A pair of 8-4 teams from elite BCS conferences will face-off at Noon in the 69th Gator Bowl on New Year's Day in Jacksonville.
The game, to be televised at Noon on ESPN-2, pits the Big Ten's Nebraska Cornhuskers against the SEC's Georgia Bulldogs.
The game is a rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl which Georgia won 45-31 by scoring the last 22 points of the game. That was just the second meeting ever between the two schools and the first since 1969 when the 'Huskers pounded the 'Dawgs 45-6 in the Sun Bowl.
The preseason forecast from the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com projected Georgia to play for the national title this season against Stanford. But numerous injuries contributed to Mark Richt's team falling short of those expectations and a 5-3 SEC record relegated the Bulldogs to a 3rd-place finish in the Eastern division behind Missouri and South Carolina.
Conversely, Nebraska was only forecasted to go 7-5 and exceeded those expectations by 1 win. Bo Pelini's squad also went 5-3 in conference play and finished tied for 2nd with Iowa in the Big Ten Legends division.
Nebraska won 5 of its first 6 games, but only eked out a pair of 3-point wins down the stretch over a Northwestern team that finished 1-7, and an overtime victory at a Penn State group debilitated by NCAA probation and transfers stemming from the Jerry Sandusky pedophile case.
Georgia crashed on opening day, losing 38-35 at Clemson. The Bulldogs rebounded to win 4 straight before losing at home to Missouri and following up that setback with only their second loss to Vanderbilt since 1994 and first since 2006.
Georgia also fell prey to one of Auburn's miracle finishes of 2013. The Tigers won 43-38 on a 4th-and-18 pass that went for a 73-yard score after the ball tipped off a Bulldog defender. Georgia had just rallied from a 20-point 4th quarter deficit for a 38-37 lead with 1:49 left on an Aaron Murray 5-yard run on 4th down.
Nebraska is making its 50th bowl appearance (24-25) and is looking to end a 3-bowl losing streak. Georgia is making its 49th (27-18-3) bowl trip and is tied for 3rd in bowl wins. The Bulldogs also rank 9th in bowl winning percentage (.594) among teams with at least 20 appearances.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com give Georgia a 10.57-point edge.