldogs will, too. The Huskers have a beef of their own, though.
2012 was supposed to be the year they made a statement and finally bust back into the BCS with a conference championship. Thanks to yesterday’s 70-31 drubbing at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, that won’t be happening. They’d redeem themselves by beating the Bulldogs, though, but doing so is a tall order.
Should Nebraska topple the team that was one play away from being a part of the BCS National Championship Game, its second game against Wisconsin this season won’t be erased from memory, but such an accomplishment would be a true sign of resiliency.
The Huskers had already been bloodied by the Ohio State Buckeyes earlier in the year, but they rebounded and won six games in a row. They’ve now taken another savage beating. Knocking off the SEC runner-up and holding the Capital One Bowl trophy high wouldn’t make up for their lack of Big Ten Championship or BCS berth, but it would salve the wound.
On the opposite sideline, the Bulldogs have every right to want to duplicate the Badgers’ efforts. Aside from a rough go in Columbia, SC, Georgia has played sound, efficient football. NFL prospects litter the team. They could’ve beaten the Alabama Crimson Tide. They likely believe they should’ve made Nick Saban shed a single tear, but they didn’t.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt won’t let the laughter as a result of Nebraska’s trip to Indianapolis lull him into complacency. He knows that he owes his team a bowl win, and if possible, a slaughter.
Pelini said that the Huskers failed against Wisconsin during the press conference following last night’s loss. That may be, but he also likely knows that knocking out an SEC heavyweight would somewhat make up for the pain and anguish suffered by his players.
He wants to win this game for Will Compton and Chase Rome, openly emotional as they answered the press’ questions. For PJ Smith, who watched in stunned silence as the Badgers celebrated.
It won’t be easy, but it’s possible. If Nebraska beats Georgia, the Huskers won’t be able to claim themselves conference champions, but perhaps more importantly, they can say they’re not dead just yet.
Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter: @eightlaces