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The Cornhuskers seemed destined to meet up with one it's former Big XII rivals. However, after a crazy weekend of conference championship games and rivalry games, the dust settled and Nebraska was selected for the trip to Jacksonville. The announcement of the Huskers and Bulldogs meeting in the January 1st 2014 Gator Bowl was a surprise to fans of both teams. Experts and fans have been locked in debate since the announcement about their thoughts and opinions of the Gator Bowl match up. After having some time to digest the situation it is clear that this game provides some good opportunities and some unfavorable elements for the Husker's.
Why the match up is not desirable for the Huskers:
Over the past four seasons, the Huskers have found themselves in numerous repetitive match ups. First there was playing Washington three times in two seasons, back to back Holiday Bowl appearances, then back to back Capital One Bowl appearances and now back to back bowl games with Georgia. Many of us prefer a fresh new match up and a fun city to invade with the Sea of Red. Once again, this game leaves some Nebraska fans with a Groundhog's Day feeling.
It would be nice to see the Husker players come away with a nine win season. However, Nebraska has not fared well against SEC teams as of late, which makes a win feel like an uphill battle.
An invitation Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe would have put the Cornhuskers in an area that has a high concentration of avid Husker fans. I would have been able to meet up with my life long friend Mark Smith, who also heads up the San Tan Valley Arizona Husker Club...sorry Mark.
Why the Nebraska vs. Georgia Gator Bowl is a great opportunity:
The opportunity to avenge last years loss to the Bulldogs will give the senior Huskers lots of motivation. The Huskers have everything to gain and nothing to loose. A win on national television against an SEC power team would be a big recruiting boost for the Huskers. A win would obviously give the Huskers nine wins on the season, which would keep their nine win streak alive. Which would also help get Bo off the hot seat.
Florida is a talent rich state for D-1 athletes, so a good showing at the Gator Bowl would have a positive effect on recruiting the sunshine state. Nebraska has had recent success recruiting in Florida and is currently courting some of their top athletes. Don't be surprise if some of those prospects are at the Gator Bowl.
Many of the top sports gurus have named the Gator Bowl at one of the top 10 must see bowl games of 2013-14. Everyone seem to like the match up of these two teams that have each endured their share of injuries this season. This should translate into lots of national interest, which once again is good for recruiting.
Jacksonville is a vibrant Florida coastal city with lots to offer. Nebraskans wanting a break from the chill of winter, will be excited for the opportunity to spend the New Year in sunny Florida.
The 2014 Gator Bowl provides a golden opportunity for the Huskers to set the tone for next season. The game could likely be decided on which team shows up the most healthy and best prepared. The Huskers would seem to have the bigger motivation, because they have the most to gain. Georgia is favored to win and will likely have more fans in the stands.
If Nebraska shows up mostly healthy, finds a way to keep control of the ball and controls the line scrimmage, the Huskers will win! Nebraska 31 Georgia 24
Go Big Red! Let's get Redemption!
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